A young boy, on a visit to his mother’s ancestral home in Meerut (North Western India), is left fascinated by a bright yellow find. So contrastingly different from the usual fiery reds and deep greens, this prized yellow chili happened to fall in the hands of a boy destined to be arguably India’s most celebrated chefs, Sanjeev Kapoor himself.
So cherished was this find that many decades later, Sanjeev Kapoor opened up a whole chain of restaurants called Yellow Chili. Where Signature and Options are the chef’s ode to Indian fine-dining, Yellow Chili aims to be your cushy neighbourhood retreat for some seriously good, home-style Indian dishes.
The interiors are warm and welcoming, in the very apt shades of pale yellow and feature ethnic memorabilia from the Western states of India.
We were cordially greeted by restaurant manager Mr. Ashraf and let him take over with the menu ordering. Being a huge fan of chaat, I was rather intrigued to find a non-vegetarian chicken variation on the menu, and added this to our order.
Tangy yet spicy with just the right amount of sweetness sprinkled in, Yellow Chili’s Chicken Chaat is a very clever take on the premise of Indian street food, yet with the addition of chicken (and given the serving portion is generously huge!), this order can easily be had as a main-course all by itself.
Our starters round also included a hearty platter of mixed grills, each portion soft, juicy and succulent yet each letting out a completely different mix of amalgamated spices. The platter includes Yellow Chili’s most popular grills which include Murg Angar Bedgi, Chandi Kaliyan, Pudina Seekh, Tandoori Basil Prawns and Kaali Mirch Methi Fish Tikka.
For drinks, we sipped on Yellow Chili’s Masala Mint Cooler, Peru Pyala and Blue Sparkle. If you are a fan of ‘chatpatta’ (spicy-sweet-tangy), I strongly recommend the Masala Mint Cooler. Refreshingly tangy-sweet, I can easily have this by the pitcher-full!
For our main-course, Hubby insisted we try their Bhuna Gosht. A very rich lamb curry with a semi-dry, fiery hot gravy, this classic meaty dish goes perfectly well with the Laccha Parathas that were served on the side.
We also tried a chicken dish, the Lazeez Murg Tikka Masala. Featuring tender boneless chicken pieces that have been basted in a traditional clay oven and served in a decadently creamy gravy, this curry is very similar to Butter Chicken and was therefore my little girl’s favorite from the night.
My personal favorite from the main-course was Sanjeev Kapoor’s iconic Shyaam Savera. Translating to ‘Evening-Morning’, this artistic dish features stuffed cottage cheese balls which have been cut in half to reveal a contrasting interior, and is served in a deep green spinach gravy.
We grew up watching Sanjeev Kapoor on Zee TV, and my mother was an ardent fan and still makes Shyaam Savera at home. I managed to find the Zee TV episode where Sanjeev Kapoor first introduced Shyaam Savera! Do have a look:
Absolutely stuffed after a very filling, satiating meal, we were served Zauk E Shahi for dessert. This traditional Indian treat has been modified to look like a modern-day layered parfait and features tiny bits of Gulab Jamun, sweet toasted bread and is smothered with a very generous dose of thick, sweetened milk that has been slow-cooked and reduced for ultimate decadence.
My little girl got to indulge in a warm Walnut Brownie with Ice-Cream all by herself, and although I didn’t manage to get a spoonful, I can vouch it must have been pretty amazing as this fussy little eater cleared up the plate in now time!
Overall, Yellow Chili was a lovely treat. The fuss-free dishes are simple yet delicious, and the casual, laid-back ambiance is the perfect setting for catching up with friends and family for loud, cheerful banter.
We visited the Yellow Chili branch in Burjuman Mall. They also have a branch near Dragon Mall and in JLT. Do give them a call on 04 4535242 for more details.