People worldwide are familiar with dishes like Murgh Makhani or Butter Chicken, Dhal and Biryani, which are northern Indian food. Tikka Masala doesn't count because, well, it is confirmed that the dish was actually invented in Scotland -- in Glasgow, to be specific -- not in India. Like the rest of the world, Bangkok is familiar with Northern Indian food. Luckily, a restaurant on Sukhumvit 18 serves a different variation of Indian food. Jhol is the name, and this restaurant serves coastal Indian food.
Coastal Indian food is different from northern Indian food. Curry leaf and coconut are the essential ingredients in coastal Indian cuisine, while in north Indian cuisine, cheese and cream are common.
The restaurant was designed to have a modern look with a clean white and black colour scheme aesthetic. The restaurant has a bar, one of the first things people notice when entering.
Jhol offers customers three menu options, one à la carte menu and two set menus (1,399++ THB and 1,999++ THB). After Chomp settled at our table, Jhol staff eagerly assisted us. They recommended that we try the 1,999++ THB set menu because it comes with a glass of bubbles, and we could order some additional items from the à la carte menu.
A red oval-shaped amuse-bouche was served first. This little red thing consists of beetroot, potato and herbs decorated with chutney and a green herbaceous sauce. It gives a vibe of earthy and spicy petit Indian croquet.
Masala Muska Bun with Pav Bhaji Butter, not a part of this set menu, was served second. This dish is an elevation of a street food dish called Pav Bhaji, a soft roll with vegetable curry. The Masala Muska bun was soft and stuffed with thick vegetable curry. To have a complete experience, the curry leaf and Gun Powder spiced butter should be in the mix. It was a delicious explosion of flavours, aromas, and textures.
Crab Appam is the official first dish on this set menu. Shredded crab meat cooked with chilli pepper served in thin dosa shells and topped with purple potato floss has a pleasant prickliness and burning effect from the chilli pepper. The crab meat is fresh and aromatic. It was like a party in the mouth.
Injipuki Pork Ribs is similar to Thai food because this dish has tamarind, ginger and jaggery. Jaggery is a block of non-centrifugal cane sugar. It's sweet, tangy, salty and umami. The meat was so tender that it easily fell off the bone without breaking our sweat. The curry leaf gave this dish an additional smell, which helped us differentiate it from Thai food.
The third dish on this set menu was prawn Koliwada, a prawn dish. The prawns were cooked and covered in various types of Indian spices. They were served with curd rice and pickled cucumbers. The spicy prawns were balanced by curd rice and pickled cucumbers.
Kerala Mutton Roast was the next dish. The lamb was cooked in a fiery curry topped with coconut shoots and curry leaves. The spicy mutton was shredded and juicy. It went well with a soft and flaky flatbread called Malabar Parotta.
Customers can choose from three main dishes: Chettinad Lamb Shank, Kundapura Ghee Roasted Prawn or Alleppey Fish Curry. We decided to order the Chettinad Lamb Shank and Kundapura Ghee Roasted Prawn.
Start with the lamb dish. The lamb shank was huge, tender and juicy. The lamb shank was sous vide, tenderising the meat and helping the meat absorb the seasoning better and faster. The leg was sprinkled with crispy potato and served with a rice cake called Thatte Idli.
The prawn dish was equally enjoyable. Using Kundapur masala powder to make this dish. This style of masala powder is a style of masala powder which is roasted masala powder. It adds smokiness to the dish making it more aromatic. This dish comes with a cone of crispy thin dosa and coconut chutney.
Not only can customers choose their main dish but also dessert. The choices are Mango Kulfi and Coconut Payasam. We decided to have both. Coconut Payasam is a mango jelly swimming in Payasam or Kheer, served with Rabdi ice cream. There was harmony between the creaminess and coconut, while the tropical mango from the jelly added dimension and complexity.
Mango Kulfi is a creamy mango popsicle served with berry gel, pistachio soil and kaffir lime crema. The aroma of kaffir lime was refreshing. We tried each component separately before combining them. The result was a blast of flavours.
As Chomp mentioned earlier that JHOL had its own bar. This station allows bartenders to play with local ingredients and Indian ingredients and serve drinks to customers.
Stranger Things, a cocktail made of Indian gin, jackfruit shrub, black pepper tincture and chocolate bitter, is a beloved drink for many. From what Chomp detected, the homemade jackfruit, black pepper and chocolate enhanced the character of the herbaceous and aromatic Indian gin.
For those who prefer a spirit-forward drink, Monsoon Negroni is a perfect choice. This Negroni variation has gin, Kokum infused Campari, and spiced vermouth and is garnished with orange peel and basil. We experienced the spices' intensity. We like it!
Chef Hari Nayak is the person behind all the food at JHOL. Chef Nayak was born and raised in the coastal town of Udupi, a region well known for its fantastic cuisine. Chef Nayak’s earliest family memories are of food. He began his training at a hotel school in Manipal, graduating in 1994 and then started his epicurean journey at the Culinary Institute of America. Currently, Chef Nayak owns several restaurants worldwide, including JHOL. Other restaurants worth mentioning are MICHELIN GUIDE restaurants 2022 Sona in New York and Bombay Bangalow in Dubai.
Open: Monday - Sunday, 12:00 - 14:30 and 17:30 - 21:30
Reserve: +662 004 7174
Location: Sukhumvit Soi 18, Khwaeng Khlong Toei, Khlong Toei, Bangkok 10110