Last month, The Thali Café – Bristol’s own Indian restaurant chain – held a launch night for their new Christmas menu, created by Meera Sodha.
Meera is the London based chef that I did a blog post on a while ago to represent her 2nd book, Fresh India.
Thali Café, which is the only Indian place in the city that I’ve eaten at more than once, have an array of street food dishes and traditional thali meals, but with a twist. Always colourful and vibrant like their interior, the new Christmas menu is nothing short of this description. Click here to see the full menu (including prices) with some descriptions on the history behind the dishes, plus giving an idea on the spices used to get your taste buds yearning and juices flowing…
See below a couple of images I took with a brief description of my experience trying out the menu – which by the way, I tried through a taster version – so the portions are smaller than you’d expect for a reason.
Slightly blurry image… but it’s no surprise to see venison, mushrooms and walnuts on a festive menu. But I’ve never had these flavours in a samosa or with spices – and I have to say, the samosa which took me by surprise was the venison version. Which is strange as I’m not usually a fan of game, but the venison was so nicely spiced, without being overpowering, and the gamey taste wasn’t really there, which is a huge plus for me.
Instead, it was rich, allowing the spices to dance around in your mouth without it being too spicy (heat wise) and leaving a nice aftertaste. The cranberry chutney was also sweet enough to balance the whole combination and it made me really pleased to have tried something completely different.
What a treat. A real comforting, warming, and perfect for any cold weather thali selection.
Instantly, I was taken away with the pig cheek vindaloo. I never go to curry houses, but I understand that a vindaloo is the spiciest one to get. But this didn’t seem like it was hot for hot sake – which is how some people have described vindaloo to me before. It was spicy yes, but it actually reminded me of my Dad’s cooking – where you know there are many ‘complex’ spices used, but my god does it all blend in together and taste so good! And the cheeks were ever so soft and the sauce was ever so delicious!
… Where an image of the desserts would’ve gone…
I did take a picture of the two desserts but for some reason it was playing up when trying to load it, so, I can say that I ate them in one bite each as they were so good!
But by far, the one I recommend is the chocolate kheer (rice pudding) with almond chikki. What can I say? It was comforting, very chocolate-y and the jaggery-caramelised almonds on top – as Janice from Friends would say – Oh. my. god… I asked if I could buy a big normal portion size of it away from the tasters, but it was all gone. 😦
Just another reason to go back and try out the full menu. But I’ll order two bowls of the chocolate kheer…
So if I were you, I’d get ready to try out this menu, which is due to start from 15th October – 15th January. I’ll see you there.
Please note: I had this meal through a first come first serve basis for those that signed up for the taster menu – so I did not pay for my meal. However, this has not in any way effected my opinions or enthusiasm about the food.