Armed with chef Sanjeev Kapoor’s specials, The Yellow Chilli is now on Church Street
In a time when the word ‘authentic’ is used to pass off more than one not-so-authentic cuisine, it becomes understandably arduous to trust labels. So when we hear of The Yellow Chilli (TYC) popping up in the city, we head there as if on a reconnaissance mission. Why? Simply because TYC menus bear chef Sanjeev Kapoor’s approval.
Making a quiet entry on the city’s gastronomic map, Sidaarth Sonnad is the man behind the second TYC in the city (the first is in Jayanagar). The new version however is quite different from the first. Apart from featuring an updated menu, this outlet will soon add local flavours as well — curd rice included! There’s nothing dramatic about the interiors, and simplicity is their mantra.
They’re not serving liquor yet; in the meantime, mocktails are riding the good wave. But since they pack a hearty punch, especially the Peru Pyala (guava and lemon juice with mint syrup), we can’t complain. Don’t let the drink’s wishy-washy colour fool you — go by the red hot chilli that it comes with. Prefer something warmer? Ask for the coconut zaffrani shorba (saffron lovers alert), or the murgh yakhni shorba. Starters leave you spoilt for choice — there’s the hare masaley ka bhuna paneer (mint and coriander-flavoured cottage cheese with spinach), and murgh kasoori boti (chicken with dried fenugreek leaves and black peppercorns). What wins the race is the Tangra chilli paneer (inspired by Kolkata’s Chinatown), and the kali mirch methi fish tikka (basa in black peppercorn and fenugreek marinade).
The mains’ menu spells comfort with a capital C, and this comfort nudges open the gate that holds back a surge of memories. Primarily because on it are the regulars Kapoor made special through his television show, sham savera (spinach koftas with creamed cottage cheese served in velvety tomato butter gravy) being one. While breads include the missi roti (made with gram flour) and pyaz mirchi ki roti (with onions and green chillies), a must try is the LMD, the lalla mussa dal (black lentils); it appears deceptively usual, but they call this one their pride for a good reason. Then there’s the Puran Singh da tariwala murgh — as the story goes, Kapoor picked this recipe up from a dhaba on the Delhi-Ambala highway, from a man called Puran Singh. It all hits the mark, leaving you full, but not queasy as they keep the grease, and even the spices, under check.
Finish up with a cappuccino coffee cake, or the regal sounding gulab-e-gulkand — a massive gulab jamun with candied rose petals, this one asks you to share the sweetness.