The last time we ate at Chilli Padi was in 2018, a few days before our daughter was born. I thought I’d eat some spicy curry to try and tempt the baby out but that didn’t work and it was another 10 days before she made an appearance! This visit to Chilli Padi was rather more relaxing, with no imminent birth to contend with.
The restaurant is down a side street right behind Old Eldon Square and Haymarket, not far from the shops. We were greeted by two staff members, one of whom promptly showed us to our table. It was 12:30 on a Monday and there were a few tables but it wasn’t busy so walk ins are fine, however they do get busy in the evening so booking is recommended. From a Covid point of view they had a one way system, staff wore masks and tables were spaced apart, plus everything was clean and our table was given an extra once over as we sat down.
The service was fantastic throughout, we had a super friendly waitress who offered to recommend dishes to us when we expressed a bit of trepidation over the extensive menu. She told us we had to try the smoked chicken and salt & chilli calamari ‘snacks’ which can also be eaten as starters, and we also went for the chicken gyoza and chicken skewers.
We were so glad we followed her advice. Imagine the most delicate tempura batter encasing perfectly cooked pieces of squid (not the standard rings) and a topping of fried spring onion, toasted chillis and other delicious seasoning. I wasn’t sure about calamari without a mayo dip or lemon to squeeze over it but it really didn’t need it as the flavours were so perfectly balanced.
The smoked chicken was little pieces of crispy fried chicken in batter with a delicious sweet/salty sauce. There was so much of it, and it’s apparently super popular – I can see why, it’s so moreish.
Next was the gyoza dumplings, which were that delicate mix of delicious filling, slightly crisped batter but soft inside – a delight.
The chicken satay skewers were crucially not dry, they’d used thigh meat so they were nice and juicy with great flavour and the satay dip was tasty, with subtle peanut and spice flavours. My favourite satay sauce has got to be the Indonesian style thick peanut buttery sauce but this was a close contender.
We couldn’t finish our starters as we had to save room for the main event so our waitress kindly offered to bag up our leftovers which was much appreciated and made for a tasty snack later! Just as good cold.
For main courses we went for Penang prawn soup noodle & vermicelli – which comes ‘spicy’ but you can ask for it to be milder if you prefer. I asked for it a little less spicy but it still blew my socks off, so make sure you specify ‘no spice’ if you really cant handle it! We also got a Beef flank with five spice hotpot and Lamb flank curry rice.
The prawn broth was packed with flavour, and lots of delicious additions – I kept finding more further down the bowl! Crispy chicken and huge prawns, egg and rice noodles as well as beansprouts and Chinese cabbage made for a hearty lunch. The sliced fish cake was very fishy, not my favourite component of the meal but the rest was delicious.
The meat curries were well received by my other half, he especially loved that the meat was cooked on the bone and was fatty therefore full of flavour. So many restaurants just serve up chunks of dry, bland meat but this was none of those things. The lamb curry had a delicious coconut sauce and wasn’t spicy so great if you’re not into spicy food but want a nice creamy curry.
The hotpot was in a sweet/savoury five spice sauce which was incredibly tasty and not like anything you’d get at a Chinese takeaway. It didn’t come with rice but you can order that as a side, we made do with the rice that came with the curry.
The portion sized are very generous, and it comes very reasonably priced at around £6 for starters and £10 mark for mains. They don’t have a children’s menu but offer half portions, can suggest the most child-friendly dishes on the menu and say that children often share dishes with parents.
We left Chilli Padi very full and satisfied, after a delicious meal and great service. We won’t leave it so long until our next visit!
Chilli Padi is closed 24-26th December and 1st January.
We were provided with a complimentary meal for the purposes of this review, however as always the opinions expressed in this article are honest and true to experience.