205 Swan St
Richmond, VIC 3121
My parents aren’t the most adventurous eaters on Earth. Whilst they’ll eat most Chinese foods and a good portion of other Asian cuisines, anything more exotic is often greeted with suspicion and disdain. After all, with Chinese being such a diverse and interesting cuisine, and having eaten it all their lives, it’s probably fairly easy to feel like you neither need nor want anything else.
Whilst they make an effort to avoid most ‘foreign’ cuisines, the one they wouldn’t touch with a 10 foot dosa is Indian. Something about that distinctive spice combination just makes them go crazy, and I definitely don’t mean in the good way. What that means is that I usually jump at the chance to have Indian food, especially at restaurants that make a special effort to do things authentically, like at Jai Ho Richmond, where the spices are ground in-house.
Jai Ho is a warm, welcoming sort of place that is neither tacky nor oppressive – the two pitfalls I find that higher-end Indian restaurants tend to fall into. Rather, it is spacious and light, decorated with ethnic statues that are ambient but not over the top.
The meal was started with an order of Trio of Dips and Papadum ($6). The papadums were well-drained, light, and crispy. On the side was a serving of mint chutney, sweet tamarind syrup, and creamy chilli sauce.
The Indian Beer Nuts ($6) were surprisingly good. Mixed with spices, diced red onion, and a squeeze of lemon, this was bright, peppy, and even more addictive than the timeless salted peanut.
The Aloo Tikki ($6.5) is my idea of a perfect snack. The soft patties of fried mashed potato were drowned in a colourful deluge of mint chutney, tangy yoghurt, and tamarind for a flavour bonanza that was spicy, sweet, savoury, and sour – all in one bite!
Less traditional was the Chilli Chicken, insofar that I have never seen nor heard of it before. The battered pieces of chicken were coated with a sticky, tangy sauce that also tasted of spicy curry. It was like an Indian sweet and sour chicken, and would go great with some rice.
The Onion Bhaji ($6.5) on the other hand was a very traditional snack. The onion was coated in a crispy, spongy batter that carried a warm hint of spice; these Indian onion rings gave their western counterpart a run for their money.
For our mains, we were served three curries – a robustly smoky ChickenTikka Masala ($17), a rich Lamb Rahara ($17) boasting fork-tender chunks of spring lamb in a spicy sauce, and a creamy, buttery Tadka Dahl ($13.5). Served with sides of Garlic Naan ($3.5) and fluffy Matar Pulao ($5), this was an expansive feast of colours, textures, and flavours.
We were full to bursting with plenty of food left over, but I just couldn’t finish the meal without some Gulab Jamun ($6.5). Warm, fluffy, and soaked in ginger-tinged sugar syrup, this traditional Indian sweet really is unbeatable, especially with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
I thoroughly enjoyed my meal at Jai Ho, and at the end of it I positively rolled out the door. I don’t have Indian food often, but every time I do, I wish I had it more.
Rating: 13.5/20 – you are my destiny (JAI HO!!)
This rating reflects my personal experience at the time of visit.
Sweet and Sour Fork dined as a guest of Jai Ho Richmond.