Pali Hill in Fitzrovia: Regional Indian dishes drawing on themes of community, exchange and sharing
In the building formerly occupied by one of London’s most famous Indian restaurants – Gaylord – Pali Hill has boldly stepped into its shoes to offer regional dishes that draw on themes of community, exchange and sharing. The setting is simple and informal with bright splashes of colour throughout and contemporary prints covering the walls. As we arrived on a busy Friday evening, space was soon buzzing with a diverse mix of small groups, families and couples.
We began by perusing the drinks menu and settling on two cocktails. The Sacred Bull was made with Tapatío, lime acid, apricot and a spice mix and the Mick Jaggery composed of Mount Gay Black Barrel, jaggery syrup, peach and soda. Both aperitifs had a generous boozy kick and tasted great. Additionally, there was also a range of alcoholic lassis for those curious to explore a mixologist’s take on an Indian classic.
The food menu was split into small and big plates, dishes from the grill and a selection of sides which were all designed to be shared. We began with the Papdi Chaat made with spiced yoghurt, roasted pumpkin, sev, mint and tamarind chutney. This delicious salad was a strong start to the dinner as it combined sumptuous flavours which were then soaked into a bed of crispy wafers. Next, we had the Pondicherry Fried Squid which was incredibly delectable with the lovely addition of crispy kale.
From the grill section, we ordered the Tandoori Monkfish with mango pickle marinade and charred corn. The monkfish was satisfyingly meaty and juxtaposed a flurry of sweet and sour tang to keep the dish light, while still packing a punch with flavour. To finish off our appetisers, we decided on the Grilled Lamb Cutlets which were beautifully tender and cooked with black pepper, cumin, crispy curry leaves and mint raita.
The Chettinad Style Veal Shin with black pepper, fennel and chilli along with the flaky flatbread was our first choice from the big plate selection. The gravy was wonderfully rich and hearty, having just enough heat without being too overpowering. The buttery bread was the perfect accompaniment and came in very handy for mopping up any leftovers.
The veal shin was coupled with a drumstick sambar as an additional side. This traditional Indian dish combined a variety of vegetables, dhal and spices to create a warm and delicious stew. Similar to the previous plate, this also paired well with the flaky bread.
For dessert, we indulged in the Carrot “Halwa” with pistachio ice cream (they had run out of their cardamom flavour) and toasted pistachios. With a moist, cake-like consistency, it relied on the natural sweetness from the carrot and nuts to create a light and appetising treat. We also had the Chocolate and Coconut Cake which was dramatically served as one long, thin piece with four wafer biscuits carefully placed on top. The cake was gooey with a hint of coconut to cut through the thickness of the decadent chocolate.
The meal was concluded with a glass of Masala Lassi made with yoghurt, spices, ginger and coriander. The savoury drink took some getting used to as the coriander really came through after the first sip. However, it did grow on me and was a refreshing way to end the meal.
If you’re after fuss-free Indian food with a modern twist then Pali Hill will make you feel right at home.
★★★★★Food ▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮Drinks ▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮Service ▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮
Alex Julie Woods
Photos: Cristiana Ferrauti
To book a table at Pali Hill, 79-81 Mortimer St Fitzrovia London W1W 7SJ, call 020 8130 0101 or visit their website here.