I’d read a little bit about Imli in a few places and, for the most part, appeared to be a pretty good place to eat so we went along to this modern ‘tapas’ take on Indian cuisine. The restaurant isn’t massive, located in the heart of Soho and it looks extremely modern and clean. The menu is simple and split into the different types of meats and a separate section for vegetarian and other side dishes. They serve all of the curries with rice on the side. It was the first time that we’d all come here so the waiter first explained how the menu worked and the recommend of two to three dishes each, or the alternative of a set menu that sounded a bit more thali-like and less shareable.

We tried a huge variety of different dishes between the four of us, following the waiters advice. They served it in about three rounds, giving us some time to clear out the table although the end result still looked like a bomb had hit it. Next time, I wouldn’t follow the waiter’s advice, instead sticking to one or two dishes between everyone and then perhaps ordering more at the end if you’re still full. The combination between different types of dishes, lots of rice accompaniments (as part of the tapas plate) meant that the sheer volume of food defeated us. In one way, it’s not bad for money although we ended up wasting some of ours since we followed the waiter’s advice.

One huge disappointment and shocker for this restaurant is their policy with their “bottled” water. In a way, we’re partly to blame as we missed the not very obvious hints. We should have picked up on the first tip when they said that they don’t have sparkling water, and then then seen the second when they brought out their tiny “Imli” branded glass bottles with the rubber stoppers you push backwards. At £1.95 for, what looked like, a 400mL bottle of filtered water we were stunned when we received our bill four bottles later. The worst thing is that they didn’t even warn us about it when we hesitated at the first one.

I really wanted to like this place. The food is reasonably priced, fairly tasty and presented in a comfortable atmosphere to share with friends. I’m still left with a very bitter taste, one from the recommendation of ordering far too much food, and the second not being warned about the bottled water that I definitely don’t think is worth the price.

Details: Imli
Found at: 167-169 Wardour Street, Soho, London, W1F 8WR
Highlights: Small plates of Indian food perfect for sharing with a number of friends
Room for improvement: £1.95 for water you bottle yourself? Pfff.
The Kua Rating: 6 out of 10

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