166 Old Brompton Road, Earl's Court, London

An Indian meal that’s a rank above the tourist bustle of Brick Lane

Thali picture

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Address:166 Old Brompton Road
Earl's Court
Map:Map & nearby
Region:Earl's Court
Nearest Station:Gloucester Road
Opening Hours:

Mon:12:00 - 15:00
18:30 - 23:30
Tue:12:00 - 15:00
18:30 - 23:30
Wed:12:00 - 15:00
18:30 - 23:30
Thu:12:00 - 15:00
18:30 - 23:30
Fri:12:00 - 15:00
18:30 - 23:30
Sat:12:00 - 15:00
18:30 - 23:30
Sun:12:00 - 15:00
18:00 - 22:15

Related Businesses

Nearby alternatives

  1. Noor Jahan (0.0 miles)
    Bina Gardens, Earl's Court, SW5 0LA
  2. Star Of India (0.0 miles)
    Old Brompton Road, Earl's Court, SW5 0BE
  3. Flora Indica (0.2 miles)
    Old Brompton Road, South Kensington, SW5 0DE

"An Indian meal that’s a rank above the tourist bustle of Brick Lane"

Review Rating: 7 / 10
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Reviewed by

The Old Brompton Road isn’t necessary the part of town that springs to mind when one says Indian food. With the glut of curry houses on Brick Lane you’d be forgiven for discounting West London as a hotbed of subcontinental cuisine but Thali is worth a visit.

Despite being the only covers when we arrived at 6.45, by the time we left after 8pm the place was buzzing with customers. Clearly I’m the one that gets hungry early…

Dinign with a vegetarian friend, here eyese were practically on stalks when she saw the menu, dripping as it is with veggie-friendly treats for every course. I started with a portion of juicy and tender chicken tikka, glazed in spices, and she chose a trio of light and crispy vegetable samosas and some of the aloo gobi, potato and cauliflower with fresh giner and garlic, crunchy and full of flavour. The real surprise however was the palak chaat; shallo fried spinach that had been marinated for 8-9 hours, before being served with sweetened yoghurt, mint and chutney. Order it. Order it twice. It’s delicious. I would quite happily have hp

For my main I chose a chicken bhukara korma, a light dish with smoked onion, yoghurt and cashew paste; ultra mild, creamy and very delicate in flavour. With a wealth of game on the menu however, including tandoori rabbit and partridge, I’m definitely intrigued to go back and try them, having never come across tradional game on an Indian menu before. My friend chose the classic veg Thali, the signature dish of a large steel plate with little bowls featuring a selection of dishes; judging by the satisfied sounds coming from her side of the table I judge it to have been a success. Her Thali featured baga ka bharta (aubergines with onions, tomatoes, ginger and green chillies), saag paneer (paneer and spinach flavoured with galic and cumin), bhindi do piyaza (okra with onion, cumin and tomatoes) and dal makhani (brown lentils seasonsed with mild spices), plus the addition of a mound of steamed rice and a bowl of raita. Throw in a couple of delicious Peshawari naans and you had two very happy diners. Though we didn’t have space for a real dessert, the Thali came with a single gilab jamun, a milk dough dumpling served in hot sweet syrup - sweet being the operative word, it’s not for the fainthearted (or diabetic).

It might be a little out of town, but Thali is worth having on the radar for an Indian meal that’s a rank above the tourist bustle of Brick Lane.

Laurel reviewed Thali on Tue 03 Oct 2017

"The calm, warm environment and atmosphere is so much nicer than ordinary Indian restaurants "

Review Rating: 7 / 10
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Reviewed by

Just a 10 minute walk from Gloucester Road tube station, this modern Indian restaurant is convenient albeit surrounded by competing eateries.

I was surprised to discover a couple eating at the tables outside on the pavement – in December! Whilst I initially found the large glass front a little off-putting (you can clearly see into the restaurant from the street), the interior is charming. It’s a relatively small restaurant which adds to the intimate feel.

There’s half a brightly-coloured bicycle rickshaw on one wall and tastefully framed posters from famous Indian movies on the others. But otherwise the décor is white and calm and has a rosy, romantic glow from the numerous tea lights dotted around the place. The Indian music and incense added to the sense of calm. We were impressed.

The waiting staff were utterly professional and friendly – providing insight and advice on the menu items when asked and happy to answer all of our questions.

At the outset, there were only couples in the restaurant with us. All were Asian which must be a good sign. But as the evening wore on there were what appeared to be a few business folk and small groups of smart locals eating with us. And some more couples. There was also a lone diner happily reading a book while he ate.

The jewelled napkin rings were so pretty I didn’t want them to take them away. I ordered a glass of red wine (good) and my companion a Diet Coke (a bit flat). Tap water was administered throughout the meal. The pappadoms – both rolled spicy and interestingly-shaped plain – were attractively served on a white square dish with a generous dollop of fruity mango chutney.

To start, my companion (who is a cautious and traditional eater of Indian food) choose the chicken tikka (£6.50) which comprised several large chunks of chicken served on an attractive rectangular slate with a tangle of carrot strings as a garnish and a small side pot of mint sauce. She declared the smaller chunks delicious although the inside of some of the larger chunks a little tasteless.

