“The best regional Indian plates brought straight from the home kitchens of Mumbai.
Located in the heart of Fitzrovia, and modelled on the cultural melting pot of communal living, commonly known as “building societies” in Bombay, is Pali Hill. Named after an old city neighbourhood, Pali Hill offers the finest regional Indian small plates, derived from home recipes and traditional techniques, made to share in an informal setting. The restaurant celebrates an eclectic mix of flavours from every corner of the country. A celebration of community and exchange, of eating well and informally, of warmth and sharing.”
We started with their Papadi chat – spiced yoghurt, red and yellow tomato, pomegranate, sev, mint & tamarind chutney, the hara kebab, containing spring peas, spinach and tamarind chutney and some oversized Scottish langoustines from the grill, served with wild garlic, ajwain, ginger, chilli & lemon dressing. All fantastic.
None held a torch to the veal shin we shared to follow, however. Silence descended for the next 10 minutes, both in raptures over the exquisitely tender, rich, slow-cooked calf. Served in a simple sauce with black pepper, fennel and chilli, we lapped this up with a cone dosa – a sort of gluten-free chappati, in the shape of a child’s party hat – only breaking the silence to squabble over who’d had more sauce. There was unanimous agreement to return for the veal shin alone.
Almost full, but buoyed up by the exquisite veal, we were eager to sample more. We tried the lamb biryani with tomato and onion pachadi, and the homestyle fish curry – both very solid indeed.
Head chef Avi Shashidara – of River Café fame – really knows what he’s doing. The mixed-region street food concept is unusual for an Indian restaurant but is the perfect way to sample authentic food from all across the great nation. If you can imagine haute cuisine Indian tapas you’d probably get a pretty good picture.
We kicked things off with a Flight Rider, and Sacred Bull cocktail – the former consisting of Hendrick’s, vermouth, olive tincture, citrus tincture, and the latter slightly spicy and not dissimilar to a margarita, containing Tapatio, lime acid, apricot, and spice mix No.2.
The wine list is fairly comprehensive, and we opted for a well-balanced Domaine Terre de Mistral ‘Pauline’, Provence France 2020. Incredibly, this paired well with each and every dish, which, with a selection as broad as ours was no mean feat.
We opted for the kitchen-adjacent counter table; the perfect spectator seats from which to watch chefs at work, dancing across their illuminated stage. Seeing the dishes under construction the perfect adjunct to a menu this varied.
The restaurant consists largely of more conventional freestanding tables, with a combination of navy leather banquettes and wood and rattan chairs.
Deep aquamarine walls are complemented by saffron accents and an exterior copper awning, lit up by streetlamps in the evening, and visible through the large glass front wall.
Dimly lit and atmospheric, Pali Hill is the perfect spot for a date, or, equally, as a precursor to a Big Night Out. Befitting its Soho location it even has a subterranean cocktail bar. Stepping in, I felt I’d stepped back in time to old Bombay; something of an exotic speak-easy, this underground gem is the perfect spot to wrap up a great meal or, conversely, to begin a journey into the night, and deep into Soho’s sordid underbelly.
79-81 Mortimer St; Fitzrovia; W1W 7SJ; 020 8130 0101