Restaurant Review: Thali Ho - The Indian Kitchen, London


thali ho halal indian restaurant london

Thali Ho: The Indian Kitchen - As the name suggests, this Halal restaurant in London is popular for home cooked food served in thalis. Not sure if you've heard of thali before or if you've experienced it yourself, but thali is an Indian name for a round platter in which food is served. The Indian-style meal includes a selection of dishes and can include both vegetarian and non-vegetarian food, depending on personal choice. I've previously tried several restaurants in Dubai that serve food in thalis, so this wasn't my first time trying a thali. Moreover, most of the restaurants serving thalis offer to refill the bowls for anyone who would like another serving of any dish and the dessert is also included in the thali but these restaurants charge a per head cost like it's charged at buffet restaurants (the difference being at thali restaurants is that they come and serve you on your table). 

Thali Ho, a venture of two brothers sharing the passion for food aims to serve dishes that have been created from their family recipes to ensure an authentic taste by using the best quality ingredients. I'd say that can definitely be their secret for winning the 'Best Casual Dining Restaurant in the London Suburbs’ at the Asian Curry Awards 2017, just within 3 weeks of their opening. 



Thali Ho has a great, one page menu with variety and not a booklet type menu with hundreds of dishes that gives a hard time in deciding what to order, and therefore, it didn't take long for us to choose what we wanted to try. Thali Ho does serve alcohol on their premises and offers some non-alcoholic drinks as well that includes fizzy drinks and juices. Moreover, they also offer a variety of lassis (yoghurt drink) on the menu but they were listed at the bottom of the menu card, so I almost missed it. I really wanted to try the Mango Lassi as I’m really fond of it and the best lassis I’ve had in the past was also at a Halal Indian restaurant in London. However, I still didn’t manage to order one as BabyN’ wasn’t feeling very well and we ended up wrapping the meal as quickly as we could.

Thali ho Halal Indian London

From the menu, I was delighted to choose some of my favourite dishes. Their small plates that we ordered as starters included Lamb samosa (2 for £3.7), that was served sprinkled with some fresh coriander and a yogurt dip. The freshly fried decent sized triangular shaped pastry of the samosa was filled with lamb mince, peas and potatoes. It was appealing to the eye and even to the tummy, but I just think the pastry was a tiny bit oily. 

Thali ho Halal Indian London

The second starter was King Prawn Butterfly (£4.75) which were served in a bowl with a yogurt dip and were totally on point. They had been fried perfectly and had the right amount of batter coating on them. Generally, some restaurants tend to overdo the coating on fried items, but this was perfect! I don't exactly remember how many prawns the serving included, but roughly speaking there were around 4-6 prawns in the serving.  

Thali ho Halal Indian London

I was also fascinated by the Thali Ho Lamb Chops (£9) and since they’re my husband’s favourite, I had to order them! The plate was served with three lamb chops along with a sweet and sour chutney. The lamb chops had been marinated with nutmeg and cardamon and were then flame grilled. I had quite high expectations for this one, the tangy chutney/dip served with it helped in enhancing the flavour but on their own, some of you might find them a bit bland. 

Thali ho Halal Indian London

For the main, it definitely had to be a thali and we opted for a Dubbawala Lamb Thali (£14.95). I was extremely delighted as this was definitely my best choice. The thali was served with a naan bread, potato curry, tarka daal (lentil), pilao rice, achaar (mixed pikle), raita/yogurt dip and the Dubbawala lamb curry. The lentils and potato curry gave a very homely feeling as it's a very popular everyday dish cooked at South Asian households. The lamb was tender and had been cooked really well in Madras sauce. It was flavoursome, and my taste buds were in joy after tasting the curry. I generally can't eat extremely spicy or oily food as I don't feel too good and this was supposed to be a very spicy dish, but was good for me. The naan bread served in the thali was soft complimented the dishes in the thali well. 

Thali ho Halal Indian London

Thali ho Halal Indian London

Besides ordering another thali for myself, I just ordered a Kofta Curry (£6.95) to try. The kofta is a spicy mince dumpling which is served in a sauce. It's one of my favourite dishes, and I myself cook kofta curry at home using my own family recipe. Although it involves a  bit of handwork in preparing the masalas (spices and condiments), the taste of homemade freshly grinded spices is definitely worth the time and effort. Thali Ho's Kofta curry was  served in a shiny metal pan, was mildly spiced and tasted good. 

