Restaurant reviews

Make time for Thai at Jino’s

Today I’m passing writing duties to my wife, who has a few words to say about a Thai cafe in Headingley…

Last weekend, Kyle and my Dad had plans to go to Salvos for a 10-course regional dinner (post to follow soon I’m assured by Kyle!), so, after dropping them off in Headingley, my Mum and I popped across the road for a meal at Jino’s Thai Cafe. I’ve been to Jino’s a handful of times since living in Leeds and it’s fair to say I’m a huge fan!

I was slightly wary the first time I went there; the exterior gives the impression of a students-only, cheap and cheerful café, where you may well find that taste and quality is sacrificed for keeping prices down and getting bodies through the door.

It doesn’t take long, however, for these preconceptions to be smashed. At Jino’s, the food comes first, and although prices are low (especially compared to what you’d pay at Sukhothai just across the road in Headingley), you get huge portions and real value for money.

I’m a creature of habit and so, true to form, at the weekend I ordered my favourite dish on the menu: pad thai with prawns. Usually at a Thai I’m all about the curries, and it takes a special dish to persuade me otherwise. Luckily, Jino’s do pad thai excellently. The noodles are the perfect consistency and volume for the aromatic, slightly spicy sauce, and the crunchy vegetables complement the prawns really nicely.

Sometimes at a Chinese or Thai when you order a prawn based noodle dish, the amount of prawns you end up with can be disappointing. This isn’t the case at Jino’s, where succulent prawns are dotted throughout the dish.

As a starter, we shared fish cakes and chicken satay. The fish cakes are a favourite of mine – spicy but retaining the delicate flavor of the fish. In addition, the chicken satay was perfect – not too sweet, and the marinated chicken not at all dry.

Another thing I love about Jino’s is that you can BYOB. There aren’t many BYOB restaurants in Leeds, and obviously the cost of alcohol in restaurants can often make the bill quite a scary prospect. We took along a couple of mini bottles of prosecco, which only cost a few pounds from M & S. The BYOB policy adds to the laid back atmosphere in Jino’s and is another reason why it stands out from the crowd in Headingley.

Unfortunately I did not have room for pudding on Saturday, although the deep fried banana is a personal favourite of mine, it must be said!

We’ll keep coming back to Jino’s – it’s only a few minutes down the road from us, it’s cheap, cheerful, but ultimately does food which in my opinion rivals the dishes from the Thai city centre restaurants with big reputations and even bigger egos.

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