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Andy’s Balti Blog

JYOTI

19-11-2009

This much loved budget vegetarian specialist has moved from Sparkbrook to Hall Green. Andy Munro checks out how well it’s travelled.

Although it’s no longer in the Balti Triangle, I decided to beat a path to Jyoti’s vegetarian restaurant in darkest Hall Green, to give my incisors a rest following a particularly heavy meat eating weekend culminating in a gigantic Sunday carvery.

One of Jyoti’s claims to fame is its reputation as being one of Jamie Oliver’s favourite Brummie eateries and subsequently it has also won a place in the coveted national Good Food Guide.

Situated in the main Hall Green shopping centre, Jyoti is a specialist in Gujarati cuisine which ,to be honest, makes a refreshing change from the overwhelmingly Bangladeshi influenced curry scene. On the subject of ‘refreshing’, it’s also unlicensed so it really was an opportunity to detox.

Surroundings are clean and unfussy if you choose to ignore the plethora of the sort of tinsel chains which used to adorn every office at Xmas before the ‘pc’ brigade decreed that Xmas was to be replaced with ‘Winterval’ and putting up decorations was a major health and safety risk.

Anyway, the welcome was warm and we kicked off with the staple of Vegetable Samosas in addition to Paneer Spring Rolls, and Dahi Puri with accompanying dips.

The samosas were moist without being greasy and packed full of filling whilst the Paneer Spring Rolls came as a duet of crispy pastry tubes containing a beautifully smooth mixture of paneer and green vegetables which was not unlike a goat’s cheese based dish in its taste…completely different to the rubbery cubes of paneer found in the ubiquitous paneer tikka beloved of many Bangladeshi restaurants.

The Dahi Puri looked suspiciously like party pack vol au vents but with the major difference of being seriously tasty.They were served up with the strict instructions that they should be flung into an accompanying dip and then swallowed whole like a vegetarian equivalent of an oyster.

Main courses were several including a Puri and Aloo Curry, Bengan Methi and Malai Kofta. The Aloo Curry contained chopped pieces of potato in a thick tasty sauce whilst the Bengan Methi was a mixture of aubergine and fenugreek which I enjoyed although it might have been slightly bitter for some tastebuds…certainly not for somebody who likes four sugars in their tea.

However the piece(or pieces) of resistance was a wonderful and flavoursome Malai Kofta described as balls of paneer,potatoes,cashews with chilli and raisins in tomato and onion curry sauce. So flavoursome in fact that reserve rations of puri had to be ordered to soak up the superb sauce.

Perhaps my only mistake was to order an accompanying Faluda which was a sort of rose flavoured and pink coloured milk shake which a teetotal Delboy would have been proud to call his own not least because of its little umbrella and straw.It was actually very nice but not a particularly apt accompaniment to such savoury delights.

I then compounded this felony by ordering a black Masala Tea to finish which is a bit like ordering a Latte without the milk.

Overall it was an excellent meal with portions fit for a Rajah yet prices befitting a pauper costing under £20.As the man himself would no doubt remark, Jyoti’s is undoubtedly a pukka South Asian eating experience.

JYOTI’S http://www.jyotis.co.uk/ 1045 Stratford Rd,B28,8AS(tel.0121-778-5501)

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