Trying out some international cuisines in Bhubaneswar was definitely in our bucket list. Our taste buds have been lingering to try the American Mexican cuisine at Chili’s since its opening in Bhubaneswar at Esplanade 1 Mall. We were quite elated when we were called in for a review at Chili’s.
It was a warm, cozy feeling you’ll get when you walk into this rustic, Tex-Mex cafe. Starting in Texas, Chili’s has covered the 7 seas and arrived in India in 2018. The outlet in Esplanade one is their 11th outlet one in India. Chili’s uses three kinds of batter. One is tempura, especially for chicken crispers. The fish batter for frying fish purpose. If you want to have the authentic beer batter fish and chips, Chili’s serves those too. The CFS batter, the unique one is the proprietory of Chili’s.
Ingredients such as vegetables and some spices are sourced locally. They use chicken in form of cubes, strips, wings and much more. It’s interesting to know amazing things can be done using this poultry. Chili’s has specific weight measurements for each variant of chicken they cook with. The chicken cube’s have a particular weight range as also the chicken breast.
To run the operations smoothly, they used to order a minimum inventory of pork ribs. Foodies in Bhubaneswar loved it so much that these ribs were consumed in no time! They increased their order three fold.
The menu of Chili’s is designed in such a way that the maximum time taken for each dish is fifteen mins! It is due the work station they use for cooking which. They have a magic machine in which you put any portion of marinated meat in one end and the food comes out cooked from the other end. An amazing fact about this equipment – it cooks the respective food at their optimal temperature. Like, chicken is to be cooked in 835 degrees F. It takes about 6 and half minutes to do so! They cook nachos, quesadillas etc. in the three-layered workstation. All the fried food comes from the fryers.
The must-try dishes at Chili’s include Fajitas, Enchiladas, or any Mexican indulgent bite you can think of. They procure their meat from a variety of sources. The ribs are from Spain and chicken from Chandigarh. Fret not, the portion are delivered to Chili’s in a frozen form which makes it healthy for consumption and they are sourced monthly. They use the aromatic, white Pecan wood which is sourced from the United States to give the perfect smoky ones. In a classic Texan ribs dish, a big fat chunk of ribs are served. For a limited time, Chili’s served Lamb shanks and which was imported from Australia.
As mesmerizing was the decor, such delectable was also the food. Let’s begin our tasting journey. We started our review with an assortment of mock-tails.
Fusion, Evolution, Minty Melon: Starting with amazing drinks will make your day. We decided to go for Chili’s choice. Fusion is literally a fusion of concoctions. Minty melon had a generous amount of melon pulp and was topped with a mint leaf. Watermelon Moji-tea: No, it’s not a Mojito, it’s a moji-tea. Take one sip of this fusion drink, you can taste watermelon, mint, hint of lemon and of course, tea! Such a brilliant idea. Infusing tea and mojito to give you the ultimate freshness. Classic American Milkshake: No, it is not a regular Indian style milkshake. This was The classic American Milkshake! Made from Strawberry flavored Oreos, ice cream, milk, and cream, it will bring forth the child in you. After sipping a good amount of this milkshake, you can’t help but like a little kid with a new toy! It is a must to try this!
Classic Nachos: Classic nachos is actually a classic. Topped with 3 varieties of cheese blend and Mexican staple black beans, these nachos have their own signature upswing taste A tang is added to the nachos with jalapeno and it pairs perfectly with the sour cream. Take one bite and you can’t help but have more.
Texas Cheese Poppers: No, this isn’t a make-believe cheese popper but a true Texan one. These cheese poppers are panko crusted (hear the crunch!) and stuffed with Monterey Jack and cheddar cheese. To add freshness to this cheesy pleasure, cilantro is added. A Chili’s special chipotle ranch dipping sauce is the perfect partner of this rich and mouthful cheese poppers.
BBQ Smoked chicken wings : This is another must have at Chili’s. Grilled to perfection, these chicken wings are smoked using the authentic pecan wood to give it an earthy taste and elevate charred BBQ taste. These charred and piquant wings are accompanied with freshly cut carrot sticks and some more BBQ sauce. Chili’s also ensures the ideal temperature for serving their food. For chicken, they ensure the core temperature is 165 degrees F.
Deep Fried Calamari : The calamari was the best I have ever had anywhere. It was lightly breaded, fresh, crispy. It was tender and fried to beyond awesomeness. Paired with sour cream and ranch dressing, you’ll get the crunch you look for in deep fried food. Chili’s made my lost love for seafoods rebound in a whole new level.
Chipotle cheese quesadilla: Crisp tortillas filled with gooey melted cheddar and mashed veggies in a sweet and smoky chipotle sauce — these are the best quesadillas! Cooked till crispy and golden brown, these quesadillas were served with some spicy Mexican rice and black bean soup. This platter had a balance of flavours with cheese, hot and sweet from the chipotle sauce, earthiness from the beans and tang from the sour cream. A balanced meal in itself it was.
Sizzling Fajita: Chicken Fajita was cooked in a sizzling cast-iron skillet. Oh, the aroma still lingers in my head. This Mexican favourite is so delicious and now it has become of our favourites. The juicy chicken strips were served in a warm tortilla with some salsa, guacamole, sour cream and cheese blend. One bite of this fajita in a tortilla is all it takes to make Tex-Mex your favourite cuisine.
Molten chocolate cake: I have to search for words to describe this lustrous, indulgent, the cheat day ideal chocolate cake. After being stuffed with all these amazing dishes (individual meals, rather!), we had no room for dessert. But how can the kid inside you ignore such a gorgeous chocolate cake? Topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream hiding under a cap of chocolate, this chocolate cake was waiting to dive in. One scoop and the warm chocolate sauce starts oozing like. One of the best chocolate cakes we ever had, this will satisfy the sweet tooth of yours.
Iron skillet choco chip cookie with ice cream: I had heard a lot about iron skillet choco chip cookies but never got a chance to taste any. But Chili’s provided me with a cookie which set a benchmark for others. This vegetarian cookie was just out of the oven and had choco-chip bits in it. What’s a better combination than a warm cookie and a cold ice cream? Chili’s satisfied our craving for much-needed desserts in such a relaxing way!
Postscript: Did you know Chili’s Bhubaneswar uses the best Calamari out of all the 11 Chili’s outlet in India? Of all the things we tried, the clear favourite was the Classic American Milkshake and the Chicken wings. We know for sure will be coming back for more.
Inputs by Apurba and photos by Tveshaj