Restaurant review: Chillies, Brick Lane, E1

Chillies in Brick Lane

Chillies in Brick Lane - Credit: Archant

Heading for a curry in Brick Lane is a bit of a rite of passage, such a name it has as London’s balti hotspot.

And as the unwary diner strolls down the narrow street, swarms of eager proprietors try to entice them into their lair.

In fact, making it all the way down to our booking at Chillies was bit of a struggle, but in the end we fought through the loud neon signage. How does a restaurant stand out amid a sea of ­curry houses?

Chillies certainly don’t do it by the decor, which is textbook Indian restaurant interior, nor by the service; which was fairly brusque and disorganised, despite having a whole heap of staff.

But you don’t come to Brick Lane for a posh meal, you come for flavour packed dishes with heady aromas and Chillies has more than a few of these.

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The chicken tikka starter was good, if a touch on the bland side, but the mixed starter was much better – the smokey seekh kebab and lamb tikka absolutely packed with zingy character.

As was our chicken chilli masala, bags of ginger and garlic pep, although beware the green chillies which had me seriously mopping my brow.

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After that, the balti chicken was a bit tame, but great for something milder, generous chunks of chicken smothered in delicate garlic sauce with coriander notes.

But pick of the bunch was the lamb saagwalla – good quality meat plunged into a creamy, yet potent spinach concoction.

It’s not fine dining, and it’s pretty hard to get the waiter’s attention, but once you do the food comes out thick and fast, and its mainly very good.

Next time your heading that way for a curry, head for the dayglo Chillies sign.

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