inNorfolk heads out to the launch of Gali Fine Dining, Norwich’s newest restaurant, for a taste of Indian fusion food on launch night.
When I received an invitation to attend the opening night of Gali Fine Dining on Upper St Giles Street in Norwich, my curiosity was piqued.
Gali used to be St Giles Spice, but in recent months the restaurant has undergone an overhaul. It now has modern decor, fresh flowers on every table and exciting new dishes. Key to this is the six-course taster menu, which sits alongside the á la carte options.
Billing itself as specialising in Bangladeshi fusion food, the owner, Mo Ali, explains: “I wanted to create a new concept in fine dining in Norwich. Gali Fine Dining serves Bangladeshi-inspired fusion food.”
I wanted to create a new concept in fine dining in Norwich
Upon arrival, we were presented with bhel puri canapes. This appetiser, made of onions, cucumber and vegetables stuffed into small, gluten-free poppadums, was served with a sticky tamarind sauce. Beautifully presented, it also tasted incredible, like a little flavour-bomb going off in my mouth. The pungent onions were off-set by the refreshing cucumber and enhanced by the sweet sauce.
While the canapes were doing the rounds, I also managed to get my hands on a sticky chicken tikka kebab. Loaded with chunks of tender meat, the tikka flavours were rich and ever-so-slightly charry.
This starter was a turmeric-heavy broth served with boal caviar, plums and cherry tomatoes and was paired with a dry, floral Riesling.
Unfortunately, the boal caviar was missing from my dish when it arrived, which was a little disappointing. The soup itself was heavy on the turmeric too, which isn’t to my taste. I know it’s a super-food and everything, but I find the taste overpowering.
Thankfully the second course of chicken in a korma sauce was much more to my taste. Served with a thick, coconut sauce, the meat was moist and fell off the bone. It was served with a side of light, fluffy jasmine rice and a full-bodied Chilean red.
I wouldn’t normally pair a red wine with white meat, but the complexity of the flavours balanced each other perfectly.
This was my favourite dish of the evening.
Fried seabass fillets on a bed of sweet potato in a thick coconut sauce. It had just a hint of chilli. Enough to bring warmth, but not so much it would blow your head off. It also had the warmth of black pepper running through it, giving the dish surprising complexity.
It was served with a fruity, zingy chenin blanc, loaded with pineapple flavours. It cut through the rich sauce and was almost a palate cleanser.
Slices of tender, perfectly cooked duck in a rich, sticky sauce. It was sweet, with a hint of chilli and the umami of soy sauce, which enhanced the flavours of the duck.
It probably could have done with a side of some sort. The flavours were very intense, and without rice or bread to break up the dish, I couldn’t have eaten much more of it.
It was paired with a light pinot noir, which I normally avoid because it’s too tannin. Thankfully this wasn’t, but was dry and lightly oaked.
Forget curry-house dessert – these dough balls are so much better than ice-cream served in a coconut shell. Soaked in a light floral, rose syrup, these buttery little mouthfuls are divine. Topped with a crushed coconut and pistachio, there was a mixture of textures and flavours, which made them incredibly more-ish.
Unfortunately, the dish was missing the sour cream slated on the menu. I think it would have helped to temper the sweetness of the dessert.
They were, however, partnered with golden, vanilla-y semillon, which helped to balance the rose syrup.
All in all, Gali Fine Dining shows great promise.
I’ve put the missing elements and the slightly slow service down to opening-night jitters. The restaurant was also packed with diners who had all sat down at the same time.
I’d like to go back and give it another try now that it’s been open a few weeks and isn’t likely to be so busy.