Chilli Spice (Indian) – Camberley
Located on the famous long stretch of London Road, Chilli Spice is conveniently situated just across the way from the only mosque in the area, and is one of the few Halal options available in an otherwise sparsely populated Muslim community in Camberely.
With the byline “Fine Indian Cuisine & Grill”, we were curious to know whether this really would turn out to be true, or whether this was just another typical balti house content in pawning off a vindaloo curry as a genuine taste of India.
On first impressions, this didn’t seem to be the case particularly given the decor.
Chilli Spice had a touch of refinement to it with prominently bright orange pillars that contrasted against the dark tables and tiled floors.
With a semi-open kitchen to witness the chefs in action, we were certainly looking forward to trying the menu.
It was also encouraging to see a notice indicating the place had a 5/5 Food Hygiene Rating.
We ordered a variety of mocktails that included the Sand Island, which, aside from the slice of orange garnish, didn’t quite deliver on the orange therein.
Traditionally one part pineapple, one part coconut, and one part rum, this Halal version (minus the rum of course) was imbalanced in that the coconut dominated. It also lacked ice, and, therefore, lacked any real kick and excitement.
There was no magic with the Magic Amazon either. There was unanimous agreement that this was the worst drink of the night.
The Passion Tropic was sweet and tangy, but weak in flavour with a lack of strawberry.
The insipid Virgin Mojito, a beverage often sold but seldom got right, sat their flat and meek. Made up of neither sparkling water nor lemonade, it also lacked mint – the very basis of such a drink! Whether the mint leaves were poor quality to begin with, or just not properly bruised before being added is one of those unsolved mysteries. However, a bit more lime and the addition of sparkle might be the remedy here.
The Chilli Spice Mocktail house special had a good balance of flavours with the coconut being the usual main stay offset by a hint of guava. Unfortunately, the spice was lacking making the house special mediocre. Still, this was the best beverage on the night.
Most of these above epitomises the meaning of the saying, “Flattering to deceive!” Truth be told, they all tasted a bit like carton juice; and for the price, we expected far more.
These large, subtly spiced boneless chicken bites were simply amazing.
Soft and succulent, they’re definitely worth getting.
The charcoal cooked Lamb Chops were soft and tender with enough spice to keep things interesting.
However, while we always look forward to trying any Seekh Kebab on a menu, especially those prepared in a tandoor, these, sadly, were poor. Lacking herbs and spice, we all agreed these weren’t worth it.
It should be noted that while all meat is bought fresh, the local Halal butcher can’t regularly replenish stock resulting in the meat being days old at times. Chilli Spice do not use the local butcher guaranteeing fresh meat.
Presented in a hot, sizzling balti, this Tawa Chicken was probably the closest thing to a show stopper Chilli Spice managed.
While we felt as though the large slices of onion detracted from the dish, we enjoyed the hint of tomato. Nonetheless, the spices were somewhat minimal.
So, while we would have preferred more spice in the Tawa Chicken, this Lamb Jalfrezi, which we understand is usually a hot dish to begin with, had whole green chillis (seeds intact), which we’d strongly recommend removing if you intend to enjoy the taste of this dish for what it is.
With large chunks of peppers, a thick, rich sauce, and slices of garlic we might add, this, in the end, was a decent Jalfrezi.
The chicken seem to knock the lamb dishes out of the farm it seems.
There was consensus over the view that this balti dish was the best of the lot with soft, tender chicken, and a spicy sauce, with a hint of lemon to it, that had depth of flavour and packed a wallop.
Fresh tandoori naan is a must with these mains, and these were cooked to perfection.
Not exactly Pilau Rice if rice isn’t cooked in well seasoned stock, as was the case here.
Fresh popadoms and chutney are usually on the house at most places, not here though.
A selection of Gelato ice cream that are, of course, ordered in.
One Lion claimed that these Golab Jamuns reminded him of India!
Whatever the case, kudos to any place that takes the time to freshly prepare and make this classic regional dessert. Warm and amazing with a delicately soft interior and a smooth silky exterior.
There was no skimping on the quality of the ice cream either with, as alluded to above, an array of flavours to choose from.
Here comes some more home made treats. Ras Malai takes time to prepare; so hats off again because the end product was good.
Not too sweet either, though we did think the sauce could have been a little thicker. A fine effort!
This Fantastica, however, wasn’t in-house made. Nevertheless, it was quite something with its assortment of textures.
The interplay between the vanilla and caramel ice cream, and the pieces of soft toffee was extremely good.
All three desserts are highly recommended.
- CHILD SEATING
- JUST EAT
And though the food is fully Halal, there is a prominently large alcohol bar by the entrance.
In the end, Spice Chilli offers traditional Indian food with its own twist. On this basis, we'd certainly recommend a visit if you're in the area.
This isn't your usual local curry house though. We personally saw the chefs working hard in producing authentic curries for one takeaway after another.
What's more, it's worth popping in just for those in-house desserts.
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