My partner and I have been working our way around Banbury's restaurants since we moved there a couple of years ago, and last Saturday evening, we thought we'd give Jool a try. We'd had a quick glance at the menu before, when walking along Parson's Street on our way to town, and wanted to try Jool's take on our favourite curries.
We'd booked a table for early on Saturday evening, so the restaurant itself was quiet, but Jool's popularity amongst the residents of Banbury was evident in the number of people who turned up to pick up their takeaways as the evening went on. My partner and I decided to start with some poppadoms and chutneys, which arrived quickly and were a crisp and flavourful appetiser as we browsed the menu. There was plenty of choice, and I was tempted by the wide range of Chef's Specials, but ultimately opted for the chicken patia. My partner, always happy to go out for a curry as there are generally plenty of vegetarian options, also struggled to decide, but eventually chose the vegetable massala. We ordered a couple of garlic naans and a portion of onion bhajis, and carried on crunching away at our poppadoms.
Our mains arrived as promptly as our appetiser. The meat in my chicken patia was tender, and the sauce was savoury with a tiny hint of sweetness that rounded out the meal. At first, it seemed to be a fairly mild curry, but as I ate I realised that the heat was cumulative, building up to a pleasant spiciness by the end of the meal. My partner's massala was a slightly alarming shade of red, but hearty and full of flavour. The naans were enormous, with a soft, springy texture and a delicious garlic kick. The onion bhaijs were crisp on the outside and fluffy on the inside, and I slightly regretted sharing a plate instead of getting a portion to myself. A wide range of alcoholic and soft drinks were available at Jool, and we chose a pinot grigio to accompany the meal. The wine was crisp and light, and complemented my chicken perfectly.
It's easy to see why Jool is such a popular restaurant amongst the people of Banbury - with a wide-ranging and very affordable menu (a meal for two, with drinks, came to under £40), and friendly, attentive staff, it's a fantastic choice for a meal out. Next time I fancy a curry, Jool will certainly be top of my list.