Newly opened on
Firstly what do we feel about the menu?
Susie: the takeaway menu is pleasingly pared-down so that while there's still a fair choice you don't feel either overwhelmed or that you might be missing out horribly. There's also the expectation that each item on a small list of dishes will be expertly prepared.
Jen: the menu very clearly marks gluten-free, dairy-free and veggie options. I find it slightly hilarious it gives absolutely no indication of how hot the dishes are, though this is also quite nice. I think the era of drawings of lots of chillies in the menu is probably past, unless you are making seriously mind-blowingly hot food.
Who had a particular starter they liked?
Susie: I liked the starters very much, though I suppose they're on the stodgy side if you're not a pastry-lover. The Aloo Bonda spiced potato balls were perfect, fluffy inside and crispy outside, and wonderfully complemented by the sharp chutneys.
Michael: The pair of samosas on the menu were the perfect way to start the meal. I went for a mushroom and walnut samosa - there's a bit of piquancy, and heft to the mushroom and earthy walnut. It goes well with that chutney dip (an eye-catching lemongrass number). However, the chicken and coriander samosa is the best chicken samosa ever, and is big and densely packed.
What about the mains?
Katy: My main was Keralan nandan chicken. The succulent chicken thigh meat fell apart beautifully, the addition of ginger provided the right amount of heat, and the creamy coconut and cumin sauce made the dish feel like an indulgent treat. This has confirmed for me that green cardamom and chicken are the best of friends, especially when combined with coconut. Cardamom's not just for sweet treats, it's for all.
Susie: The main course of Lucknowi Lamb curry was epically salty and unexpectedly spicy, which was a winning, though powerful, combination from my point of view, but might not be the right choice if you prefer something lighter.
Jen: Pumpkin Olan was nice, with big chunks of well-charred pumpkin, and a lot of beans lurking at the bottom. It didn't seem very hot, but this was deceptive - it was a slow-build back-of-the-throat curry. I ate some nice cooling dal and it blew my head off. The dal is more sharp, immediate hot.
Patrick: The Lucknowi Lamb was spicy, had a good pepper and chilli heat, some cardamom coming through, though somewhat over-burdened by the pepper and chilli. However, far too salty for my taste - a common pitfall. I also tried Katy's chicken and cardamom - a far more successful use of cardamom - which was light, delicate, well-rounded.
Is there anything else worth having?
Katy: The Gulab Jamun were little orbs of syrupy joy. They are so perfectly petite that you can easily fit one or two in at the end of the meal. The Desi Biyar was quite sweet for a lager which is less suitable for mild, creamy dishes but would go down a treat when combined with a spicy dish. It's nice to have a more interesting alternative to the leading lagers usually available with Indian takeaways.
So how do we feel about Thali now that we have stuffed ourselves full of their lovely food?
Katy: I was very impressed by the variety of flavours, portion size, price, range... I could go on - can't wait to sample more of their menu!
Jen: I feel that the Tiffin Tins scheme is cool, though the packaging seems pretty green in general, based on card not plastic. I think it might be more fun to get a Tiffin Tin / eat-in because the point of a Thali is really about small portions of lots of things. But that sounds a bit negative, and it really wasn't a hardship to eat this.
Russ: Overall I loved the food Thali produced. The lamb was wonderfully tender and perfectly spiced, the Aloo Bonda was gorgeous. They managed to make samosas and beer that a fan of neither could like, and the rice was plentiful and well cooked. My only disappointment was that the poppadom was not to be found when we unpacked our food. But this is a small gripe and I certainly will be checking out Thali again in the near future.