Restaurant Review: Chilli Village
At Northampton restaurant The Chilli Village, it is a case of paying to be different.
The Mediterranean-themed venue, situated on the Wellingborough Road, is as quirky as it comes.
From two strange-looking, inanimate figures smoking pipes at a table as you walk in, to random decoration that includes, old guns, a bicycle and a stuffed cat, this place has to be seen to be believed.
The outlandish style is complimented by an indefatigable piano player, who effortlessly switched from Uptown Girl to Bridge Over Troubled Water to some of Take That's greatest hits.
It all sounds like a far-fetched dream or some weird alcohol-induced hallucination, but, having only had a single bottle of Bud, I can assure you it was not.
It was, though, a change from the norm.
Northampton has a wide selection of restaurants, but this one, which opened back in December, is not like anything you would find elsewhere.
The menus were hefty and wooden, looking like you needed some medieval key to unlock them.
And the waiters and waitresses were extremely cheery and helpful, in spite of their eye-catching attire.
When you finally got round to ordering the food, there was one big surprise: there didn't appear to be much, if any at all, chilli on the menu, despite the venue's title.
Instead, there was everything from octopus to your traditional sirloin steak, both of which our group sampled.
The steak, it has to be said, was extremely tasty and the accompaniment of grilled peppers and courgettes at least made you feel slightly more healthy.
The serving of chunky chips also made a good impression, but if you fancied something lighter there was a large selection of salads and other dishes to choose from.
There were certainly options, if not the spicy ones you would have initially anticipated.
Some of the salads were priced at around £5, while the steaks on offer would cost you between £15 and £20.
However, the food was of good quality and it was certainly worth experiencing this eatery at least once.
There are plans to extend the restaurant to another two floors, one downstairs and one upstairs and a big positive is the private parking behind the building, which means you don't have to struggle to dump your car on the Wellingborough Road.
Located between the Wellingborough Road main drag of pubs and the centre of town, this is a good venue if you were thinking of taking your evening a bit further by having later drinks elsewhere.
And it's sheer size, allied with some cosy private dining rooms, means it will be a hit for larger groups.
Overall, it is worth trying because even if you don't find it totally to your taste, you certainly won't forget it in a hurry.
Tom's overall rating: 7 out of 10