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New Oriental eatery is Mahim's latest attraction

In a locality that is strapped for popular Oriental eateries, And Chillies make an impressive entry. The lack of competition draws a crowd, but it’s the flavours that win us over

And chillies, Mahim
Food: Very good
Service: Prompt
Ambiance: Oriental

If you plan to drop by And Chillies, use your GPS rather than calling the restaurant for directions, which sent us on a wild- goose chase even though we know Mahim like the back of our hand. Keep Canossa High School as your landmark, as the restaurant lies opposite the school.

The Balinese Chicken Satay boasted of great food and a fine presentation
The Balinese Chicken Satay boasted of great food and a fine presentation. Pics/Sayyed Sameer Abedi

Asian inspiration
Having located it, we were facing a tacky exterior of black and red, akin to a bar. But on entering, we realised that we had erroneously judged a restaurant by its facade. Inside stood smiling staff who welcomed us to the ground-plus-one-storey eatery with minimalist interiors, a soothing colour palette of light wood flooring and cream walls, and a décor interspaced with figures of calming Buddhas.

The Hot Chocolate Brownie had just the right hint of bitter
The Hot Chocolate Brownie had just the right hint of bitter

The seating arrangement consisted of wooden tables and brown chairs/sofas, as also low seating that looked like tables for children/Lilliputians. We assume the latter replicated the traditional Far-Eastern system of floor seating while maintaining comfort by keeping one above ground level. The new joint was already popular with seats filling up before 9 pm.

As we skimmed through the menu we were impressed that certain dishes had been marked with flags to help identify the country of their origin. We spotted dishes from Burma, Thailand, Malaysia and Japan. Pricing was simple with entire sections bearing the same price save for a tiny difference based on whether one opted for the vegetarian/non-vegetarian version within each section.

The Pad Thai meal in a bowl was lipsmackingly good and sufficed for two.
The Pad Thai meal in a bowl was lipsmackingly good and sufficed for two.

Bang for the buck
We began with the Balinese Chicken Satay (Rs 255 minus cumulative service tax and service charge), which was beautifully plated on white, with a side of delicious peanut sauce, and salad, made from a carrot, and shaped like a rose. The food was visually appealing while the chicken was tender, mildly spiced and was complimented with the sauce.

In the appetisers, we ordered the Burnt Basil Chilly (with Paneer: Rs 235). The Thai style paneer was tossed in onions, garlic and chilly. The spicy flavours added bite, while the natural sweetness of paneer was soothing. The balanced combination made this dish a winner. The portions of both starters were large enough to whet the appetite for a group of three.

Next, we chose the bowl meal of Pad Thai (with Prawns: Rs 325), and the honest server mentioned this dish was sufficient for two. The meal consisted of wok-tossed sticky noodles, succulent prawn pieces, bean sprouts, and tofu, generous sprinkling of crushed peanuts and alfalfa sprouts. This dish, like the rest, was mildly spiced, allowing us to savour the many individual ingredients. Despite being stuffed, we ordered a Spicy Indonesian Curry (Paneer: Rs 285), with Wok Fried Rice (Veg: Rs 195). The curry made from coconut milk, pineapple, and aromatic herbs, had a unique tangy-spicy-soothing flavour.

All’s well
Not one to skip desserts, we ordered a Hot Chocolate Brownie (Rs 175) which was covered in chocolate sauce. The base was burnt with a hint of bitter taste and it combined well with sweet sauce to make for excellent conclusion to the meal. We packed the remaining food; the packaging ensured no food spills. We wish the otherwise attentive staff had dropped in sauces too. And Chillies strikes a delicate balance by packing distinct flavours into its fare. Apart from the odd teething troubles, it deserves an encore.

MAP

Time: 12 noon onwards (last order: 11.30 pm), open daily
At: 8 & 9, Mangireesh Society, opposite Canossa High School, LJ & MMC Road Junction, Mahim (W). Also located in Worli.
Call: 24462482/24462483

And Chillies didn’t know we were there. The guide reviews anonymously and pays for its meals.

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