The quest for curry, part 2: Jamal’s

Features Food and Drink

As a bit of an Oxford veteran, I’ve seen Jamal’s through its various incarnations. Having spent many a Wednesday night there during my undergraduate degree, it felt strange to return a few years later, a little older but possibly not much wiser, on a Sunday night, with the sole purpose of having a curry.

The main reason we chose Jamal’s on this occasion was their 2-for-1 offer on any main course between Wednesday and Sunday. As two students, we were excited by the prospect of having one of our main dishes for free.

It was a quiet Sunday evening, with only two tables occupied other than ours. Given my previous experiences of Jamal’s, it felt eerily quiet. Nevertheless, we looked through the menu with excitement, trying not to salivate too much over the thought of all the curry we were going to eat.  

When we were ready to order, the waiter crushed our hopes and dreams. He told us that there was no such 2-for-1 offer. I proceeded to show him the Jamal’s website on my phone while Al pointed to the menu outside the restaurant, both of which advertised the offer. The waiter insisted it was from over a year ago and no longer available. “Why, then, is it still on the menu outside and also online?” we asked the waiter. He gave no response, but following our explanations that we’d only chosen to eat at Jamal’s that night because of the purported 2-for-1 offer, he agreed to provide us with one free main dish. It wasn’t the two we were expecting, but it was a fair compromise.

With the intention of sharing this extra dish, I ordered the brijal bhaji for my main, Al ordered the chicken jalfrezi, and we decided to share the kodo saag. Not only were the portions plentiful and value for money (even excluding the fact that one dish was for free), they were delicious.

But the portion size and tastiness weren’t even the best part – the waiter had prepared the kodo saag for us himself. Although we had a valid point about the offer, we were prepared for Jamal’s not to honour it. But, to our pleasant surprise, the waiter did.

We were somewhat sceptical: “this won’t be as nice as the other two dishes, surely?” But we were blown away. The kodo saag was not only delicious, but it was the best dish of the three.

If and when we go back to Jamal’s, we won’t expect a repeat of our good fortune. Nevertheless, their decent prices, cracking curries and good customer service make it a great option for a curry – and not just on a Wednesday.


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