The Delhi Grill is a café on Chapel Market, off Upper Street, notionally modelled on the roadside canteens of India called dhabas, which cater mainly to truck drivers and travellers. The narrow dining room of The Delhi Grill has no tablecloths, its walls covered with Bollywood movie posters. The menu offers generally familiar north Indian fare, with tandoori dishes and curries.
Chicken tikka (£3.50) was served on a hot iron griddle, and although it had a pleasant marinade the meat itself was not of very high quality, with a slightly stringy texture (11/20). Better was fish pakora (£4.50), deep-fried balls of spiced tilapia, which had crisp batter and pleasant flavour (13/20).
The main course dishes were a mixed bag. Karahi chicken (£8.95) had a rather watery, one-dimensional sauce and chicken with distinctly poor texture, slightly dried out in the cooking process (9/20). Aloo gobi (£4.95), by contrast retained the texture of the potato and cauliflower quite well, and had reasonable spicing (12/20). Makhani dhal (£5.95) was thinner in texture than the best of the breed (such as that for example at Tangawizi, itself modelled on that of Bukhara in Delhi). Its spices also had ageneric chilli heat rather than showing distinct spice flavours (11/20). Mattar paneer (£5.95) was the best of the dishes at this stage, the cottage cheese having reasonable texture, served with peas and a tomato-based sauce that in this case did have somewhat more vibrant spicing (12/20). Naan bread (£1.95) was decent enough, though I prefer naans to be softer and more pliable than these; to be fair, some Indian people prefer firmer, harder texture in their naan, so if I am charitable then perhaps this was deliberate (12/20).
Service was efficient and the bill came to £27 a head before tip. The Delhi Grill is clearly popular, and the pricing of its dishes is moderate. The best dishes, such as the fish pakora, were very good, but this meal was inconsistent, and the chicken karahi in particular was disappointing. It is a decent enough place if you are in the area, certainly better than a standard high street tandoori restaurant, and it is fairly inexpensive, but I admit that I had rather higher expectations of the cooking than what was delivered tonight.