When you open your inbox to an email with the subject “Hot hot hot”, you’d be forgiven for thinking it was some sort of kinky spam. I curiously proceeded to read the email invitation, and finished up feeling rather hot under the collar. No, it wasn’t anything naughty. It was an invite to the Hard Rock Cafe on National Chilli Day (26th Feb) to sample a one-day-only RED HOT CHILLI MENU!
I wanted to try all three courses on the exclusive, limited choice menu, but suspected that even my bottomless pit of a belly would struggle to find the capacity for such quantity of rich, heavy food. Myself and my friend adopted a tactical approach and agreed to get a burger each, but share the starter and dessert. SORTED.
I’m a huge fan of jalapeños so was salivating by the time our starter arrived. I’ve tried jalapeños bites various times before, usually quite small and filled with mozzarella. These bad boys were definitely substantial for a one-and-a-half-each sharing agreement, but not so big that the burger would be dangerously daunting on arrival.
Venturing beneath the crumbly coating of breadcumb, I discovered an inner lining of jalapeño, and a generous filling of cooling cream cheese to offset the jalapeño heat. We’ll call that the warm up exercise for my tastebuds.
The burger came with a choice of salsa, each with varying degree of heat. Our lovely, chatty waitress Nicky explained that the menu might not be correct in its assessment of the chillies. The jalapeño salsa was indeed the mildest, but she disputed the birdseye being hotter than the scotch bonnet. I didn’t want to be the victim of either of the latter two, so opted for the jalapeño salsa. It was perfect. The burger was so good, I think you need to see it from both angles.
I didn’t spend too much time admiring the toppings, and thought it was far more appropriate to lock my jaws around it without any hesitation. It was cooked to ‘medium’ perfection and topped with smooth, melted cheese, textured guacamole and a dandy dollop of jalapeño salsa. Let’s take a closer look, to fully appreciate the juiciness of my beautiful burger. I think the pictures speak for themselves.
Nicky kindly brought us two wee sample pots of the two hotter chilli salsas which myself and my friend woosed out of ordering. The fries were made for dipping in such condiments, so I cautiously dipped the tips of my chips (there’s a wee tongue twister for you!) into each one to rate the level of heat. I had to agree with Nicky – the scotch bonnet packed a seriously hot punch! If you’re into the whole burning-lips-and-mouth novelty then it’s great, but I much preferred the slightly less fierce birdseye.
Totally impressed by the spicy selection so far, I had high hopes for the chocolate chilli brownie. It was served sundae-style, with tempting chunks of brownie hiding under a layer of ice cream. The initial mouthful was deceivingly chocolatey, without any obvious chilli involvement. WAIT! Delayed taste-reaction! Wowzer, what a tip top combo. It was perfect – rich chocolate with a warm after effect AND a cold sensation all at the same time. Too much excitement for one night.
There was nothing I didn’t like about my National Chilli Day experience at the Hard Rock Cafe. Our waitress was great, the free refills of coke were a blessing with the spicy food, and every course was interestingly ‘hot hot hot’ thanks to those blessed chillies.
While the menu was for one day only, a wee birdie told me that they are planning to offer the menu more regularly. I told them that that would be a very good idea.
Would you try the Red Hot Chilli Menu?