I’m your average buffet skeptic—too much, too indistinguishable, too prone to lukewarm mush. But this justifiable critic’s darling in Aurora stands the exception to the rule. On 3 separate visits to the rather sleek & mod Jai Ho, I’ve been privy to a spread that was not only different each time but laden with the unexpectedly intriguing; the multiregional Indian kitchen most certainly does not cater to the LCD.
Not once have I spotted tikka masala in the lineup, for instance; instead I’ve been treated to the likes of the titular dish, that reddish-brown mass at about 10 o’clock (my camera’s still done broke). A rich, delish, layered mélange of breaded zucchini & potato in chili sauce with a heck of a swift kick, it evoked for my companion good old eggplant parm—rightly so. I was also fascinated by the beet fritters at 7 o’clock—crispy-soft little disks whose earthy sweetness was subtle, but detectable. And the samosa chaat at 6 o’clock was like none I’ve ever had—much more finely chopped & integrated, like egg salad in terms of creamy texture. The tomato chutney in the ramekin’s great too, though you half suspect it’s basically curry (the mint’s equally smooth). And so on, & so on—by the 20 or so buffet items I’ve managed to try, I’ve been at least pleased & at best thrilled.
Not pictured is another surprising winner: curd rice. It’s set out at the far end of the buffet with the desserts, so you think it’s a sweet pudding; in fact it’s a savory dish that blends rice with what’s essentially gently spiced cottage cheese. Startling, but ultimately highly soothing.
The two times I’ve been in for lunch, fresh, hot, paper-thin, crêpe-like dosai stuffed with aromatic curried potatoes & onions were brought straight to table; at dinner, they were on the buffet—where they were done no favors, it seemed to me, by the steam-table set-up. Proceed with caution or order them à la carte.
I’ve also dipped into the regular menu (which goes on & on), & though I didn’t love the “ECR fish fry” on the left—the tandoori-marinated, pan-fried tilapia was rather dry—the eggplant curry on the right proved a nifty change of pace from the more common baingan bharta; called karaikudi ennai kathirikai, the Chettinad specialty was less creamy/smoky than its Punjabi cousin, more sharp, clear & tart (I believe there’s a touch of tamarind in there).
And all that but scratches the surface. An embarrassment of riches, this place (though pretty awful Indian Shiraz by the glass isn’t, I’m sorry to report, among them).