There are many things that make me happy. The first daffodils in Spring, a sunset after a brilliant sunny day, the sight of Autumn leaves turning, there hue spectacular in a cooling wind. Yet, all are casual affairs compared to the happiness I feel when an Indian restaurant knows how to make the basics well. Certain dishes can seem straightforward but are so often uninspiring and leave me cold.
As a Vegetarian I’ve written frequently about my love for a good curry. Birmingham is blessed with some aces in the pack, but also has the one sauce for all kind of attitude which quite frankly is inexcusable these days.
I’d never been to Umami in Harborne before Ruth and I were invited to their first Birthday party and new menu launch the other night. I’d read good things, so my anticipation was high.
Umami Indian Kitchen named after the fifth basic taste is located on Lordswood Road, just off the Harborne High street, it’s split into two areas, a modern bar area and then a step up to the dining room into a modern feelings space with mood lighting and white linen which feels both stylish and relaxed, romantic and good for families.
The restaurant has been open a year, and has a good regular customer base. The service feels genuine and friendly and holds on tho the core beliefs that the food is what helps to bring people back. Head chef Mandeep Bajwa has worked in some of the finest establishments in the subcontinent and Middle East.
On arrival Ruth and I found a busy party atmosphere. We were greeted with drinks, two Sparkling wines to toast their first birthday and then a number of canapés (vegetarian for me included Paneer skewers with peppers and veg samosa made like a Chaat). Both were delicious and appetisingly well made.
Our main menu in the dining room included a number of curries (meat and fish for Ruth and Vegetarian for me, served with Naan and two types of rice.
As I’ve already said, how a restaurant makes the basic curries determines the quality of the restaurant to me, been able to extract the unique flavours of the dishes and provide the base for the rest of the meal.
The two curries I was given (Sadly no more than two, there were 5 in total, including 3 meat options that Ruth ate) to try were lentil Dhal (dal tadka bajrangi) and Potato and Spinach (Aloo Palak) .
Both different textures and flavours, both unique and comforting, both were made perfectly. The Dhal in particular, creamy yellow lentils, with a tempering of cumin, and garlic flavours offering a punch of flavour, the ultimate comfort dish and perfect with a buttery Naan that I lapped up.
The Spinach and potato curry (Aloo Palak) with delicious jersey potatoes and vivid green spinach with a good garlic and ginger flavour running through.
Both curries were Superb, fully flavoured, perfectly spiced. Very enjoyable.
Ruth’s meat and fish curries were also well received.
Our curries were washed down with red and white wine. (Umami also serve cocktails)
Though the food I ate at Umami Indian Kitchen was only sadly part of a full meal the dishes were so well constructed and flavoured that the full new menu is an enticing prospect for me to try in the future. An experience j look forward to.
As I said by getting the basics right it’s a good benchmark of the rest of the menu and for this reason alone Umami is a worthy ‘new kid on the block’ and certainly amongst Birmingham’s best curry restaurants.
Happy first Birthday.
Thanks for reading,
We were invited by Umami to their first birthday party and menu launch, all food and drinks consumed were complimentary. This doesn’t affect my honest review and opinions.
Umami Indian Kitchen and cocktail bar, 25 Lordswood Road, Birmingham, B17 1RP.