I try out the Indian tapas experience over at Thali

by Karisa

A few weeks ago my friends and I decided to try out Chef Liam Tomlin’s (of Chef’s Warehouse) new Indian restaurant, Thali.  Located at number 3 Park road, right next door to Jerry’s Burger Bar & Fat Cactus, the space has undergone quite a lovely renovation to bring you a little touch of India where the old Takumi Sushi restaurant used to be.

Now unfortunately they don’t take reservations, so you either have to get there early, or be willing to take a chance and perhaps have a few drinks at the bar while you wait for a table to open.  Not ideal, but it is what it is.  It’s the same protocol over at Chef’s Warehouse in Bree Street…

As you enter you’re welcomed by a dark wood bar area on your right and some dining tables on your left.  As you then move through the space there are 2 further dining areas before you get to their al fresco courtyard which is of course a great option on a hot summer’s night.

Let me show you around:

I thought the space was very interesting and loved all the detailing, the only negative is that they don’t have any air-conditioning which means on a 30 degree day (which it was when we visited), you will melt.  We did joke that at least you’re getting an “authentic” Indian experience, but it did make things a bit uncomfortable.

Food wise, deciding what to have it pretty easy.  Why?  Well because it comes down to one thing and one thing only – the tapas for 2 at R650:

For those who love oysters, you can also opt to kick things off with a little pre-starter. And don’t worry if your table is an odd number, they can do another half portion to ensure that there’s enough for everyone.  We were 5, so that’s exactly what we did.

Oh and if you’re looking at that menu wondering whether it’ll be enough food, trust me, you won’t leave there hungry.  Now let’s look at some food pics, shall we?

Course number 1 – potato & chickpea Papadum chaat.  It may look deceivingly simple, but the flavours were absolutely delicious.  A great way to start the meal…

Course number 2 – Black dahl, tomato chilli jam & pomegranate raita, Tandoori cauliflower, coconut & cashew.  Listen, they had me at naan (one of my favourite things on the planet), but the dahl, that jam and raita were all amazing.  The only item I wasn’t mad about was the cauliflower, but I really don’t enjoy cauliflower in general…

Course number 2 (part 2) – chicken & lamb kebabs – de-li-ci-ous…

Course number 3 – banana leaf steamed fish & spiced pork belly, ginger & tamarind.  This was an interesting mix with very unique flavours, but really enjoyed both dishes.  Also, that simple red onion side salad was so good, I wanted to ask for a second bowl…

Course number 4 – butter chicken & golden lamb curry. I was quite stuffed at this point (not gonna lie), but nothing I could fault on this platter. As with the other dishes, beautiful flavours, and a very nice selection of things to dig into…

At the end of all of that they do still bring you a complimentary type of Indian donut to end things off on a sweet note:

To be honest though, this wasn’t for me… It’s super dense & the texture was a bit weird, but hey, it’s on the house, so you can’t really complain 😉

Overall, I really loved the Thali tapas experience.  It was nice to try a selection of things that I wouldn’t normally have ordered on my own.  The setting is also lovely and the service is great, so apart from the sweatiness we really did have a lovely time.  For this reason I’m going to give Thali a score of kiss4on my Miss K Kiss-o-Meter scale.

Is it my new favourite Indian spot in Cape Town?  Not quite.  It is a bit pricey, so not something you’re going to be doing every weekend.  My top spot still goes to Maharaj in Tamboerskloof.  It’s not as sexy, but they serve up fantastic Indian food at very affordable prices.

BUT, if you’re looking for a completely different take on Indian food, I can definitely recommend a visit to Thali.

Thali is open Monday to Saturday from 5pm to 9.30pm (restaurant) and 4pm till closed (bar), and then closed on Sundays.

For enquiries you can contact them on: 021 286 2110


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