Christmas dinner is a pretty big deal – I probably get far too excited about it if I am honest. It’s my absolute favourite meal of the year, right from the ribs starter (mother goose is threatening to remove this tradition so I’m continuously campaigning to keep it) heaps of roast potatoes, to the post nap turkey and stuffing sandwich when you miraculously find you do have more space for food!
As a result I am all about saving myself for the main event and checking out all the alternative food options to fill the upcoming festivities. And that’s where Thali comes to the rescue!
Every Thali meal has to start with poppadoms and ALL the chutneys. It’s the rule!! I found out the best way to not cause an absolute mess everywhere and balance the poppadoms and chutneys on your small plate – just break up those poppadoms into little crisp size pieces people. SO SIMPLE. The coriander dip was my fav.
The alternative festive feast menu kicks off with a selection of pakora starters, fried snacks perfectly made for sharing. Surrounded by fellow Bristol foodies, we happily tucked into bites of crunchy and spicy chicken popcorn with that scrumptious green coriander chutney; peppery mustard leaves encased in light and crispy batter; AND completely moreish nuggets of mango and paneer – the smooth Indian cheese in a warming turmeric and chilli spice.
The main menu takes inspiration from regions all around India. I was tempted in the Keralan Seafood Curry – a dreamy abundance of seafood including mussels, prawns, pollock, clams and squid poached in coconut and spices. Eating this on one of the grizzliest days, it did not quite transport me to the beaches of Kerala as promised, but it made me pretty darned happy.
Curries are served on their legendary thali plates with lots of tasty accompaniments. Flit between a bite of the gorgeously refreshing cabbage and coconut thoran (could have eaten a huge bowl of this); get a kick from spicy bengali aubergine curry, grab a warming spoonful of spinach tarka daal and cool your mouth down with the cucumber and mint raita.
I had the added delight of sitting next to head chefs Ramesh and Asha who talked through the origins of the dishes and the flavour combos (and kept an eye on the chefs to make sure it was all being executed to their high standards…they passed the test). There is a lot of passion for the food, with pretty much everything being made in the kitchens of Thali, right down to the scrumptious tonic that made a pretty spectacular G&T.
If you can, try and leave room for pudidng. The dessert menu includes tasty options such as:
- Rasmali (sweet milk pudding) infused with cardamom and saffron and served with delicious flavour of chai
- Stewed fruit crumble – dried figs and apricots in mulled wine-like flavours, topped with crunchy oats and nuts
- Dark chocolate cheesecake (the absolute favourite) – deliciously creamy with a generous glug of dark rum to warm you up a treat!
The menu is on offer in all Thali locations from Monday 19th November – perfectly designed for sharing in big groups and an absolute bargain! Lunch is just £15 for 2 courses or £20 for 3 courses and dinner is £20 for 2 course or £25 for 3 courses
Not a turkey or mince pie in sight and they definitely win the prize for best poster!!
Disclaimer: I was provided this meal free of cost, however I was not asked to send any copy in advance and this didn’t affect my opinion of the meal – all thoughts are my own.