olive's Boozy Lunch of the Week: Imli Street

Following a bit of an overhaul, this Indian restaurant in the heart of London’s Soho, has moved swiftly from being a tad bright and loud to muted, Industrial-chic. Sister to Michelin-starred Tamarind, it turns out remarkable “small” plates (they’re not that small) that draw inspiration for all over the Indian sub-continent. This geographical spread is immediately evident in the menu, which is divided into food from coastal shacks, food carts, railway cuisine and beyond borders which accounts for the influences from India’s neighbours.

As you enter the restaurant you can’t miss the sprawling central bar. So it’s best to formally start proceedings with some cocktails here. Imli Street has an excellent selection, but we’d like to direct you towards the Snake Charmer, £7.50, a wondrous and creamy blend of spiced rum, koko kanu and passion fruit, it’s like a holiday in a cocktail glass. The Bombay/Soho, £7.50, is a pomegranate, lime and ginger ale twist on a mojito and is supremely refreshing. While not in the spirit of our boozy lunch, the jasmine, kiwi and lime muddled iced tea, £3.50, is also delicious.

The chatt bar creates fantastic Indian snacks with which to start your meal, the Kolkata puchka, £4.50, are large puffs of rice, filled with a fresh Indian salsa that will ensure you never start another meal with poppadoms and mango chutney. As for the sharing plates, try the kekda masala, £7.90; a delicious round of crabmeat topped with crunchy almonds. If you’re still in the mood for seafood, then the kappa meen, a kingfish curry is delicious, and comes with beautifully creamy tapioca mash. For something a bit more meaty, try the railway lamb, £8.80, a flavour-packed and succulent dish. While you’ll get some complimentary rice, don’t scrimp on sides. The saag paneer, £2.90, is one of the best versions you’re likely to have; big pieces of lovely paneer cooked in an overwhelmingly moreish spinach puree – seconds over here please!

Last but not least, there’s a mango soup with coconut ice cream, £5.50, that will surprise and delight you and send you on your merry way.

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