Contributed by Hrishikesh Thakker
If you spend a few evenings dining in the various establishments in the Clarke Quay, you get why the four-decade old Chili’s Grill and Bar still means quality food. While planning a trip to Singapore, Chili’s was one of the must-visit places on my itinerary, to dig into quality vegetarian fare in the carnivore-loving world there. And dig in, I did!
The chain has several outlets in Singapore itself, and we visited the branch situated in Resort World, Sentosa, after a tiring day out in the island amusement park of Sentosa. Aptly lit, Chili’s was full of commotion though this chaos did not jar on the nerves. Quite spacious, with its Mexican/Italian inspired décor, the place was buzzing with activity, and one could spot a diner from almost every geography feeling at home in this bar.
We flagged off the meal with some Tostada Chips (SGD 8) which were accompanied by a tangy salsa. It was hard to believe that something so simple could be this flavourful. The chips were perfectly crispy and the salsa felt like it had been prepared freshly, with the ingredients recently picked from the farms.
Enticed by its fascinating name, we decided to have a go at the nachos with the Fire Grilled Corn Guacamole (SGD 11), but it was a case of all fire, no fieriness! The corn was grilled and treated with ‘fire’, but it did not heat up our taste buds.
WELL SPACED SERVICE
As soon as we had a crack at the chips, the other dishes started to flow towards our table. The staff serving us was patient enough to understand our vegetarian requirement. The Chipotle Vegetable Soup (SGD 19) was thick, creamy and flavourful. A few vegetables did make their presence felt, but the pervasive presence of mushrooms got us thinking whether it wouldn’t have been apt to call it a Mushroom Soup instead.
The Classic Nachos (SGD 19) arrived next, and they were pretty ‘classy’ too! We had a fun time unearthing the handsome portion of nacho chips hidden underneath the usual suspects – jalapenos, tomatoes, guacamole, sour cream and the works. Despite the various dippings, every element was distinctly flavorful and teamed up well to hit every taste bud.
AN ITALIAN VISITOR
Whilst we were still savouring this Mexican delight, our table received an Italian visitor. The Mushroom Alfredo Pasta (SGD 19) was just like we expected it to be; with the penne swimming in a thick mushroom-laden sauce. Simple, yes, but it was too cheesy after a few bites.
We asked our server if we could get some pizza, even though this dish was not on the menu. The chef was kind enough to oblige our request. We chose a pretty basic pizza with tomatoes, basil leaves and cheese, and we were surprised by its size – it was enough for two to polish off without asking for anything else. The luscious tomato sauce had the perfect tangy edge while the meltingly gooey cheese was like a melted blanket on top. After all, there’s nothing like lots of cheese!
At the end of it all, we were quite full (and sane) enough to skip dessert and walked out with sated tummy and heavy feet that simply demanded to hit the bed. This meal of gargantuan portions did not dissuade us from Chilli’s – in fact we returned a week later to check out other vegetarian options on the menu. Only this time around, we decided to order just a couple of dishes amongst us, so that we could walk out of Chilli’s with a spring in our step, rather than like lumbering giants.
Chili’s feels just about right for every type of person, from any nationality. From us Indians enjoying our veggie fare, to an American savoring some serious Baby Back Ribs, and even the local Singaporeans having a gala time, Chili’s is the perfect hangout place for all!