Time Out says
A small-plates Indian restaurant and cocktail bar in Theatreland.
Books. Covers.You know what to do. Or, rather what not to. Yet it’s hard not to get a bit judge-y over somewhere that has both a silly name and (ugh) a ‘concept’. The one at Talli Joe, splashed across signage, website and menus, is to offer ‘Indian half plates + full drinks’ (don’t you just mean ‘small plates’ and, er, ‘drinks’?). What’s more, when I walk in, I can’t help but clock the lights are too bright, the air con too cold. Not a great start.
But guess what? This new regional Indian ‘small plates and cocktails’ joint (because that’s what Talli Joe actually is) gets two crucial things right: the food and service.
This is bright, bold cooking designed to enchant both tastebuds and soul. One of my favourite dishes was the Goan pork and ‘offal’ curry, made mostly with shoulder and belly meat, but also enough heart and liver to give it an exceptional depth of flavour and texture. Also excellent was a crab ‘scotch egg’, the warmly spiced crustacean’s meat wrapped around a soft, almost-runny quail’s egg, its yolk the colour of marigolds.
For something more prosaic, try the seafood curry. I loved it that, simmering in the mild, fragrant sauce, were not just prawns, koli and squid, but a handful of drumsticks – no, not the cluck-cluck kind, but the green veg variety traditional in south Indian cooking (picture hard-skinned celery sticks: you scrape out the soft, mild flesh and put the rest aside). It’s this commitment to spot-on sourcing that gives Talli Joe its edge.
Case in point: the gajar halwa – a sweet, milky carrot pudding – is made not with bog-standard orange carrots, oh no, but with heritage purple carrots, giving this dessert a thrilling, almost ebony hue. It is, by the way, absolutely moreish and delicious. Prepare to guard it with your fork (stabbing optional).
As for the cocktails – they’re fine. But in spite of its special ‘cocktail pairing’ menu and bright, contemporary decor (comparisons with Dishoom are inevitable: the setting here is less glamorous but the food is better), this is not a bar. Not really. But the fact it takes bookings and has nothing-too-much-trouble service adds to its appeal.
All Talli Joe needs now is a decent set menu (currently it’s à la carte only: excellent value at dinner but too dear for lunch) and it might just win me over completely.
152-156 Shaftesbury Avenue
|Transport:||Tube: Leicester Square|
|Price:||Dinner for two with drinks and service: around £65.|
|Do you own this business?|
Users say (31)
Average User Rating
4.6 / 5
- 5 star:21
- 4 star:9
- 3 star:1
- 2 star:0
- 1 star:0
Myself and my team from work come here for our end of month team lunch. The meal itself was really good. I shared the Kale Chatt, the lamb chop, nann stuffed with cottage cheese and truffle ghee, banana leaf wrapped seabass and chicken bhori and we both had a glass of wine each with service charge we paid £24 each. Which we was both happy with. The atmosphere was a little quiet, but the service was really attentive and quick! I would recommend here for sure and will be going back!
Great find. Buzzy little restaurant, with attentive service. Nice range of cocktails and some beautiful morsels of small plates. Tried the pickles to start, the lamb chop was succulently cooked to perfection and the seafood curry was a sure favourite...Will definitely go again!
Great tasting food! took some friends last night who all agreed it's the best Indian meal they have had in London.
Very Soon, Talli Joe will be known across London fir its Awesome and innovative cocktail... Served with happiness
Most of food menu are hand picked from day to day household food items in 6 Indian cuisine, very well improvised (stirred but not shaken) and innovative servicing...
Very high recommendation for anyone who love good time , good food and good drink...
Simply, Talli Joe
The sheer creativity of working out the dishes and cuisine, and naming them... one feels as if she's on a bustling street downtown in a typical Indian city...or at a fine dine upmarket...all at the same place. that's different, and I'd plump for this any day!!
Amazing food and lovely service. Ticks every box for a wonderful evening out with friends and family
So many fantastic dishes to choose from!
Great service from the staff at Talli Joe who looked after us for a team lunch with over 10 people. Cocktails flow and delicious food arriving in a timely fashion.
I tried a lot of the dishes with some many of us sharing. Top for me was the Chicken 21 that has a lovely kick to it and the fresh whitebait that was extremely morish. The lamb chop and deep fried kale looked great too with positive feedback.
My intial though was the portions looked a bit small but to be honest, 2 plates was plenty. I couldn't eat anymore and left satisfied with my taste buds tingly for what I will order on my next visit.
I visited Talli Joe for the first time today and will most definitely return. Every dish on the menu excited me, not to mention the amazing array of fresh cocktails on offer. I would without doubt recommend their kale dish and also the crab meat and quails scotch egg. The staff were all so helpful, not only friendly but supplying me with recommendations as I could not narrow it down to just three dishes that I wanted to try! Thank you for a wonderful lunch.
An excellent little place close to where I work. Stunningly good Indian food (bit like Dishoom) and awesome cocktails. Half plates means basically tapas but portions are pretty generous so don't over-order. Lovely staff too, and a nice look. Definitely be back soon - and definitely for the Chicken 21. It's delish.
Located on Shatesbury avenue - Leicester square and Covent Garden being the closest, if you want to build an appetite, walk from Piccadilly or Tottenham Court road stations.
Has the Spanish Tapas feel with half plates. Popped in for lunch - was an absolute great experience., from the welcoming staff to the very friendly owner. Choices for half plates - The Kale chaat - crispy kale with a lovely flavored yogurt. White Bait Kempu - what little gems, not to oily and accompanied with a lovely mayo. Chicken 21 definitely one to pick, spicy and has a lovely crisp bite, I have found out this was mums recipe, finger licking or fork licking good. The Red Mullet (Tali Machi) is also a must, not served with Lemon but with an orange, changes the dynamic of flavors. I could go on.
When you tag 3 friends you receive a complimentary cocktail - I was presented with a Badnam Milk Punch (an almond and cashew puree in a saffron infused milk syrup (i got that from the menu), they don't skimp on the whisky used - saw a 12 year Chivas Regal being poured. What a touch.
By yourself or in a group worth the visit.
I'll be back in the next week for sure, just with a larger group so we can try every dish.
I popped in to Talli Joe today for some lunch and absolutely loved everything about it. We shared 4 plates between two, which was plenty for lunch - The Kale Chaa, the Whitebait Kempu, Chicken 21 and the Kochi Beef Fry. All were delicious and beautifully presented and as they were brought out one plate at a time, we were able to really appreciate the flavour of each and every dish. Our bill came to about £25 for two cocktails and four dishes, so it was fantastic value for money, especially considering the location and quality of the food. The interior is lovely and the staff welcoming and friendly and I will go again and again and again. I couldn't recommend them highly enough!
I popped into recently for a quick lunch and I was impressed by the style of the place - it's super classy. No surprise then that you can end up spending loads. The small plates are delicious and beautiful, yet if you're after a budget lunch, you're better off going elsewhere. File this one under 'fancy dinner places'.
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