You can’t help getting off to a good start at Shaftsbury Avenue’s modern Indian restaurant Talli Joe – thanks in large part to a welcome drink of Talli Ho. A blend of whiskey, homemade beer syrup, orange bitters, lime and soda, the punchy little number surmises everything Talli Joe is trying to be. Welcoming, fun, tipsy.
Cocktails are a very important part of Talli Joe (meaning tipsy in Hindi) and the menu splits them into North, East, South, West so as to give you a flavour from every corner. While you peruse the rest of the menu you are encouraged to order crispy wafers and a pickle selection to sate your appetite. Or line your stomach? The idea here is to always have a full glass, and a half plate.
Sharing similarities with Dishoom (all-day vibes) & Gunpowder (small plates) Talli Joe is different enough from both to warrant a visit.
Three to four plates are suggested per person so you’ll be able to try a substantial chunk of the menu when you do.
The first few dishes are perfect snacks to accompany cocktails. A small naan is stuffed with cheese, brushed with truffle butter and served with a vibrant coriander dip. A street food favourite, Kale Chaat is served like crispy batter petals around creamy diced potato and sprinkled with jewel like pomegranate.
We moved on to the Deviled Quail eggs, which miraculously managed to fill your mouth with all the spices AND retain the delicate crab meat flavour, with a pot of creamy mayo for more dipping. A singular juicy lamb chop is good enough for us to consider ordering another.
Bohri Chicken drumsticks come in an authentic thick masala curry with a herbed roti-like flat bread for scooping up the remnants. We also tried one of the day’s specials, seafood curry which included prawns, mussels and other seafood along with half a toasted baguette, for you guessed it, more scooping. Lastly, lamb is marinated overnight and roasted on the bone for a flavoursome finish.
These later dishes are more substantial in size, all have a really good level of spice but all taste completely different from one another. You won’t find gratuitous heat for bragging rights here.
With just three little desserts to choose from, we adored the baked yoghurt which reminded us of a cheesecake filling. The most unusual though was the black heritage carrots (go with us here) with salted peanut brittle. Unusual yes, but absolutely delicious and it paired really well with the baked yoghurt – double dip, we won’t tell.
A small pour of spicy Masala Chai wasn’t as sweet as we’ve had in India, but a good night cap none the less!