For a restaurant reviewer, I’m not the most adventurous when it comes to food. Although I love the idea of sampling cuisine from an array of cultures and locations. When lacking confidence in my menu choices I often err on the side of caution, and almost definitely miss out on delicious dishes in the process.
Imli, based in the heart of Soho and specialising in tapas-style portions of popular Indian dishes, seemed like the perfect solution to my trepidation. The accessible menu enables curious would-be diners without the knowledge necessary to eat at some Indian restaurants to try a bit of everything, without having to commit to an entire portion of something they might not like once it arrives.
Imli recommends three dishes per person as being equivalent to a two-course meal. Whilst the tapas-style format is probably much more suited to larger groups than solo diners or couples, this arrangement still allows for variety and choice among any size party. But, a drawback to the extensive and accessible menu is that it can be easy to get carried away. With prices per dish varying from £2 – £9, overindulging and ordering more dishes than you need could turn out to be expensive. That said, the cocktails at Imli are worth every penny of their £5.95 price tag, especially the deliciously more-ish strawberry mojitos.
Menu highlights include battered spicy squid, and lamb sautéed in sesame oil with chillies, coconut and spices, along with prawns in mango and green bean salad with a tangy lime and ginger dressing. After sampling numerous other delicacies, we eagerly moved on to desserts. The mango and basil sorbet was sharply sweet and refreshing, whilst the carrot fudge was a wholesomely stodgy combination of carrot cake and traditional treacle sponge, except made with copious amounts of condensed milk, melon seeds and raisins.
Takeaway meals are also available, and there are special offers and menus for theatregoers and group bookings. Service was quick and the staff attentive despite being busy. After lavishing praise on the dulcet tones of one charismatic waiter following his rendition of the Happy Birthday song at a nearby table, my dinner companion and I were even serenaded with a pitch-perfect performance of Queen’s Somebody to Love. A surreal but satisfying end to the evening.
167-169 Wardour Street