The Chili Club's reputation as purveyors of exquisite Thai cuisine remains intact. On Village's most recent visit, the main courses scored top marks and fingers were nearly lost in the attack on appetizers – although the uncouth behaviour might just as well be explained by near starvation on the evening in question!
The menu offers a good range of traditional ‘untamed' Thai dishes without burdening the diner with a massive selection. Appetizers in the €5-8 range include satay skewers, spring roll, deep fried prawn (skimpy but tasty), and crispy wantons of chicken and potato. Spicy dips on the side. Tom Kar Gai (creamy coconut) and Tom Yam Gung (hot and sour prawn) soups at €6.
Main dishes range in price from €12 for noodle dishes to €17/18 for curry and stir-fry dishes (add €2.50 for rice). This is where Supot Boonchouy, head chef since 1996, earns his stripes. The Red Duck Curry was desicious. Warm and juicy pineapple segments and grapes provided a soothing complement to a medium-spiced curry and the duck was tenderly cooked (slightly fatty, but that's to be expected with duck).
Curry dishes are served in deep bowls, packed to the brim with little room for rice. This means the diner has no choice but to savour the main course. Pad Thai was a sizeable serving of juicy king prawns with sweet noodles, beansprouts and crushed nuts on an open plate (chilli flakes on the side to add a little ‘zing').
Also available are red and green curries, steamed fish of the day, stir fry seafood and meets with sweet and sour or garlic and corriander.
Owned and managed by Patricia Kenna, the restaurant is housed in a romantic old terraced house on South Anne's Lane, opposite Kehoes pub on South Anne's Street (off Grafton Street). The quaint downstairs section is set in a cosy candle-lit living room with genuine Thai art and furniture. A disused fireplace protrudes from one wall adding depth to a compact arrangement of six tables that can seat 25 - 30 diners. Additional seating upstairs and a private room seating 16 are available.
The restaurant is usually fully booked so be sure to reserve a table; on more than one occasion when Village paid an impromptu visit the door was not answered as staff frantically waited tables.
The wine list is reasonably extensive and provides a good selection. The 2003 Marques de Riscal rioja won unanimous approval from the Villagers present. Fully sated, there was no room for dessert on this occasion but the menu includes mango/lemon sorbet and ice creams for €2.50, or gateau for €5.
Coffee selection is limited.
The Chili Club offers an ‘early bird' menu with a selection of starters for €4 and main courses for €10.
1 Anne's Lane,
South Anne Street, Dublin 2
(01) 677 3721