The Original 1975 menu promotion at Chili’s, Powai

I’ll admit it quite freely: Mexican or Tex Mex are not my favourite cuisines. I’m completely indifferent to Margarita’s, nachos, fajitas and guacamole. I do like quesadillas, but only because they’re full of cheesy goodness, I won’t say no to a churro but the only dish I’ve truly fallen head over heels for is tres leches. I like it so much that I developed my own Indian adaptation of the classic Mexican dessert.

Presidente Maragarita
Presidente Maragarita

So, despite being invited to Chili’s Bar & Grill from the time it opened I’ve never had a good enough reason to visit (In all fairness I stay a hop, and not even skip and jump, away from Sancho’s Colaba and Mexiloko and haven’t eaten at either as yet). But I did finally, for their The Original Circa 1975 menu promotion which is a fairly limited menu centred on their chillis and burgers. The afternoon started off with their signature Presidente Margarita, from the main menu, which according to Rezi, the manager, is very highly regarded by Margarita aficionados. Not being one, I don’t speak with the voice of authority, but I’d say it was a pretty decent Margarita, a nice balance of tart and salty though a tad on the sweeter side.

Rezi, very considerately, prepared tasting portions of the entire menu so the photographs do not do justice to the quantities normally served.

Chili's Own Texas Red (L) and Texas red with Beans (R)
Chili’s Own Texas Red (L) and Texas red with Beans (R)

Both the Homemade Chilies are available by the cup and the bowl and from the heaviness of our portions, I’d say a bowl is a meal in itself. I wasn’t overly impressed by either of the chilis but between the two I preferred the one with the black beans.I found the beans cut down the meatiness of the chilli and the fresh tomatoes added a tart undertone. I can’t vouch for its Mexican-ness but it definitely didn’t taste like an Indian version of rajma and kheema.

Chili’s gets its meat from Allana, one of best suppliers of buffalo meat in the region, so it’s a pity that they cook their burgers only well and very well done. I like my burgers medium-rare so the burgers were pretty much a no-go for me, but the portion sizes are generous and if you don’t care how your meat is done it should be a pretty filling meal. I did like the idea of the no-bun burger. Considering the number of people who are diabetic or on a no-carb diet this is a great option for the Indian market.

One of the more interesting burgers, and unfortunately one which I forgot to photograph, was the Terlingua Pride burger. They served me the vegetarian option, topped with a vegetarian chilli, and given my predilection for red meat I found it unexpectedly tasty. Instead of plain potato patty, it was a potato and rajma patty, with assorted diced vegetables and not the usual bland and boring veg patty you’re usually served.  At the meal I didn’t think much of about asking from where the burger got its name, but the odd name stuck in my head. So I did a quick search for the answer. Terlingua, it turns out, is a district in Texas, USA famous for adventurous sports, its racing team and, wait for it, the Terlingua International Chili Championship. Somewhere towards the end of this page you’ll see the connection between Terlingua, the championship and the restaurant chain. I did call the restaurant after I garnered the information to see if they knew where the name came from but they gave me a vague answer about it being the chili from a village named Terlingua.

Peach Bread Pudding
Peach Bread Pudding

Sometimes, the best is kept for last and this was certainly the case at Chili’s. Eschewing the more popular chocolate and cheesecake options from the regular menu we chose the Peach Bread Pudding. We didn’t expect much but I have to say this was one of the better desserts I’ve had in a long time. The sharp, sweet tartness of the peach counterbalanced the sugary sweetness of the pudding and offered a nice contrast in texture as well. If I had to return to Chili’s, I’d reserve a piece of the dessert before the meal.

The Original Circa 1975 Menu promotion is on till September at Chili’s Grill & Bar, Powai

The Original Circa 1975 Menu
The Original Circa 1975 Menu
Invited by PR company  Yes
Guest of the chef/ restaurant  Yes
Restaurant knew I’m a food writer  Yes
Meal comped by the restaurant  Yes

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