Thali ho Halal Indian London

Thali ho Halal Indian London

I was really looking forward to the Lucknowi Lamb Biryani (£8.95) because my grand parents were from Lucknow so I’ve literally grown eating that biryani since childhood. It has a very subtle flavour with lots of aroma and is not really spicy but the wonderful flavours of the spices used to prepare it, make it tasty. The one I tried at the restaurant, was quite good. The lamb was done well, and the rice were cooked to perfection. I don't think it was served with a raita (yogurt dip), but generally I do like it with my pilao and biryani. We already had the yogurt dips on the table, and it was a generous amount so it didn't finish with the starters.

Thali ho Halal Indian London

We ended the meal with the desserts, although they don’t have a very extensive dessert menu, but they’ve got a few of my favourites that includes Gulab jamun (£3.95), pistachio & mango kulfi (£3.50) and ice cream. 

Gulab jamun, a popular dessert in the subcontinent is a delicious treat that literally melts in the mouth if done well. These are actually fried dumplings made with milk powder (the major ingredient) and are then soaked in a sugar syrup. These are served warm, and that actually enhances the taste even more. Sometimes people also pair it up with vanilla ice cream. I’ve tried making these once at home, and just on my first attempt they turned out pretty reasonable. We’re great fans of kulfi and Thali Ho has both mango and pistachio kulfi on the menu so we opted for the former. After the main meal, I felt the portion size of the desserts was perfect to satisfy the sweet tooth. The gulab jamun were served warm, they tasted great and the kulfi was good as well, but I can't say if it's prepared exclusively at the restaurant as I've had exactly the same tasting kulfi at another Halal restaurant in London too. 

Thali ho Halal Indian London

Thali ho Halal Indian London

Overall, we had a great time at this contemporary Indian restaurant. They’ve got a decent sized sitting area for the diners with both chairs and tables and long benches. The interior and decor was welcoming, not overly done but neat and chic with Indian songs playing in the background. I can only remember the one sung by Adnan Sami as later onward, the restaurant got quite busy and BabyN' was also feeling poorly. It would be best to book your table at the restaurant prior to the visit, just to avoid queuing especially on weekends. 

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Rating: 7.5/10 
Pricing: Mid-Range 
Halal Meat: Yes 
Child-Friendly: Yes
Alcohol Available: Yes

Contact Thali Ho: 
Telephone: 020 8399 0094 / 020 8399 4434
Location: 31-33 Brighton Rd, Surbiton, KT6 5LR
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Beachwear Tunics & Accessories by Miss Tunica

beachwear tunics miss tunica

A lifestyle, fashion brand called Miss Tunica designs beach tunics and accessories that aren’t just beautiful, but also stylish and trendy because of their unique fabric combinations. They aim to provide a chic look to the versatile women looking for a comfortable beach or a summer holiday dress. The brand’s first range was launched in July 2015, and it reflected the beauty of the Mediterranean with its graphics and bright colours. However, it isn’t just a beachwear brand, but an entity that promotes style and works responsibly by supporting fair trade and treating their employees with respect. 

beachwear tunics miss tunica

As you know, I’ve been on a holiday to Pakistan recently and since the temperature in the UK have been quite cold, it wasn’t possible for me to wear my Miss Tunica tunic outdoors. Therefore, I packed it along with me to my warmer holiday destination and the temperature there was perfect for me to flaunt my tunic. You all know I opt for modest dressing but I also like to keep the clothes light just to avoid feeling too warm. Therefore, I just wore a shirt beneath and slipped on my tunic on top of it. The cloth was really light and airy, and something really good for summer. Initially I thought the material might be Georgette, but it wasn’t really that and I do not prefer wearing that material because Georgette and sweat aren’t the very best friends. Therefore, I always avoid wearing that fabric.

When I received the tunic in the mail, I was of the opinion that it wasn’t my size at all, and I might have been sent an XXL size but that was because I was supposed to pull the string to make it tighter from the waist and fit it according to my preference. Not only did that help in making it look smarter, but I was worried about the length as well and that helped in pulling the cloth upwards giving a perfect length. The whole dress especially with the detail on the neckline made it look classy and stylish. To add some jewelry, I was also sent a Miss Tunica long silver necklace with black beads. They’ve also got some more pieces of jewelry and accessories on their website. Make sure to have a look, and have currently an ongoing sale as well so grab a bargain!

