At the tail end of buzzing Swan Street on a Saturday night quietly sat Jai Ho Indian restaurant. Double-fronted stackable windows opened the dining room to the street, making cultural decorations more visible and wafts of Indian spices tempt the passers-by. Everything pointed proudly to their name – which when translated means something like Let Victory Be Yours. However, with only a couple of tables being serviced during peak chow-time, it seemed victory was somewhere else that night. This is a curiosity that must be unfolded and discussed, because we feel this ol’ gem needs to be rediscovered by Melbourne.
My mother-in-law and I shared the Mixed Veg Platter ($24.50), which had a handful of Onion Bhajis, a Samosa split in half, a few tandoor paneer pieces, spinach pakoras, and an aloo something or another (a potato & spinach deep fried thing). The samosa filling was incredibly buttery – smooth and rich; but the stand out on the plate (for me at least) was the seasoning on the tandoori paneer.
Hubby Bear and his father shared the Mixed Platter ($24.50) which had some tandoori cutlets, tandoori chicken, chicken tikka (no bone) and some seekh kebabs. Classic tasty tandoori flavouring permeated through all the meats, which were well cooked and promptly eaten.
Speaking of my father-in-law, he ordered one of his curry faves, Malabar Prawns ($21.90) medium spiced. How was it? Well judging from the fact that he mopped it all up without complaint, I’d say pretty good!
Hubby Bear was quite excited to order a Beef Rogan Josh ($18.90) because in most Indian restaurants it’s only available as lamb. The strong, hearty flavours he loves in a Rogan Josh were all present – spicy, peppery, bold. All gone.
I tried the Paneer Malai Methi ($16.50) which was incredibly creamy, thick and had hints of that unique fenugreek spice I adore. To be honest, I’ve had better renditions of this curry elsewhere; and I say that because I felt the curry was a bit low on spice-flavour but too salty. The chunks of paneer were big and plentiful though, which was a definite bonus!
My mother-in-law herself makes a mean Dal Balti (Makhani) ($14.90) yet this one stacked up pretty well against hers. Creamy and filled with dal and kidney beans, she enjoyed each mouthful, but – for her taste – could’ve done with a dollop of tomato paste and some more sugar. However, overall it was very good!
Our meals were rounded out by a serve of Naan ($3.50/ea), Garlic Naan ($3.90/ea), and Lachha Paratha ($5.50/ea) and some Basmati Rice ($3.90/serve). The naans and parathas were all cooked well – soft, slightly crunchy in the right bits, and very buttery in texture.
Corkage was reasonable at $3.50 per person, so our two bottles were emptied accordingly! And yeah, yeah, we knew were ordered way too much, because we had two Entertainment Guide vouchers (buy 1 meal get the second free), we thought, what the heck! Plus, Indian left-overs are always amazing the next day!
So what’s the verdict for Jai Ho? Let victory be there’s. Their extensive menu, lovely service, comfortable dining room and tasty food all points to a great night out. If you’re in Melbourne or its surrounding suburbs and feel like Indian, do yourselves a favour and head to Jai Ho!
Value: ★★★★☆ (based on menu prices/items alone, not our EG voucher discount)
Address: 205 Swan Street, Richmond Victoria 3121, Australia
Tip! They have some seriously awesome looking banquets on their huge menu, so if you’re not sure! Just ask them to feed you! 😀