I was nearby with my catering partner, mundanely pricing new kitchens in a nearby soulless industrial estate and as I hadn’t been to the area for many years, I asked advice from a local about nearby restaurants worth a visit. Without a shred of hesitation, he kissed his thumb and forefinger and immediately praised Mr. Chilly as the best place to eat for miles around.
We walked up to the crossroads, a few doors to the right was Mr. Chilly, a simple, local cafe serving mainly North Indian and Pakistani dishes. They bought us a complimentary side salad before we’d even looked at the menu.
For only £3.00 they presented us with a huge plate of freshly cooked, small crisp onion bhajis, surpassing those I’d had at Sakonis on Ealing Road for crunch and flavour.
For mains we went for three Pakistani staples also popular with the Muslim communities of North India; haleem (£6.00) an ultra slow cooked lamb stew simmered with barley, wheat and mixed lentils from the mountains of the north, Nihari (£8.00) a long cooked baby lamb curry and keema lamb biryani (£5.00).
Haleem is cooked so long the meat literally dissolves and merges with the grains an pulses, giving it a rich creamy texture best eaten scooped up with roti or chapati. Nihari is slow cooked shank cooked on the bone allowing the full flavour of the marrow to come out when served meat is so tender and succulent it just falls of the bone. The last dish was rice with minced lamb, wonderfully moist and generously portioned.
The service was superb, this is a family business ran by several generations of parents, siblings and cousins. Every dish is under £10, they produce excellent food that would not be out of place in a five star West End restaurant but at a fraction of the price. You can eat in, take away or have home delivery in the local area. I went back for a take away a few weeks later. I’d phoned ahead and ordered. The kitchen was flat out and the phone constantly ringing yet they still remembered me from before; a nice touch considering their turnover of customers.
It’s gratifying to know that in this world of soulless chains, run by logistics experts and money men, places like Mr. Chilly, where food is served with heart and soul, are still thriving. Chapeaux bas.
344 Pinner Road
Tel: 020 8861 4404 / 020 8861 4788