"Indian street food, tapas-style"Review Rating: Reviewed by Leila
Imli have got two current trends nailed: Indian street food and small plates. It’s a very different story to that of their sister restaurant, Michelin-starred Tamarind, as here prices are cheapish and service is super-fast, with dishes coming out as they’re ready. It’s the perfect recipe for bums on seats and the place is suitably rammed.
But it wouldn’t work if the food wasn’t up to scratch, which it is. Squid is crispy and fiery, with a Thousand Island-style dressing - always a puzzling combo, then again fried squid + mayonnaise is rather heavenly. The kheema pav is, to namedrop another trend, as close as Indian cuisine gets to a burger, consisting of finely minced lamb with peas, lightly spiced with cumin and ginger, and served with toasted baguette.
Fried chicken wings are coated in pepper and served with a bright yellow raita sweetened with honey and coloured by turmeric. Honey-grilled duck, sliced and pink in the middle, is cloaked in a fennelly tamarind sauce, and on the side there is mashed potato with liberal amounts of cumin seeds.
Another great dish is the grilled paneer, which pairs slabs of creamy cheese with spicy broccoli. The fish nimbu wall is the blandest, and at £13.50 the most expensive dish, the perch is slightly overcooked and although it hints at lime leaves it lacks any real depth.
A cooling mango and basil sorbet doesn’t quite work as the sweet and grassy flavours are at odds with each other, but rice pudding is good, heavily scented with saffron and cardamom.
While the wine list is unremarkable there is an appealing choice of cocktails - a gin-based apple martini made with schnapps is very refreshing, and the non-alcoholic passion fruit lassis is sweet and creamy.
Six dishes plus dessert was enough to stuff us full, coming to around £80 including drinks.
Leila reviewed Imli Street on Wed 11 Jul 2012