My mum has a favourite curry house, I know this and if you’ve been reading the blog for a while you’ll know too, because she once told me how poor she found the curry houses in some bit of Wales I’ve never been to but seems to have some significance. But, turns out my mum doesn’t like to go to the same curry house too often, so she’s been looking for an alternate place to go. This exploration has had varying levels of success, and she’s probably overdoing it by going to India on holiday, but when I got an email asking me to check out a curry house in Solihull, I knew I had to go and take my mum with me.
Jiyaan is an upmarket curry house at the end of the of the High St in Solihull, overlooking St Alphege Church. Despite many trips to Solihull shopping, I’ve never noticed it because there’s not a lot to take me down that way, but when you do it feels like much more of a charming town centre than a place to go shopping when I can’t face Birmingham city centre. With it’s own entrance and modern but comfortable surroundings, it’s easy to forget that Jiyaan is part of the Ramada Solihull, something you only really notice if you need to go to the toilet. The short section of the hotel I saw walking to and from the toilet made it feel a little dated, but Jiyaan has a lovely freshness to it with proper table clothes and napkins and bottles of water already on the tables.
Typically mum and I go for a sharing platter when we go out for dinner, so we ordered the Jiyaan sharing platter made up of chicken tikka, lamb & mint seekh kebab, aloo tikka and paneer tikka. The chicken tikka was delightfully spiced and the seekh kebab light, yet still moist, and certainly one of the better ones I’ve had. It was, if I’m honest, probably a bit much for two people with the generous slice of paneer and the potato. We ended up leaving a large amount of both of these, not because it was bad, it was really very lovely, but the paneer did seem a bit lost and we’d never had had room for mains if we kept going.
And scoff all you like but I went for Chicken Tikka Masala for main, because I fancied it and also because I think it can be a dish that can often be mishandled if the chef isn’t good. Thankfully this was not the case and the rich tomato sauce wasn’t too exorbitant but felt well balanced but still very much a chicken tikka masala. Mum had the King Prawn Gassi, something she’s not tried before; a Mangalorean style dish of king prawns cooked with coconut milk and spices. I worried it would be too rich but my mum was incredibly impressed, and the king prawns were certainly big and juicy. It’s something she commented she wants to go back for again.
Frankly by this point we were both a bit stuffed but I thought it would be rude not to try dessert. Given how well Jiyaan had done with the previous dishes, I wanted to see what their take on a traditional Indian dessert would be like. Ordinarily I struggle a bit with Gulab Jamun; I know it’s a dumpling and supposed to be heavy but the denseness of them and the sugary rose syrup is often too sickly for me. But Jiyaan continued the theme of fresh and light dishes with Gulab Jamun that was light and springy and a scoop of ice cream which cut through, calming any of the sweetness that threatened to overpower.
I was incredibly impressed with Jiyaan. I wasn’t sure what to expect from there, given its location on the outskirts of Solihull town centre, a place awash with chain restaurants, and itself being part of a hotel, but it felt like the kind of place I would happily go back to. The waiting staff were incredibly attentive to all of the guests in the dining room and happy to make some excellent suggestions. We’re certainly not suffering for lack of curry houses in Birmingham and Solihull, that’s for sure, but Jiyaan’s well executed food, friendly staff and convenient location makes it somewhere I will be back to.
The Jiyaan Restaurant, The Square, Solihull B91 3RF. http://jiyaanrestaurant.co.uk/
Disclosure: I was invited for a complimentary meal in exchange for my opinion, but as ever it didn’t alter my opinion. If you don’t believe me, ask my mum, she takes her curry very seriously.