The Chilli Pickle in Guildford review: It’s nothing like your typical curry house and this is why

September 13, 2018
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Starving and looking for a good place to tuck into your favourite chicken tikka massala or rogan josh on a lazy Friday night?

Don’t go to The Chilli Pickle in Guildford .

Hungry and searching for an Indian restaurant to blow you away with the most inventive, exquisite food that you will never forget?

Book a table immediately at The Chilli Pickle in Guildford.

The town centre eatery, which opened at the top of the High Street in July (replacing Jackson and Rye ), is nothing like your typical curry house.

Founded in Brighton in 2008 by Alun and Dawn Sperring, the restaurant is the second branch in the family-run chain and it is certainly something extraordinary.

Laura’s feast at The Chilli Pickle

The menu:

You won’t find a sloppy butter chicken or a mediocre lamb bhuna on the menu.

Instead, diners will be able to choose from a list (which changes every three to four months) of intriguing and exciting twists on classic Indian street food.

Unsure what we were getting ourselves into, my dad and I popped along to the unconventional restaurant for dinner.

Welcomed by the most passionate and friendly waiters, we took a trendy corner booth towards the back of the restaurant and soaked up the lavish yellow and turquoise decor.

We did have a sneak peek at the menu before we left the house but it made us none the wiser as we just couldn’t picture what the dishes would look (or taste) like.

One half of the menu

First impressions:

However, when the food arrived in front of our grumbling tummies, not only were our eyes overwhelmed with the most appealing vibrant colours, our noses were burning with bewilderment.

Neither of us had ever been so excited, yet at the same time incredulous, over a plate of food – and it was an incredible position to be in.

Recommended by our experienced waiter, we started with mixed onion pakora and pani puri – the two most authentic street food snacks in India.

Dad’s pakora (£5.95) was similar to an onion bhaji but better – and it was a generous size portion too.

Mixed onion pakora

The crispy batter bragged a much lighter, dare I say it healthier, consistency and the accompanying fresh mango and mint chutney took classic to a whole new exotic level.

His tastebuds had never been so flabbergasted.

But it was my pani puri (£6) which stole the show.

The bite-size crispy shells were filled with a potato and chickpea concoction so naturally I expected it to taste quite heavy and somewhat comfort food.

I couldn’t have been so wrong.

Once I poured a little tamarind water and chilli into each shell and popped one whole in my mouth (I wasn’t being greedy, that’s what the waiter told me to do), the most explosive, astonishing sensation quivered across my body.

Pani puri

The mini firecracker bestowed a rejuvenating, fresh taste and texture and it was one of the most phenomenal foods I have ever tasted. It was genious.

At this point, our initial skepticism had vanished and we were more enthusiastic than ever.

Main course:

For our mains, our eyes were certainly bigger than our bellies, yet we didn’t let that stop us from devouring the fantastic flavoursome feast.

Dad went effectively for what was a meat-lovers dream; sigri chilli pickle mixed grill.

Comprising of a masala lamb chop, red chicken tikka, Awadhi chicken tikka and pepper chicken seekh, each chunk of quality meat was soaked in vivacious spices – but it wasn’t too hot to handle.

Sigri chilli pickle mixed grill

The chefs are happy to tone up or down the spice level to meet individual needs, plus as most of the deep fried items are made with rice flour, many of the dishes are naturally gluten free.

At £18 and being the most expensive dish on the menu, the meat did not come on its on – far from it.

Delivered on a large silver tray, it was joined by an onion salad, spicy gravy, smoked aubergine riatta, mango chutney and a soft and fluffy coriander cumin butter naan.

We both naively ordered sides of rice but we hardly touched them as our mains were mighty.

While dad was tucking into his meat banquet, I went for a completely animal-free platter – ammachi sadhy, £12.95 .

I’m not vegan but I was intrigued by every element that made up the dish (of which I cannot pronounce) and I was not disappointed when my silver tray too arrived before my eager eyes.

Ammachi sadhy (vegan)

As I said it was an enticing platter and consisted of half a dozen carefully put together sweet and savoury components, each with a different punch of flavour.

The weird and wonderful concoctions included red rice idiappam noodles dusted with shaved coconut, ginger and potato sambhar, medhu vada (lentil doughnut), roasted chilli and peanut chutney, banana fry and sour lemon pickle.

It was chef Sabu’s childhood favourite banana leaf set meal, so I had high hopes – and let’s just say I was bowled over.

Even though each individual element offered a very unique sensation to my tastebuds – from the sourness of the pickle, the sweetness of the banana and the kick from the curry – the flavours all seemed to harmonise.

The medhu vada looked just like the mini doughnuts you get from a fairground, they had the same texture too, but was completely savoury.

The banana fritters were the complete opposite – so sweet – and a bit too syrupy for my liking.

The rice noodles were plain, however once I dipped them in the creamy fragrant sambhar, they came to life.

There may have been perhaps just one too many elements going on – flavour, texture and taste-wise, but needless to say I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Dessert:

Both full to the brim, we still perused the pudding menu which featured just a handful of options including ice cream, yoghurt and the hot Indian curd dumplings – those ones you always see at a curry house but never order – gulab jaman.

We only fancied something light so we went for the chilli glazed pineapple, £6.50, and I’m pleased I squeezed it in.

A thick coal roasted wedge of fresh pineapple was drenched in a sticky chilli and stem ginger glaze and topped with a wonderful scoop of coconut sorbet.

It was superbly sweet yet refreshing and the perfect way to end our epic Chilli Pickle adventure.

Chilli glazed pineapple

What we tried:

Starter:

Mixed onion pakora, £5.95

Pani puri, £6

Main:

Sigri chilli pickle mixed grill, £18

Ammachi sadhya, £12.95

Dessert:

Chilli glazed pineapple, £6.50

Ginger and potato sambhar

How to book a table at The Chilli Pickle in Guildford:

Address: High Street, Guildford, GU1 3BJ

Telephone: 01483 388101

Website: thechillipickle.com/restaurant/guildford

Opening times: Mon-Tues 12pm-3pm and 6pm-10pm, Wed-Fri 12pm-3pm and 6pm-10.30pm, Sat 12pm-10.30pm and Sun 12.30pm-9.30pm

Dress code: Casual

Parking: Pay and display car park one minute away

Article source: https://www.getsurrey.co.uk/whats-on/food-drink-news/chilli-pickle-guildford-review-its-15145328


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