Friday 14 September 2007

Chilli Night - Haslemere

Times are a changing, the Inn on the Hill no longer looks about ready to tumble down, cause a landslide. Never looked like the place to secure an interest free loan either which is just as well, its now a trendy wine bar. After an aperitif here we wandered half a mile through the fog to Chilli Night.

Intimate PLACE, bar in one corner then 7 or 8 tables, comfy conservatory style wicker chairs to relax in. Indeed a casual ambience prevailed, the staff numbered 3 and the SERVICE was pleasant and efficient all evening. Proudly showed off their Masterchef 2006 award at the end of a very good meal too.

The house red was spicy, more so than the FOOD of which there was enough to keep the garrison at Krishnapur from starvation. A Mixed Starter included Onion bhaji burger, a melt in the mouth Chicken pakora and a sheekh kebab. Initial hunger pains sated. Then came the mains. Here’s what I ate; a mound of pilau rice, half a mixed vegetable bhaji, a good portion of a mushrooms, both dry and distinct in flavour, and an exquisite Saag Paneer…somehow I managed to squeeze the following onto my plate and into my stomach as well; a well behaved Garlic Chilli Chicken, an almondy Tikka Massala, an excellent zesty Lamb Shaktora, Chicken Bhuna and a late arrival!! Prawn Dhansak.

Chilli Nights selection was a real variety show, Prince Charles would’ve approved. Saag Paneer fit for royalty, super vegetables. At last I had a reason for visting Haslemere. If I land this job in selling cameras, I thought, I’ll go next week!

...Next week turned out to be next month, started work in Jessops, hence return visit, Mum and sis Katy in tow. Mum happy with Prawn Puree, I gnawed my way through succulent Tandoori Chicken quarter. Mains included tangy, Bolognese-a-like Murgi Massala, juicy Lamb Shatkora (FACT: Shatkora = lime, imported from Bangladesh!! not directly surely…can Parcel force arrange that sort of thing?) and a smooth, rich Korma. Veg included another Saag Paneer with delicious cauliflower cheese cream sauce plus good Mix Veg Curry.

...So I stop off on Sunday train back from London, footsore after walking Regents canal path. Pleasingly busy. Highlight a magnificent puffed roti, crisp on the outside doughy within. Achari Murgh, Chicken with pickling spices tasted refreshingly zesty and revitalising as did my vegetable dish. Brave little Button Mushrooms lightly fried with fresh tomato and spring onion. A fine ending to a weekend in which I took in the sights and sounds of the British Model Railway Club of Great Britain's annual expo at Ally Pally (Yes I did pack my anorak), as well as the hustle, bustle and smells of Bangla Town.

...Visited before another trip to the capital. I began with a rather neutral sheek kebab followed up by Lamb Tikka Jalfrezi balti, a bit of a mouthful, particularly when served in pan size of a bird bath! Pretty riotous blend of green chillies, spring onion, ground coriander, peppery and firey. However, Bhindi Bhajee, a bit simple - okra and tomato plonked in a medium curry sauce. Same went for Begun Tomato (substitute okra for aubergine). The Lamb Vindaloo, sharp and bitter tasting concluded a decent but unimaginative meal.

...Chilli Night is a regular and deservedly popular curry club haunt. Soon September's visit came around. Following a slightly longer pause than normal (a pause usually filled chomping on poppadoms, commenting on the strength of the lime pickle, viscosity of the mango chutney etc…) starters arrived followed closely by…poppadoms. I was enjoying first sustenance since a rather crumbly tuna sandwich at a bowling alley several hours earlier to care. Half an flat onion bhajia up to scratch but not a patch on a Pakora, delicate batter coating a succulent morsel of Chicken or Chicken Tikka covered in a thicker than yer average, spicy yoghurt marinade. Good savouries then 2 / 3 excellent curries. No.1 Garlic Chilli Chicken. Slices of tandoori chicken in dryish masala where sour chillies, sulphurous garlic, fried onions, peppers entwined to salivating effect. No. 2 Lamb Shatkora. Best yet. Quick, zingy at first, meat soaking up mellow limey bitterness after. I’d return to have these dishes alone – all to myself! Only a Shrimp Jalfrezi, bit up front, confused. Mild Vegetable Bhaji, distinctive, flavoursome. Tarka Dall, bold buttery, of ideal glutinous consistency. Parfumed yellow rice soaked up, supported meal very ably. Hats off to the chefs for demonstrating a real confidence in their cooking.

In SUMMARY the menu barely diverges from traditional curry but they do it well, one is always assured of quantity at the very least.

Willp2328 score: 6.5/10

No comments: