The Yellow Chilli in Wembley: Delicate Indian dishes with a tantalising twist
For lovers of Indian food, there are few London corners as idyllic as the areas of Wembley and Harrow. The neighbourhood pulses with Asian aromas, both from the plethora of restaurants and from the kitchen windows of the numerous families who have made their homes here. North or south, lavish or inexpensive, light or heavy: choosing what and where to eat is quite a difficult decision. Despite being in zone four, because of its ample road connections, shopping centres and iconic venues, Wembley is a buzzing district, especially during weekends. Blending in perfectly with the local vibes, the newly opened Yellow Chilli is set to become a real point of interest for visitors and locals alike. Well-known in India thanks to his television success and amiable personality, the founder – chef Sanjeev Kapoor – opened his first restaurant in 2001. Today he has around 80 places to his name, based both in his homeland and abroad. Led by young restaurant entrepreneur Krish Nagari, his latest venture has finally arrived in London with a tantalising spread.
Despite the precarious situation that the hospitality industry is currently facing, the team has already proven its ability to adapt quickly. First, they displayed initiative when the doors were still closed by providing a delivery service, and then, gradually, through a series of themed nights – with limited capacity in compliance with government regulations – in addition to upcoming family lunches and tasting menus.
As soon as we step inside, a warm atmosphere welcomes us. The floral decorations and textured lamps – all imported directly from India – add a touch of personality whilst coordinating with the pastel walls. The bar counter stands at the back of the space, covered in glazed emerald tiles.
A rich variety of culinary cultures are represented in the multifaceted à la carte menu; original recipes, traditional but with a few contemporary twists, are prepared with tasty British produce. The selection caters to every palate, offering an equal number of vegetarian and meat dishes along with both alcoholic and virgin drinks. Speaking of the latter, our visit is spiced up straight away by the Peru Pyala. With a base of guava and lemon juice, the cocktail invigorates, the glass rimmed with chilli powder and the liquid finished with tabasco sauce. Put simply, it’s an explosion of taste. A smoother – and less fiery – option is the Manhattan on the Rocks: a pleasant whisky and vermouth-based concoction. The Gulab Swing is a sweeter take in which gin and whisky are interestingly mixed with rose syrup – reflected in the decorations of dried petals.
Turning to the menu’s expansive food offerings, trying at least one starter before diving into the larger courses is a must. Drums of Heaven Butter Garlic and the Hadippa Paneer Tikka both arrive in handy ready-to-share portions. The second deliciously melts in the mouth, with an intriguing tang – thanks to the cheese marinade – while remaining light. The dish is perfect to pick up with the soft naan alongside the raita dip.
The Paneer Tikka Masala is the most surprising of the mains. The cheese is smoked on the outside, keeping a tender inside, and floats in an onion-tomato sauce that matches its creaminess. It’s a very delicate plate overall. Succulent lamb shank is used for the Josh Rogan “Nalli”. Simmered in a highly aromatic curry, it’s incredibly satisfying. To accompany all this, there’s also Dal “Mizaz” composed of full-bodied yellow lentils. The rose motif returns in a speciality of the restaurant – the Gulab Ki Kheer – where an infusion of the flower permeates the thick pudding, which is completed with nuts.
The polished decor and relaxed atmosphere of The Yellow Chilli encourage long stays, making it the perfect place to enjoy a leisurely meal while the mouthwatering food makes its way enticingly to the table. In such a vibrant borough, the restaurant is likely to supplement the local community, becoming a noteworthy stop for those seeking both refined and casual dining experiences without compromising on quality.
★★★★★Food ▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮Drinks ▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮Service ▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮
Photos: Ambra Vernuccio
To book a table at The Yellow Chilli, Unit 17 Wembley Central Shopping Centre Wembley HA9 7AJ, call 020 8616 5940 or visit their website here.