Unsurprisingly, one of my favourite ways to celebrate is by eating. When my boyfriend got offered a new job this week my first question was of course “So where shall we go for dinner?!”.
We settled on JoJolapa, a Nepalese bar and kitchen at the top end of Newhall Street. The weather in Birmingham has taken a decidedly chilly turn this week, so walking into Jojolapa felt like a welcome ray of sunshine. It’s a fairly big space but there are lots of little corners to tuck yourself away in, and along with the rich red of the walls it manages to feel warm and cosy.
JoJolapa is a Nepalese word that means “much more than welcome…JoJolapa is the warmth of a smile, JoJolapa is the pleasure of seeing you” – how cute is that?
Feeling hungry and a little bit lazy, we chose the JoJolapa Gorkhali Special set menu. It’s great value at £24.50; you get a mixed starter (tandoori chicken, shish kebab, tandoori salmon and chicken choyla), a selection of mains (Rogan Josh, Chicken Tikka Masala, Chilli Garlic Prawn, Saag Aloo), rice and naan, dessert AND tea or coffee. For any veggies out there, they also do a vegetarian set menu for £19.95.
We really enjoyed everything we ate. The chicken and salmon in the starter were fall-apart tender and the spices were delicate and perfectly balanced, meaning the dishes had bags of flavour without being overpowered by chilli. Another notable dish was the Saag Aloo, which can sometimes be a bit bland but at JoJolapa it was seasoned to perfection and reminded me of all the incredible veggie dishes I had when I visited Rajhastan a few years ago. The one dish that split opinion was the Chicken Tikka Masala. Ollie thought it was too mild and creamy, but it was one of my favourites (I am a secret Korma fan though..shhhh).
Most of the dishes on the set menu are firm curry house favourites, so if I return to JoJolapa it would be nice to try some of the more unusual Nepalese dishes such as the Steamed Momo dumplings or Chatamari pancake. However, judging from the quality of our meal, I doubt you can go far wrong whatever dish you pick!
Aside from the food, we had a lovely waiter who looked after us really well and managed to make us laugh every time he visited the table. Rather than piling the food out of the kitchen as soon as it was ready, he checked with us before each course whether we were ready to move on or wanted a bit of a break. The great service really rounded off the whole evening and we left stuffed and smiling.
In a city which is well-saturated with curry houses, the food and service at JoJolapa were one of the most enjoyable I’ve experienced in Brum so far. I’ll definitely be returning next time I need my South Asian fix. For bargain hunters I also noticed their express lunch menu; at £6.99 it includes two courses and a soft drink. Definitely worth a try!
What are your thoughts on JoJolapa? Have you got any other recommendations for great curries in Brum? Let me know in the comments!
JoJolapa can be found at 55–59 Newhall Street, Birmingham B3 3RB. WEBSITE.