We are very excited to share our review of the Indian restaurant Jhad Pul in Sapporo.
As the other reviews on this fine blog will confirm; I love great food across the spectrum of flavors and styles. And while that is true, there is a special place in my heart for really good Indian. Finding truly satisfying Indian food in Sapporo has been a challenge, but since a friend of mine brought me to Jhad Pul for the first time, I have been forever grateful.
In a past life, I used to live in an American city. And in addition to all the local fare, (like all good cosmopolitan cities) my former city had a surprisingly deep roster of top-notch Indian restaurants. My personal favorite was not fancy, but it was a comfortable, affordable, and the food was incredibly good. It was not unusual to find me in that shop three times per week, eating curry and drinking beer. Since coming to Hokkaido, I tried many Indian restaurants in Sapporo, but could not come close to replacing it… until I was introduced to Jhad Pul Indian food in Maruyama.
Jhad Pul is in the Maruyama neighborhood, in the middle of the Minami 6 Jyo Nishi 25 block. You can walk there from Maruyama station (in the direction of DCM Homak) in under 15 minutes. It may be slightly hard to find, in that it’s located off the street, behind some other buildings. When you spot the little dirt and gravel alley way, you’ve almost arrived.
Jahd Pul is open irregular hours. We’ll get to that later, but for now, let’s talk about all the really good reasons to go there:
To begin with, the building itself is a little unusual and special.
As you walk up the front steps, you’ll see the door has no doorknob (instead, it has its own alternative solution). As you step in, you’re greated by old wooden floors, the cash register (it’s cash only, by the way), and a soft, but simple logo painted on the wall.
There is a nice un-modern bathroom on the first floor. And a small dinning area (where I have only been seated in once). You can also sort of peer into the kitchen from this part of the shop. The first floor is mostly a place to be received, and to pay, it serves as a “staging area” before you seated.
Typically, the experience of being at Jhad Pul begins and you ascend the narrow wooden stairway that takes you to the second floor.
At the landing at the top of the stairs, you pass an area that is used by the staff, and is covered with a beaded curtain (that may be Indian, but has a 1970s hippie culture sense to it I haven’t seen anywhere in years). And then, again, more old, warm, wooden floors.
As you round the corner to the main dining room, there is a casual, but perfectly arranged collection of mix-and-match second-hand tables and chairs, all from different styles and made with different materials. And the effect is… perfectly charming, and personal, and is part of why I love the feeling as I arrive each time.
You can pick your own table (if it’s not too crowded), and sit, and the owner will come with your oshiburi (おしぼり), and some iced water, in an old, simple metal serving pitcher (the cups maybe be metal also?). On your table you’ll find a shallow wooden box filled with forks, spoons, and other Western serving utensils.
There is also a bell, and instead of calling out in the traditional “sumimasehhhn,” you can ring the bell, and someone will come to your table.
You may notice some “world music” playing in the background. Quiet, peaceful, relaxing. The sounds may be distinctly “Indian” (you may be a better judge of that than I am), but it is part of the overall feeling of being “swept away” that overtakes you as you enter Sapporo’s Jahd Pul Indian restaurant.
And the number one reason that Jhad Pul is the number one Indian restaurant in Sapporo is, of course, the food. Which is delicious and special; unique and authentic at the same time.
I am over-simplifying things as I say this, but:
The menu at Jahd Pul is divided into roughly two type of “plates,” which each come in a series of “sizes” (light, regular, large), and as you go up in “size” there are more types of food on the plate.
I will demonstrate my ignorance by describing them by the “type of bread:”
The first set are all “naan” based plates. You choose the size, and that dictates how many “side dishes” come with your meal. And then, within that set of dishes, you make a choice about “type of curry” and your choice of drink.
For my part, I think I usually get the light or medium thali, the naan-variety (of course), and I choose that spicy chicken curry (I always choose this spicy chicken curry – which is legitimately fantastic), and a lassi to drink. It comes with rice, and a small serving of a colorful salad, some dahl, and a few bites of tandoori chicken (also fantastic). It is a perfect meal, just like that.
The is a “regular” thali that is almost identical, but comes with an additional serving of a curry-colored vegetables, and a separate dish of some yogurt sauce. I like that “regular” thali also and try to ask for it (when I am paying attention). If I forget to request the large plate… I’m still happy.
In this picture above you can see the regular thali, and the general vibe of a typical meal on a quiet evening at Jahd Pul.
If it’s dinner time; I also order a tall Heartland beer (a Japanese beer, with an American name, that comes in a tall green bottle). I don’t want a glass for that beer. I like to grip it by the neck and swig it back, just like I used to do at my favorite Indian restaurant back home.
I come to Jahd Pul so often, we typically skip the “deciding what you want part,” as the owner knows my order. And as we say hello at the door, I confirm I do want a beer (if it’s dinner time), and he nods and smiles, and I walk upstairs, and just like that… a few minutes later my order arrives.
There is a second set of choices that come with papadum (maybe “poppadom?), the flat, crispy, “wafer” Indian “bread.” And that set also comes in various sizes, and with some choices to be made (including choice of drink). This picture below is that second type of “light thali,” this time with all vegetarian choices.
We promised some “quirks” to the experience at Jahd Pul in Sapporo, and here is one: The Indian restaurant Jahd Pul in Sapporo is not open every day. To make is slightly more “challenging,” it is also not open consistently on the same days.
Each month has a custom calendar, and if you want the best experience of Jahd Pul, we highly recommend that each time before you go, you check out Jahd Pul’s Facebook page to confirm the restaurant is open. You can see the current schedule and plan your visit. In that picture above (which was for June 2023 – once again, each month is different), all the “black” circles are for when Jahd Pul is open, the red circles are days they are closed, and the blue and green days are for special events (which may require a reservation, see their website). It’s not hard to work it out, just bookmark that link, and check in advance – it is not always predicable as to when the best Indian restaurant in Sapporo is open.
We can make some other recommendations for good Indian in Sapporo (perhaps for a night when Jhad Pul is closed) – other alternatives do exist. Depending on where you are, some other choice (like Mohan Dish Indian restaurant in Kita-ku) might suit your needs. We recently had the “Chicken Curry” at Authentic Indian Curry Aman and it was fantastic. And we can might also recommend the Indian-influenced soup curry at Delhi (not traditional Indian, but delicious in it’s own way).
But for our top pick for Hindustani cuisine in Sapporo (if they’re open) you simply must try Jahd Pul, the best Indian food in all of Sapporo.