Chef Sanjeev Kapoor’s The Yellow Chilli (Indian), Wembley LondonHALAL STATUS Fully Halal food menu (exc. Beer Batter Amritsari Machchi) • Alcohol served
If you haven’t heard of Chef Sanjeev Kapoor, then he only happens to be one of the most popular chefs in India.
Ranked 34th in the Forbes list of top 100 Indian celebrities, he boasts a huge following with over eight million Facebook followers and six million Youtube subscribers.
Last year, he made the big move of opening his first London restaurant with the launch of his iconic international brand, The Yellow Chilli, which has some 80 outlets scattered about India and abroad.
This particular one is located towards the back-end of Wembley Central Shopping Centre next door to Tesco, and offers seating both indoors for around 40, as well as a couple of tables outside that come complete with umbrellas.
With a rickshaw-style display cabinet situated near the entrance and proudly showcasing Chef Sanjeev’s The Yellow Chilli cookbook, the interior certainly has a streetfood vibe to it, with a decorative wall mural depicting a funky-looking musician.
With the brand having been around since 2001, and given that “Chef Sanjeev Kapoor travels extensively in India in search of unique tastes and flavours of various regions, which provides the inspiration for his recipes”, we weren’t surprised by how uniquely exotic some of the dishes on the menu sounded.
Despite our combined experience of Indian restaurants across the capital, there were items here which raised an eyebrow or two for their apparent complexity and challenging combination profiles; and that really did excite us.
After all, how many Indian places have you been to which serve ‘Khasta Kaju’ Tikki, Whipped Curd, Nylon Vermicelli, ‘Anar’ Molasses; ‘Angaar Bedgi’ Tikka on Himalayan Salt Brick; Banana Leaf Halibut “Pollichathu”, String Hoppers & Curry; or cottage cheese-stuffed spinach dumplings called Sham Savera?
Remember, this is a man who has been conferred the ‘Best Chef of India’ award by the Government of India, while also apparently being the only chef in the world to have his own channel – FoodFood.
Although there weren’t many non-alcoholic beverages to choose from, what few there were, turned out to be extremely good, with the Peru Paula and the Cucumber Basil Martini being our drinks of choice.
While they couldn’t be more poles apart, the former’s salty-spicy rim helped balance against the masala chaat-infused concoction, with the sweetness of the guava coming through gently.
Regarding the latter, then this succeeded where so many cucumber-based ones have failed. Not only did it assure that minty-zesty hit, but the taste of the cucumber actually managed to materialise to finish off a refreshingly good glass.
The fruit juices used in the Twisted combined to offer a nicely balanced glass of citrusy goodness, with just the right level of sweetness.
A Southern Fried twist led to a quartet of succulent rock shrimps – all coated in a delicately light and spicy batter, with a trace of ginger coming through – being served with a creamy Aioli sauce that imparted a touch of tang, as well as a hint of smokiness. A superb little appetiser to prime the taste buds.RECOMMENDED
This ‘Angaar Bedgi’ Tikka on Himalayan Salt Brick was one of those unusual, though no less intriguing, dishes we mentioned above.
If you enjoy your chillis, then this isn’t just designated ‘3-chillis’ hot on the menu, but delivers it too. With moist and tender chicken, which shows off some beautiful tandoori charbroiling, the marination has a sweet edge to it, and is nicely complimented by the mildly hot coriander sauce.
What really elevates this to the next level though, is the large slab of rock salt this dish is presented on. Just be delicate in lightly rubbing the chicken across the base to add that hit of saltiness.
And there’s plenty happening here too in the most playful way possible, with a lightly spiced potato tikki base, that’s firm enough to offer some textural contrast against a ring-shaped amalgam of peas, sweet corn, cashew nuts, pomegrantes, vermicelli, sweet curd, and more, which makes up this fascinating top tier.
With its plethora of textures and flavours, this will undoubtedly hold your attention till the very end.RECOMMENDED
Again, you wouldn’t guess a Punjabi samosa would be presented thusly, would you? Behold; the Crescent Ring ‘Punjabi’ Samosa!
