After reading blog posts by Matt from Abstract Gourmet and Juji Chews, I sent the urbanspoon link to my bf giving the details of a small, little known curry house on Beaufort St in Inglewood. It was said to be simple, home cooking, no corkage, no frills or anything fancy, just great food.
So we rang to make a booking, as we'd heard it has a really small capacity and S was gagging for a curry and didnt want to miss out. He's always on the hunt for new curry houses, as his beloved Akbars in the UK had no Australian equivalent. He rates his curries on a scale of 1 to Akbars. Nothing so far has gotten above about an 8. So we rang, and got a voicemail for the first 3 or 4 times we called, and got a message that made us both giggle. Now, S and I enjoy watching the Jamie Oliver show, Jamie at home, where he grows everything in his little garden. He has a gardener called Brian who is a totally awesome, totally monotone boring sounding guy, and we love him. Hes our benchmark for monotone boring sounding people, and the message we got on the answering machine was Brian all over. The guy was utterly unexcited and wasnt sure what to say. It was kinda funny... We ended up getting through to them before they could call us back.
We drove down Beaufort St not sure where it was, almost rear ended a car while looking for it... Finally saw it! about 5minutes drive from the Mt Lawley strip. Its a small, unassuming place, it looks very much like most of the other nondescript take away, poorly decorated, generic little local shops that cater to a small crowd of locals that cant be arsed going any further to get a feed. How wrong you would be to assume Jessies is the same kind of place!
Its small, when we were there it had a capacity of 26 or so and through the night had people coming in and out, sitting down for meals or coming in and picking up take aways. While everyone sitting in the restaurant was a typical white aussie, about half the people coming in for take aways were Indian - a good indication that what youre eating is closer to authentic than anywhere else in the area!
We were greeted by a jolly fellow, who according to the other blogs Ive read is the husband of Jessie, who is the culinary brains behind the operation. While shes out the back cooking up a storm he runs the front of house. He was sometimes a bit abrupt, but mostly very friendly, I think he hits his straps once the place is full and he's allowed to start talking about the food. Once youre sat down he seems to be much friendlier, making jokes and telling you what you should order.
We had a look at the menu, and its made up of a mix of things, mostly quite simple, variations on parathas, chappatis, dosas and curries. The curries are quite simple - you dont get a choice, you can choose chicken, lamb, fish etc... We chose, for entree, the aloo paratha, a paratha stuffed with potato served with chicken curry, and chappati with lamb curry wrapped up inside it.
The chappati came out first and looked pretty plain but you could smell the aromatic lamb curry inside of it and it was calling us! S dove in, he was starving and lamb curry is his favourite. He loved it. the chappatis were chewy without being difficult to eat, warm and fresh off the grill. The curry inside it was really nice, packed full of flavour with enough heat for you to notice it but not enough for you to stop eating it. There were some bits of raw onion in it that I noticed, and I dont really love raw onion in things, however the occasional hit of sharpness it provided was a welcome contrast to the thick, spicy curry, and it tasted great. It was a real suprise that I would enjoy pieces of raw onion in a curry but somehow this just worked. It wasnt much, but a sneaky piece here and there, and a small piece mind you, was lovely.
The next thing to come out was the Aloo paratha with chicken curry - this was my favourite! The paratha was light and stuffed with mashed potato, with a delicious flavour of savoury pancake batter and crispy edges... Then to have the chicken curry sauce poured all over it, the potato soaking up the gravy... Yum... There was something a bit sweet about it, which had the spices playing against it and then the savoury element of the pancake, the floury potato... Id love to order this again, if there wasnt other things on the menu Id want to order! The chicken thighs were chunky and generously portioned, with plenty of sauce to pour over the parathas which are made for sauces!
For mains we ordered the chicken curry, and the Dosai with lamb curry.
The Dosai was really light, a texture that thoroughly agreed with me as normally Im not a big fan of pancakey type things because I find them too heavy and a bit much. These were different, and a welcome change to the normal rice or pappadums. It came served with vegetable dahl and a coconut sambal (I know sambal is Indonesian/Malay, but Im not sure what they call it in Indian/Sri Lankan cuisine - so sambal it shall remain until someone tells me otherwise!). The lamb curry was the same as the one we had ordered with our entree, and S loved it, saying it was one of the best curries he'd had in Perth, up along with the chicken vindaloo at the Cinnamon Club. The dahl was nice, not a texture Im used to with dahl as this was really runny and not as thick and pea soupy as I had previously experienced. The flavour was nice, however the veges tasted a bit like they were frozen, or cooked a stupidly long time... It was a different kind of dahl than I have previously tasted but I enjoyed it, just think the veges could have been improved a bit. The stand out surprise WOW thing on the plate was the sambal. YUM! It was coconutty, but with a sharpness to it that really refreshed your palate after the heavy spices. It was really good and would be amazing on a hot summer night with a searing curry, a beer and this sambal to ease the fire and refresh you. It was awesome. I asked the guy at the end what was in it, and he was a bit elusive but told me there was dessicated coconut (not fresh as its too hard to get them here), green chilli (if there was a red chilli, then the sambal would be red), onion, garlic and its not cooked.
S ordered the chicken curry which was the same as what came with the entree, with a serve of rice. He asked how spicy it was, and was told it was medium. Our jolly waiter said he could make it spicier if he wanted to, with a cheeky smile - S decided that he'd like extra chilli on the side please! Better be safe than sorry...
The curry came out and it is a generous portion, Id say about 2, maybe 2.5 chicken thighs per serve, which is alot! The rice, as well as the curry, can easily serve 2 people. The curry sauce is plentiful and I really enjoyed it. There was something about it that I couldnt quite pick up, my mouth was all over the place with chilli and spicy flavours I couldnt quite pick it up, but something about the chicken curry struck a chord with me. I preferred it over the lamb, and S preferred the lamb over the chicken! Again this time, the stand out for S was the chilli on the side - it was HOT but he very much enjoyed the flavour, and according to him, its not just hot it has flavour! Which is a good thing considering alot of places just try and burn your face off - this sambal had real substance to it. At the end of the meal we asked what was in it, again he was quite elusive and told us chillies, lemon juice... said we must cook it, if its not cooked its rubbish and pretty much left it at that! Obviously not giving away any secrets, but letting us peek into the kitchen! He did tell us that if we wanted the recipe we should just go and ask Jessie in the kitchen. I began to think him being elusive regarding the menu was more a case of "not 100% sure how its made, but its bloody good". To be honest I didnt like it... But I rarely do like those kinda chilli sauces, it was a bit sour for my taste and just way too hot. But S loooooved it!
We came here reading very mixed reviews, but have made up our mind for ourselves, after trying 4 different dishes that these are some of Perths best curries. I have read that some feel theyre too watery - yes the curries ARE very saucy, and they're not as thick as other curries may be, however they are in no way shape or form lacking in flavour. I think alot of people go into a curry house with an expectation, they know what they want their curry to taste like, they know how it should look and how much sauce they want. When they dont get that it skews their opinion. We went in there not knowing what to expect, and came out fans.
We will definately be back for more. Its not fancy, the wine glass I got for my red was outta the fridge, sometimes one of the girls from the kitchen would bring out your food, hair net and all - this isnt a place to go if you want to see and be seen. Its a place you take the right kinda friends, who enjoy a good feed regardless of the surrounds. We'll be taking a select few here for sure!