Big Chill Café has, over the years, become a landmark across its locations in Delhi. And obviously so, it has been around for quite a while, the food has been pretty good and their focus on the younger generation has just helped them boost their brand (and Sales) to quite an extent.
I have been a regular to Big Chill over the past 4 years and sadly am quite disappointed by the drastic fall in their quality of Food & Service over the past year. A probable reason could be their shift in focus from customer satisfaction to that of rapid expansion; not sure, but could just be the reason! They seem to have made a conscious decision of shifting from a High Street format to that of setting up in The Malls, which, I think, takes the fun, of dining at such a place, completely out!
I remember them having an outlet in East of Kailash, which got shifted to Kailash Colony and is still existing there; and I have some really fond memories of both these locations. Infact, of all their existing locations, Kailash Colony is my favourite simply because of the large space it has to offer. Am not much of a fan of their two locations in Khan Market, since they are way too small and cramped up and seem like a fish market every time you happen to get a place there.
What I find quite nerve racking is that the management, inspite of having such cramped up and small restaurants, dont seem to entertain reservations over the phone. Now, if I knew that my restaurant had a huge fan following and its not easy for people to get a table and they have to wait for a minimum of 30 mins, I would surely enable the operations team to take reservations. Its a better option than to have people waiting endlessly to get a table; unless there is some ego boost that the management gets by getting people to wait. Or maybe, its a tactic to ensure that their restaurants are choc-a-bloc at all times!
Now comes the review part.
During one of my recent visit, with a close friend, to the Big Chill outlet in the inner lane of Khan Market, I was pleasantly surprised to have got a table within 5 mins of us entering the place. However, least did we know that the pleasantries would start and finish just at that. Once seated, we had to wait for almost 10 mins for one of the servers to attend to us to give us the menu and that also happened after I raised my voice to get their attention only to ask for the Menu card; which interestingly is this huge ass combination of laminated sheets bound by a spiral ring. Once we had the privilege of getting the menu, we had to wait another 10 mins for the server to come take our order. And the Menu, man was it in tatters; seemed like it has just stood through a major typhoon of sorts and was tearing away into little bits from each corner.
One thing I would like to mention here is that their servers, when they attend the guests, are really pleasant, and thank God for small mercies, else this place would be a nightmare to dine in!
I usually dont like to experiment much with my food, however when you have dined at the same establishment infinite number of times, one does feel the need to try out the other stuff on the menu. So, with this thought, I chose not to go with my usual Caesar Salad and ordered one with dried Plums and Walnut and man was it HORRIBLE. The walnut seemed to have been from over a year old lot and had that very stale taste to it; the dried plums were not sour but actually bitter and felt as if they came from a tinned lot stored for a few years beyond its expiry. If it was not for the blue cheese and the salad leaves, I could have just had this salad thrown in the bin! With this we ordered for Iced Tea, my usual at Big Chill, and sadly, it was more of ice and water and less of tea. After having gone through this torture both of us decided to order one main course and share it, just in case that also turned out to be as horrible, so I ordered for their Stuffed Chicken Breast with sautéed green veggies and hash brown on the sides. For small mercies, this dish did not disappoint us that much, but wasnt that outstanding either for me to recommend it to anyone.
All in all, quite a disappointing experience, enough for me to think twice before going back to any of their locations again.
My overall rating:
Service: 3 (they have proved to be much better in the past)
Ambiance: 9 (super awesome, except for the huge & loud crowd)