Restaurant review: Jolly’s Indian Bistro

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I had a groupon voucher for Jolly’s Indian Bistro, a small restaurant in Kitsilano, on West Forth Avenue, between MacDonald and Bayswater.

We arrived at 6:30 pm on a weeknight and were seated immediately (the restaurant does not accept reservations).  The place filled up by 7pm.

The menu is fairly comprehensive, covering all the most familiar Indian dishes.

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We started with the samosa.

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This is cooked Potato and peas wrapped in light pastry, deep-fried until crispy, and served over curried chickpeas and a lighlty sweet chutney, and sprinkled  with fresh cilantro.  This was a very good samosa.  The pastry was crisp around the outside, but the filling of potatoes and peas were fluffly and light, and savory.  The curried chickpeas were mildly spicy and aromatic.  The chutney was a sweet blend of honey and mango flavors.  The cilantro added a nice herby freshness.

Next came the dosa stuffed with chicken.
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This is a South Indian crepe stuffed with minced grilled chicken served with daal and more of that sweet chutney. The “crepe” is a thin pancake made from a blend of rice flour and (traditionally) black lentil flour mixed with water and allowed to ferment.  Its cooked over a flat griddle much like a crepe.  This dosa was stuffed with grilled chicken, and served under a blanket of daal and more of that mango chutney.

Although this is an appetizer, it’s a pretty hearty serving.  It was nicely seasoned, with an earthy flavor from the daal and little fruity sweetness from the chutney.

Lastly we had the kashmiri lamb roganjosh

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This is a Leg of lamb pressured cooked with rare mixed spices and mint.

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It’s served with saffron basmati rice, and a green salad.

The lamb also comes with a serving of garlic naan.

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The lamb was very lean and a little dry and stringy, but not intolerable.  The braising sauce is a potent rich blend of shallots, garlic, ginger, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, chilies, mint and yogurt.  The rice was light and slightly nutty with a hint of turmeric.

The salad a nice fresh bundle of greens, cucumbers, tomatoes, cabbage and sunflower seeds, drizzled with a sweet fruity dressing.

The naan is a leavened wheat flour flat bread cooked on the inside of a searing hot tandoori oven.  This naan was crispy on the edges and quite thin.  It didn’t have much tenderness on the inside. It was smeared with a garlicky buttery spread. This was not bad naan, better than average, really.

Our server was prompt, patient and nice enough.

The room is warm but dimly lit, with lots of red, yellow and orange tones on the walls and hangings.  In spite of it’s modest size, it feels a little tight and cozy.

Jolly's Indian Bistro on Urbanspoon

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