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  • “The Thali café is also quietly revolutionising the take away market with its Tiffin Club.” in 3 reviews

  • “The food still delivers though, with the amazingly priced Thalis (£6-7) providing really fresh, authentic, mostly veggie flavours- not a chicken tikka masala in sight!” in 4 reviews

  • “I've lived in India and this tastes like nothing I've ever had there.” in 4 reviews

Recommended Reviews

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  • 4.0 star rating
    27/5/2014
    1 check-in

    3.5 stars, where are you??  Thali is a fun, quirky restaurant that is a more modern take on your typical Indian curry house. The food standard was very good and really lovely but my main gripe was the lack of heat. I wanted some in your face, take me prisoner chilli fuelled spiciness. Instead I got something akin to a gentle pat on the back with a cup of milky tea.  :-(  it would be nice have some spicier options on the menu.

  • 4.0 star rating
    22/5/2010

    It's a while since I've eaten at the Thali Café in Montpelier, preferring the ease with which I can get to the Easton one, as well as the people watching opportunities there are from the couple of pavement tables. That's not to say that the Montpelier Thali Café hasn't got a charm of its own - it certainly has. Being the first one in this ever-burgeoning chain, a lot of creative energy went into the place. The décor is pretty unusual, uber-kitsch, and colourful, and the setting is as intimate as Bristol dining gets, often feeling like the rest of your family, (if it's a large one), have descended on you for the evening. Great!

    The food probably needs no introduction... it's English style South Indian food at its best!

  • 4.0 star rating
    6/10/2009
    First to Review

    There are now four of these knocking about the city (and they also have a stall that goes out to festivals including Glastonbury), though this Montpelier-based institution remains the original (I think!) and best. Everything about this place is simple and welcoming.

    The interior has great ambience, being dark with candles and fairy lights twinkling away. The vegetarian food is easy to order, with there only being two main courses on offer: a northern and southern thali, which subtly changes every now and then. Once you've made your choice, you receive a tray with about five or so different dishes on, all for £7. Bottled beers are also available for less than £3.

    If you really love this place (as many, many do), you can also purchase a tiffin which will entitle you to order bargain-priced takeaways. As nice, and ethical, as it is, I can see this veggie fare and lack of options making this a bit of a bland proposition pretty quickly.

  • 5.0 star rating
    5/2/2011
    1 check-in

    There's nothing like wandering around your city and stumbling upon a new joint. I used to pass this location when it was a Frenchy cafe, but to see it transformed into a cool Bollywood-esque Indian restaurant was cool. To see the Observer award and the eco-focus made me want to try it even more.

    We got the chicken curry thali - possibly the only meat on the menu?! which comes with dall and many side dishes. I also ordered the Mumbai sampler of samosas, pakoras and pickles.

    It was all very good. The crowd and server/s were relaxed and only 'interrupted' by the tiffin takeaway crowd. If you don't know about that eco-friendly system check out more here. bit.ly/gDQrew. That is the coolest thing I've seen for a long time. (In India these are delivered to people all across the cities on bikes with such precision that there have been operations mgmt studies on how they achieve it.)

    It could be the freshness, or some organic allergy, but the food didn't agree with me 100%, however, I think this is an amazing place. Try it!

    Parking could be troublesome as the streets are narrow and it's a residential area.

  • 5.0 star rating
    22/5/2010

    One of the more established Thalis in Bristol, the Montpelier branch is one of the most restricted as regards food choice. Previously vegetarian (although I'm told fish has recently been added to the menu), it's a little more bohemian and down at heel than its Clifton counterpart.

    Not to say that's a bad thing, the Thali Cafe is all about festivals and being down at heel, but loving every minute of it. The garish facade is as eyecatching as the thalis on offer are mouthwatering. The tiffin takeaway service is good value as well - how else can you get food for 2-3 for £7.50?

    Check out the cheap Thali for a fiver accompanied by live music deal on Sunday, although make sure you turn up early - when the offer's this good all of Montpelier seems to crawl out of the woodwork.

  • 4.0 star rating
    25/5/2010

    The sparkly bright pink exterior of the Montpelier branch of Thali is as eye-catching as its Easton counterpart, where I first tried this Bristol mini-chain, and it's got the same chilled-out, festival feel, with nice, cosy décor.

    I like the fact that I'm not overwhelmed by food choices here - perhaps I have a slightly stunted attention span, but in some cafés and restaurants I find myself staring at the menu for ages before realising I'm not concentrating at all, simply because there's too much to look at.

    Here, it's the other extreme: you basically choose between two main choices, both offering a well-balanced meal - a North Indian Thali, or a South Indian Thali - so you could even toss a coin if you're particularly indecisive. If you're a meat-lover, this really isn't the place, since it's mostly veggie with a bit of fish thrown in from time to time.

    If you enjoy live music, look out for the regular Sunday sessions advertised at this branch (and at the other Thalis across town in the Easton, Clifton and Totterdown areas) - the website includes up to date details.

