Inside Thali Oxford

Pioneers of the Indian restaurant revolution Thali offer a taste of everyday India at new 90-seater Oxford eatery.

Step inside the restaurant and lose yourself in the hazy city streets of India where brick, concrete and terracotta represent the raw, unbaked qualities of the subcontinent. Exposed walls are pasted with photographs from Thali’s travels as well as on the new fanzine menu inspired by Thali’s beginnings as a street food stall at Glastonbury festival.

Thali encourage diners to eat with their hands as this nurtures a deeper connection with food (always use the right hand, the left is taboo). To help free diners from the tyrannical reign of cutlery, there is a central water station (where you can wash your hands and top up on drinking water) in homage to the traditional hand washing rituals of India.

A communal table celebrates the ritual of sharing and is perfect for large groups of friends. The temporary and makeshift nature of India’s roadside dhabas (street food stalls) is reflected by the bar – a mobile unit on wheels – that brings an unexpected and makeshift feel to the dining room.

Electricity is a luxury in many parts in India and lighting 
is purely functional. Geometric metal panels inspired by Delhi train station partition the kitchen and dining room. The traditional weaving method in India, Charpoy features in the fixed seating layered behind authentic and colourful Indian textiles.

The combination of using photos taken on research trips to India and traditional Indian techniques has created a reflection of the contemporary India we know and love. Take a trip to Thali Oxford and experience a fresh take on Indian food. Well, what are you waiting for? Book a table.

A taste of everyday India. Photo: Federico Walfisch.

Get online with high speed chai-fi. Photo: Paul Box.

Yes, that's the final finish. Photo: Paul Box.

Cleanliness is next to godliness. Photo: Federico Walfisch.