What: An 'eclectic' new addition to London's Indian restaurant scene that's named after one of the oldest neighbourhoods in Mumbai, and takes its cue from the melting pot of regional flavours found in India's largest city.
Who: Pali Hill's opening has been overseen by restaurateurs Rahul Khanna and Kabir Suri, who founded Azure Hospitality in New Delhi in 2009 and have since developed the company to offer a variety of exceptional restaurant brands with operations across the country. The kitchen, meanwhile, is led by chef Avinash Shashidhara. Born and raised in Bangalore, Shashidhara trained for several years as a chef in India before moving to the UK back in 2005. Having spent time cooking at Claude Bosi's Hibiscus and a whopping 10 years at The River Café, Shashidhara went on to run supper clubs and catering experiences across Europe and India - inspired by a desire to return to his southern Indian roots - before taking on the role of head chef at Pali Hill.
The food: Shashidhara's menu looks to reflect India's diverse food culture. Small plates (priced £6-£8) include papadi chat with spiced yoghurt, roasted pumpkin, fine sev, mint and tamarind chutney; and girolle and potato prantha with homemade ghee and pickle. While larger sharing dishes include chettinad-style veal shin with black pepper, fennel and chilli (£20) and a 'canteen thali' of spinach and methi daal, pulao and spiced okra (£16/£18). Dishes from the traditional tandoor and grill include monkfish marinated in homemade mango pickle, mustard and lemon zest, served with a charred corn salad (£18); and venison tikka ‘junglee mass’ marinated in chilli, yoghurt and chestnut (£22). The menu also features a selection of regional classic chaats, home-style dals, fried fish and slow cooked meats; naturally gluten-free flatbreads made using rice, jowar and ragi flour; and 'signature' sourdough roti made with wholemeal rye adorned with homemade ghee.
The vibe: Led by CADA Design, the 60-cover restaurant has a contemporary feel, whilst also taking cues from mid-century Indian design. As with the food, India’s eclecticism and diverse palates are celebrated through the interiors, with inspiration taken from the terrazzo floors of art deco apartments in Mumbai; Pondicherry yellow pillars and furnishings; and tributes to Le Corbusier's Chandigarh. Specially commissioned artworks from India will adorn the walls, with folk patterned cushions and accessories providing warmth and comfort.
And another thing: Alongside the restaurant space, Pali Hill also boasts an underground cocktail bar, which is accessible through a hidden doorway in the basement of the restaurant and serves as a 'playful' tribute to the illicit hangouts of India’s smuggling era - filled with velvets, gaudy art and kitsch upholstery. Designed by Luke Ridge (previously The Ivy Club and Dandelyan), the drinks list transforms tales of India into contemporary cocktails. For example, 'The Don' has been inspired by the Bollywood movie character’s love of whisky and spice; and the 'Jimmy Jimmy Jimmy' honours the king of Indian disco in a drink with tropical flavours of coconut-washed rum and melon.
79-81 Mortimer St, Fitzrovia, London W1W 7SJ