It’s just a short distance from the heart of Hammersmith. It’s even nearer to Ravenscourt Park Station, so this is a prime spot for a decent restaurant and Green Chilli is just that. It’s smart in muted colours with contemporary and classic Indian art adorning the light walls. Pine chairs and dark banquettes add to the fresh and modern ambiance.
Head chef Bhuwan Bhatt takes pride in the food he produces. He insists that everything is prepared fresh for every dish and he uses the best ingredients he can find because he wants return custom. A good philosophy for any neighbourhood restaurant.
We ordered the starter platter of Punch Ratan which is a collection of five of the restaurant’s most popular appetisers. Aloo papri chaat is crispy semolina with potatoes, chickpeas, tamarind, and yoghurt. This is Indian street-style food and moreish. The sauces give this dish a real tang which works so well with the vegetables. Chatpata paneer tikka is chunks of Indian cottage cheese marinated with mint, saffron and yoghurt and then cooked in the tandoor. A vegetarian delight with real flavour.
Kurkure mushrooms are stuffed with pickle and cottage cheese, deep fried in corn flour to give an interesting texture. These were a particular favourite of my guest. Punjabi samosas of mashed potatoes, peas and onion in crispy pastry were traditional but as good as you will find. Onion bhaji were also regular restaurant fare but the ones here were somewhat better being flat and crispy and far less doughy than the round versions.
Coconut scallops were divine. The tender just-cooked translucent flesh was sweet. The sauce was taupe-coloured and would only have needed some rice on the side to make a complete meal for any seafood lover. My guest professed this to be good enough to be a signature dish.
Lal Maas was a lamb shank from a reasonably tall sheep. It was cooked in hot masala sauce and evidently for a good long time judging from the melting quality of the meat as it fell from the bone. You’ll need a good appetite to do justice to this dish. It’s spicy and robust and hearty.
Butter chicken is a perennial favourite with British diners. The Green Chilli version was a good example of why it is so well loved. Chicken baked in a tandoor and then simmered in butter tomato and cream sauce. OK, so it has a few calories but we need those in this cold weather …don’t we? The flavour was mild and aromatic.
Dal makhani is one of my absolute favourites from any Indian restaurant menu, although it’s not always available in those other restaurants. Black lentils are slowly cooked (Green Chilli is said to cook these overnight on a cooling tandoor) and then finished with a swirl of butter. This is Indian comfort food at its best. It’s the kind of dish that would tempt committed meat-eaters towards a path of vegetarianism …or at least a periodic wander in that direction.
Masala Choley are chickpeas cooked in the Punjabi style with garam masala. This has a good hit of spice and is another sustaining offering for vegetarians who still want flavour and texture from a dish.
Romali roti is whole wheat flatbread but amazingly thin and with a surprisingly large diameter. I make roti at home in the usual fashion with a little rolling pin. The method for making Romali roti is somewhat different. It is thrown in the manner of a pizza. The end result of the manhandling is a bread as light as you will ever find. I would choose this over regular roti any day.
Gajar Halwa was our dessert. This was warm, sweet and delicious. It has a flaky and tender texture and is made at the restaurant along with every other item on the menu except the vanilla ice cream. Indeed it is the freshness of the ingredients and the fact that dishes are cooked to order that allows Green Chilli to establish such a loyal following. We were told that nothing is kept from day to day.
We had a lovely meal in convivial surroundings with many others who were Green Chilli habitués. I would visit again just to try more from their menu. Good food at a convenient location.
Asian restaurant review: Green Chilli
220 King Street, Hammersmith, London W6 0RA
[Green Chilli Restaurant is now closed]
Restaurant review by Chrissie Walker © 2018