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Sparkle

(Cameo) – Chillies – South Woodham Ferrers

In the past I’ve reviewed various Indian restaurants explored by my friend John and me. We have an excuse to try Indian restaurants while our wives do a ‘ladies wot dine’ group every month or so, and while my wife, sadly, no longer dines with the group, I’m always up for a curry.

This time we thought we’d try ‘Chillies’ which is one of several Indian restaurants that serve South Woodham Ferrers, upstairs above a bathroom showroom, and round the corner from the Nawab – which I’ve reviewed in the past.

Outside Chillies @ Tolfalas.com

Previously the space was occupied by Town Council offices.

Outside Chillies @ Tolfalas.com

As I mentioned, it’s upstairs, which is inconvenient for less able bodied diners. Inside it’s glitzy, vast mirrors suggest more space than is present, and the tables are a red sparkly ‘stone’ material, as you often see high end kitchen worktops. It works, in a glitzy sort of way, and doubtless saves on the cost of laundering tablecloths.

We were among the first to dine, on a chilly Thursday evening, and were shown to our table. The menu is interesting, promising ‘Indian Fusion’; time was the menu featured Ostrich and Kangaroo, but these days the Fusion represents half and half dishes – although they still show Crocodile (subject to availability).

So it could be a case of “I’ll have a Crocodile Madras and… well you know the rest”.

We were less ambitious, my friend John ordered a Vegetable Samosa to start while I enjoyed the Tandoori Lamb Chops as a starter.

Tandoori Lamb Chop Starter at Chillies @ Tolfalas.com

For mains we’d both decided on Chicken Tikka Biryani, but the waiter offered us a special ‘Chicken Tandoori Biryani”, he then asked if we liked chickpeas and green chilli, we did indeed and they appeared in the delivered dish.

Something that didn’t seem quite right about our main courses was the presentation, normally Chillies dishes are accompanied by swirls of sauce – usually spelling the word ‘Chillies’. You’ll have seen the arty swirls on TV chef programmes, and you can just make out Chillies on my starter plate.

Well our main courses were not only missing the arty swirls, but they both looked as though they’ve been emptied from a takeaway carton. Maybe the chef had prepared them for a takeaway order by mistake.

Tandoori Chicken Biryani at Chillies @ Tolfalas.com

No matter, the food itself was delicious, the green chilli gave a tasty heat, but was sliced finely enough that it didn’t attack, but gave a warming glow.

And the portions were huge! We weren’t quite able to finish the mains, or the delicious Peshwari Naan we’d ordered, and John was disappointed to have to skip dessert, he has a sweet tooth.

The total, including a few beers between us, was a tad over twenty quid a head, and the restaurant was filling up as we left.

We have one more South Woodham Ferrers ‘Indian’ to try, but we will definitely be returning to Chillies.

Rating: ★★★★½