    • Qype User rossan…
    • Bristol
    • 29 friends
    • 120 reviews
    5.0 star rating
    21/12/2007

    The Thali cafe is a great little place. It has the real communal dining feel -- but in a good way, and it's completely vegetarian. Be warned though if you're not good at spicy food (like me). If this is the case, you're going to have to grab a couple of their yoghurt type milkshake things (I have no idea what they are or what they are called, but it's a lifesaver!) Prices are really cheap too. You get a huge plate for just seven pounds. They also do a take-away at six pounds once you're a member of the Tiffin club - trust me, it's more than worth it -- it's enough for two people.

    They have live music on Sundays, so that's my favourite night to go.

    • Qype User amans…
    • Bristol
    • 3 friends
    • 8 reviews
    3.0 star rating
    23/4/2009

    To give review about The One Stop Thali Cafe using least words, I would say This is the food which my Mom prepares back in India. The restaurant seems to be managed by British guys and the quality is awesome!!!!!!
    There is always a question about what you would expect from the food you are eating outdoor, should it be like home cooked food ? or should be little shiny and heavy to your stomach to give you little change in life

    I would say, If your answer to this question is that you would prefer Homely food (Full of Hygiene) then your destination is this. Only, concern which I had from this restaurant was the space. It's little congested and the menu which is little to restricted to few dishes. Rest all was great. Enjoyed food over there.

    Cheers,
    Aman Sood

    • Qype User scotty…
    • Bristol
    • 2 friends
    • 31 reviews
    5.0 star rating
    24/4/2009

    A must go funky place with excellent food at very good value. Especially the take out tiffin at £6-£7 it enough for 2 and easily the cheapest and tastest take out avail! (note first take out you have to buy the tiffin £20-25).
    If you're a meat lover don't let the fact it's veggie curry put you off it's very tasty.
    The resturant is fairly small, so worth booking ahead and worth checking if there's a big group booked in as they can tend to domainate the place.

    • Qype User Scarle…
    • Bristol
    • 4 friends
    • 87 reviews
    5.0 star rating
    23/11/2007

    I can't think of a better place to eat on a cold winter's night than the Thali café. This colourful and intimate restaurant beckons you into an Indian escapade far away from the cold, grey British weather. Using a two sittings a night service, the Thali café serves authentic, vegetarian Indian cuisine. Using seasonal ingredients means there's no set menu but a selection of tempting dishes served with a delicious selection of sauces and chutneys. The food aims to create wholesome and lovingly prepared Indian food similar to that served in genuine Indian cafes.

    The Thali café is also quietly revolutionising the take away market with its Tiffin Club. A Tiffin is a stainless steel tower style container as used in India. It keeps the food piping hot and can be used again and again, eliminating the need for throw away packaging that's harmful to the environment.

    • Qype User Cherry…
    • Bristol
    • 0 friends
    • 3 reviews
    2.0 star rating
    30/1/2008

    This place is ok, Im not sure about the steal dishes, reminds me of school dinners and the steamy windows fells a bit grubby.......
    Im always going to miss cafe tasca though was realy nice, more everyday and perfect on a sunday x

  • 4.0 star rating
    13/2/2010

    Believe the hype, this place really is that good. When it comes to the Thalis, you have the option of either the Northern Thali (vegetarian) or the Dairy-free Thali - there's no fish option at the Montpelier branch (it's not all that clear on their website), so if you fancy some fish or meat then you might want to consider heading to the Totterdown or Clifton restaurants. On our visit we also ordered a couple of poppadoms and some chutneys (which were awesome) as well as an Aloo Paratha (a potato filled Indian bread) to share. As it turned out, this was way too much - the Thalis really are more than enough - and in my opinion the Aloo Paratha isn't really worth it for £1.95. Still the food in general was fantastic and I left a confirmed Thali Café fan.

  • 4.0 star rating
    26/4/2010

    The Thali franchise is fast sweeping Bristol, but of all its branches this one in the heart of Montpelier is my favourite. However, my husband usually grumbles about the lack of meat on the menu so I am more often found here with friends, quaffing wine and greedily wiping clean my tiffin. From the outside the cafe is inviting with a bright pink decor sparkling from across the street. And although is is fairly small inside, it is beautifully decorated and welcoming.
    After testing out its incredible dishes on the ravenous crowds at the Glastonbury and Big Chill festivals, the Thali opened a permanent base in the city 10 years ago and is now something of an institution.
    At the Montpelier branch, you can choose from the Northern Thali or the Dairy-free option- a generous helping  protein, pulses, rice, salad and a vegetable dish served on a stainless steel platter. The recipes are chosen to nourish as well as tickle the palate so this balance of foods is always the same, although the exact recipes will vary. There is also a tasty selection of Mumbai-style snacks to graze on if you fear the Thali itsef will not sate and a mouthwatering selection of kulfis to finish. Most Sundays there is live music from local performers and the Thali staff place a strong emphasis on aiming to recyclde 100 per cent of their waste, sourcing food locally and using seasonal produce. There is also a great selection of alcohol, juices and lovely chai to accompany your meal.
    I have never done takeaway here but the Thali allows you to buy your own eco-friendly Tiffin to bring in for a refill whenever you want.

    • Qype User farawa…
    • Bristol
    • 50 friends
    • 217 reviews
    4.0 star rating
    19/6/2008

    Really good healthy veggie food served in a down-to-earth venue.

    • Qype User Rutche…
    • Bristol
    • 24 friends
    • 253 reviews
    3.0 star rating
    9/9/2008

    This is another place I really want to like, especially as my friends always want to eat here. The atmosphere is lovely, very friendly, staff very sweet. But the food is bland and tasteless. I've lived in India and this tastes like nothing I've ever had there. However, it is wholesome and I really appreciate that. It's not terrible. And I hope that the time I ate there was a one-off.

    • Qype User loum…
    • Bristol
    • 5 friends
    • 52 reviews
    4.0 star rating
    25/11/2008

    The One Stop Thali empire keeps growing, with the Totterdown cafe the latest addition, housed in the old Glasnost building. The decor is as funky as the original in Montpelier, but there isn't quite as cosy a feel. The food still delivers though, with the amazingly priced Thalis (£6-7) providing really fresh, authentic, mostly veggie flavours- not a chicken tikka masala in sight! Try the selection of street snacks as well. You can join the Tiffin Club, where for £20 you get a stainless steel tiffin which you can bring to be filled up with a thali of your choice (enough to feed 2 but you might want to get a side dish or bread) for a cheap, environmentally friendly takeaway!

    • Qype User Jenna_…
    • Bristol
    • 0 friends
    • 2 reviews
    5.0 star rating
    17/4/2009

    This was the first place I ate out in Bristol 5 years ago, I'd never eaten anything like it before so it was a real experience, the restuarant is like sitting in someones living room filled with Bollywood stuff-its great!

    I now work at the Thali in Totterdown,we have a facebook page facebook.com/home.php#/g… .

    • Qype User acupof…
    • Bristol
    • 0 friends
    • 7 reviews
    4.0 star rating
    10/11/2011

    There are several reasons why I love Thali Cafe. The food is delicious, cheap, veggie friendly and the atmosphere is great -love love love the decoration!!!. Its not that there are many options, but you dont really need them when you can have several meals in one. I love their takeaway style, their portions are MASSIVE, so you can almost have dinner for two with what they advertise as takeaway for one great stuff!

    Its funny though that the food is way more spicy in Thali Clifton than in any of the other Thalis! I wonder why!

    • Qype User AJ…
    • Bristol
    • 1 friend
    • 2 reviews
    5.0 star rating
    17/6/2008

    I stumbled literally across this place years ago when drunk. It has shimmery,sequinny things glittering on the outside and the bright colours and higgledy-piggledy set up of the inside drew me in instantly. They don't take bookings so it's perfect to just rock up to and they do the most delicious veggie curry ever. I do consider myself to be a bona fide vegetarian except for cocktail sausages but sometimes I find veggie restaurants a bit worthy and bit full of yoghurt weavers. This place is different- it is a bit hippy dippy (which I love) and it is located in an arty part of Bristol but I know people come from all over to taste the food and enjoy the happy but not fake atmosphere of the place. The food is served up one big, compartmentalised plate where you get a dollop of this and a slop of that- I didn't make that sound nice but it is truly delicious with fresh flavours and really inventive cooking making you unable to be civilised. You just want to stick your whole face in the plate and scoff it all up. The staff are really friendly without being noncy and it's a superb place for eating really tasty food without having to spend loads of money and you don't leave with that heavy stomach feeling you get from most curry places, where you can feel the ghee sloshing around your tum. I've made myself so hungry writing this that I have to go now.

    • Qype User Mugge…
    • Bristol
    • 0 friends
    • 3 reviews
    1.0 star rating
    15/8/2010

    I've eaten at the Thali Cafe since they opened their Montpelier restaurant about ten years ago. Until recently I used to regularly get takeaways via their Tiffin set. However, over the last year or so, I've seen a definite decline in the quality of food and service. I've tried the Clifton branch and found it disappointing - slow service, luke warm food and burnt (I didn't think it was possible) rice. The portion control has kicked in and the quantities are mean. The Totterdown branch is no better. I ate last night in the Montpelier cafe and that was just as lacklustre. I realise part of the charm of the Thali Cafe is the grungy decor but the Montpelier branch is bordering on the unhygenic. The service, again, is lethargic. I had to ask for napkins and no spoon or knife (necessary since the raita yoghurt thingy is difficult to eat with a fork) was offered. OK, so it may be no frills but these basic essentials cost little money and effort. The mango lassi did not taste of mango and, in fact, had a positively fizzy and unpleasant taste. I just hope it was fresh. The thali - like the last two I've experienced in Clifton - consisted of watery dhal. The paneer was adequate although there wasn't enough. All in all, what started as a great concept, with good quality authentic food, has clearly lost its way. It's a pity that what started as a vegetarian business then became, when they expanded, one that sold - firstly - fish and now meat. Maybe they are better quality? It is clear the business has expanded not only to the detriment of their principles but to the quality of their food. Because I liked them, I've given them three more chances and each time I've left feeling disappointed. They've won awards, are well reviewed but, honestly, I think they are now basking in past glories and don't deserve my continued support. Try another place.

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