Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Review - Chilli India

Thu, 1st Mar 2012
Fri, 20th April 2012  

Chilli India
(Next to Chillipadi)
Shop OE6 Menzies Alley Little Lonsdale St

Cuisine: Indian
Taste Rating: 7.5/10   Value Rating: 7.5/10

Chilli India on Urbanspoon

Chilli India sits next door to Chillipadi in Menzies Alley, Melbourne Central. I believe they have the same owner. They also share the same website.  Chilli India  has a more casual atmosphere of the two. You order, pay and pick up your meal at the counter. Most of the meals are ready- cooked in the bain marie.

This is a very busy place at lunchtime. A large number of clientele are  from the Indian subcontinent and as can be expected, this speaks volumes for the authenticity of the food here.

Seating is in a laneway. This is covered overhead, with one end opening onto Little Lonsdale street. Bring a jacket in winter, especially if it is windy, as this can get chilly. Not too bad when the place is crowded. Or sit strategicallyand use your dining companions as a wind break. Or be non-eco friendly and sit near one of the heat lamps. You will manage. And the curries will warm you up.

On the first visit, we ordered two of the lunch specials. Rice and Roti with one vegetable curry (Chilli Chicken Curry) and one non-vegetable curry (Eggplant Curry). Two Rotis with one vegetable curry (Goat Masala) and one non-vegetable curry (Okra Vegetable). I found the Chilli Chicken Curry salty. Otherwise, the gravy flavour is good and very spicy hot,  with a nice red colour. The Eggplant Curry tasted OK but was rather oily. The Goat Masala was very tender and nice but a little bit too sweet. The Okra Vegetable is a dry dish with dessicated coconut and curry leaves. The rotis were good - crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, and slightly sweet which I like but others may not prefer. All meals seem to come with a piece of papadum.
Laneway Seating

Chilli Chicken Curry, Eggplant Curry
with Rice and Roti

Goat Masala, Okra Vegetable with Two Rotis

Both Meals for comparison

On the second visit, we ordered three lunch time specials of Rice, Roti with one vegetable curry and one non-vegetable curry.  The curry combinations were Kerla Prawn Curry with Potato Curry, Curry Chicken with Chickpea Curry, Goat Curry with Dhall Curry. I had the prawns which were orange in colour. My potato curry was rather salty.  The curries were all spicy hot. We really needed the glasses of water, never mind that water is not the panacea for 'whoa, this curry is really spicy hot'. 

The place was packed when we arrive and we couldn't get a table. One of the Chilli India staff asked me to go ahead and order and he would take us over to Chillipadi when we were ready. All went well. There was a long queue - we queued up, ordered, paid, took our meals. Then we were escorted upstairs to Chillipadi and given a table on what I call 'the bridge', with a view down to the laneway. A couple of tables here were already occupied so I presume they were in the same situation as us.

Lunch Specials Board

Kerla Prawn Curry, Potato Curry
with Rice and Roti

Three Meals - see description above.

Looking onto Chilli India
from the Chillipadi 'bridge'

Hot .... need Water!

Overall, we like the curries at Chilli India. There is a good range of curries, most of which taste very nice and have a spicy kick. The lunch time specials are a good way to try the range of curries, and at a reasonable price. This is a good place to have in your list of places to go to for lunch.

Monday, 3 September 2012

Review - Chillipadi

Fri, 17th August 2012
and other visits   

Shop OE7 Menzies Alley
Little Lonsdale St

Cuisine: Malaysian, Indian, Asian
Taste Rating: 7.5/10   Value Rating: 7.5/10

Chillipadi on Urbanspoon

I have been to ChilliPadi several times over the years, starting before Chilli India opened up next door to ChilliPadi. Both have the same owner I believe. In fact, when we were at Chilli India earlier this year and there were no tables available,  one of the guys working at Chilli India brought us over to ChilliPadi and gave us a table upstairs, on the "bridge" overlooking Menzies Alley.

In this latest visit to ChilliPadi, I was with a group of ten for lunch. Two persons and I decided to have one of the banquets, while the others opted for individual a la carte dishes.

The $19 per person banquet consisted of entree, three mains and steamed rice. For the entree we chose Seafood Gyozas and deep fried finger foods of Net Pastry Rolls, Mini Spring Rolls, Samosas and Wontons. For the mains, we chose Beef Rendang, Indian Fish Curry and Pad Thai Seafood. 

The seafood gyozas were quite tasty. So were the finger foods although these were not that different to frozen finger foods which you could buy and cook at home, if you could be bothered doing that. The beef rendang was nice with lean beef and a thick gravy with a kick of spiciness. The fish curry had average tasting fish, with a nice spicy gravy. The Pad Thai Seafood was very good with large prawns and this is a dish I would order again. The mains servings were reasonably large; we had enough left over to share with others.

Seafood Gyozas

- Net Pastry Roll, Samosa, Mini Spring Roll, Won Ton

Entree of Finger Foods

Seafood Pad Thai

Beef Rendang

Indian Fish Curry

Banquet for Sharing

The visit prior to this was in May 2012. There were three of us. We  ordered Pad Thai, Thai Roast Duck Curry and Hainanese Chicken Rice.

The Pad Thai with a tamarind sauce was delicious. The serve. however, was not large and the ingredients were somewhat limited. The presentation was great (see photo) with chopped nuts and chilli flakes scattered around the platter instead of mixed in with the noodles.  The bean sprouts were raw and would have been nicer with the 'tails' trimmed.  

The Thai Roast Duck Curry had three nice lean duck slices. Lychees in the curry provided interest. The gravy tasted OK and was chilli hot. Having also eaten curries at Chilli India next door, I find the curries there can give this curry serious competition.

The Hainanese Chicken was served as boneless rolled slices and tasted OK. The chicken rice was average. The soup was nice - it was peppery which is the way I like it.

Pad Thai - good presentation

Thai Roast Duck Curry

Hainanese Chicken Rice

Overall, the food here is reasonably nice. While it is not the most fantastic Malaysian food I have eaten,  to be fair, there is so much competition for Malaysian (and Indian food) in Melbourne that it is hard to stand out. But this is a place I would come back to again.