For the last 60 years, Jai Hind has had one aim in mind: to serve darn good Punjabi food cheaply. Every day, owner Bhoopendar Singh wakes up and tries. The result is a restaurant that has flourished far more successfully than even our current economic structure.
When Bhoopendar’s father ran the place before the ’80s, you could count the number of dishes on one hand. There was chapatti, a vegetable, dhal and a meat dish. These days, the choices are mind-boggling, from mock meats and decadently cooked vegetables on one end to mutton bones piled high in dark gravy on the other. The palak paneer, a staple at any North Indian restaurant in KL, is the best you’ll eat in the city. The house-made buffalo milk paneer cubes are juicy and firm, bathed in a rich, forest-green gravy of puréed spinach. The dried chilli chicken and aloo parata are firm favourites too, but we recommend something a little more offbeat: baingan bartha. Smoky eggplant is simply skinned and stir-fried with onions, garlic and spices. It’s no rocket science but there’s something hauntingly addictive about deeply caramelised eggplant and onion in a single bowl.
The sweets are a must at Jai Hind. North Indian desserts have suffered a bad rep of being generally too sweet, but here, focus lies in high-quality ingredients and technique. The gulab jamun, deep-fried milk curd balls soaked in syrup, are a revelation – imagine spongy, milky balls of dough completely drenched in a sticky rosewater-cardamom liquid. All sweets, including laddu, burfi and jalebi, are handmade at the lot next door.