Spotlight: Chutneys Indian Restaurant
Chutneys is the name of a new restaurant in Bay Hill Plaza, which used to be home to Memories of India, one of the area’s best Indian restaurants.
Chutneys does a good enough job with its variations of Northern and Southern Indian cuisines. Ironically, I enjoyed the food more during my lunchtime visit when the restaurant presents, as most area Indian restaurants do, a buffet of various dishes. The dinnertime visit was less enjoyable.
On that visit I had the Andhra Chicken Curry because the man who took my order said that it was probably a dish that no other Indian restaurant in the area was offering. Andhra cuisine, popular in the Guntur region, is known for being especially hot and spicy. This one was not. Perhaps that’s because the server presumed I would not be able to handle the gravylike curry if it had been prepared authentically. Still, there were nice layers of flavoring, including a prominent ginger note, likely from the chicken marinade.
I chose to enjoy my curry with rice instead of naan, as some people choose to do. Unfortunately, the basmati rice was clumpy, as though it had been made long ago, refrigerated and then not properly reheated. I don’t think I’ve ever experienced that in an Indian restaurant before. Fluffy rice has always been a given.
The rice was nicer on the buffet at lunch. And most all of the items that I sampled there were just fine. It isn’t as extensive as many other Indian lunch buffets, but it had a nice sampling of styles even if chicken was the dominant protein.
I liked the Tikka Masala and its buttery texture. The Chicken Jalfrezi, a Pakistani recipe, had much more spicing than the Andhra on my other visit. The Biriyani featured goat and so had to be eaten carefully to avoid chomping down on a bone.
There was one other observation from the evening visit. The restaurant had more than a dozen tables occupied during my visit and all but two of them had families with small children. And as far as I know, there is no kids menu with chicken fingers or burgers on it. I like that.
Much has changed at Bay Hill Plaza, but I’m glad to see an Indian restaurant here once again.
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