Sunday, December 26, 2010

Review: The Yellow Chilli Restaurant, Pune - Haven for spice lovers

The Yellow Chilli restaurant is situated in Lane 7 in Koregaon Park in Pune and is part of the Sanjeev kapoor brand. It means I suppose that Sanjeev Kapoor is the chef here and all recipes must be by him. The place has ample seating outside, and some inside. The place is somewhat crowded, perhaps due to many tables and people always walking around to and from the buffet tables. We went there on a holiday. This was my second visit to the place and some people in our party were going there for the fifth or sixth time.

The restaurant offers a lunch buffet for 375 without taxes, buffet + one soft drink costs 475, and then there is an option of unlimited beer with buffet for 899. The most irritating thing I find here is that they stop you at the entrance and ask you to fill out a form to write your name and your cell phone number, maybe ask some questions. This is kind of a dampener, 'coz you are all eager to go in and be seated and be wowed with something nice. There is an excess of people in various uniforms, and it is difficult to guage what they really do. After we were seated, we were offered the first two options, but not the third one of the unlimited beer etc. Perhaps they did not consider us able to shell out 899 per head? It is difficult to figure out the idiosyncracies of hotel staff, like why they do certain things.. Anyway, moving on..

The food options are limited here in my opinion. First of all, this is pure Indian food only, and there is no whiff of any alternate cuisine. There is one appetizer - veg or non-veg served at the table. For vegetarians, this has been some kind of fried potato both times -- a gnocchi sized small potato mixture deep fried. They have some salads etc. and a chat counter which is so-so. They generally have 4-5 vegetable curries and 3-4 meat/fish etc. dishes. The preparation is OK, and every thing tastes different, which is no mean feat, I suppose. The food is Very hot and Very spicy. I think they cater more to the local palette which seems to be their customer base. My own heat tolerance being low, I can hardly partake anything here without sniffling or without tears in my eyes. I think smaller children might find it tough too.

One factor that I use to guage any place is how long the food stays with you, or you have a 'heavy' feeling. I am not sure if any of you noticed, but sometimes you can eat a LOT, and then be hungry in 3-4 hours, and sometimes you eat very little, and still not want breakfast or lunch the next day. The food at Yellow Chilli seemed in this category. This could be due to a lot of oil or butter being used, or 'soda', or whatever.

Some other things were a bit 'wierd'. There were people taking soiled, half eaten plates to the buffet and using their 'used' hands to take more food on those plates. I think the restaurant should make an attempt to educate people about acceptable behavoir, at least in the interest of hygiene. It is common to write things on the menu or signs such as - use a fresh plate every time etc.

We were given a feedback form to fill out at the end, and the person kept hovering around us all the time. After submitting the card, he stood right there and read it all, and then questioned us on each point. Since I was in no mood to be given the third degree, I politely declined to explain, but the man persisted and kept questioning us. We finally had to ignore him and make an exit. This behavior was ridiculous. I think Mr.Sanjeev kapoor really needs to teach some soft skills to his employees.

Overall, the Yellow Chilli is a nice place if you are in the mood for hot and spicy Indian food, in a pleasant environment, but there are several other better options in this price range.

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