Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Delhi Grill review Islington Chapel Market Indian restaurant - Indian dhaba brought to London

Address: 21 Chapel Market,
London N1 9EZ
Tel: 020 7278 8100
Nearest Tube station: Angel

Ratings (out of 5 *)
Service charge: 12.5%
Taste: ****
Service: ****
Ambience: ****
"Have we ordered too much?" I asked the waiter taking our orders. It's easy to do to that in Delhi Grill, the newest addition to Angel Islington Chapel Market. Its relatively small menu of around twenty items ranging from finger bites like samosa to more substantial meat dishes such as rogan gosht come with prices between £1.50 to under £7.

After Metro’s favourable review, Delhi Grill has been seeing full house almost every evening. Wife had popped in earlier for some takeaway and was rather taken with their vegetable samosa. I went down that very evening for more takeaway (chicken wings and more samosa). Stationed at Delhi Grill’s roti counter was an affable chap who hailed from Nepal. He gave me a quick introduction of how to make a roti and mentioned in passing that he could easily turn one out under a minute. Looking at how well practised he was, I wasn’t surprised.


Anyway, we were back that very weekend for a proper dinner and were fortunate to have made a reservation as Delhi Grill was packed again. Frankly, I was really tempted to order all the items on the menu but we did have a bite earlier at Kentish Canteen so that restrained me a bit. We wanted to try out its biryani despite what Metro said about it but it wasn't available on that evening.


That said, its papadoms (£0.50 each) were served warm with an array of condiments that come in a row of small cups. Our favourites were the ones with beetroot and preserved mango.


The Delhi grill (£6.50) was meant for two and came with chicken tikkas, sheekh kebabs and lamb chops. The chicken tikkas was absolutely fabulous and very well seasoned – tender, aromatic and spicy. The sheekh kebabs, which I understand to be minced lamb, was flavourful and easily disintegrated in one’s mouth. The lamb chops tasted very much like the kebabs and it seemed that the only difference was that that it came with bone attached. This dish, however, would go really well with a pint of cool beer.


The vegetable samosa (£1.50 for two) came with a sizable portion of salad. That alone could very well be a light meal for a small eater. Taking its price into consideration, Delhi Grill’s samosa was way better that those that you get from the dodgy snack bars in Tube stations. Its skin was crisp and deep fried with fresh oil. Stuffed with potatoes, chickpeas and green peas, it was a treat.

We thought that the lamb cubes in Delhi Grill’s rogan gosht was a bit tough for our liking despite it being cooked for over two hours. Its curry gravy on the other hand was marvellous. Creamy and mildly hot, I would have lapped it all up if not for my diet.


We got a naan (£1.50 each) to go with the rogan gosht. Wife pointed out that the naan, which was cut into quarters and served on a wooden platter, was nicely buttered and could easily be a standalone dish. Compared to roti, naan is heavier on the palate but do try it on its own before dousing it in curry gravy.


The bhindi (£3.95) – our five a day was one of the dishes recommended by the review we came across and rightly so too. Unlike the ones that we are more familiar with back home, the
ocra dish wasn’t all sticky, which was the reason why I swore off the dish altogether. This one was dry and packed a mild spice. A welcome addition to a portion of rice.

It’s easy to see why Londoners are warming up to Delhi Grill. Loud Hindi Bollywood music thumped in the background engulfed you once you step into the smallish restaurant. A large screen TV showing the accompanying Bollywood movie faces the entrance. The only other place that I have come across with that would be Tiffinbites, which is comparatively sterile.

Delhi Grill’s wall is filled with Indian newspaper cuttings. Torn and tattered, it nevertheless adds to the character to the entire setup. The restaurant also offers free delivery for orders over £12. Wife and I were already making mental notes on what to order as we were leaving the place. Delhi Grill gave us another reason not to cook at home.

Delhi Grill on Urbanspoon

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Kavey said...

I love Delhi Grill!
I would persevere for the chicken biryani, it's another comforting home-style dish and I rather liked it. It's not in my original review as I tried it on a subsequent visit.
You are lucky if you live close by, we are quite a distance or I would be there at least once a week!

Gourmet Chick said...

I have wanted to go here since reading Marina's review in The Metro - looks brilliant and sounds like you also had a great meal

Tanya said...

Just moved into the Angel area a couple of months ago and have a rather long 'to eat at' list (no thanks to London Chow)!

Will definitely be checking out Delhi Grill this weekend. The only Indian restaurant I've tried in the neighbourhood is Parveen Tandoori on Theberton St - came away with a strong case of Delhi Belly :(

C K said...

Do you happen to know of any good biryani around? I am always on the haunt for a good lamb/mutton one.

@Gourmet Chick,
Yep, the place has good vibes to boot. Best if you have a party of four.

:) Glad to be able to recommend some good eats in the area. Tell us about what you think of Delhi Grill, will you? Oh, do let me know if you come across any other good places in the vicinity. Will try to drop by!

Anonymous said...

I read the glowing Metro review a while ago and thought I'd give this place a go. I rang to book a table 1 week in advance and was told that 6.30pm was the only time they had a table available as they were very busy. The man on the phone was quite rude and short with me but I chose to ignore this.

We turned up at 6.30pm and the restaurant was completely empty. We asked if we could come back in 1hr as it was still early - the waiter said no as they were fully booked.

My friend could see his table/reservation list and there were only 4 names on it and she said, in a jokey way, "you're not that busy surely ha ha"...he was so rude and said 'don't you look at my list, what do you know". We were so shocked that we left.

We went to a pub over the road for and hour and when we walked past again at 7.30pm, the place was still totally empty.