Sunday, October 9, 2011

Chilli India, Melbourne CBD by Big Fil

Sometimes it's the places next door you never seem to visit. I knew Chilli India, which is located in the building I work in, is popular with some of my colleagues. It's also in this year's Entertainment Book so I get a discount the first time I eat there. For some reason it'd never been top of my list of places to visit but with a hankering for curry and roti it was time to pay a call.

Chilli India offers a range of different style of meals including biriyani and dosas but both Snooze and I were interested more in the cheap lunch time specials. It's better to choose how many curries you want, whether you want rice or roti, and then step up to the counter to order, otherwise you'll hold up the hungry punters behind you. Most of the curries are what you'd typically find at any cheap and quick Indian eatery but include a goat marsala that I'd heard positive things about. With one choice already made before even turning up, it was time to also indulge in some lamb rogan josh and daal.

The meals here are dispensed very quickly and we were both soon tucking in. Unfortunately though my lunch didn't quite hit the mark with me. I suspect I know the reasons why and it's not that the food was bad. The lamb and goat were both tender and the curries had good flavours; better than most places at this price range.

The first reason was that it didn't really feel like it had a lot of character. Sitting in the walkway between Melbourne Central Tower and Shopping Centre is hardly the most interesting place to sit and eat. I thought it was in fact pretty dismal. Close enough to the diners at the next table to feel a little crowded but without any buzz about it, the food would have needed to have been excellent to win me over.

Also, while I know Snooze has a different view, the roti didn't quite do it for me. I like my roti crispy on the outside but fluffy on the inside so that you can use it to soak up the sauce from the bottom of the plate. This roti was more thin and crispy on both sides. Not bad and I know Snooze really liked it, but just not quite what I wanted.

I didn't actually talk to Snooze much about her meal, but she did comment that she liked her butter chicken, something she wouldn't normally order.

I don't think it's up on the board but they do also have tea tarik available if you ask. I'm used to it being served in a glass rather than a paper cup, and while not exceptional even a bad tea tarik is good (if you know what I mean).

Not bad food if not quite as good as I'd hoped for, the prices are similar to other similar cheap and cheerful Indian restaurants around town. But the lifeless laneway seating area would probably put me off returning again. The best thing I thought of the whole set up though was the cheerful and friendly service we got (and other customers too).
Food - 7
Service - 8
Ambience - 4.5
Price - 6.5

Rear Alley
Melbourne Central
Melbourne VIC 3000
Tel: (03) 9639 3866
Chilli India Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 


Bureaucrat said...

I liked the place before it was Chilli India (I think it was called Chilli Padi, which was more Malay/Thai).

Anonymous said...

Chilli Padi is still there and has opened up new stores in other parts of town. Chilli India is just next door to the original outlet.


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