Sunday, 26 February 2012

The Thali Cafe - Easton

Well, the times they are a-changing. It used to be that a visit to a curry house involved flock wallpaper, luminous mango chutney and piped ravi shankar. But no longer, at least, not at the Thali Cafe in Easton. It definitely has more of the cafe about it in terms of appearance than it does an Indian restaurant. There are even sofas.

The menu, which makes me smile just by looking at it, doesn't go in for the standards. You won't find a tikka masala here. What you will find is an evening menu which offers a range of thalis which focus on regional Indian cooking and meat and vegetarian options.

The lunch menu offers a different range of curries, and luckily we went with a couple of friends so it meant we got to try quite a few of them!

Lamb Kofta
I chose the Lamb Kofta, which wasn't really a kofta because I didn't get meatballs, but it was all the better for that. What I did get was a very nice lamb curry which was a lot tastier than your average bhuna, with a thick, rich gravy spiced with cinnamon and clove. I would suggest though that in future they remove the big lumps of cinnamon before serving, bark isn't high on my list of eating pleasures. But I couldn't fault the taste.

The missus went for the Masala Fish Fry with some Bombay Potato Chips. As enticing as it sounds this was probably the weakest dish on the table. It just didn't live up to the promise. There wasn't enough spice in the batter and the chips were lukewarm. It seemed to lack a bit of effort.

But then things improved. One of our friends chose the Saag Paneer which was very tasty with a thick, luscious sauce and generous chunks of paneer. Apparently it's their favourite in the tiffin box that they regularly get from the Thali Cafe, and it's easy to see why.

Goan Fish Curry
The best dish of the day though was the Goan Fish Curry. It was easy to see the spicing that had been put into the curry, lots of mustard seeds and turmeric, which gave it real authentic flavour. If I hadn't had my lamb curry I might have been just a little bit jealous.

One notable thing about all the curries we had was that none were swimming in oil, which can often be the case.And the portions are generous. The menu might describe the curries as light lunches, but you won't leave wanting more. Which I mean in a good way! Everything costs less than a tenner as well, so you can have a really satisfying lunch and still have a couple of pints afterwards without breaking the bank. Which is what we did, and it capped off a very nice Saturday afternoon. Curry first and then the pints? The times really are a-changing.

Thinking of eating out in Bristol, read more reviews of Bristol Restaurants.

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