SOME LIKE IT HOT: REVIEW OF THE CHILLI PICKLE GUILDFORD
When it comes to authentic Indian cuisine, one restaurant has rightfully cemented its place as one of the best restaurants that I have ever encountered – The Chilli Pickle. This exciting offering has long had a cult following in Brighton, where owners Dawn and Alun opened their flagship restaurant in 2008. Fast forward eleven years and a second restaurant is now hitting the headlines in the beautiful town of Guildford, deep in the Surrey Hills.
The menu is inspiring and bursting with flavours, many arising from Dawn and Alun’s adventures throughout India whilst using their own unique interpretation. The result is a stylish and sophisticated restaurant that reflects the vibrant culture and captures the essence of the respective Indian regions. Fish, mutton and spice feature heavily throughout the choices but with an added touch of sweetness and the freshest produce possible. I was given the chance to review the Guildford restaurant for The Surrey Splendour. With the promise of a unique dining experience, I grabbed it with both hands.
Last Friday we set off on our culinary adventure through the winding roads of Sussex and Surrey. When we arrived at The Chilli Pickle we were ushered to our table by Graham, who was incredibly helpful and on hand to offer menu recommendations. In fact, all the staff were very attentive and friendly which really added to the dining experience. For drinks I chose a local Sparkling wine – Goring Brut from The Wiston Estate in Steyning and Mr Splendour went for a delightful Hugonell Rioja Reserva, both were exceptional choices.
When we came to order food, we opted for Graham’s recommendations. We start with Pappadoms which came with a sensational chilli jam, lime pickle, fresh onion salad and the most amazing subtle mango chutney that I have ever tried. We quickly moved on to Tarka Tiger Prawns which were toasted in garlic & cumin with potato puri and served with vindaloo ketchup & herb chutney. This was another outstanding dish; I simply cannot fault the food. Not content with two starters we continued with another two dishes from the menu, Tandoori Horseradish Paneer which was Indian cheese marinated in fresh horseradish with a curry leaf mayo and a green mango salad. Finally, we finished the starters with Firecracker Chicken, this is not for the fainthearted and I wouldn’t recommend it if you don’t like a bit of heat, that said, if spice is your thing then these little beauties are not to be missed. Yes, they are hot but there is a subtle hint of sweetness in the flavour that leaves you wanting more.
After a slight breather we moved on to the mains, I opted for Old Delhi Butter Chicken with Pilau Rice, an inventive tandoori dish bursting with unique flavours such as tomato, honey and garam masala. Mr Splendour went for the Sigri Surf & Turf and I must admit that I had a lot of his meal too, it was too nice to refuse. The dish consisted of the most spectacular charred Sambhar prawns, red chicken tikka, jeera lamb chop, chicken pepper seekh, cumin herb naan and a smoked aubergine crush, again we couldn’t fault these dishes. The thing that has impressed us throughout the meal is the freshness of the produce and the lack of ghee oil in the dishes, unlike a lot of other Indian restaurants, none of the dishes at The Chilli Pickle leave you with that overly leaden indigestible feeling.
To finish the evening, I opted for a Kerala Coffee, which consisted of sweet milky coffee and cardamom, to add a bit of drama to the meal, the coffee get poured from a hot cup into a glass at the table and it was sensational. A perfect end to a perfect meal. The Chilli Pickle can be summed up in one sentence. Stunning food, authentic flavours and superb service. This place ticks all the boxes.
219 High Street, Guildford, GU1 3BJ
Tel: 01483 388101