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Chilli Chutney Restaurant

Chilli Chutney Restaurant

Issue 70 July 2010

Review by Mahmud Hasan

I’m not sure which left the more lasting impression: the actual dining experience or meeting the owner of this smart restaurant in south London. With an abundance of international cuisines all along the High Street, Chilli Chutney stands out, thanks to the owner, Neelofar Khan. I walked in, wife and children in tow, into a sparkling Pakistani restaurant in downtown Streatham. The wooden floors, tables and chairs gave a sprightly appearance and on the walls were sumptuous photographs of food available at the restaurant. The bamboo plants gave the interior an alfresco feel.

We were greeted by a middle-aged waiter whose smile could have been more fulsome. We sat ourselves at a round table and very shortly Neelofar made an entrance accompanied by a big smile and a warm welcome. We got talking about life, politics and children’s education (her’s were all at university). She then brought over the menu. Chilli Chutney specialises in Lahori cuisine, so expect a lot of ginger with many of the dishes. The chefs have been specially trained and brought over from Pakistan so there is a definite authenticity to the dishes – which explains why the restaurant has won awards and is the choice caterer for the Pakistan High Commission.

Within minutes of ordering our starters the beautifully presented mango lassis arrived – thick and creamy, we drank with gleesome delight. After the mandatory papadoms and chutney, the starters arrived - plates of meat and vegetable samosas (hand-made in home-made pastry), and a platter of fish kebabs (tender and succulent) and golden paneer pakoras. The starters were tasty enough to leave us wanting more, but the main course awaited.

Our selection of mixed grills (crispy and moist) made a sizzling entrance; we also had a chicken hara masala – a dish of unusual appearance due to the green spices and fresh coriander leaves; a korma, matar paneer and tarka daal (which we could not get enough of), rice and a variety of naan breads. By now, we were all well and truly ‘stuffed’ but we just had to have a taste of the alluring deserts: ice-cool shahi keer and warm gulab jamun.

Neelofar joined us again and we spoke about her campaigning activities. She really is a dynamo and her restaurant is bound to increase in popularity.


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