Imli Street, previously Imli, sister restaurant of the Michelin starred Tamarind of Mayfair has undergone a rustic raw refurbishment across two floors in Soho’s bustling Wardour Street! Yes, they have re-branded and confidently returned to flaunt a seductive-dimly lit loft space with exposed brick, industrial lights and a curiously trendy clientele.
In a flash I am perching on a high stall at their stunning polished bar, adjacent to the spacious bright windows where you can peer outwards at the passing people and get lost in the soho swirls! This stylish bar and entrance area are perfect for grabbing a drink and light dinner, the barmen can make anything to order from the classics or you can choose from a moderate selection of signature cocktails such as Snake Charmer, Pink City and Bombay Soho. I was impressed with their selection cold beverages, which ranged from traditional lassi’s to modern Vita Coco and tempting treats such as rose lemonade! You must order a small side of their Onion Bhaji’s for your first round- they are a taste bomb!
After watching the final beams of light descend, I wanted to discover the rest of the space. Leading from the bar on the ground floor are a series of long modern wooden tables- almost all full with menu’s perching in metal containers suspended from the exposed brick walls. Finally there is a more private area at the back, boasting a fashionable crowd and a downstairs, offering the perfect space for large bookings and private parties.
We settled on one of the last tables on the ground floor and begin to digest their unique menu concept. Inspired by Indian Street Food and divided into four distinct niche. We read through offerings from Coastal Shacks: A celebration of India’s vast coastline and her beach-fronts. Food Carts/ Dhaba’s: A tribute to the Roadside/ highway and street stalls that have created urban legends. Railway Cuisine: Making the journey the destination. Food is a big part of the journey and most railway stations are famous for their iconic dishes and Beyond Borders: An encomium to the sub-continent’s and other countries’ influences that significantly contributed to India’s continued culinary evolution and repertoire. Their specialities were the Naanwich and Naan Pies.
The menu is tapas style, you order around 2/3 dishes per person with sides! We wanted to order strategically to experience the different street-food sectors. My favorite dishes were the Crab Masala in shell, Anglo-Indian Lamb, Mushroom Stir-Fry with the sides of Hyderabadi Aubergine and Spinach & Paneer. The quality of these dishes were very high and we still barely made a dent into the menu after our eccessive ordering. My dining partner devoured what was described as delicious Butter Chicken Naanwich and removed the flesh from the Spicy Fried Chicken Bones. I would skip the Tilipia Fish Fingers for more adventurous options and also remember that Indian desserts are sweet and an aquired taste. We decided to try the Malai Kulfi with Vermacelli, Basil Seeds & Rose Syrup. Although this dessert was not to our taste, we did manage to enjoy attempting to eat it from a spoon, straw and splash ourselves with the ingredients- a playful option!
Service was tip top and heart-felt, you can tell people are going to go again and again. Enjoy their complimentary water with a branded stamp on the side, accompanied by different colored traditional indian metal cups. Next time we will try their Muddled Iced Teas and munch our way further into their mouth watering delicacies!
Open Monday-Sunday for breakfast and all-day dining.
A combination of traditional Indian and continental breakfasts will be served from 8am to 11:30am followed by the all-day menu.
No Reservations (unless 6 or more)
Watch a video of the new Imli Street at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Ftxt9zl4g8