Time Out says
The tatty, stained frame next to our booth enquired, ‘Are you having fun yet?’ The implication being that if you were in anything short of rapture as you sat pinned into the too-tight booth supping your ‘bottomless beverages’ and digesting your basket-served meals, there was no one to blame but yourself.
Now, call me an old misery guts but I somehow managed to avoid all traces of fun at Chili’s. That could be because I’m the sort of person who gets hung up worrying about whether the name of the outlet should have one or two ‘l’s or it could be because I dislike bad service and mediocre food – you decide.
Being a family restaurant – although the four hour long ‘Happy Hours’ hardly sit with this projected image - and us being a family it seemed a not completely inappropriate choice for a weekend lunch and the steady stream of other family units that joined us affirmed Chili’s status as a KL favourite. Psychology students looking for a topic for their dissertation thesis might like to explore this popularity as potential evidence of KL-ites’ inherent masochism.
The aforementioned and much heralded (in multi-coloured chalk no less) ‘bottomless beverages’ arrived to a fanfare of tickertape and popping champagne corks as gymnasts spring-boarded their way across the restaurant with a cavalcade of ribbons. Not really. They were placed drearily on the table. I won’t comment on the fact they are served in plastic beakers. I assume it is to prevent us going too overboard on the fun (no, I still wasn’t having any if you were wondering).
Big credit point for them bringing the children’s meals first. In fact, there’s only one other place in KL I know that does this without being asked. It makes a huge difference, allowing us to avoid hunger tantrums and also leave the adults free to enjoy their own meals after the kids are done.
Further kudos for the fact that these meals were free. Yes, that’s right: kids eat free when an adult dines. That’s really impressive, although also a somewhat cynical (if successful) marketing tool. To my mind ‘family friendly’ should be more about serving fresh, hearty food and allowing children the opportunity to interact with both friends and their dining environment rather than getting a couple of deep fried chicken nuggets gratis.
Having been denied the right to a medium-rare burger (not that great a sacrifice as my medium was cooked identically to my partner’s well done) I was pleased that their beef was of good quality, very good given the price. Although the less said about the unspeakable accessories that came with it the better. I expected my ‘Ranch Burger’ to have earned its title through its Ranch Dressing. Still, I suppose Bland Barbecue Sauce and Stringy Old Lettuce Burger would be less catchy. And certainly less fun (no, still not).
As my eye glanced back at the sign to my left, I reflected on the word ‘yet’. Maybe if we stayed long enough we would finally achieve this fun we’d heard so much about. The length of time the waiting staff took to bring our bill (we asked four members of staff before it arrived) suggested they were willing us on in this endeavour, but sadly it came before we so much as raised a smile. Matthew Bellotti
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