True to her name, the Greedy Gourmet reviewed Imli on the same day as Dishoom.
Unless you have been wearing blinkers, you would have noticed that there is a big “tapas” craze going on in London at the moment. Plates are smaller and promote the social aspect of sharing your food with your friends and family. Restaurants’ big angle is that it’s cheaper too. Sometimes they do provide truly good value but more times than not it is somewhat misleading. A stacked pile of small plates can tally up to a rather large bill, so don’t be fooled.
Once again all items off Imli’s menu were ordered with the help of the waiter’s recommendations. When Aloo Matar ki Tikki Ragda (£4.50) and Samosa Chaat (£4.75) arrived much confusion ensued because the dishes looked nearly identical, toppings and all. The former was potato cakes stuffed with garden peas, coriander and ginger – a great starter. Although the samosa portion looked generous at first, the messy flood of sauce essentially ruined the dish because the thick pastry had gone soggy. Taste-wise both dishes had a decent kick to them but it was rather puzzling that the waiter thought that trying out such similar dishes in texture and flavour (topping-wise) was a good idea.
The Tandoori Prawns (£14.50) were marinated in yogurt, ginger, garlic, lemon juice and paprika. The actual flesh was on the dry and chewy side, and thanks to the chef’s enthusiastic use of paprika the dish fell down the pit of mediocrity.
The Spicy Squid (£6.85) didn’t fare much better and Dishoom’s Zesty Lime and Calamari blew it out of the water. What the squid was really begging for was some acidic dressing to go with it and instead mayonnaise laced heavily with spices was served as accompaniment which clashed in flavour as well. It’s a shame because this dish was very generous but after a few bites remained untouched.
All was not lost though. The Chicken Tikka Masala (£8.65) was top notch and I would order it again in a heartbeat when given opportunity. The same can be said about the Lamb Roganjosh (£9.25). What I especially liked about the meat was its quality. Not a piece of fat or gristle in sight. It could have done with a bit more simmering to make it a tad more tender.
After swooning over Dishoom’s House Black Daal for lunch, Imli’s Tarka Daal (£3.95) left me apathetic. Bad luck, I guess.
4/10: Three out of the seven menu items tried were actually enjoyed.
6/10: Some portions were massive but the bread and rice are on the pricy side.
6/10: Friendly and attentive but puzzling suggestions were made.
8/10: Did the job.
7/10: Quite a fun, chattering vibe when the place fills up.
5/10: Stick to the classic dishes, the tapas plates are a bit of a hit and miss.
P.S. I was a guest of Imli.
167-168 Wardour Street