Destinations with warmer temperature are actually perfect for you to flaunt away your Miss Tunica tunics. I’ve been meaning to write about this since quite some time, but if you’re following me on Instagram, you would know I’ve been really really busy with BabyN’ as he hasn’t been feeling very well since the past few weeks and had also spent a week at the hospital. However, he’s on the mend and should start running around soon.

beachwear tunics miss tunica

A simple description of the tunic for my Asian readers in very simple words - it’s basically like a very long dupatta like cloth stitched from under the arms  along with a string on the waist to adjust size and some lovely work on the neckline. Check out Miss Tunica’s tunic collection, here.

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Luxury stay at Crowne Plaza Hotel - Reading, UK

luxury hotel crowne plaza reading

This luxury hotel located just across the Caversham Pier on Thames Riverside has 122 bedrooms with internally equipped air conditioning, in-room safe, WiFi, ironing board and some rooms also offering mesmerizing views of the River Thames. Crowne Plaza Reading has their own private and gated car park with ample space for parking, complimentary for the hotel guests. Also, it has a fantastic location as it’s quite near from the town center and the Oracle where one can enjoy the evening or relish a meal at one of the riverside restaurants at the Reading town center.

luxury hotel crowne plaza reading
luxury hotel crowne plaza reading

luxury hotel crowne plaza reading

After checking in, my husband and I decided to walk to the town center, which was pretty much okay and manageable as it was just a 25 minutes walk. Our dinner table was already reserved at the hotel’s Riverside restaurant, so we headed back to reach on time and to enjoy the meal. In my opinion, the best thing about having dinner at the hotel you’re staying is that you can just go to the room and retire to a good night’s sleep rather than thinking about traveling back. 



luxury hotel crowne plaza reading

luxury hotel crowne plaza reading

The washroom in our suite had both a shower and a bath, along with complimentary toiletries as well as a vanity kit, shoe polish, shower cap and fresh clean towels. 

luxury hotel crowne plaza reading

For dinner, we opted for a vegetarian 3 course meal as the hotel does not cater Halal meat. Our starters were a pumpkin soup and lightly spiced pitta sticks served with coriander hummus and red pepper tapenade. Both were great to start with, and were followed by the mains -  Gnocchi served in Gorgonzola (an Italian blue cheese) along with baby spinach and walnuts and mixed grains, roasted sweet potatoes edamame beans topped with a buttermilk dressing. I really enjoy different cuisines and tried a Gnocchi at an Italian restaurant in Skopje (Macedonia) which tasted amazing so I was really happy to see it on the menu and I immediately ordered it without any second thoughts. 

luxury hotel crowne plaza reading


The 3 course meal menu card had two vegetarian options in each course, so my husband and I ordered what was available. I did have a look at the restaurant’s menu and there were different items there including sea food but that menu didn’t have it. Next time probably, I might go for an ala carte as I'd like to try new options and that would also give more choice. 

luxury hotel crowne plaza reading

luxury hotel crowne plaza reading

BabyN’ also enjoyed a 3 course meal with us, and for him we ordered classic fish fingers, an apple and black current juice (Fruit shoot) and Churros for dessert. The crunchy fish and chips were served alongside lemon mayonnaise and some green salad. The Churros were freshly prepared and were served with a warm cinnamon sugar and chocolate sauce.

luxury hotel crowne plaza reading

For our third course i.e. the dessert we ordered a saffron and vanilla creme brûlée and a Belgian waffle that was served with vanilla ice cream and caramel sauce. Both stylishly presented on a slate plate and I was actually hoping for a fresh waffle, as the taste of the already prepared ones isn’t as quite good. However, the quality of this waffle was quite nice and I managed to finish it enjoyably. 

luxury hotel crowne plaza reading

luxury hotel crowne plaza reading
 
luxury hotel crowne plaza reading

I was quite tried, and wanted to give my body some rest so we headed back to our suite and as we all settled in the bed. Crowne Plaza Hotels have introduced a dedicated sleep program called Sleep Advantage. Moreover, the sumptuous bedding at Crowne Plaza Reading with softer duvet, silkier sheets, pillows and a mattress topper helps the guests relax and sleep well. The aromatherapy bath and body skincare line from 'The Works' I tried that night was fantastic and enabled me to sleep well. As we stayed in the quiet zone in the hotel, it further ensured an undisturbed sleep for us. 

Thames Riverside Caversham Pier

The next morning, I was woken up by the husband as he didn’t want me to miss the mesmerising view from our suite’s private balcony that on-looked the Caversham Pier at the Thames Riverside. It was a foggy morning, it was drizzling and I couldn’t see people enjoying some rowing on the river. The crunchy autumn leaves on the ground and the beautiful ducks and swans made it even more surreal. Although it was a bit of a frosty morning, it would still have been nice enjoying a cuppa. However, since our buffet breakfast at the Riverside restaurant was already waiting for us, I just changed and headed there straight. 

