And one of the many perks of my job is getting to find out about the best new places on the scene. So today, folks, I'd like to share with you one of the best and most interesting new restaurants I've been fortunate enough to try out recently.
Say hello to Shaftesbury Avenue's newest Indian restaurant, Talli Joe!
You guys, chicken tikka masala was invented in Glasgow. Yes, Glasgow in Scotland. I kid you not. It's not real Indian at all.
And at Talli Joe you won't find any of the dishes you see on the menus of Indian restaurants up and down the UK.
Talli means tipsy: "a happy intoxicated state of being, often rendering the legs useless." And I don't know about you but I have been known occasionally to enjoy being in such a state (please drink responsibly).
There's an extensive cocktail menu where the drinks are split into North, East, South and West India, and between my dear friend Frankie and myself, we made sure to sample a fair few.
We were even given a little welcome drink as soon as we arrived - they really do want you to get talli!
They're all served in pretty receptacles though.
The jhal muri consists mainly of millet and puffed rice and takes three whole days to make!
All the half plates are really interesting dishes though and miles away from your average Indian restaurant's offerings. There are quite a few fishy concoctions, but Frankie and I decided to stick with chicken and veggie ones because we're basic like that.
Next up, the dhokla salad.
Then there was the Himalayan pulao: steamed wild rice with wild mushrooms. I know, wild.
Speaking of chicken, enter chicken 21.
Better, however, was the bohri chicken, served with a fenugreek flatbread.
My absolute favourite dish though? Well, it was this here cheesy carby fella (what a surprise...)
Anyway, you are
Wow, I really am so basic.
However, I did push the boat out a little bit when it came to pudding.
But what's that unappealing-looking black mush there? Well, you'll never guess this one, chums.
Said black mush is in fact heritage black carrots with salted peanut brittle.
CARROTS!? I know!
Yup, my sweet tooth is as wild as that rice.
It. Was. Unbelievable. Unbelievably delicious, that is. I think the waiter said something about the carrots being cooked in cream and sugar and all sorts of unhealthy stuff, but oh my days, it was worth it.
I don't know how, but it tasted like sticky toffee pudding, with an almost mincemeat-esque (as in the mince pie filling) texture. With the crunch of the salty peanuts, it was absolute perfection.
No doubt about it, the carrots and that naan were the highlight of my dinner. Oh, and the milky cocktail.
Please go, get talli, order the naan, and even if you're full, finish with the carrots. Just take my word for it and thank me later.
I was a guest at Talli Joe but I genuinely loved it which is why I decided to share my experience with you all, obvs.
PS. Sorry for the general craposity of these pictures. The food looks better IRL. Trust.