This Dulwich restaurant takes its name from one of the most beautiful spots in India. Jaflong lies at the edge of the country, amidst tea gardens, the natural beauty of rolling stones and boundless hills, wild animals, and the river Mari which streams from the great Himalayas. And while the restaurant itself isn’t quite as picturesque, the owners’ stories of their home lands and the flavours and passion put into their food will transport you straight to this magical part of India…
Beyond the obligatory vindaloo and chicken tikka masala, the dishes at Jaflong are guaranteed to please the taste buds. I popped in for a Friday night curry and was taken aback by the impeccable service, the flavour combinations and the quality of the food.
As soon as we were seated our waiter rushed over with water and menus, proudly talking us through the dishes. He spoke with so much conviction we didn’t even need to look at the menu before agreeing to go with the dishes he recommended. He returned after a few minutes with crisp poppadums and a selection of chutneys, and their house Jaflong chutney -which was a sweet and sour red puri with a hint of hotness - was seriously delicious.
Our starter quickly followed, which was a colourful mixed plate of onion bhajis, sheek kebabs, onion salad and lamb samosas. The bhajis and samosas were crisp and flaky as they should be, the lamb was tender and succulent and the sweet onion salad was the perfect accompaniment. We wolfed it down forgetting our mains were on the way, washing it down with some prosecco which we’d brought from home. (It’s bring your own booze and there’s no corkage charge with your Portico Places card, ideal if you like your curry with a four pack.)
We opted for the Murgh Galric Chilli Masala for main (£7.75), with pilau rice, a peshwari naan and a side order of saag aloo and baingan bhartha. It’s one of their house specials and certainly didn’t disappoint, laced with garlic and an intense, zingy spiciness that really makes the dish. The sauce was velvety thick without being oily, and the chicken was tender, cooked off the bone and marinated with a mix of tandoori spices. The side dishes were so moreish - my favourite was the baingan bhartha, which was deliciously creamy roasted aubergines and roasted baby coon in a thick onion and tomatoes, spicy sauce.
We couldn’t manage dessert, but we left with the promise that we’ll be back soon. Jaflong is soon opening a branch on East Dulwich Road, and we vow to become regulars!
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