Myself and a friend visited Jannats with the proviso of being blown away by an authentic Punjabi experience. The reviews on Tripadvisor were positive and your eyes always tend to roam to the bad reviews, but I am a firm believer in making up my own mind when it comes to restaurants and giving everyone a fair crack of the whip. Every restaurant can have its bad days and I am not naive enough to think everything can be hunky dory 365 days of the year. For this reason I went in with an open mind and let them show to me what they’re about.
We arrived on a wet and dank Saturday in January 2014; we had travelled from Barnsley to have a night out and a few beers. We have exhausted our options for a good curry in Barnsley, albeit there are many restaurants that are good, we decided to opt for something authentic.
The building is impressive and we were greeted by friendly staff and a warm welcome was much welcomed! The decor and table setting was unique and I have never seen this kind of thing before. Another fellow reviewer named it ‘quirky’ which I think sums it up in one word. The seats were comfortable and the restaurant was clean and the music not too over the top in the volume department.
We were both aware that there was a buffet option available before we arrived. I had visited the website and Facebook page, however when we were presented with the menus we weren’t made aware by the waiter. This was no big deal to us because I feel you cannot be judged on a buffet alone so we were happy to have the À la carte menu. The buffet seemed good value for money and I noticed a few other customers were making the most of that option.
The restaurant has a no alcohol policy. I had read negative reviews before arriving and to be honest it was a refreshing change. The drinks menu had the usual soft drinks available but my friend had a mango lassi which was stunning. I had a similar yoghurt based drink which I cannot for the life of me remember the name. It had a mixture of almonds and spices which complimented the food brilliantly. The drinks were a highlight of the evening and who needs a beer when you have drinks like this?!
We both went with a starter of ‘Dunbay Diyan Chanmpaan’ which was Punjabi style lamb chops marinated with crushed black pepper, dry coriander, curd, red chillies and cumin. This was quite enjoyable with a garnish of fried onions served on a sizzling platter. We also sampled another starter called the ‘Dula Bhatti Kebab’. This was by far the more enjoyable of the two starters. The chicken minced kebab had subtle flavourings and spices that melted in the mouth. This also came on a sizzling platter with fried onions. Although the two dishes were great and tasty, I felt the dishes needed something else. The kebab needed a sauce or something to lift the dish and make it a winner. Although the main elements were good, my own personal opinion is I felt it needed something else.
For the main event we had the ‘Gulabi Murgh’ which was boneless pieces of chicken cooked in fresh tomato purée, capsicum, coconut cream, garnished with cashew nuts and fresh ginger. This had plenty of flavour and was very tasty indeed. It had a rich deep red colour with a generous amount of ghee. The spices and the creaminess was a great combination. Our other main course of ‘Kuni Gosht’ was also tasty. The lamb curry had plenty of flavour. The dishes were served in yet more quirky earthenware dishes that made a refreshing change from the usual Balti dishes of many an Asian restaurant.
The curries were accompanied by ‘Chilman Biryani’ which is a long grain Punjabi rice cooked in rose water with boneless pieces of chicken and Punjabi spices. This was also tasty but I was hoping to detect more subtle flavours of the rose water. The ‘Punjabi Nan’ was described as soft and crispy tandoori bread topped with crushed garlic, mixed chopped pickle, crushed peanuts and red chillies. I wanted this to be the best nan I had ever tasted, sadly it didn’t deliver on the said ingredients. I love peanuts and red chillies but I couldn’t detect any of the ingredients named. The same had to be said for the ‘Paneer Nan’, I was hoping for more of the cheesy flavour to come through. The bread itself was excellent, however the description ‘bigged them up’ too much and my hopes were dashed.
Now all this is constructive criticism. This is my own personal taste. This was a first for me and I am no expert in the Punjabi cuisine, however my main gripe was with the service. We had our starters cleared and the main course was due to arrive. Schoolboy errors were evident and although the restaurant had a large party upstairs, it isn’t an excuse to get these basics correct. The main courses arrive with no change of cutlery or a main course plate. We were left there with nothing to eat with or eat off. The dishes arrived pretty slowly and all this combined made for a disappointing experience.
Service aside, the food is great although it could be bettered. It’s unfair to label all Asian cuisine as a curry. There are so many regions, influences and different ways of cooking that make a certain type of cuisine. For me it was just above average. You obviously have a talented Chef and a great location but please, please, please work out the service issues. I will return in the future and I hope that you get the custom you rightly deserve.
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