While most Indian eateries are found in districts heavily frequented by tourists, like Sukhumvit Road, the 10-month-old Jazz Mahal is hidden away in the quiet neighbourhood of Chatuchak, where Indian cuisine seems rather out of place. The restaurant is in a tall faintly pink house and has a small Balinese garden.
As soon as you walk in you will probably be mesmerised by the colours of the interior - there are golden tablecloths, pink chairs, colourful cushions and multi-colour drapes. Tiny, illuminated indentations in the wall softly light the hall. Big glass windows provide a perfect view of the garden outside.
This house offers central and northern Indian cuisine. The two head chefs are from Nepal, and all spices are imported.
Jazz Mahal has a big menu. Starting off, there's a string of yummy appetisers from Bt40 to Bt190, including aloo chaat (deep-fried potato cubes with mixed spices), chicken, lamb or veggie samosas, onion or mushroom bhaji (fritters) and fried golden prawns. Or for something lighter, go for tomato or chicken shorba (thick soup) or green salad. Recommended is the savoury mini papadam platter. The small rice crackers are topped with spicy sauce. To decrease their spiciness, squeeze a lime over it.
There's plenty of stuff to stuff your stomach with when it comes to main courses. Most popular are masala dishes (Bt180 to Bt290) and tika (Bt120 to Bt350), with options of chicken, lamb or vegetables. The spicy masala is not too strong - its perfectly tasty and thick. The sprinkling of finely chopped bergamot leaves and ginger on top intensifies the aroma of the curry and at the same time gives a pleasantly herbal aftertaste. Prawn and chicken vindaloo (Bt190) can also be had.
At the back of restaurant there's a tandoor oven where the chefs bake fresh nan and grill the tandoori dishes. Also good are mint pratha (Bt80) and stuffed pratha (Bt70) with lots of chopped veggies and spices. Rice fans, don't miss Jazz Mahal's briyani (chicken, lamb or vegetables; Bt90 to Bt120). Unlike the Muslim version, in which the meat and the rice are cooked separately, in the Indian version they are slowly cooked together at a low heat until the spices and the juice from the meat thoroughly infuse the rice and relish the whole dish.
Desserts here are also authentic. Try gulab jamun (Bt70) a popular Northern Indian and Pakistani sweet, made of a dough consisting mainly of milk solids, (often including double cream and a little flour) in a sugar syrup flavoured with cardamom seeds and rosewater or saffron. The gulab jamun is fairly sweet on its own and there is no need for extra syrup if you're not a sweet tooth. A great drink definitely worth trying is the Punjabi-style lassi (Bt70) - a refreshing, frothy drink made of plain yoghurt, water, salt and spices. A big menu of Thai food is also offered, if you're not a big fan of Indian flavours and only come here for the cool ambience. Jazz Mahal also caters for private parties with a maximum of 120 persons.
An acoustic band performs from 8.30 to 10pm every day. Thai songs are occasionally performed, but most songs are in English.
60/11 Vibhavadi 42, Sub-soi 4
Daily, 6pm to 1am
(02) 558 0048-50