Saturday, 20 February 2010

Jashan (Wembley)

I don’t need to remind anyone of the fact that omnivorous individuals like myself have little or no problem in complying with having a full veg blow-out when the need calleth. And no that’s nothing to do with satisfying the whim of a dining companion who’s vegetarian either. If I were forced into a corner and forced upon to be a veggie then I’ll shall demand that the blindfold be removed and FGS put that damn pistol away from my head, I’ll eat Indian vegetarian for the rest of my life. I’m no health freak but I strongly believe that there is only so much meat (especially red meat) one can consume. So for every one week in five I try my best to abstain from meat; your bod will thank you for that and I don’t care if that hoohah has been mentally derived. I profess that I’m no fan of vegetarian dishes that have been cooked the western way (quite often I find myself lying through my teeth and saying, yes it’s very good when it was actually lacking the essential joie de vivre of eating). The Chinese have the wonderful tau foo (tofu) as an ingredient, but it’s normally intended to be served with meat or fish in a stir-fry, soup, stew and so on. But on its own, tofu epitomises blandness like there’s no tomorrow and even then some vegetarians dismiss it as desperate. Oh I don’t know, give the Indians some tofu and they would surely create a world class dish out of it; but then again they don’t need tofu as they have their own paneer.

I don’t do bland food. If I’m steaming some broccoli or cauliflower then chilli oil is called for. Veg dishes need spicing up and what best then to leave the whole procedure to our Indian friends. They’ve been there and done that, they know how to convert the die-hardest carnivores. And before you start to wallow needlessly, Indian vegetarian is not just about saggy aloo, tessa dhal and aloo gobi desert.

I’ve been coming to Jashan for the past decade. Its location requires an epic trip that involves four bus changes from the Westend, but once reached a rewarding experience awaits. This part of Wembley is hardly photogenic, but it’s home to the Gujaratis, Tamils and Sri Lankans; it’s the understated Southall of North London. Like most Indian veggie restaurants in London, the décor is a pure supplementation- you come here to eat, you’re charged very little for it, so why nag, just carry on. And quite often restaurants like Jashan gets misconstrued for their service, if you wish to witness a bit of grovelling like a certain Mr Winner then this place is painfully at odds with your expectations, go to Bombay Brasserie instead. Oh I must add that tap water in jugs is for the taking and the Nepalese Gurkha manager is a right gentleman.

The menu is long and confusing, there are smatterings of both North and South Indian favourites plus some unorthodox Chinese dishes cooked the Indian way. Just take your time and don’t order too much as you can come back here again and again to complete the task.

Here’s a pictorial rundown of a meal I had recently.

Makai Paneer Ke Pakore- beyond moreish sweetcorn and cottage cheese fritters.

Dahi Batata Puri - mini puris filled with potatoes and drowned with sweetened yoghurt.

This dish is served at below room temperature, it’s coldish and it’s spicy to boot! One of my favourite dishes at Jashan.

Cheese Pao Bhaji (mashed spicy veg and cheese served with buns)
Not recommended, boring but filling.

Mushroom Chilli- Loved it, fried battered morsels. Again very spicy!

I’ve always believed that the Indians and Persians cook the best and most perfect rice. Just look at that bowl of pilau!

Kaju Mutter- Cashew Nuts and Peas curry in background. If you thought vindaloo this and that was fiery well you haven’t tried this. Dish that thrives on the expression, it hurts so good!

Pudhina Paratha- excellent mint flavoured layered bread. The pig as I always am I can never finish the bread once the bowl of rice has been emptied.

Like all Indian vegetarian restaurants, it’s unlikely that you’ll leave Jashan reeling with hunger.

Cursory afters of Kesar Bandam Bahar- saffron infused almond kulfi.

Dosa Mysore Masala- rice crepe filled with spicy potatoes. If you’re coming here for the first time then order this as it’s a dish that bodes well as an intro to what Jashan has to offer.

Fried Haka Noodles- a strange twist on chow mein, eminently spicy but downright acquired!

Jashan replenishes my well being admirably and it ever so gives me wings as well. Highly recommended.

1-2 Coronet Parade
Ealing Road, Wembley
London HA0 4AY


Mr Noodles said...

These are the posts you do the best when you veer off the beaten track a bit. I'm not sure about the non-Indian looking dishes like the cheese pao bhaji and the anaemic Hakka noodles. But I would pile into that kaju mutter and pilau.

Su-Lin said...

