I now return you to our regularly scheduled review!
An item showed up on my newsfeed (which Google has kindly tailored to my interests and opinions, thus feeding my tendency towards confirmation bias), which found me moving a restaurant that I had never heard of, to the top of my "I want us to eat here" list. The news feed story was about this sign posted in front of Jamila's Kitchen and Grill:
No, not the customer parking sign. Read the sign below which reflects a kind generous spirit on the part of the owners of this little family-run restaurant. If you had the misfortune to read my previous post, you would have read about my despair over the divisions among us. Well, these folks are the antithesis of division, doing charitable works across all lines.
So we decided to have lunch at Jamila's which is on the Barnett Highway, a few blocks west of Coquitlam Centre. Before Malik and his wife, Jamila, took over the restaurant in 2017, it was an Indian joint. They have expanded the menu to include the Afghani food, then Greek, Indo-Chinese and even Pizza. The whole family can come here and everyone will find something to suit them.
We decided to try some of the food of their homeland namely Afghanistan, starting with Boolanee.
This is a flatbread stuffed with potato, onions and herbs. It was very satisfying, putting us in mind of Indian flatbreads with a decent buttery chew and just a bit of crispness. The yogurt based sauce that came with it, packed just enough heat to make it interesting.
Next up was Sabzi Qurma which is a chopped spinach dish similar to the Indian saag. Separating it from Saag is the presence of black beans and Afghan spices. It was rich and comforting and I enjoyed it a great deal.
On the side was more basmati rice redolent with cinnamon, raisins and carrots. I would be happy to eat this all the time.
We also tried their Chicken Shami. This was two skewers of ground chicken again with the Afghan spices and fresh herbs. The tender chicken came with a vinegary green dipping sauce, rice and flatbread. Loved it.
JKG is not a huge place (4 or 5 tables?) and is more casual than fancy. This couple was very friendly and even accommodated us when we arrived before opening (1:00 on Sunday).
I am a big fan of charitable organizations like UGM, Salvation Army and others who look after the less fortunate. I find myself moved when I see the Sikhs set up a table and feed people in the dicier parts of town. This though is a couple doing charitable work of their own accord and without the financial support of an organization. It is already difficult to make a go of it in the restaurant business without giving away some of the profits.
So make sure that you tip generously knowing that you will be contributing to fine works.
For what its worth, we would give Jamila's Kitchen and Grill 3 1/2 out of 5, but their generous spirit moves us to give them 5 out of 5.