Jyoti is an Indian ‘pure vegetarian restaurant and sweet centre’ and offers a massive choice of 15 starters and 72 main courses as well as a sizeable list of rice accompaniments and sundries. We’re not actually vegetarians but we do enjoy vegetarian and vegan meals and try to eat at least two meat free meals a week. After reading some reviews on the internet we decided that we needed to pay this place a visit to see what all the fuss was about, after a busy day morning shopping at the bullring we made our way to Hall Green.
Situated at 1045 Stratford Road Hall Green Birmingham there is ample free parking outside.
Grandpa Gourmand started his meal with Mogo Chips (£2.95) which are deep fried cassava chips with tamarind sauce. I’d seen Cassava in Asian food stores but didn’t realise how it could be cooked so have always been intrigued to try it and I’m so glad I did as it is rather delicious. Cassava is a great alternative to the humble potato although it is a bit sweeter and does have a distinctive taste. We all enjoyed these chips and the slightly sour dipping sauce really complemented them.
I ordered the Onion Bhajiya (£1.95) to share with Mini Gourmand which consisted of 2 deep-fried balls of onion in spiced gram flour served with salad and chutney sauce. These were like nothing we had ever tried before, not at all greasy and extremely light in texture. The spice was on the hotter side of the spectrum so Mini Gourmand was a little put off but myself and Grandpa Gourmand devoured them.
Mini Gourmand ordered the Tarka Daal (£5.75) which was a lentil curry which she had served with plain boiled rice (£1.95) I imagine everyone has their own interpretation of this dish, I make it myself which was adapted from a recipe I saw in the Guardian, I consider Tarka Dahl to be a comfort food however I think my own recipe has tainted Mini Gourmands palate and she didn’t really enjoy this dish which she found a bit lacking and too tomato flavoured.
I ordered the Vegetable Biryani (£5.95) which was a mixed vegetable curry served with fried rice. I love Biryani, it has featured in many posts on this blog and because of my love of the dish I couldn’t resist ordering when I saw it on the menu. When the dish landed on the table I was a little disappointed, the rice looked like frozen rice with veg and the curry didn’t look that different to the Tarka Daal that Mini Gourmand had ordered. I know that looks can be deceiving so I ploughed in with an open mind.
The dish was bland and lacked flavour, the rice was as I suspected a bit of rice with some frozen veg thrown in and it left me incredibly unhappy.
Grandpa Gourmand ordered the Paneer Bhurji (£5.95) which was Indian cheese cooked with onions, garlic, ginger, cashew nuts and tomato, this was served with a chapatti. Like the other two main courses this dish was lacking, it had good heat but the flavour just wasn’t there and to be completely honest the dish tasted incredibly similar to the other two.
We were very disappointed with our first visit to Jyoti, I had read some amazing reviews about the place prior to our visit granted the majority of them were from 2010/2011 and we all know how quickly a place can change but I hadn’t expected it to be quite as bad. All of the food was lacking flavour in one way or another, we have eaten a lot of vegetarian meals in other restaurants and the taste, seasoning and quality was on a different scale. I would like to say that the sweets I purchased to take home from Jyoti were incredible and couldn’t be faulted, maybe the same amount of effort should be put into the savoury food.
Have you visited Jyoti? How did you find it?