People know I love spicy food. I’ve been known to carry hot sauce or a pack of dried chilli flakes in my bag. So when I heard that a restaurant called “Red Chilli” wanted to have us over for iftar last month, my expectations were high. I was thinking of dragonian heat levels, fanning myself from all the sweat and a need for a glass of warm milk. But maybe I was just getting ahead of myself.
Red Chilli is an Indian restaurant, and as we all know, Indian food has a reputation for its spices — so not necessarily spicy, but spiced. The chilli in this case is a mere symbolism. Not all of their dishes are spicy, as one would assume. Their pioneer branch is the one at Murabba St. (across Riyadh Palace Hotel) but the one we visited recently was the their newly opened branch along Khurais Road. It is a big place for both single and families and their layout is quite traditional with the private booths for each set of diners. Each booth can probably seat six people, max.
At our time of visit, they had an ongoing iftar buffet, but we also ordered dishes from the menu.
Since iftar is already over, there’s no need to go over the iftar details. We can just focus on their main dishes and give you the tea on which piqued our interest the most, among other things.
For starters, we were served with a selection that seems to be a main course already. But with our experience with dining in Indian restaurants, we know this starts off big already. Janelled loved the fried potatoes and I liked the paneer dish. Paneer is Indian cottage cheese and for us, it almost tasted like tofu. This vegetarian option is served generously and I like that the curry didn’t overpower the taste. For the rest of the starters, we battled over which of them was saltier. It seemed like the salt was too generous in the Chicken Tikka and Tandoori Prawns. The Saag Chicken was the least salty of the three. Maybe we can try again next time and request for less salt?
We wanted to cleanse our palates of the saltiness we encountered and luckily, were surrounded by a lot of drinks (not to mention the Ramadan drinks that they also served). The apple mojito and lemon mint earned our trust. However the watermelon drink was something we didn’t expect because it was mixed with 7UP or soda water, as opposed to being purely watermelon juice. The mango orange concoction didn’t really “wow” us either especially since it wasn’t fresh fruit juice to begin with.
In all fairness, the main course redeemed our rocky start at the Red Chilli. The Mutton Masala was almost wiped clean with nan by Janelle’s husband and we all agreed that there must have been some magic going on in that pot of chicken biryani because it was wonderfully tasty and everything worked in perfect balance; flavors, heat levels, meat ratio…the works! It’s been a loooong time since I’ve been amazed by chicken biryani so this says a lot. If someone would ask me where to have good biryani in town, I’m pointing them to Red Chilli, without a doubt.
Ambience-wise, I feel that the restaurant can benefit from a more open vibe, although I do understand the traditional style behind it. I’m just feeling too boxed in inside their booths but it can be good for those who want privacy while eating. The staff were friendly and delivered our food in a timely manner and we liked how clean and spotless the entire restaurant was. Price range is slightly above average but then servings are good for groups or sharing.
Red Chilli Indian Restaurant
Branches in Murabba District and Al Khurais Road
Tel Nos: 011-412-2984 and 0503165246