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Review: Talli Joe

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152-156 Shaftesbury Avebue, London WC2H 8HL

Half Plates, Full Drinks – Talli Joe is a welcomed addition to London’s exciting Indian dining scene.

Talli (T-uh‐li) – adjective (Hindi) – tipsy; a happy, intoxicated state of being; e.g. “I was a little talli last night… did anyone else see a flying lion?”

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Talli Joe is a casual, all-day drinking and dining destination, which takes Londoners on a journey of discovery through modern India. The menu is packed with diverse, regional “half-‐plates”, served with a host of Indian – style cocktails, all of which will show off an undiscovered side of the country in a buzzy, casual setting on Shaftesbury Avenue, the capital’s latest foodie hub.

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With Executive Chef Sameer Taneja (formerly of the Michelin-starred Benares) heading up the kitchen, food comes in share-sized portions best enjoyed with a glass in hand. Created after months of travel across the length and breadth of India, dishes have been plucked from Patna to Hyderabad, Kolkata to Goa, and each has a story to tell. For example, Truffle Ghee Kulcha (naan stuffed with cottage cheese and brushed with truffle ghee) while Raghogarhi Sea Bass (baked sea bass and rice, wrapped in a banana leaf) is a version of a home-style dish discovered in Raghogarh.

 

Created in the spirit of adventure, the Talli Joe menu is all about introducing diners to something new, with the likes of Nihari Nalli (Lucknow style nuhari on veal bone marrow with a kadak roti), Junglee Kumbh Khichri (wild mushrooms, khichri, organic pickled egg), Kale Chaat (crispy kale tossed with potato, pomegranate and sweet yogurt) and Talli Machi (red mullet with a spiced crust, served with an orange soaked in Old Monk rum) impressing Londoners with totally original dishes and fantastic flavours.

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The drinks menu is where things get truly Talli, serving up punchy and potent cocktails with a distinct Indian accent. Try the Keri Collins (vodka, mango puree, lime and soda), inspired by the popular street snack of raw mango dusted with chilli, sugar and salt, or the Amma’s Special (gin, cucumber, coriander, lime and sugar), created as a nod to the South Indian family staple of coriander and mint chutney. House-made shrubs replace synthetic syrups guaranteeing a uniquely fresh drinking experience, with other standout cocktails including the Jaipur Fizz (vodka, St Germain liqueur, rose shrub, lime and Prosecco), the Talli Ho (whisky, beer syrup, orange bitters, lime and soda) and the Masala Punch (saffron‐infused gin, Assam tea, jiggery syrup, lime and mixed spices).

 

Talli Joe offers casual, all‐day drinking and dining, Monday to Saturday, with tables available for both reservations and walk-ins.  It’s perfect for pre or post theatre dining, a quick bite at lunch or a proper “Talli” night out!

 

Reviewed by Chirag Shah