- a blog about food and value

Ripped off at The Chili Club

The Chili Club, just off South Anne St in Dublin, was Ireland’s first Thai restaurant. I’d been meaning to go for a while, and finally ate there last Saturday week. I was enticed by the online dinner menu on their website,, with an extensive selection of curries, seafood and meat dishes priced from €16.50 to €18.00.

It was a very disappointing start to a big Christmas night out, and I won’t be returning. Having made a booking, we arrived to find our choice severely restricted to a “Christmas menu” where ALL main courses cost €23.00. By my poor maths, that’s a mark-up of around 40% on the regular menu. The staff were entirely unapologetic when we protested, knowing that we’d be unlikely to try our luck elsewhere in a half-decent restaurant.

The food itself was good, if not particularly special overall. One of the mains, Par Thod Prilk Tai Dam – fish of the day in a very light crispy batter with black pepper and a side dressing of lime chilli – was very ordinary and of much poorer quality than what you could make yourself at home. My meal, Gaeng Pet Curry – fresh salmon and haddock in red curry sauce and green beans – was particularly delicious, but the contempt with which it was served made it taste quite bitter indeed.

Why do some restaurants think Christmas is the time for limiting customer choice and vastly overcharging for lesser quality food? Have you had any bad experiences with Christmas menus?


  1. fixed menus are usually a great reason to avoid restaurants around festival times. much better in my opinion to stay in an cook your own spicy food. it tastes much better when you make it yourself!

  2. I agree, all that chili club restaurant has going for it is its age. For the same reason why people still flock to the filipino ‘bahay cubo’ restaurant in landsdowne, so too did people first start going to the chili club – it was the first of its kind. Offering such exotic treats as lemongrass and fish sauce in the early 90s, who wouldn’t have walked out of Blakes restaurant having heard there was a new Thai restaurant in Dublin. Alas, every second restaurant in the capital is now Thai. As Chet Baker once sung, ‘The thrill is gone’. So the chili club has become that friend you still hang around with because you’ve known them since you were a kid. Even though you no longer have anything in common, you make an effort to tolerate their bad taste in clothes and poor sense of humour. My advice? Cut them loose.