For curry houses such as Sheldon’s Jilabi, buffets are big business, and are well-suited to feasting families with different tastes, small budgets and large appetites. Buffets can go two ways: a dumping ground for the sort of sorry stuff you couldn’t sell otherwise, or a sort of showcase to entice the diner to explore the à la carte on another occasion. Jilabi’s Sunday and Monday all-you-can-eat is the latter, and offers shockingly good value for money at £9.95.
Should buffets not be your bag, the à la carte will take time to trawl. The menu is made up of a mixture of curry house standards and regional dishes, taking in a few slightly bonkers modern innovations that will tempt only those with an appetite for adventure, such as a starter of Indian-spiced fish bedded on parmesan-dressed risotto (£3.95). But given the friendliness of the staff, one can forgive the odd eccentricity – and with a two-for-£22 meal deal on Tuesdays, even a dud dish won’t leave too bad a taste in your mouth.
At the risk of sounding fogey-ish, the cleanly decorated dining room is lit brightly enough to see what you’re eating – generally food that’s plated with a touch more attention to detail than many others in this price range. The good-natured hustle and bustle of Jilabi attests to its popularity and, if alcohol is on your agenda, you’ll probably leave in high spirits – free parting shots are common practice.