Imli Restaurant – London, UK

I had booked a combo at which gave tickets to a West End show AND dinner for £20.  Imli was described as Indian Tapas restaurant and included in my deal I got three courses.   The tickets for the show should have cost more than £20 alone so I wasn’t really expecting much but thought I’d give it a go.

Imli is on Wardour Street in Soho which has a number of boutique stores (along with more than a few chain stores) and a large number of gay bars (not gay bar in a cool and trendy way; think tacky)

I arrived at Imli around 6pm on a Tuesday.  I wasn’t expecting the restaurant to be very busy however this is the heart of Theatre land and almost every eatery has a Pre–Theatre deal on.  Imli was of course, no exception and I was surprised to find the restaurant about three quarters full.

I was greeted as soon as I entered and was seated immediately.  I was handed my very own special menu and asked if I would like a drink.  Cocktails are big here and they do BOGOF during the week.  I wasn’t really in a cocktail place and ordered a beer.  I should add that the menu they gave me had been done properly.  This was properly produced, printed on nice shiny card and even had the logo.  The general vibe here is that they do try hard to be good.

My beer arrived and I ordered from my (very limited) special menu.  I opted for Potato Ragda (Spiced potato cakes with chickpeas, onions, mint and chutney) followed by some Chicken Tikka Masala (well, I was in the UK).  I was also informed that I could have Ice cream of the day.

My starter arrived in less than 10 minutes.  For a short moment I wondered if it had perhaps been microwaved but that thought left as soon as I had it.  The restaurant was simply busy and I imagine almost everybody was ordering from a similar pre-theatre menu.

The starter was…OK.  To be fair, I was never really going to be excited by chickpeas and potatoes so I guess the fact that I ate it at all probably made it a good effort.  There was a nice spicy sauce served with it too.

My main arrived less than 5 minutes after my starter had been cleared; the service was really excellent throughout my visit.  Main was…OK.  Sauce was tasty but the chicken a little tough and I don’t think it was breast…

I asked nicely to swap ice cream for coffee and they did which I thought was nice considering how little they were making from the menu.  Coffee was pretty good too.

The idea with Imli is to order lots of little dishes – tapas style.  I generally won’t do tapas alone as I end up with too much, or, not enough!  The prices on the grown-up menu here were quite high – a few friends ordering a few items each could spend a lot of money quickly.

My experience was great for the price; however I do wonder if the food would be any better from the main menu.  I guess the only real way to know would be to try it.

As I left my server shouted after me “Enjoy the show!” which I thought was a real nice touch.

Imli has the potential to do really well; they do a lot of things right.  Perhaps with time, they will sort themselves out and become great.  I really hope they do.

Imli, 167-169 Wardour Street London W1F 8WR, 020 7287 4243.  Website


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