A remarkable new restaurant has arrived in Salisbury located by the River Avon, beside the new Coach Park.

In Salisbury we have a number of distinguished Indian restaurants not the least being Anokaa in Fisherton Street.

 It has long been a much-enjoyed restaurant, now it has some serious competition.

The arrival of an Indian restaurant specialising in Southern Indian food with a plentiful supply of enticing dishes, using the delicate and varied spices for which the South is famous.

Salisbury Journal: Some of the dishes on offer at Elai

The only delight from the customer's basis is, that you cannot really make an exact comparison between the two; it is an apple and pears situation.

To the reader’s of the Journal  I would encourage you to ignore the current building site, caused by the remodelling of the Coach Park and begin to discover a previously unavailable cuisine from Southern India .

To the owners’ of this restaurant, Uni Bala and Nithin Satheesan, they have another restaurant in Basingstoke, please create a sample menu of possibly six small tasters forming a complete menu, that illustrates the classical aspect of their cuisine.

Inevitably some dishes will be preferred to others so give those learning of its variety, a chance to discover their favourite dishes.

The Menus

The El Ai has an extensive menu, which is why I am suggesting some complete menus, from which customers can begin to understand and be delighted by this new cuisine into Salisbury.

There are eight starters called Thudakam  from £3.95 for a basket of Poppadoms to £10.95 for a Netholi Fish Fry. 

Plus 17 Street Starters from £6.95 for Onion Pakoda. A crunchy snack of Onions and spices, to £12.95 for a dish of Scallops with a spicy sauce topped off with  a shallot and chilli relish.

We started with Dahi Puri (£6.95). These are mini puri shells, wonderfully light  and delicate stuffed with, potato, chickpeas and drizzled with yoghurt and chutneys. Then Chicken Pattas, tangy spicy dry chicken £10.95.

For our main course from a selection of 13 priced from £13.50 for a Nadan Chicken Curry  to £20.95 for a Lamb Shank Nalli Curry.

Di had the Meen Pollichatu, a traditional Kerala Fish of the day wrapped in Banana Leaves and grilled.

Just unwrapping this dish was amazing the colour and spicey flavours remarkable. £18.95 . This takes 20 minutes to cook. I had Beef Ularthiyathu.

Described as a very special Kerala dich of tender beef cubes marinated with spices and cooked in different methods.

With among other things, coconut chips and exotic spices. I loved this, however, a word of warning! Coming across such an entirely new concept of seasoning and spices you are likely to prefer some taste to others.

Be bold, this is an adventure, let your palate be challenged to new and lovely fragrances. The journey of discovery is more than worthy of the trip!

The menu also contains five tandoori specials including a Mixed Platter (£22.95).

There are as well nine varieties of Vegetarian and Vegan dishes from £10.50 t0 £11.50.

Five Elai Dum Biryani from £11.98 to £16.95 11 Varieties of both Rice and Naan. Dosa, a crispy pancake is an immensely  popular crispy pancake of South India. Plain from £7.50 to £10.50 for Chicken Dosa.

For Deserts there is a choice of nine including a daily special at £5.95 up to £7.95 for Panacotta. We chose the Elai Ada £7.50 A traditional Kerala sweet steamed in a banana leaf served with ice cream.

Wine List

I do not have enough space in the Journal to do justice to this list. It is well balanced and contains bottles of wine that I would enjoy drinking while sitting outside.

Once that is, that the rather rough basic stools are replaced so that one can comfortably relax.

There is on offer four Champagne and Sparkling. In both these sections they also have innovatively included 200ml bottles. 

White wines have a selection of 11, bottles from £24.95 for a Chenin Blanc. Red wines from a Shiraz at the same price as the Chenin and an interesting Chilean Malbec at £36.95.


It is good to see that they have been bold enough to promote eight short cocktails from £8.50 and six long cocktails from £10.95.

Tea and Coffee

Would you believe it there are 9 Loose Leaf Teas available from English Breakfast, Assam of course, Mint Green, even a decaffeinated Breakfast Tea, all at £3.95.