On a venture to find a delightful Indian restaurant, I stumbled upon Chilli India and I am very glad that I did. Located in one of the many corridors of the Melbourne Central Shopping Centre, Chilli India is not much of a looker. But what it lacks in glitz and glamour, it makes up more than adequately in its food and pricing.
I was warmly invited into the territory of Chilli India by the aroma of freshly cooked Indian food. We found ourselves a table closer to the Elizabeth Street exit. A friendly waiter came and greeted us with thick menus in his hands. The menu held many surprises. Chilli India is a primarily a South Indian restaurant offering many South Indian decadent delicacies. Picking something suitable from the extensive menu was nothing short of a dilemma. My dining partners found themselves in equally daunting dilemmas. After much discussion, we finally placed our orders and eagerly awaited their arrival.
Our food was soon delivered with a flourish on our table. I zealously broke a piece of my chicken dosa and tentatively tasted it. Dosa is a hugely popular South Indian dish which is essentially a crispy savoury crepe filled with varied stuffing. My chicken dosa had curried chicken and veggie as stuffing and was served with 3 kinds of dips. The crispy crepe easily broke off in my hands. My tastebuds hungrily sampled every piece of dosa wrapped around delicious chicken and veggie and dipped in one of the three lovely dips. Not at all spicy, the dosa was simply delicious.
One of the dinning partners had ordered naan and prawn masala curry. The naan was soft and filling. The prawn masala curry was spicy and tasty with small and succulent prawns in it. Dipping the naan in the prawn masala curry and throwing the piece into the mouth was indeed a pleasurable experience. Having water handy is an excellent idea while savouring the spicy prawn masala curry.
My other dining partner had ordered naan stuffed with mashed potato and okra masala curry. Okra is also known as lady's fingers, bhindi or gumbo and is a flowering plant in the mallow family. Okra has many health benefits and can be eaten in numerous ways including raw, marinated in salads, deep fried or used in soups and curries. My dining partner described the okra curry as thick and bursting with flavours. The stuffed naan was savoury and seamlessly complemented the okra curry.
Chilli India serves Indian hawker type food which is freshly cooked onsite. You can witness the chefs busy cooking your orders in an open kitchen. The food can be quite spicy so feel free to request the waiter to turn down the heat a notch. The steaming Indian options on the menu will never allow you to get bored.
The food is fulsome and flavoursome. The prices are very reasonable with all the mains priced under $15. Nice corridor seating with patio heaters makes for comfortable sitting. The unpretentious environment is conducive of conversation and laughter. The location is in the heart of Melbourne.
Chilli India (Image by Joya D)
Chilli India ticks many boxes and offers a wonderful rendezvous point for sharing tasty bites with family, friends and colleagues. Chilli India is a place you will return to again if you have a penchant for delectable Indian cuisine, relaxed vibe and highly affordable prices.