Red Hot Chilli Pepper

Peninsula and South Bay, California

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Indo-Chinese food is immensely popular in India, and is becoming commonly offered in the US as well. You can find exclusively Indo-Chinese restaurants in many major metro areas. Indo-Chinese food was "born" in eastern India in the city of Kolkata (formerly Calcutta) where a large group of Hakka Chinese immigrants settled in the late 1800s and early 1900s. To this day, Kolkata is the only city in India with an actual Chinatown (though it's fading away as its residents have been emigrating en masse to Toronto over the last three or four decades).

In any case, Indo-Chinese food is here to stay.

We started off with an order of "pepper-salt mushrooms" ($8) which was basically batter-fried mushrooms with onions and scallions. It was delicious: savory, crunchy and addictive. Definitely get this dish.

For our main dishes we had a "hunan mixed vegetable" ($12), a "vegetable coins in manchurian sauce" ($13) and a "shredded potato with eggplant in black bean sauce" ($12).

All the main dishes that the same basic problems: 1) they were overcooked, which made the vegetables too soft, rather than crisp and; 2) the sauces had way too much cornstarch and were gooey and unattractive. Indo-Chinese food general overdoes it on the corn starch.

I thought the vegetable coins dish was okay, but there was too much cilantro in the sauce, which overpowered the overall flavor of the plate. The "coins," too, should have been crispier. This dish---sometimes called "veg manchurian" is the staple dish of Indo-Chinese cuisine, by the way.

The hunan mixed vegetables was pretty bland: the sauce had little flavor and felt watered down (in addition to being gooey).

The shredded potato with eggplant was probably the best dish of the three. Other than the gooey sauce and the overcooking, this dish was fine.

Lastly, and sadly, they don't offer brown rice, which is always a shame (that said, it's rare to find brown rice served at Indian or Indo-Chinese restaurants in general).

The service was friendly and attentive. Kudos to that.

The ambiance here is great: it's spacious, upscale and they play lounge music. The bar looks nice and this would be a great place to take a date.

I'll definitely return to Red Hot Chilli Pepper, but they have room for improvement.

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