I visit with old university friends. We haven’t been together since early last year, and have much to catch up on, so we are slow to make our dinner choices. The waiter suggests a papadi chat to share while we digest our options. We’re pleased he does: a popular north Indian streetfood, it is made with fried flour crispies (papadi), spiced yoghurt, red and yellow tomato, pomegranate, sev, mint and tamarind chutney. It is pleasingly crunchy, sweet, spicy and extremely moreish, and bodes well for what is to follow. And we are not disappointed; the langoustines – which come fresh from Scotland on the train daily – are succulent and juicy, served in a delicious wild garlic, ajwain and chilli dressing, which we mop up with the warm tandoori sourdough roti (though, dripping with house ghee, this is equally good eaten alone). We fight over the sea bass, which comes steamed inside a banana leaf and topped with matchstick potato chips, served with raw mango, mint, coriander and lime. The fragrant Cornish lamb biryani is a safe option, but one we’re pleased we made, and is perfect accompanied by an excellent dal tadka. Plates licked clean, we’re told we simply can’t leave without sampling the Alphonso mango cheesecake, and we concur that it was good advice. The perfectly ripe mango is sweet and juicy. We are too full to sample Bandra Bhai, the funky looking underground bar, but vow to return soon and work our way through the cocktail list, too.
79-81 Mortimer Street, W1W (020 8130 0101; palihill.co.uk)