Jaї Ho La La

A fan of your favorite page Yummy Lebanon (We bring the food experience to your screen) won the other day a free lunch with Chicho and myself… we were excited about it… we gave him the choice to choose his favorite food: It was Indian… Oh Surprise! I have been telling Chicho for days that I would really want to try Indian food in Lebanon… (I lived abroad for over 10 years) so he proposed Jaї …

I had no idea what Jaї was, except that it was an Indian restaurant, as Chicho told me… I usually do my homework and check the restaurant before going there so I know and anticipate what I should expect, it’s my way to put myself in the right mood for the right food… Pas cette fois ci… maybe because it was Chicho who picked the restaurant… toujours est’il that I didn’t know that Jai was specifically a delivery restaurant who only had 1 Table for walk in customers…

So, we had invited a fan to lunch… to an almost tableless restaurant (I know that “tableless” is not a word all right? just humor me…)

So it was with wide opened eyes that we saw the unique table… full… We presented ourselves to the manager, a fine lady with a sweet accent… who explained the concept of the restaurant…a Delivery restaurant…

The table was literally IN the kitchen, people were sitting next to the chefs, cooks and commis… And I really liked it… It takes a lot of confidence to do that… however, from a hygienic point of view, there was absolutely no separation from the work area to the very dusty polluted Hamra street filled with flying insects… not to mention as well that the toilet access was directly in the kitchen… but let’s not shatter the food mood…

We waited for our guest to arrive and thankfully, meanwhile, the table cleared and we were seated, the manager explained that this table was sharing, and since we were 3, we might had other people seated with us, to which we heart fully agree…

Maz, our guest arrived, (and yes it’s a nickname), a nice guy who later we discovered had a foody soul… but let’s drop that for now as we were hungry and eager to start…

Publish 1

The Fried fish cakes looked good, however the lemongrass was a tad overwhelming, I had to hide it over dipping it in the chili sauce that came along with it…

Publish 2

The Chicken Satay skewers were nicely presented, the blending with the spicy peanut sauce worked but was a bit overshadowing the chicken flavor… I would reduce the quantity of the sauce to have a more homogenic dish…

Publish 3

The Chicken dumpling didn’t look like much… colorless… just dropped on a plate… they looked soggy, however, they did taste good with that soya sauce dip… If you could work a little bit on that presentation, it would make that dish look way more appealing… I do understand however that the restaurant concept is Delivery…

Publish 4

The dish I was looking forward to since I saw it on their menu was the Tom Yum Soup… (Since it turns out that the restaurant had Indian AND Thai food) It’s a spicy sea food soup that I learned to appreciate in the Thai restaurant of Saudi Arabia, and after tasting it so many times from so many different chefs, I knew exactly what I should expect… Sadly I was disappointed… the base flavor was there, but it was totally lacking citrus, and citrus, for those who knows Tom Yum, is a key ingredient that binds the sea food to the broth and give it that unique taste I crave for… Of course I asked for some lemon and fixed the problem…

Publish 10

The sweet Chili Chicken Sandwich, (that was a wrap really) was okay… Presented with a side salad that had not real heart or taste to it… The chicken tasted good though…

Publish 5

Come the mains, Chicho who was handling most of the conversation with Maz had ordered the Chicken Sweet n Sour Stir Fry… a delicious looking dish… glazed chicken with colored sweet peppers and onions slices topped with sesame seeds, a Chinese dish… so I see… it’s Indian, Thai and Chinese… The flavors were perfectly developed and the dish made perfect sense, it’s the side rice that I didn’t get… it had absolutely no taste… none whatsoever… now I know it has to be tasted along with the chicken but it should also present some addition to the main dish (beside the starch), what actually happened was that the main dish was losing flavor being mixed with the rice…

Publish 10

Now I didn’t taste the Thai Chicken Salad, but it did look like Maz and Chicho enjoyed it… all I can say is that it lacks a bit presentation wise, maybe some more colors from some additional vegetable?

Publish 7

My Beef Korma was here, and again, the side rice was absolutely blank… just a shape… the dish was very tasty… but I couldn’t say it was Korma… the spices were definitely not there… I did enjoy it though and probably would order it again in the future, but it wasn’t Korma…

Publish 8

To end our lunch in style, the sweet lady manager offered us an indian dessert specialty, that was mostly the equivalent of our Lebanese Ouwaymet (fried dough balls with ice sugar), enjoyable though.

Maz was happy, and that’s we wanted, we thanked our nice host, bid farewell to Maz, then left, Chicho and I, promising ourselves to try them again through delivery…

Sahib Gaston

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