Name: Chili’s India
Location: Phoenix Market City, Nagar Road
Date of Visit: July 15, 2014
I was here with the Pune Foodiez to try their Original Menu – Read 1975 style menu, it was my first visit. This review is specific to the 1975 style menu that is running this month.
Let me begin by saying that I am not a big fan of Mexican food but I do love a good Texas style BBQ and a zesty guacamole, or a delicious taco with sour cream. Chili’s has been in Pune for a few years now, and I tried to understand the reason behind those fully packed weekends it boasts. I firmly believe that when it comes to great tasting food, you don’t need to be in someone else’s shoes to tell whether it is good or bad. If it is really delicious you shouldn’t have to struggle to see it. And that’s just it, about my meal at Chili’s yesterday; I really struggled to see why people would pay this amount to eat this food, and no matter what I did, I couldn’t understand it.
Let me ask you, why would you go for a menu that offers flat tasting dishes that make for an uninspiring meal? Could it be that it is in a big mall, and when you’ve tried all other restaurants, you go to a place like this for a change? Or is it because Chili’s is a big, international brand and it reminds you of that trip you took to LA or NYC? Or is it because there are hardly any restaurants that serve a buffalo meat “chili” or buffalo meat burger in Pune? To me the most convincing reason is the latter.
In many ways it is a convincing menu. Chili’s offers a range of dishes with buffalo meat and it is not easy to find these buffalo meat dishes in Pune otherwise. They also serve Texas style Chili (if you’re looking for spike, keep looking), as well as nachos and beans, which are pretty bland in taste. If you are visiting for The Original 1970s menu that they have introduced then go for the burgers. Pune Foodiez that have visited before were looking forward to the burgers, and I liked them the most among the dishes that I tasted. While the Telingua’s Pride Burger with a unique spice mix was an impressive and tasty treat, the other Burgers including the Chili Trip were, well, just bla..!
Having said that, you do get the best Beef Burger in what was earlier famed as Burger King – that blessed, open and green café close to High Spirits in Koregaon Park for a very affordable price.
While the very vibrant, flashy, design tile tables have the spike any casual dining café needs; the food was missing that real kick. The lack of any aromatic fresh herbs, the pleasure of biting into a jalapeno or any flavouring or spice was missing in the meal. The Texas Chili tasted like it was emptied from a can, re-heated and served to us. That for me is lack of love in preparing a meal, and therefore mundane and bla..! I kept looking, looking for something to inspire my taste buds and help me write this review. I didn’t find any perk in the Texas Red, nor the guacamole, that Telingua Burger shined like a ray of hope but in the end all the notes fell flat, not crashing down, but flat.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t have a problem with a lack of spices and chillies, I love my sushi and even good old khichadi, but a lack of flavour is disappointing. The Chili reminded me of a meal I wish I hadn’t had – a lot like a “Bolognese” I had had in London, it was 11pm on a cold winter’s night near Paddington station, there was a little shop that was still open, the “Chef” opened a can of Bolognese and poured it over my spaghetti to serve, it tasted like nothing, I wish I hadn’t eaten that night.
This 1975 Original menu is meant primarily for Buffalo Meat Lovers, who don’t care much about fresh flavours or all else. Honestly, it was an okay meal but I didn’t see a reason why I would go back for more 1975s style meals, unless it was my dying wish to eat Texas Chili in Pune or unless, they really manage to spruce up those flat, mundane flavours. That thing about this place is their range of dishes and location.
Rating on 5 Forks
Ambience: 3 Forks
Service: Not Applicable
Menu: 4 Forks
Food: 2 Forks
Value for Money: 3 Forks
That Thing About This Place: 2 Forks
Rating: 2.5 Forks