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Brief notes from Tallula, Castro, SF

Limster | Jan 9, 200402:08 AM

Tallula doesn't draw as much from the deep well of complex Indian flavours as one might hope, but the food was enjoyable and easy to like nevertheless. Nothing fussy or high-minded, just good cooking with sparing Indian touches (although calling a crepe a dosa might be considered abuse of poetic license).

At the bar the Cleo cocktail hints at tamarind, with all sorts of complex fruitty sour notes carried in sake.

Tandoori dishes were universally satisfying. Rabbit was tender at the bone, mildly earthy from the oven, lamb and flank steak were also competently prepared.

Cured and smoked duck suffered from a chewy clammy skin even though it was appropriately tender and well flavoured. Aloo tikki was a simple but well received dish, spicy potatoes coming somewhat close to the traditional Indian rendition. Sweet vegetal bitterness in the endive tart tartin, a respectably flaky tart crust too.

A spiced sabayon worked well against acidic citrusy wedges of grapefruit (or was it blood orange?). Chilled (cardamom? or am I remembering another dessert form another time?) chocolate soup (served in a tall glass) was appropriately thin, and handled the cubes of pineapple without much trouble. The dense chocolate madelines on the side might have been a tad too hard.

Coconut sundae with caramel and other goodies was excellent. The sheen of the chocolate terrine sucked in light like a blackhole, and perhaps nearly as dense; dark raspberry sauce in a classical appearance.

Cute, quaint space divided into little rooms that was once living residential space.

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