Chillies West End: Food Review

GUM was delighted to be invited to Chillies West End, an exciting Indian located on Woodlands Road, to promote the new student deal they have just launched. The invitation coincided nicely with our new food and drink section, which seeks to promote affordable dining for all us broke foodies out there. The deal sees students walk out with 10% off all sit-in meals from Sunday to Thursday, and 10% off take-away throughout the week. A valid student card must be shown on order.

On entering Chillies one is greeted with a warm decor with dark woods and brick inlays offering a casual yet chic ambience. The open kitchen particularly grabbed my attention given the energetic cooking style Indian cuisine offers. The staff were friendly and prompt, with our waiter gladly offering suggestions and explanations of the origin of certain dishes as we sat down to order.The venue has a BYOB policy, but on the occasion that you decide not to drink the smoothies and lassi’s are exceptional. We ordered a mango lassi and a pineapple and ginger smoothie to start, the aforementioned being rich and bursting with flavour, and the smoothie wonderfully balanced with a good kick of ginger. They were so good we ordered a third smoothie with the unusual combination of banana, pistachio and yoghurt, which didn’t disappoint.

 

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The starters offer a range of tastes and textures with a varied origin. The Desi Chilli Puri, the combination of spiced chickpeas on a crunchy pancake was well balanced with the tart mixed pickle. This was followed by two standout dishes, the house speciality of Charcoal lamb Chop, chargrilled with a warm heat cooked in a traditional tandoori oven. It is the chef’s own recipe which draws from North Indian cuisine that is characteristically more dry than the curries we normally associate with Indian here in the UK.

Charcoal Lamb Chops
The Salmon Tika followed, a delightful blend of perfectly cooked salmon which was not overpowered by the hot tika spice.The Salmon was sourced from the famous Scottish fishmongers McCallum of Trune, and had the characteristic buttery texture of high quality fish.For the main course we were given a varied selection of curries from the mild and creamy Dal Makhani to a fiery lamb karahi. Indian curries vary drastically in flavour and spice levels, with us in the UK altering and adopting traditional recipes to our milder tastes. A prime example of this which is offered at Chillies is buttered chicken, a mild and creamy curry with a slightly sweet after-taste and a strong presence of cardamom. The Dal Makhani, a slow cooked black lentil dish originating in the Punjab region of India, had great depth of flavour, which went nicely with the Gosht Saag which consisted of tender chunks of lamb in creamy spinach. Although the Gosht Saag lacked the expected intensity of flavour and fullness, the quality of the lamb did show.When asked for a spicier option I was a little disappointed to encounter the Lamb Karahi, which was a deal less fiery than I was hoping in, say, he form of a vindaloo, but once again the variety available allows choice for everyone’s tastes. A Karahi normally has less cream and ghee (the emulsified butter used throughout Indian cooking) which was a nice relief from some of the previous dished which had filled me thoroughly. The fresh green chilli and ginger added to the dish a delightful fragrant aroma.

 

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Alongside the meal buttered Naan bread was provided as well as fragrant rice, an essential accompanimet. Traditionally in India food is consumed using only the hands, specifically the right hand, using the flatbread such as naan or roti to scoop up the curry using the fingertips. Not only is it an enjoyable way of eating, although this may take some practice, I believe it also enhances the pleasure of eating Indian and acknowledges the traditional aspect of such a well known cuisine.For dessert we were offered another Indian speciality of Rasmalai, a sweet milk pudding swimming in scented cold milk with pistachios and cardamom. A refreshing and light way to end the meal. Chillies also has a Southside take away branch on Kilmarnock.

 

Words: Alexandra Embiricos

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