I won with the starter choice though – my three sizeable crab patties (£7.45) were coated with crispy spinach in such a way as to look like they had just emerged from the sea. Happily, the tastier brown crab meat had been used and the flavour was tremendous. The side pot of mustard sauce had just the right amount of oomph to compliment them nicely.

We also sampled one of the house specialities – Palak Chaat (£6.95). This is special crispy spinach with sweet yoghurt and chutney dressing. Some chopped onions added extra texture. This was really good and I can see why it’s popular.

Onto the main course. I was intrigued to see a selection of game dishes – including tandoori partridge and venison bhuna - and I choose the tandoori rabbit with anise (£10.95) which was served with some naan (I elected to have the garlic version but other varieties were available). Some of the rabbit was cooked right through and a little dry but other pieces were beautifully moist. I also opted to have a portion of lemon rice which was unusual in a good way and I enjoyed the texture of the cashew nuts.

But my companion was triumphant on the main course. Her lamb kofta – served in a separate bowl with a supporting roundel of soft pilau rice – was sensational. The sauce – a rich, thick dark brown – was meaty, tomatoey and with just the right amount of spice. The lamb was melty soft and had a pleasant after-burn of slightly warmer spices. I had serious food envy (and I don’t generally eat lamb!) at this point but luckily she was happy to share.

Whilst we are talking about lamb, apparently one of the most popular dishes is Chukander Gosht (£13.45) – baby lamb and beetroot with spices. Must try that next time.

There were a reasonable number of vegetarian options on the menu. What caught my eye were the tandoori wild mushrooms (£6.50) and madras fish curry (£14.95). There was also a vegetarian thali (£12.95 compared to the non-vegetarian at £18.95 and seafood at £20.95). There was also a vegetarian karahi (£7.95 compared to the prawn version at £15.95).

On a trip to the loos downstairs, I was faced with a lovely shrine to elephant-faced god of transitions Ganesha and discovered more tables – with deep red walls and interesting quotes on one of the walls. This space has a slightly different feel to upstairs. It would be great for private parties.

If we were allowed to give half scores Thali would receive a 7.5. The calm, warm environment and atmosphere is so much nicer than ordinary Indian restaurants and there were one or two incredible dishes amongst the more familiar ones you might expect to find. Presentation of the food gets a special mention too.

KimT reviewed Thali on Fri 18 Dec 2015

"Delivers well, but their website over-promises"

Review Rating: 6 / 10
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Reviewed by James Whiting

Thali in South Kensington was the setting for a midweek curry, and with neighbours that included Lamborghini and Ferrari, the prospect of a contemporary Indian tasting menu seemed to fit with the surroundings. Sadly this wasn't on the menu that hit the table, seemingly there was a breakdown in communication between the website and the front of house. However, we asked for a selection of their best dishes, so carried on unperturbed.

The poppadoms kicked off the meal in the usual curry house manner, but with glimpses of the flair the tasting menu had promised. Various cones and twisted shapes brought to life what are normally just a pile of overpriced discs.

The selection of starters continued the impressive start. The scallops were big and meaty, and the spicing of the sauce didn't overpower. Butterflied King prawns were equally large and went well with their Goan masala dipping sauce. The lamb chops, though not pink but were still succulent and tender, the coriander and mint dip making a very able assistant to the dish. The surprise package was the Palak Chaat. We were informed it took 9 hours to marinate the spinach and this preparation had certainly paid off. The dish was light and tasty and the flavours intriguing, without the tamarind dominating. The building blocks of the elusive tasting menu perhaps?

The main courses slightly snuffed out the previous excitement. Both the lamb and chicken were well cooked and moist. The Dal Makhani was simple and humble lentils, yet packed the most flavourful punch. This emphasised the quality of the naans, that had just the faint shimmer of ghee - that essential Indian flavour. A bhindi do piyaza was another pleasant surprise, not at all bitter as is so often the case with okra. Lastly supplying the option of plain and pilau rice was a nice touch, enabling the curries to take centre stage. There were no errors or disappointments, but sadly the mains were not presented with the same panache as the starters.

The less said about the desserts the better. They were supposedly part of a changing daily dessert menu. The malpua, an Indian crepe, were dry and flavourless. The kulfi had just been popped out of their plastic packets and arranged at jaunty angles on the plate, surrounded by a squiggle of coulis. The maker’s royal stamp and logo could still be seen which was very disappointing.

Expectations are a funny thing where food is concerned. In the case of Thali there were no complaints, except the desserts. Yet the excitement the website had whipped up just did not appear, save for the glimpses provided by the starters. The main courses can best be described as standard. They were dishes you would expect to find in any good Indian restaurant up and down the country. The only problem with this was that online Thali had seemingly tried to set themselves apart. This point aside, Thali is an all-round nice place to go if you are in South Kensington and are looking for a good local curry house, albeit at South Kensington prices. Sadly if you are planning to make a trip for some contemporary cuisine you might leave with your expectation unmet.

James Whiting reviewed Thali on Tue 06 Mar 2012

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