Melissa Nazareth savours a gastronomic experience infused with the essence of India at Jashan, Wyndham Garden Manama.

Jashan is the Hindi or Urdu word for celebration. Located in Wyndham Garden Manama, which is adjacent to Oasis Mall in Juffair, this restaurant hosts a celebration of flavours and I head there with my companions on a Thursday afternoon. On entering the lobby, we’re welcomed by the friendly staff and guided to the restaurant, which is on the seventh floor.

Mandalas (geometric configurations of symbols popular in Asian cultures), paisley prints and floral motifs adorn the upholstery, carpet and table runners. The colour palette features earthy tones. Gold accents and woodwork are seen throughout; wood carved chairs, patterned wood columns and panels, wood flooring… A glass dome in the ceiling allows natural light into an otherwise moderately lit space.

There is regular and booth-style seating and we settle down at one of the long family-style tables. While we wait for our food, we’re served roasted poppadoms, mint chutney and pickled shallots and lemons. Serenaded by instrumental Indian music, we whet our appetites with these piquant sides while watching our food being prepared through the glass enclosed show kitchen.

Our feast commences with Jashan Non-Veg Platter and Jashan Veg Platter. Each comes with a selection of mouth-watering kebabs served with lime wedges and sliced raw onions. The former includes Murgh Malai Kebab: chicken marinaded with yoghurt, aromatics, spices and nut meal and cooked in a tandoor; Mulayam Seekh Kebab: skewer-style minced lamb blended with aromatics and spices; Tandoori Manpuri Jhinga: shrimp marinated with yoghurt and mustard and then cooked in a clay oven; and Mahi Nizami Tikka: fish tikka seasoned with a tasty herby marinade. Each of the elements is bursting with flavour. The chicken is succulent and has a richness to it from the nutty marinade. It’s my favourite, followed by the sweet, bouncy shrimp.

The vegetarian counterpart features Lahori Paneer Tikka: tandoor roasted cottage cheese marinaded with yoghurt and spices; Bhutte Aur Methi Ki Seekh: skewer-style kebabs made with corn, fenugreek leaves, potatoes and spices; Dahi Ke Kebab: yoghurt kebabs; and Tandoori Sarson Ki Phool: roasted and spiced cauliflower florets. It’s my first time trying the yoghurt kebabs and I’m excited. They’re like croquettes, breaded and fried. The crunchy exterior complements the creamy, tart yoghurt filling.

An extensive main course follows. We’re served an assorted bread basket: naan, kulcha and paratha, each having their own varieties. We ask for garlic naan, for instance, but you could do plain or buttered. They’re all cooked in a tandoor oven. The difference usually lies in whether they’re made from wheat flour or all-purpose flour, whether or not the dough is fermented, etc. Our server also recommends Murthal Ke Parathe, onion and potato stuffed bread served with homemade white butter (unprocessed butter) and pickle. We strongly recommend this rustic creation.

Gravies include Hyderabadi Nihari, lamb shank simmered on low heat and cooked overnight with ginger and turmeric. The gravy has an earthy taste and is buttery, the marrow juices having seeped into it. The lamb, the star of the dish, is tender and falls off the bone, and the marrow easily slides out. Dum Ka Murgh is chicken doused in a slightly tangy sauce. Coconut and almonds lend this dish its rich texture. The chicken is tender and juicy.

The meat gravies are accompanied by Dal Jashan, slow cooked black lentil enriched with butter and cream. We recommend it regardless of your protein preference. The lentils have a slight bite, a contrast to the velvety gravy.

We’re really full by this time but make space for Murgh Dum Nawabi Biryani. Cooked dum style, sealing the flavours within the pot. Aromatic long grain Basmati rice infused with a chef’s special Lakhnavi ground spice mix and fortified with flavour from the chicken.

Jashan showcases Lakhnavi, from the city of Lucknow, Awadhi, from the modern-day state of Uttar Pradesh, and Hyderabadi cuisine. It also specialises in regional desserts and chaat (street food), so, no matter your preference, you will find something to suit.

We wash down our feast with a selection of mocktails: Lemon With Mint, Orange Delight and Berry Cooler. Fruity and fresh, they offer respite from the rich fare. We also try New Age Jal Jeera, the twist being pineapple juice. Traditionally, it’s made with only lime juice and a mix of spices including cumin and black salt.

Our desserts include Rabdi Jam, which is the infamous gulab jamun steeped in saffron infused reduced milk. It’s a tantalising combination – warm, spongy dumplings doused in thick, cold milk. We also eat Kulfi Falooda, a saffron and pistachio kulfi ice cream served with glass noodles and an infused syrup.

Fully replete, I conclude that Jashan is a great place to celebrate and dine with family and friends and it also has live entertainment performances every Thursday and Friday from 7pm onwards. ✤