OK, I wanna eat here as soon as I'm free (whenever that is). Can I entice you to make another visit?

meemalee said...

Ooh, that looks niiiice.

See, vegetarian food automatically means Indian to me and so I wanted to take my colleagues for an Indian meal, but one of them doesn't do "ethnic".

That's why we ended up at Zilli Green.

theundergroundrestaurant said...

It's a fantastic area to go shopping too. Food is really cheap there...

theundergroundrestaurant said...

oh and re tofu. The Japanese view it as a delicacy. They think the quality of tofu here is not good, not fresh. So I think we are not getting the best stuff to judge.

Chowpatty Supperclub said...

Hey there,

Wonderful write-up on Indian vegetarian food and spot-on description of the dishes...just don't agree with the general perception of Pav Bhaji. I have never personally been to this restaurant and probably if u didnt like it..assume it was not made correctly and also it looks a bit non-appetising to me (Bhaji-without coriander (??) and bun (pav in marathi)-chewy.
Pav Bhaji is one the most popular street food/snack in India (comes from Western India-Mumbai where it is sold on hand carts) and can be found in the menu of most restaurants in india (snack section).
The main and the most imp. criteria that differentiates a lip-smacking Bhaji (spicy veg mash) to a bland/unlikeable Bhaji is the spice mix.
It is v.essential to have a correctly prepared Pav Bhaji masala (a mix of spices like Garam masala) comprising of these in powder form Chilli,Coriander(Seeds),Black Pepper,Dry Mango,Cloves,Cinnamon,Black Salt,Big Cardamom,Fennel(seeds),Cumin,Curry(leaves) and this makes all the difference to the Bhaji. The pav is generally smeared with lots of butter and the same bhaji masala and pan-fried on a big griddle.

Nice to know u enjoy Indian cuisine...apart from the usual 'curry'

Padmini for Chowpatty Supperclub

bellaphon said...

Mr Noodles- Eat rice, love rice. I've become obsessed with how rice is cooked of late. From risotto (like the garlic crusher, why was it ever conceived?) to the frictionless beauty of Persian buttered rice.

S-L- Let's.

meemalee- Hmm…like goats cheese salad and pasta with tomato sauce. Do I not like to see dishes that one can create or cook with ease at home. A bill should be introduced to ban these dishes on restaurants’ menus with immediate effect!

MsMarmitelover- The Japanese are good at silken tofu like the Campanians and their mozzarella, but the Chinese have a lot more and better variety like dried, layered, firm, cheesy, etc. All of which I can quite happily eat instead of meat should I ever go back to my Buddhist roots for good.

Padmini- The bun bhaji tasted like an average Italian ragout (albeit without the meat) with chilli powder chucked in. It was at best amateurish. You’re major enlightening when it comes to Indian cuisine, must pay you a visit soon.

Anonymous said...

Dear BlogReaders...

There is also a Jashan's in Wood Green, literally 2 minutes from Turnpike Lane station that not many people know about (their first restaurant too...)

One dish you have to try when in Wembley is chilli paneer (though make sure you dont have work the next day!)...its best had at Sakonis (once again in Wembley, just down the road)...or here at Jashans, though Sakonis does the best dish.

Chilli Paneer is addictive, hot and addictive..its like drug! (you have been warned!)


Emily DeVoto, Ph.D., said...

Dang, two tube stops away from where we just moved from... will have to check this out when we go back to NW London to visit the in-laws.

Divya said...

Agree with Padmini about the Pau Bhaji. It tastes best in India from a stall, fresh with lots of butter. I've had that dish from Jashan and I thought it was ok but I can see that if you didn't know the dish, it would seem a bit meh and inauthentic.

Also, you have to try Maru's Bhajia House at the other end of Ealing Rd (230). Its signature dish is Maru Crispy Bhajia and the tamarind sauce and fresh tomato chutney is amazing. The restaurant and this particular dish is legendary among Asians esp East African Asians. It is very cheap and cheerful and always packed at weekends. The Dahi Bateta Puri and Sev Bateta Puri are very good and if you like the vietnamese coffee drinks you might like the Falooda as well.

Don't think it's been reviewed or blogged about before but honestly it's famous in the Asian community.

Anonymous said...

can someone post here and confirm that this restaurant is still open please?

navya sree said...

This post is extremely radiant. I extremely like this post. It is outstanding amongst other posts that I’ve read in quite a while. Much obliged for this better than average post. I truly value it! southall vegetarian restaurant