I’d been told about Grillnchill from a few friends over the past year, but not living in Seaham, hadn’t ventured to the coast to try it out.
Now I know what I’ve been missing.
Tucked away in the East Shore Village shopping area close to the coast, the restaurant always seems to be bustling when you go past.
I visited with my girlfriend on a Sunday night and didn’t have a problem booking a table in advance.
The place is quite casual and we were seated near the front window, looking out onto the sea.
The eatery has an open kitchen so you can hear your food being cooked after placing your order, something which I think adds to the experience as the smell of the food wafts towards you.
I opted for the chicken botti kebab, accompanied by chips and salad as well as a naan bread, while my girlfriend went for the butterfly chicken.
Both are popular dishes, coming in at less than £7 each, and they hit spot as we were famished by the time we arrived.
It may be an unfair comparison, but you’d pay much more for this kind of dish at chain chicken restaurants, and there would not be anywhere near as big portions.
The chicken was cooked to perfection, nicely marinated in spice and the chunks fell apart when you cut into them.
You’d also expect the naan bread not to be the biggest, but it was plentiful and soft, unlike some of those you get in Indian takeaways which can tend to be a bit on the dry side.
We also chose to have a spicy bolognese pizza.
It didn’t disappoint either and was better than most I’ve had in recent years.
The cheese and bolognese topping was thick with a light and fluffy crust and the chillies used proved almost too hot for me to handle.
It was so filling so that we didn’t manage to eat it in one go and had to have the remaining slices boxed up to take home.
Another nice touch is that customers are given huge bottles of chilli and garlic which you can choose to lather on your meal.
In my opinion, it is the low prices that helps Grillnchill to stand out from the competition.
The feast of food we had only came to £21.95 (including two bottles of Coca Cola), small change compared to what you would pay at other places where the bill would probably be twice that.
As mentioned earlier, the mood is relaxed and friendly, with service unfussy and uncomplicated.
With the restaurant being a small outfit, there is always a waiter or two on hand to serve you.
The restaurant also offers a takeaway service which delivers until quite late at night, perfect if you’re recovering from a hangover and can’t be bothered to leave the house.
Seaham has enjoyed a real food renaissance in the past few years, with ice cream parlour Lickety Split and popular Indian Ashoka not far awayfrom Grillnchill. It’s also close to the town centre and the iconic Tommy statue which has recently had its residence made permanent.
Indeed, Sagar, another Indian restaurant which packs in the punters, is just next door. So if you fancy a change from indulging in some traditional fish and chips on your visit to the seaside and don’t want to burst the wallet, look no further than this place.