There’s a new contender on the Indian dining scene on the Upper East Side. Imli Urban Indian Cuisine attempts to combine stylish digs with regional small plate offerings.
Owned by Mervyn Winston, Ram Reddy, and Albin Vincent, the menu here is crafted by Executive Chef Manuel Butler who has worked in differing capacities at Sahib, Chote Nawab, Dhaba and Awadh in the past.
The space at Imli is just gorgeous. My favorite part is the enclosed patio in the back. Natural light highlights the rustic decor making it a really cool area to enjoy a meal in.
The menu is curated by veteran Chef Manuel Butler, who aims to create Indian food for every mood. This extensive menu offers innovative small plates on their tapas menu that go well with their great drinks menu. Do try the “Mango Mirchi” made with Titos Vodka, mango juice, chilli and lime.
We tasted a wide range of dishes of which the standouts for me was the “Baigan Chat” made with thin crispy slices of eggplants, smothered with tamarind chutney and other seasonings.
I think Imli makes some of the best naans I have ever had! They are light, airy and create perfect bites when dipped into a rich curry like the chicken tikka masala. We tried the “Mushroom with Truffle” and “Chili” one. Both were outstanding – I could go back there and just make a meal of the naans.
The meats were not as impressive; they were texturally very hard which was disappointing. We did sample their “Tandoori Pizza” which used a crispy naan as its base and made for interesting eats.
They offer a prix fixe lunch on weekdays from Noon to 2:30PM. Brunch is a specialty at Imli, inspired by the Parsi population, who fled from Iran in the 8th and 10th centuries to established successful communities in India and developed a distinct type of cuisine. Imli offers a sampling of a menu that is a little different and that’s what sets it apart from the others.
Here is some of what we ate:
Imli Beetroot and Paneer
Chicken Tikka Masala
Imli Roomali Rolls