Our esteemed host (and manager) at Jajoo mentioned that the Birmingham restaurant where he used to work had gained some notoriety that week, having received a visit from Tom Cruise.
Brilliant. I had an angle for my review. Some well-placed puns and tenuous links between Cruise films and Indian food, this could be my finest work yet! But then we began eating and I knew immediately that my word count should be dedicated solely and only to describing the food.
New to Hale, Jajoo is an Indian street food restaurant founded by Dr Jajoo; his wish to provide an authentic Indian dining experience with dishes that are ‘healthy, often plant-based and flavoursome’.
We began our Jajoo journey by sharing dishes from the Street Eats section. Think ‘tapas’, with dishes arriving as and when cooked, providing thrills at regular intervals.
We ordered the Gunpowder Gobi (cauliflower florets marinated overnight in yoghurt, garlic and ginger, sprinkled with gunpowder spices and served charred), the Tandoor Aloo (potatoes, peppers and onions marinated in masala spices) and, my favourite of the three, the chicken Jajoo Momos (handmade spicy dumplings, golden fried and served with Schezwan dip).
All ingredients are fresh, the dips homemade, and elements cooked to provide the perfect bite and heat where appropriate.
Some Indian restaurants seem to make it their aim to hit you between the eyes with a blend of spice and actual fire until your eyes water and beg for mercy. Not here. The flavours are given a platform to shine with the heat building slowly, surely but never savagely in the background.
Next, the ‘Roadside Curries’. The Nalli Gosht is an impressively sized lamb shank which has been marinated and slow cooked. I will quote directly from the menu as it speaks the truth: “packed with layers of flavour, a delicious thick curry of ground spices, fresh coriander and Kashmiri chillies”. The lamb really did just fall off the bone and practically melted in the mouth, incredible.
We also shared The Doctor’s Daal which was described as Dr Jajoo’s favourite dish (and also ours). Jajoo slow-cook black lentils for an impressive 36 hours, resulting in a warming, smoky, creamy and ultimately comforting dish.
We were told by the Manager that if a restaurant can get its Daal right, everything else will follow. True story.
Lucky enough to live in an area where an ever increasing number of eateries are fighting for our attention, opening a stand-out restaurant here can be a ‘risky business’. Jajoo has proven this ‘mission, possible’. Oh yes.
Address: 151 Ashley Rd, Hale, WA14 2UW
Bookings: Call 0161 924 0033 or visit jajooindianstreetfood.com