Street food has been on the scene for a number of years now as well as the ongoing trend for small sharing plates. The latest addition to combine both of these is Indian restaurant and bar, Chai Thali. The restaurant is located in Camden on a road that’s part residential, part offices, away from the hustle and bustle of the main high street.
As you get closer to the venue there’s really no missing it as its vibrant colours leap out to greet you. Inside it’s spacious with different seating options: booths, private room or sectioned tables. My friend and I opted for the latter. The restaurant has only been open for a couple of weeks and as a result was pretty empty with only a few other covers. But what it lacked in atmosphere, it certainly made up for in quality food.
Lamb Ki Chaampe and Kurkuri Bhindi
The menu is punctuated with flavours from the regions of Delhi, Goa, Mumbai and Kerala. There’s a decent amount of good sounding dishes to choose from. We opted for Kurkuri Bhindi (okra), Lamb Ki Chaampe, Maharaja Prawns, Lamb Shank Nihari, Goa Jeengha Masala (prawns), rice and naan. All the dishes displayed punchy aromatic spices. The meat from the lamb shank fell off the bone with a lovely gentle kick of chilli heat. The highlight for me was the Maharajah prawns – huge, plump, juicy and nicely spiced. My friend’s highlight was the Lamb Ki Chammpe. The only disappointing dish was the dessert, Gaajar Halwa. The rose water in the ice cream was overwhelming and the cake had an odd soggy and squidgy texture.
Lamb Ki Chaampe and Goa Jeengha Masala
Chai Thali Mary and Mumbai Madness
Chai Thali also prides themselves on their signature cocktails, but we found the two we tried, not quite measuring up to the quality of the food. The salt rim didn’t work in the Chai Thali Mary and the coke was a little flat in the Mumbai Madness and in need of more alcohol. The wine selection, however, was good, so too the draft Cobra.
Despite Chai Thali’s remote location it’s worth seeking out for those epic prawns alone. Other similar restaurants like Talli Joe offer better cocktails and overall slightly better food, but a meal at Chai Thali is very decent indeed.
Small plates from £4, curries from £6.5 and desserts from £2.5.
Food I Fancy attended as a guest.
Workshop, Centro 3
19 Mandela Street
Camden, NW1 0DU
Tel: 020 7383 2030