When we stepped into the lavish and cosy JAL — An Indian Element, the month-old fine dine restaurant in a Juhu bylane, little did we think that we'd return on a half-empty stomach. That's a rarity, especially for a restaurant that claims to offer North Indian specialty cuisine, with a focus on rich Awadhi fare.
Soya Bean And Mutter Ki Shaami
Giving the dimly lit al fresco section a miss, we settled into the comfy indoor seating area with posh sofas and cushy chairs. The menu offers tempting vegetarian and non-vegetarian options in starters and mains. However, ordering was a tough call with the steep prices that stared at us (Galauti Kebab for '995 and Jal Machli, a main for Rs 1,100).
Nizami Shahi Tukda. Pics/Sayed Sameer Abedi
We began with Soya Bean and Mutter Ki Shaami (Rs 355). The tawa-cooked kebabs, comprising a mash of soya bean, green peas and cottage cheese, were melt-in-the-mouth, and tasted great with the homemade tomato and garlic chutney.
A sour tale
While we contemplated the Murg-E-Khaas, which was supposedly Jal's take on butter chicken, we went ahead with the waiter's recommendation of Lagan Ka Murgh (Rs 700), since the latter was supposed to be spicier than the sweet butter chicken. From breads, we picked Bakarkhani (Rs 110) and Taaftan (Rs 200). While most Awadhi gravies are thick and richly spiced, Lagan Ka Murgh had boneless chicken pieces floating in a watery yellow curry, without any hints of saffron or a cashew-based gravy, that the menu promised. In fact, the flavours of the sour dough-based Bakarkhani and the soft, saffron-flavoured Taaftan overpowered the gravy. When asked about the consistency, a waiter blurted, “Actually, Lagan Ka Murgh goes best with steamed rice, not breads.” We sent the unfinished dish back to the kitchen.
By now we were unsure of being in safe hands and skipped the rice section, and called for Nizami Shahi Tukda (Rs 550). Flavoured with pistachio and almonds, the traditional not-too-sweet bread pudding turned out to be the saving grace. That, and a bill that offered 10% discount since the staff owned up to making a wrong recommendation.
Time: 7 pm to 1 am AT 29/1, Z Luxury Residences, JR Mhatre Road, Iris Park, Juhu.
Jal didn't know we were there. the guide reviews anonymously and pays for its meals.