Breakfast timing (Mon to Fri - 7:30 am till 10:o0 am), (Sat - 7:30 am till 11:00 am) (Sun - 7:30 am till 11:30 am). 

Thames Riverside Caversham Pier

Thames Riverside Caversham Pier

Crowne Plaza Reading offers a nice variety of both hot and cold breakfast items including scrambled and fried eggs, baked mushrooms and tomatoes, sliced potatoes, bacon and  a variety of bakes such as Maple Peacan, cupcakes and cinnamon rolls, a few types of breads, juices, tea/coffee, a fruit, yogurt and cereal bar. Guests also have the choice of ordering an omelette of their choice, but I thought the variety was already quite nice so didn’t bother. Also, they serve a smoothie of the day, which was already in the buffet. It was a mango and yogurt smoothie that tasted almost like a mango lassi and it was quite refreshing that I had two glasses. 

luxury hotel crowne plaza reading

luxury hotel crowne plaza reading

luxury hotel crowne plaza reading

luxury hotel crowne plaza reading

After a quick breakfast, we went to the hotel’s spa and got changed before going for a dip in the pool and to enjoy some relaxing time in their whirlpool/Jacuzzi. The revive health club and spa at Crowne Plaza Reading was quite impressive and had facilities such as a swim wear dryer, although I couldn't find any plastic bags inside the changing room but I think the reception might provide them on request. Since I already carried my own bag, I didn't require them but I'm sure the hotel can assist the guests in this regard.  

luxury hotel crowne plaza reading

My family and I had a fantastic staycation at the hotel, and would definitely love to stay there next time we visit friends in Reading. I've also made a short VLOG of my stay at Crowne Plaza Reading, which you can view on my YouTube channel

Important Information - Crowne Plaza, Reading
Check-in: 3:00 pm
Check-out: 12:00 pm
Parking: Complimentary for hotel guests 
Breakfast: Buffet styled English breakfast (hot and cold items) 
Amenities: Spa, pool & gym 
In-room amenities: Hair dryer, iron, kettle, coffee machine, mini bar (charged), complimentary toiletries & tea/coffee provided
Location: Caversham Bridge, Richfield Ave - Reading RG1 8BD

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Silver Personalised Bracelet from Kaya Jewellery - Review + Giveaway

Personalised handmade KAYA jewellery

KAYA Jewellery creates meaningful jewellery for baby, child and mum. It’s a brand that sells adorable creations for special occasions such as Christening, and also offers baby jewellery as well as bracelets for girls. Hand engraved silver jewellery, mum jewellery, mother & daughter bracelets and 3 generation sets are also their expertise. Besides that, free and fast delivery is also offered along with free gift wrapping.  

Personalised handmade KAYA jewellery

Personalised handmade KAYA jewellery

If you’re looking for personalised jewellery handmade in the UK, definitely keep KAYA Jewellery in mind as they’ve got so much to offer and a lot of variety to choose from. The hand engraved silver bracelet I've received is extremely easy to wear and has a secure clasp. You can choose your own size, and the one I choose for myself fits me very well. Moreover, there's also flexibility as you have the option of fastening it on different points along the extension chain which is around 2.5 cm long. This is actually even better if you're purchasing jewellery for baby or little girls as they outgrow quite fast.

I love how the engraving looks on my bracelet, it's extremely neat and clear and I even like the writing style. Personally, I always prefer personalised stuff for myself or even for giving to friends or family as presents. Regarding the engraving, you can choose in between 1-3 words but I choose 2 which look absolutely clear and easy to read.

Personalised handmade KAYA jewellery

I was casually browsing on their website when I also came across to the fact that KAYA jewellery is committed to making high quality jewellery for mums and children. Owner Tanja also supports children who are not as privileged as ours, so she gives part of her profit to charity through the Eduki Foundation in the Netherlands. Last years we donated over £5000 to pay for the education of 16 children in Gambia.

Personalised handmade KAYA jewellery

Kaya Jewellery has kindly offered one of the lucky blog readers a £40 jewellery voucher (Terms and conditions apply), so make sure to enter the giveaway below. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway 

WINNER: Mary H

What will you do if you win the giveaway - will you get something for yourself or for anyone else?

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Disclaimer:  This is a collaborative post and the competition prize is sponsored by Kaya Jewellery. All responsibility for the competition in terms of the prize is on them. The prize is a £40 jewellery voucher.  Giveaway is open to UK residents only & ends on November 28th, 2017.