A hot summer’s night and what better food to enjoy in a heatwave than a curry?
Well, actually, a friend and I couldn’t decide between that and pizza when we looked for somewhere to eat in Crookes but Jaflong’s won on the toss of a coin.
Jaflong’s has been in Shahab Uddin’s family for 20 years and was originally owned by his uncle. He said: “My family started from 1998 and I bought it in 2005.
“We used to be 200 yards down the road and we moved here three-and-a-half to four years ago now.
“I’ve always been in the restaurant business.”
Shahab said that only a few of the dishes directly reflect his family’s Bangladeshi heritage but added: “The rest of the menu is Bangladeshi food as well because our home food is spicy.
“We make every year five new dishes for the menu. I’m the main chef and everyone likes that.
“I have added fish dishes with different ingredients I am using.”
He said that the main course I tried was one of his home-inspired dishes.
Shahab added that the clientele was mostly middle-aged people living in the area who enjoyed the food and came back regularly, rather than students living in the area, adding: “Our food has a good reputation. We’ve not had anybody complain.
“I make it my business to look after customers.”
The restaurant is large, light and airy with a full-height glass door and window wall and feels modern, clean and comfortable. It has a five-star hygiene rating, incidentally, proudly displayed on the front door.
The restaurant is air conditioned, so it was pleasantly cool inside.
The staff are polite and make sure you have what you want but thankfully don’t linger too long at the table.
A waiter took our drinks order – cranberry juice and soda for me, the driver, and a beer for my friend Linda – and we had poppadoms with a good pickle tray as we looked at the menu.
The menu is pretty long and takes a lot of ploughing through and should suit all tastes with a choice of around 28 appetizers alone.
Don’t expect contemporary, cutting edge cuisine – this is tasty, fresh food aimed firmly at a clientele that the kitchen knows very well.
Menu sections include chef’s specials and Jaflong specials, as well as all the popular curry house staples.
There’s plenty of choice for vegetarians, both in the main menu and in a vegetable section with both main course and side dish options.
We started off by sharing a mixed starter, which consisted of a sheek kebab, a sizeable chunk of chicken tikka, an onion bhaji that was nicely crisp outside and moist inside and juicy tandoori chicken wings.
All were very tasty and the spicing was great. If you chose any one of them as a solo starter, you wouldn’t be disappointed.
We kept the pickle tray for the starters but relinquished it for the main course.
There was time for a bit of a chat before our main course arrived, presented on sparkling white crockery with Jaflong’s logo in red.
Linda had ordered a lamb tikka makhani, which was startlingly red in colour.
The pleasantly chewy lamb was served in a mildly spiced, sweet and creamy sauce.
We were sharing but it was a little too sweet for me.
Linda was also eyeing up the lamb tikka passanda, which lists ‘ribena’ in its sauce ingredients, alongside cream, onions, green peppers, coconut, sugar, sultanas and nuts, so maybe I had a lucky escape!
I did love my fangash jal-frezi, though.
The Bangladeshi meaty white fish was served off the bone and coated in a light batter, then topped with a tomatoey sauce with green peppers and potato and a fair sprinkling of whole tiny, fiercely hot red and green chillis.
It looked very pretty as it arrived on a fish-shaped dish.
The dish was pretty hot but you can order it with a milder karai or bhuna sauce.
The same three-sauce option is offered with several other main ingredients including cod, duck or lamb chop,
Flavours were clean and the fish was cooked perfectly in its crisp coating.
We also enjoyed some fluffy pilau rice, without too much colouring, and a lovely, soft Peshwari nan bread, stuffed with coconut and sultanas.
Other interesting bread options that I’ve enjoyed when I’ve tried them elsewhere were a kulcha nan, stuffed with methi leaves, onions and peppers, or the special nan, containing onion, green chilli, garlic, pepper and fresh dania (coriander).
Portions were generous so we accepted the offer of a doggy bag.
Desserts were offered but I didn’t feel the need to review the bought-in selection, so we opted for what turned out to be great coffees instead.
Jaflong do the traditional ‘hot towels and chocolate mints with your bill’ rigmarole, so I was a bit surprised to see them adopting very up-to-date technology to pay the bill, using a type of computer tablet with a funky-looking handle and the ability to email your receipt to you.
Our bill came to £52.75, including drinks.