Pali Kitchen (Indian) – City of LondonHALAL STATUS Halal lamb & chicken (prepped and cooked separately) • Alcohol served
Located down the busy thoroughfare of trendy Bow Lane, this fast food place revolves around bespoke curries, kati rolls, salads, and breakfast parathas, while catering for Halal lamb and chicken that’s prepped and cooked separately to any pork on the menu.
The process is fairly simple, and akin, both in layout and exection, to Subways or Gringos, in that once you’ve chosen your desired dish, you’re ready to build it using the relevant ingredients available.
Hence, for a curry, there’s a selection of rice, salads, proteins and dressings to create your version, before having it garnished.
Pali Kitchen is a fairly spacious eatery, with seating for 27, that’s been exquisitely designed.
With eye-catching murals representing three iconic characters, viz. the Chaiwalla, the Dabbawalla and the Flower Girl, founder Anu Kathuria has derived inspiration from Mumbai’s working class, and successfully translated over to create a thought-provoking and colourful interior.
The best of the three is the Chocolate & Raspberry Lassi that’s well balanced, with the latter coming through strongly enough to leave a tangy aftertaste.
The weakest was the Strawberry & Rose Lassi. Being the most watery in consistency, it had an off-putting sourness to it, with either flavour barely discernible.
And finally, the Mango & Cardamom was the thickest of the lot. But, while the spice failed to make an impact, the sweet mango was quite satisfying.
The watery Masala Tea had the aroma, but somehow lacked said flavour. Conversely, while the aroma of the Coffee was strong enough, some may require some sugar to counter its bitterness, as suggested by the manager.
Having said that though, and in spite of the lamb being soft and relatively fatty, and covered in a raita sauce whose mint component didn’t quite materialise, its overall taste was somewhat underwhelming.
There was also the issue of the watery consistency of sauce appearing to saturate and dilute the flavours of the ingredients therein.
Hence, whilst the roti was good, being thin and chewy, we were expecting far more robust spicy flavours coming through than what we got.
This was the best thing (perhaps only rivaled by the Daal below) had on the day.
What made it such a memorable one was the large, gorgeous chunks of expertly made paneer – soft and tender and quite beautiful.
But what really elevated this above the rest was the tamarind sauce, whose depth of flavour, coupled with the solid heat of the chilli (might be a good idea to ask for extra), succeeded in epitomising those quintessential Indian spices we all love.
A decent bowl this Curry Box comprising of an array of flavours and textures which, in spite of the thinly sliced red and green chillis, didn’t quite slap our taste buds as we’d have expected from an Indian curry.
As such, while the mildly marinated chicken was soft and succulent enough, we enjoyed the light acridity and texture of the fried, crispy onions.
However, the lamb salan, or gravy, was again watery, and thus did nothing save spoil the overall consistency of the bowl. The rice too didn’t quite have that freshness about it.
In this case, it’s not only vegan, but was made up of all the condiments available.
Coated in a subtly spiced marination, the jackfruit was well made, and topped with chillis that combined nicely with the sweetness of the grated carrots and sweetcorn.
And yet, despite the combination of the chillis and the chilli sauce, this was a little simple and could have done with stronger spices.
Wow! We weren’t expecting a daal as good as this one. If this proves anything, it proves that Pali Kitchen, when they want to, can certainly deliver on the spices necessary in making an Indian dish with oomph.
Why the above rolls, boxes and curries don’t have that same level of vigor is, therefore, aggravating. In any case, this had a beautiful consistency, with a proper tadkha, or tempering, that came through so well. Covered in fried onions, which only helped to enhance its greatness, this is a dish which, despite being a side, we’d actually come back for.
This standard vegetable Samosa had a good crispy exterior, which could have done with more sauce (perhaps in bowl instead of being poured over).
For £3.50, this was a fairly hefty bowl of Rajma & Rice. The heat coming through from the red bean curry was soothingly satisfying. However, the rice did come across as rather dry.
This isn’t a paratha in our books! It’s closer to being a roti than a paratha for sure. Essentially, it’s the flat bread used for the aforementioned wraps – nothing more, nothing less.
- YES/ YES
- DISABLED FACILITIES
But, moving beyond the setup and the aesthetics of it all, the real success, of course, lies with the food. In this case, we'd say that if Pali Kitchen remains true to the spices of Mumbai, which has also inspired its decor, then similar to the Daal side dish, they'll stand out. For the moment, we found most of their dishes lacking that oomph we've all come to expect of Indian food.
Worth a visit though, particularly if you stick to our menu recommendation below.
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