I love Spanish food, but I also enjoy a quality Indian or Chinese meal, and we have two ‘go to’ places we love – the Bombay Indian restaurant in Catral, and Nan Kin Garden Chinese restaurant in Benimar. It took several years – and several mistakes – before we found our perfect Indian eatery, and I didn’t think anything else could come close. However, I was delighted to be proved wrong when we tried La Finca’s newest restaurant recently.
The Red Chilli opened in November, and it’s already getting a good reputation as a friendly place to eat, with authentic Hindi cuisine on offer at very reasonable prices. There was something familiar about the waiter who greeted us, and he clearly felt the same, because after a few minutes, he came across and said he remembered us from the Catral! It turned out that some of the excellent staff from the Bombay had got together to open their own restaurant, so we knew we were in for a fabulous meal, even before the puppadoms and dips appeared.
The price structure is very similar to the Bombay – although slightly more expensive. This is because there are a few unusual items on the extensive menu. Although each item is priced individually, you can take advantage of the special meal deal, which allows you to choose any starter, any main course, rice or naan bread, dessert or coffee and a glass of wine, beer or a soft drink, all for €9.95 at lunchtime and €11.95 in the evenings. Unlike some restaurants, you are not restricted with your choices, and if you wish, you can order the Special Biryani – my favourite – as your main course. At €10.50 a serving, you’re already saving, without the generous starter, home-made naan, variety of different rice dishes and everything else, including free puppadoms with the Menu del Dia.
I’m so predictable with my main course choice that the waiter had started writing ‘Special Biryani,’ but I shocked him – and myself – by ordering Lamb Jaipuri to follow my fish pakora. I love pakoras, but they have to taste like the main ingredients, not just be an unidentifiable mush covered with batter, as can be the case when restaurants play at providing Indian food. My fish pakora didn’t disappoint – lovely chunks of tasty white fish in light batter which melted in the mouth. And there was plenty of it.
The lam was tender, cooked with ginger, pepper and mushrooms, and there were too many lovely big chunks of meat to count. The accompanying mushroom rice had lots of mushrooms in it, while the home made garlic and coriander naan just dissolved in the mouth. It was good to see actual slivers of garlic in there, to give it a bit of a kick. Naan breads can be very bland and even a little stodgy sometimes, but these were perfection, as was everything else we were served.
As usual, I finished off with mango cream, and it was all washed down with two generous glasses of rose wine. Again, it was a good quality, locally produced house wine.
The whole dining experience was very enjoyable, and the decor is typically, subtly Indian. If you haven’t already tried Red Chilli, go along soon – you won’t regret it. If the thought of all that food at lunch time is too much for you, you can take advantage of the special tapas deal – 4 Indian tapas and a glass of wine or beer for just €5.50. There are also a number of meal deals to suit every palate and pocket, including a €16.95 menu which includes unlimited wine, beer and soft drinks for two hours. That’s a good choice for thirsty diners who like to wash down their curry with industrial quantities of beer or wine!
To book a table, or enquire about opening hours and special meal deals, call Red Chilli on 966 011 227, pop into the restaurant on Calle Albatera, or check out their Facebook page. Or if you’d rather have a takeaway, there’s even a delivery service available. At Red Chilli, the customer always comes first. See you there soon!