It doesn’t take more than “Chili..” to excite the TexMex buffs in us to hop into our automobiles and sail to the other end of town for a bite. Which is why, when we were requested to review the lunch at Chili’s – having especially been given a run down on the menu by Chef Abhijeet, we were eager to dig in. We’ve relished the Southern-flavored fare in Chili’s outlets in the US before and so it wasn’t entirely without reason that we were a little too excited.
Located bang on 100 feet road in bustling Indiranagar, the restaurant has a bright, airy and colourful vibe. The seating is casual and comfortable, and there are large-screen TVs around if you’re looking to catch up on the sport of the day. The restaurant is split into different seating areas, a bar on the first floor, and an option to sit outdoors too. Portions are large and the service is friendly and helpful.
We requested a mixed platter of appetizers so that we could try a little bit of everything. The platter made its appearance shortly, along with three creamy sauces – ranch dressing, chipotle ranch and avocado ranch. Now we had been really craving tangy, fresh buttermilk Ranch dressing but this one tasted more like something out of a bottle, though it was nice to have three variations to dunk our appetizers into.
The vegetarian Texas Cheese Poppers that came in the platter were crisp outside and cheesy inside, as any good popper should be, but sadly, a trifle too salty for our liking. The Wings over Buffalo were literally finger-licking good..deep fried wings and drumettes tossed in spicy Buffalo sauce. These would give any Andhra chicken dish stiff competition on the Scoville scale! The Chicken Crispers, also deep fried, were perfectly crispy, with a light breading that went well with a honey-mustard sauce served alongside.
We also tried a Smoked Salmon salad chosen from the Chili’s special quarterly menu. We were warned that this would be very salty, and it was definitely so. Generous chunks of smoked salmon were placed atop a juicy onion slaw and garnished with little nibbles of avocado. This was served with some tortilla chips. A very interesting dish that perhaps needs a little more work to balance the flavours and saltiness.
We also enjoyed the vegetarian Southwestern rolls, these had the typical Tex-Mex combination of black beans and corn, with some spinach and mushrooms thrown in.
Another winner was the unusual nachos that were more like a Mexican pizza than the pedestrian pile of fried tortilla chips with toppings that most places serve. The base of these nachos was an excellent chewy-crisp tortilla that had been covered in at least two kinds of grated cheese, and grilled. The tortilla tasted like it had been handmade and had a lovely, multi-grain texture to it. Served with the classic accompaniments of cool sour cream, guacamole and pico de gallo salsa, this was definitely the dish of the day for us.
We were almost full with just the array of appetizers by then and were looking for a lighter main-course option. We decided on the Southwest Caesar Salad (vegetarian) and the New Orleans Jambalaya. The salad was light and crisp, the Parmesan Cheese shards on top adding just the right amount of pep to the mildly dressed lettuce. We had requested for a mix of veges to pump up the salad and it came with big wedges of yellow squash, which we aren’t particularly fans of, apart from broccoli florets, carrots and some tortilla strips for crunch.
The Jambalaya was liberally spiced with Cajun seasoning, and the flavours of paprika, garlic and pepper stood out. Bacon slivers, succulent prawns, bits of chicken and lots of veggies made this a tasty dish, but the rice seemed more like a fried rice, with each grain separate, rather than a regular jambalaya where the rice has a slightly softer and creamier texture from being cooked in the stock.
We aren’t ones to say no to dessert on any given day, so we decided on a Peach Bread Pudding, which hit all the right notes after the heaviness of the fare preceding it. Served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and drizzled with passion fruit syrup, it was surely a surprise winner for us. The pudding was baked to perfection and was neither too bready nor eggy – and the addition of peaches was a pleasant change.
Chili’s Indiranagar has a special quarterly menu to choose from, apart from the regular menu, and we recommend that you play around with your tastes and choices and pick from the variety on offer. There are ample choices for vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike – although those who don’t care for mushrooms have little choice but to munch through them through many dishes in the vegetarian spread. But we liked that the menu hasn’t been painstakingly Indianized save for the Tandoori Chicken & Bombay Burger.
Plot 1135, HAL Stage-2, 100 Feet Road, Indiranagar, Bangalore
Phone – 080 42352526
Valet Parking, Credit Cards
Accepted Meal for two – Rs. 1500 approx