Thali | North Indian family affair in Kensington | Review

Let’s be honest, thali is, quite possibly, one of the best culinary inventions of all time. Having six different flavours battling for your taste buds in a single dish can quite easily send your food senses into a wild overdrive – in a good way, of course. So, naturally, as soon as we heard about the existence of a namesake restaurant, we made a fast beeline for Old Brompton Road.

The eating house in question is Thali at 166 Old Brompton Road – a family owned North Indian restaurant, which is said to be very popular among the locals and has built itself a following in the celebrity-filled district of Chelsea and Kensington.

Rich history

Thali’s decor boasts a beautiful mix of eastern and western influences, with modern and contemporary styles wonderfully accented by vintage Bollywood film posters that adorn the walls.

Open now for over 7 years, Thali prides itself on being a family affair, right down to the recipes which have been passed down through generations and over hundreds of years – and if the taste and menu are anything to go by, I, of one, am very pleased they’ve survived all this time.

Meal for two

I don’t know about you, but I’ve never been one to eat eastern cuisines without sharing – I mean, is there any other way? I know it’s not for everyone, but nothing gives me more delight than seeing multiple arms crossing over a table and nibbling everything in sight.

As such, our first shared starter of choice was the palak chaatcrispy fried spinach, combined with sweetened yoghurt and home-made chutney, which was surprisingly mouth-watering and managed to disappear off the plate very quickly. The other starter – grilled scallops with creamy cherry tomato sauce, was so creamy and delicious, I could have easily been pleased if the entire meal comprised of the creamy tomato sauce. Seriously.

For our main, of course, we had a non-veg thaliwhite rice with a choice of six sauces containing varying types of meat, and chicken tikka makhani, a creamy curry with a honey butter consistency. Both came highly recommended and neither disappointed.

Great night

We couldn’t leave without sampling a little sweet, so we settled with a simple, yet delicious, kulfi, Indian ice cream, and a gulab jamun. We savoured the entire meal with a soft and dry Sauvignon Chardonnay – which perfectly complimented each course.

Needless to say, the journey back to north London left us both feeling more than satisfied.

Thali @ 166 Old Brompton Road Kensington London, SW5 0BA

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Ahmed Elmi


Ahmed has worked extensively in lifestyle editorial, writing for magazines like Esquire UK, and has also worked as a digital copywriter for numerous brands that include, L’Oreal, British Airways, and Pernod Ricard. Tweet him @ahmednelmi or send him a nice story: