Following a halting start, Pali Hill will open its doors permanently from tomorrow, 18 May, welcoming diners back and brand-new guests, to feast on dishes inspired by India’s diverse culinary heritage, in the heart of London's Fitzrovia.
Bringing together the regional flavours of Mumbai’s vast culinary communities, celebrated Head Chef Avinash Shashidhara (previously River Café and Hibiscus) has created a spring menu with a focus on sourcing local, seasonal, and high-quality ingredients combining his classical training and inspiration from his upbringing in Bangalore for dishes that are vibrant and flavourful.
Either on the street side terrace, a stone’s throw away from the buzz of Oxford Street, or in the tongue-in-cheek-chic interiors, guests can tuck into small plates such as the Mangalore Bun: a buttery bread roll filled with delicately spiced dressed crab and a popular dish from his opening menu, Papadi Chat: crispy and crunchy sev, topped with spiced yoghurt, red and yellow tomato, pomegranate, mint & tamarind chutney. Savour whilst sipping one of many playful cocktails, shaken and spiced with reference to India’s golden age in cinema, as they choose what’s in store.
The grill menu highlights the breadth of inspiration from across India’s vast terrain and coastal influences. Scottish langoustines adorned with wild garlic, ajwain and a lemon dressing are informed by Pondicherry and Goa regions; Grilled lamb cutlets with black pepper, cumin, crispy curry leaves & mint raita: smoky and charred as might be found at Bangalore’s Muslim night markets or Middle white pork spareribs: sticky, sweet and spicey in a jaggery and chilli marinade taken from the Christian communities of India.
Big plates include Chettinad-style veal shin, black pepper, fennel & chilli, rich and melting ready to be mopped up with their homemade breads and parathas; Homestyle chicken curry, a traditional Saag paneer upgraded with nettles or a Canteen Thali with seasonal coconut broad beans and a classic Slow-cooked Suffolk Lamb Biryani.
Sides come with as much thought as the rest of the menu, carefully curated to complete and compliment. There are fermented lentil ‘Paper’ dosas, Spring vegetable & potato sagu, chutneys all of which are made on site, Dal tadka and fresh from Pali Hill’s clay tandoor, come ghee striped sourdough rotis and breads to choose from.
To finish, mithai are given a modern spin: Carrot ‘Halwa’, is served with vanilla ice-cream & pistachios, Alphonso Mango Cheesecake is both lucious and light, or indulge in a nostalgic Passionfruit Gola, a playful upgrade to the street side favourite summer snack of shaved ice.
Shashidhara said, We’ve been busy refining all our dishes and producing some new ones, combining everything I love about India and growing up there.
'Dishes you would find on your mother’s table, chutneys you would get from a neighbour, grills you would enjoy in the inner-city street markets late night and the traditional dishes that have been passed down for generations, all given a London edge for a taste of India you might not yet have experienced.”