Feb 14, 2009

Yellow Chilli

I eat out a lot. Lunch has been at a restaurant almost everyday for the past 3 years, and even before that, I wasn't a fan of mess food in college. And I've visited restaurants in most cities of India, and tried a variety of stuff abroad as well. While I've enjoyed all of that, I don't remember ever blogging about a restaurant. So, when I say Sanjeev Kapoor's Yellow Chilli is exceptionally good, you'd better believe me!

Most restaurants use some standard tricks to prepare their food faster, and also give their food an appealing taste - they use an excess of oil, often use baking soda to soften meat etc., and are generous with their use of spices. The downside is - most of their dishes end up tasting similar, and these trick-ingredients drown out the real flavors and aroma of the meat or vegetables used. And, of course, you often get the chef's version of a dish - which may be nothing like the traditional version of the dish as prepared in the region of it's origion. The best examples of this are Butter Chicken Masala and Mutton Roghan Josh - the versions I've had in Punjab, UP and South India taste nothing like each other. And, of course, the sambhar you get in North Indian restaurants is a joke.

Yellow Chilli stands out for the autheticity of dishes served there. Each dish is prepared with care, using fine ingredients, and by devoting all the time necessary. And everything tastes the way it ideally should. It's pretty close to home cooked food, except Mom might sometimes get the quantity of salt wrong, or the mutton available in your neighborhood store on a particular Sunday morning may not be very lean and tender. At Yellow Chilli, the food will be perfect.

It's been a month since I had my only meal there, but I still remember everything in vivid detail. We ordered a Nalli ka Roghan Josh, a Rarha Chicken and a Methi Malai Chaman. The mutton was excellent, with a mildly spiced gravy, and you could taste the 'red meat' flavor in every morsel. The Rarha Chicken has a perfectly Punjabi onion-tomato flavor. The Paneer was rich and soft, with a bitter-sweet taste (the combination of fenugreek and fresh cream). No two dishes tasted alike. There was no 'oil to be drained' layer on top. And the typical restaurant-ish taste simply wasn't there. Rarely have I been so pleasantly surprised by what a restaurant had to offer.

On second thought, I realized that I should have expected this. Sanjeev Kapoor is the guy who's been teaching people how to cook, on TV, for many years now. As he had leant his name to this restaurant, they had to get everything perfectly right. Otherwise, he'd lose his credibility.

I have heard some others' opinions about Yellow Chilli, and not all are favorable. Oh well, you just can't please everyone. I guess if you totally want to get a 'restaurant' feel when you eat out, this may not be the place for you. But, if 'authentic' is your thing, you simply have to try out Yellow Chilli.

Now, I'm hungry :)

6 comments:

  1. Where is this place?

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  2. Hell!!!!
    Its 11.55 in the night and I am hungry again after reading this... :)

    Btw , where is this place... would try it out...

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  3. I went to one in Panchkula (near Chandigarh), but they have quite a few in different cities: see list on their website

    Sadly, none in Bangalore yet :(

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  4. Okay! Lemme check their page! Hope they have one out here!

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  5. Found yellow chilli express in Spar, Koramangla. The malai kabab were AWESOME...!! Completely agree with your review.

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