My last visit to a Sanjeev Kapoor restaurant left me feeling very disappointed. The Yellow Chilli went some way towards fixing that. I liked the whole unpretentious look-feel of the place from the minute I walked in. The food is good. Not very good or great, just good. And sometimes that’s enough.
We started with soup, Tomato Basil Shorba and Dal Lemongrass Marag, mine the latter and the better of the two. Portions were miserly but mine was worth ordering. Embarrassingly scroogy too was the complementary papad basket which had no more than a few small pieces, leaving us feeling that it would have been better for them not to have offered it the first place. The coriander-mint chutney it came with was brilliant, tart and, like the tomato soup, chilli hot.
An Indian meal with my foodie fanatic partner, Samantha means a default order of two things, Keema Naan and Rogan Josh, both of which Yellow Chilli have on their menu. They call Keema Naan, Lamb Stuffed Kulcha and add a prefix of Nalli to their Rogan Josh. I’m not a big fan of Keema Naan finding it too lamby in taste and smell…until now. Wow, their Kulcha was really good. No smell, lovely taste. It was a pity the meat in the Rogan Josh wasn’t (at all) tender otherwise it too would have made our hits list. The sauce certainly had the potential.
Complementing our mains was Sanjeev Kapoor’s signature Lalla Mussa Dal, Dal Makhani by another name – brilliant. And also the Murgh Sarvedaar, a delicious creamy chicken curry with black pepper and fresh coriander and my favourite dish of the meal. Rounding off our order was a Garlic Naan and Jeera Rice, the naan far too garlicy for my taste. It basically overpowered everything we tried to eat it with. But the rice was beautifully fluffy, fragrant and flavoursome.
Desserts came in the form of Gulab-e Gulkand, a giant Gulab Jamun stuffed with candied rose petals which tasted precariously like dates, and Zauk-e Shahi, a to-die-for, must try bread pudding of sorts. I just couldn’t stop eating it, it’s that good. I felt we had to wait too long for our food to be delivered to our table. But that aside, service was very good – fine dining decorum and attentiveness in a casual dining restaurant.
Sam and I enjoyed our meal at the Yellow Chilli, Sanjeev Kapoor’s take on casual and simple. With so many of his signature dishes on the menu it was always going be good. But it did nothing out of the ordinary for me. There was no wow! in the way I get when I eat at say, Chawla’s Meena Bazaar. I think if the Sanjeev Kapoor name was not on the door I would have liked it more simply because I would have expected less. So as I said earlier, it’s good. Not very good or great, just good. And sometimes that’s enough.