Thursday, November 26, 2009


I recently ate at this restaurant and brewery for the second time, and all I can say is that I loved it the first time, but I love it even more now.

The article above describes it about as well as I could, if not better, so I won't do a full-on review. But I will give my impressions.

First of all, the ambience is downright cool. A brewery and Thai-style restaurant that is affordable but not bargain-basement, with a mix of age groups but generally in the young-but-not-too-young age group (that is, our age group of about 25-35) with a laid-back atmosphere, decorated in good taste -I could do without the sports on television sets, but hey whatever. It is a more than welcome change from the usual nightlife options (young&studenty&too-cool, young&glossy&trying-too-hard, and old&smarmy&gross seem to be the other three options, and while I'm down with the first of the three, it's nice to be able to feel like you aren't a ramen-swilling artist once in awhile, especially when, ahem, you're not).

After 9pm on any given day, the lights go down and while you can still eat, the place takes on more of a bar atmosphere, but not so loud that you can't talk around a table. I like that. The music is fun and international.

Secondly, complementing that ambience are beer choices that are honest-to-goodness delicious. Really. They're just extremely good. I'm something of a beer snob so this is a HUGE compliment.

Thirdly, the food is fantastic. Well, mostly. When we first went there, after a day at Xiao Wulai, we weren't expecting much. Usually places with sports matches on TV and alcohol with nice settings don't serve the best food, but the friend who suggested it is something of a foodie, so we decided to give it a go. We were mightily surprised by how truly great it is - the best dishes being Massaman curry, quick-cooked watercress, papaya salad and shrimp "cakes" (which are really spring rolls filled with shrimp cake paste and fried). The country-style curry was also really good.

The second time we went, which was just a few days ago, we got beef with basil (also excellent) and lettuce bundles (fan-tas-tic). I didn't love the fish cakes quite as much, though.

For dessert, I wasn't a huge fan of the milk and taro balls but that's just me - I like richer, creamier European desserts or fresh fruit as a general rule. The stout tiramisu, however (tiramisu made with stout instead of the usual liqueurs), is amazing and you have to get it. You HAVE to., I don't want to hear that you're too full. YOU HAVE TO. It's a law or something.

As it's no secret that Thai food goes well with beer (just like most Sichuan food and stinky tofu, and of course Indian curry), Jolly is basically just heaven for anyone who values a good meal and a good place to hang out with friends.

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