An utterly, butterly, crumbly pastry containing a fragrantly spiced potato-soft filling, which married masterfully with the zingy chutney dip.
When you have delicately dainty hollow balls containing an edamame filling (yup, you heard that right; edamame), and coming with not one, but two types of what is called “kokum flavoured potion[s]”, you know there’s at least some attempt being made at innovation.
Whilst the green potion is essentially a spicy-cum-masala flavoured water, which succeeds in hitting the palate with a punch, its pink counterpart is more of sweet and chilli in its make up. The important thing, however, was that they both complimented the other.
Unfurling this Banana Leaf only to be engulfed by the steamy aroma of deliciously grilled portions of Salmon was the perfect start to this mouthwatering item.
Thoroughly based in a spicy marination, this tender and flaky fish was deftly grilled to provide enough charring for some good textural contrast.
And while the vermicelli noodles were a tad on the sticky side, they certainly made for a welcome alternative to the ubiquity of rice.
But it was the addition of the third element – the mustard-infused coconut curry with a hint of achar pickle meandering in the background – that lifted the entire dish to stages of appreciation and enjoyment beyond the ordinary.
And then you have this twist on the classic Butter Chicken, with the mango being “the new dimension to it”, as the menu puts it.
Did it work? Well, this is how one Lion began his descriptive praise: “This is a beautifully conceived butter chicken”.
Nevertheless, the addition of the mango did have another considering this erring slightly on the sweeter side. But in the end, the chef did manage to balance the spices in such a way as to allow for the familiar taste of mango to filter through mildly without ever threatening to overpower this smooth and creamy curry. And with pieces of chicken grilled beforehand to impart that smoky undertone, this Mango Butter Chicken is a brilliant take on the original.RECOMMENDED
What an extraordinary Josh Rogan ‘Nalli’ this was. Although we’ve admittedly had a lot of these in the past, especially since the last lockdown ended, this one was executed to absolute perfection.
Along with how superbly balanced the spices were, with the heat teasingly lingering at the back of the throat, The Yellow Chilli’s version had such a comforting homemade quality to it.
The secret perhaps was in how the slow-cooked fatty meat had positively suffused the curry sauce to elevate this entire shank to an exceptionally high level of richness. Extraordinary!
With a soothing cardamom-based tomato sauce, this was an interesting representation of what they call a Sham Savera – ‘Sham’ meaning dusk and ‘Savera’ meaning dawn – which, according to the menu, represents “simply the magic of experiencing the dusk & dawn on your plate”.
In any case, the quartet of so-called dumplings, which were in fact soft balls of spinach, were a perfect foil against the fragrant sweetness of the vibrantly orange curry, being stuffed as they were with piquant cottage cheese. A simple, yet wonderfully conceived and executed plate of food.
What a lusciously thick and silky Dal ‘Mizaz’ this was, with the spices balanced well enough to allow for the initial flavour of the tomato to come through before taking over to deliver a good kick of heat.
These freshly-made trio of breads – namely the Garlic Cheese Kulcha, the Chilli Garlic Bread, and the Butter Naan – were expertly adjudged, being served fluffy and crispy.
Seeing how exquisitely well saturated this rose water-infused, soft and spongy ball was, we were left wondering why only one.
Despite this Gulab-E-Gulkand being a little steep at £6.45, for what was ostensibly a medium-sized gulab jamun served hot, given the limited dessert choices and how good it was, we’d still recommend it.
- YES/ NO
- CHILD SEATING
- DISABLED FACILITIES
- UBER EATS
- JUST EAT
Not only were the dishes here unique enough to help separate The Yellow Chilli as a sui generis brand in an otherwise crowded Indian market, but they also demonstrated the exceptional cooking skills of chefs not shy in authentically delivering bold and spicy flavours where needed. In short, this place offered more than enough to leave a big and lasting impression on us.
If The Yellow Chilli has flown under your radar, then we'd recommend readjusting your bearings and making your way over to what is, at least for the moment, a hidden little gem in the heart of Wembley.
Be the first to leave a review.