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    The Tribe Thali — An Indian lunch staple in Oxford

    Oli returns to Tribe to sample their new weekend special.

    It was an absolute pleasure to revisit the Indian restaurant Tribe on Cowley Road, nearly a year on from my first review. Last time I loved the chance to try so many different dishes and now that opportunity is open to all weekend visitors.


    On Saturday and Sunday lunchtimes, customers are offered the Thali for £13.99 or £14.99 depending on whether you opt for the vegetarian or meat option.

    Ours was a mix of vegetable and meat curries as well as the traditional Gulab Jamun desert, jeera rice, and a parotta. I must say that the vegetarian dishes were definitely less flavourful than their meat-based counterparts. The red lentil daal was slightly lacking the punch that you might expect but chickpea chole was better and the chicken achari was a standout.

    Saag paneer is always one of my favourite Indian dishes and the spinach in this one is superb — the paneer itself though felt like it could have been cooked a little longer to soften and bring out the flavour. The salad, pickles and bhaji were the perfect accompaniments to all the curries and when paired with the parotta really did enhance the flavours with their spices.

    As well as the Thali we did also sample two starters. The first was Aloo Bonda which was slightly stodgy in the middle but came with a brilliant chilli garlic sauce. The other was Sabudana Vada and far more unique. These pancakes came with the same sauce and were stuffed with tapioca pearls to create a fascinating sweet/savoury combination of a dish.

    Aloo Bonda
    Sabudana Vada

    The mango lassi is without a doubt the soft drink of choice. A classic Indian yoghurt-based smoothie, it is full of fresh flavours and a great balance to the mains if you struggle with spices!

    What Tribe is now offering up on Cowley Road with their Thali is a brilliantly unique Indian experience that you can’t get anywhere else in Oxford. Only lacking my favourite Kerala fish curry (see last year’s review!), it offers the chance to sample several different options in a more than generous portion size at a great price. For a special weekend lunch, Tribe is carving itself out as quite the attraction on the Oxford restaurant scene.

    Image: Oliver Hall

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