Jolly J's Port Phillip arcade melbourne

A friend (who had heard it from a Sri Lankan colleague) tipped me off that Jolly J’s served authentic Sri Lankan food. That’s not immediately obvious from the picture menu propped in front of the no-nonsense wash-and-wipe down restaurant – the board lists unheard of Sri Lankan delicacies such as Chicken Parma, Singapore noodles and Special fried rice.

The kitchen is run by Sri Lankans and the staff are all Sri Lankan, so I’d suggest that you stick with ordering a filling lunch plate of Sri Lankan curry with rice. For the super-cheap price of $7.50 you’ll get to make a couple of choices:

1. Type of rice (white or saffron);

2. Vegetable curry (eggplant, mixed vegetables or lentils);

3. Meat curry (pork, beef, chicken, lamb); and

4. Condiment (coconut sambal, salad with yoghurt dressing).

Plus a pappadum to garnish!

Jolly J's port phillip arcade melbourne

I’m not sure who ‘J’ is, but the staff at Jolly J’s were certainly all jolly. The friendly lady asked me what I curry I liked and I said ‘HOT!’. She laughed and said how I try some of everything and then get hot chilli from the kitchen. A tablespoon of hot chilli flakes to be exact.

I’m not generally a fan of eggplant (bland, mushy, grey) but the eggplant curry was the standout for me. The eggplant had a deep smokey flavour and was cut into thin strips, minimising mushiness. There was also a hint of something very akin to wasabi/horseradish! Unexpected but very good.  My chicken curry had tender pieces of chicken (on the bone) and the other curries were also good, but not particularly remarkable. If you like your food hot, definitely get some  chilli to sprinkle on top of everything as it really enhances the mixture of spicy flavours.