Talli Joe launched its first lunch menu this week and Chloe went along to find out more.
Lunch in 10 minutes. Something you'd only usually expect in Central London from a fast food branch, whether that's sandwiches and salads, Thai, Japanese or one of the other many cuisines London has to offer. Being able to head out for a sit down meal, within the lunch hour, is a hard feat. But is Talli Joe set to change this?
Settling into one of the beautifully embroidered cushioned chairs around a long shared table at Talli Joe, on Shaftesbury Avenue, I was absorbed by my surroundings. The dark woods and bright colours, low hanging lights with a warehouse style feel and arty photo frames and wall paintings, give the restaurant a contemporary feel, whilst letting its Indian influences shine through.
The Indian restaurant, which specialises in "half plates" from undiscovered regions in India, was launching its lunch menu the following day and I was one of the lucky guests invited to find out more, and of course get to try some of the highlights.
The new 'Dabba Mania' lunch menu is Inspired by the tradition of Bombay's Dabbawallas (delivery men who co-ordinate the vast dabba – lunchbox - delivery network), and the home-style dishes of different Indian regions. The menu will change regularly, reflecting different cuisines around India, and will offer diners the option of a meat or vegetarian lunch each day.
Each dabba, three- tiered lunch box incorporates a meat or vegetarian half plate, stacked alongside a small plate and a carb or starch side, and comes with a promise of being delivered in 10 minutes or the lunch being on the house.
The Pune Dabba, the first lunchbox placed before me, included Puneri Misal Salad, Crab Vada Pao, a deep-fried crabmeat and potato patty in a pao bun, and Sweet Potato Crisps with Thetcha Mayo. Before opening the three-tiered grey and red tin lunchbox, I wasn't quite sure what to expect, not being familiar with the menu names, and no further explanation being given, but I opened the lunchbox to a beautiful smell of rich flavours and spices and was sure I'd enjoy it.
The Puneri Misal Salad (Misal literally meaning mixture) was a combination of onions, beans, chickpeas, tomato and spices, all served al a dente, offering a dish full of texture and flavours. The Crab Vada Pao was light and fluffy with a more delicate flavour, and was served in a lightly fried bun, spread with red chilli techa which added depth and that kick of heat you expect from Indian cuisine. The sweet potato crisps were served with a slightly tangy mayo based sauce. All together a delicious meal, served in a reasonable sized portion which wouldn't leave you feeling overly full and half asleep at your desk during the afternoon.
Other highlights from the lunch menu which I got to taste include the Bohri Chicken from the Surat Dabba, a rich, spicy tomato based curry style dish with chicken on the bone, the Subz Biriyani, a vegetarian spiced rice dish, and the Roasted Pumpkin Raita, Sliced Kachumber Salad, Green Chilli and Lime, both from the Lucknow Dabba.
The menu is available for eating in only, but with a promised wait of only 10 minutes, sitting down for lunch at Talli Joe should fit within your lunch hour if you're close by.
For those making more of the lunch occasion, Talli Joe is also becoming known for their cocktails. With a menu comprising of creative cocktails influenced by the flavours and traditions from all over India, there's plenty of intriguing options to choose from. For something fruity and refreshing, with a slight Indian edge, go for the Masala Colada. If you're looking for something a little more zingy, the Paan-Aam was recommended by the waiter and was delicious and smooth with a citrus edge.
The new lunch menu is available from 12 noon – 3pm from Monday to Friday, with the 10 minute promise for all dabba mania diners.
152-156 Shaftesbury Ave, London WC2H 8HL www.tallijoe.com