With so much fantastic Indian food in Vancouver, there’s really no excuse for serving mediocre Indian food around here. And sadly, that’s what this was. The upside is that it wasn’t that expensive since my friend and I used a Groupon. My last Groupon experience at Akbar’s Own was pretty good. In a pinch, and if I couldn’t for some reason have Maurya, I’d go back there. Not the case for Jolly’s. It wasn’t terrible or anything. But it certainly can’t compare to somewhere like Maurya. And since the pricing is pretty much identical for the curries ($15.95), there’s really no excuse.
The The Groupon was for an appetizer plus two mains. We shared a chicken kabob which was pretty average – nothing special. And then we split a butter chicken curry and a lamb hydrabadi biryani (lamb slow cooked with rice and mixed spices, combined with nuts, mint and raisins). The butter chicken was forgettable. The sauce wasn’t complex enough and there was no depth of flavor.
I didn’t like the biryani either, but I’ll take some of the blame for that. I had never had biyani before, and although the description mentions rice, I didn’t quite realize that I’d be eating mostly rice with a little bit of meat and spice mixed in. The flavors were good, but nothing extraordinary. And I still think the rice should’ve come with more “stuff”. Also, the side salads weren’t very tasty, and the mango dressing was too strong and tasted just like a concentrated form of their mango lassi (not a good thing). The mango lassi, by the way was also just average.
I didn’t enjoy the ambiance either. The room is very small and some of the tables look awkward right in the middle of the room. The service was a little slow and could be a little bit more professional. I just didn’t have a good feeling in this restaurant. It lacked refinement. And the food wasn’t up to par.
Overall, I’d give this place a pass.