Restaurant Review: Lasan, Jewellery Quarter, Birmingham. A sophisticated experience for Vegetarians.


It was roughly twelve years ago that I first entered Lasan’s doors. I was gobsmacked by the textures and flavours of this exotic place and of then head chefs Aktar Islam’s touch in creating such beauty on a plate. There was nothing like it in Birmingham.

Two years later i met Ruth and it soon became our go to place for great food, celebrations and an all round good night out ( who can forget one New Years Eve and scarf gate).

We took Ruth’s parents, friends, my Mum enjoyed a few meals there with me and anyone who cared to listen we insisted it was the best place to get s curry in birmingham.

Roll on a few more years and chef Aktar has now left to follow other exciting dreams. We are both a little older, with less money and less time to eat out, but hey, Lasan is still here. But wait, now with its refurbishment things have changed.

Launched In 2002, Lasan, based on James Street just off St Paul’s Square, has now experienced a £500.000 re dawn. Lighter, brighter, glistening in its re birth. The decor in the dining room is beautiful and comfortable. It’s A triumph and so much better than the dark and slightly dull, tired look of before. The bar area is also light with tables, bar stools and a cocktail menu. A place for a pre or post meal drink that makes a loud statement of intent when you walk into it on arrival.

The food has always been the thing with Lasan, but to me it had sadly dipped in its importance and felt as if it was trading on past awards and praise. Ruth and I hadn’t been for awhile, says it all really.

Now, in its reincarnation the vigour feels like its back. I feel an excitement return like the days of old. Hopes have stirred.

The Popadoms have always been some of the best in the city, but often the sauces have let them down. Not now, the pineapple one is one of the nicest small bowls of food you can taste anywhere, the mint sauce was superb. Popadoms, Crisp. They come with three Pani Puri, tiny morsels of chickpeas and tamarind to be eaten in one go. They are lovely.

My starter of Ananas Paneer, Pineapple infused Paneer, garlic and onion seeds, textures of beetroot highlighted the point to me where majestic cooking can make a simple sounding dish sing, lovely flavours, the Paneer perfectly cooked so that it soaked the delectable gentle pineapple, not sweet but holding a well balanced flavour. A stunning dish perfectly presented.

My main course Shakarkand Kofta, followed the same line, roasted sweet potato kofta roundels were gently simmered in a yoghurt and turmeric sauce. Again the execution of the dish showed the simple art (for some) of presenting simple ingredients and spices to perfection. The kofta roundels sparkled in their gently spiced sauce with overlapping flavours punching the taste buds with a soft delicacy that was quite enrapturing.

Two sides were chosen to have with the kofta, both complimented the main course perfectly. The Gobi Angara, tandoori roasted cauliflower sautéed with Nigella scented onion masala. A knock out side with a stunning complex earthy flavour.

The Nigiri Paneer, soft Paneer, slow cooked spinach and fenugreek nilgiri korma sauce which was also beautifully cooked and both sides made perfect additions to the kofta main course.

I’m overexcited by desert. The Beetroot Halwa, a clean precise plate of refreshment that engulfs and rewards with every slither. Caramelised nuts apples, pistachio ice cream create a delicious combination of flavours with the earthy Beets. Gentle notes of harmony with lovely contrasting textures, A charming pudding of classy and sophisticated pleasure.

Lasan’s food is ambitious, made to a higher standard than the norm, harmonious flavours, quality ingredients, perfectly cooked and spiced, in a polished, relaxing dining room that has a touch of luxury about it.

The attentive, well informed service simmers gently and is relaxed.

The vegetarian dishes sing, refined spiced perfectly each ingredient can be deciphered from the next.

For lovers of fine food and a dapper and quietly amazing food experience it’s comforting in my world that when all else in my life has changed in the last year beyond comprehension Lasan is now truly back in pole position of Birmingham’s Indian food scene and the world is better for it.

Thanks for reading,

Andy 😊

The beautiful recommended bottle of red wine enjoyed on the night. Sadly not on the menu.

<<<<<<<<<<<<<
Fulford and Lasan for the invite and Paul and fellow Brummie blogger Laura from Bite Our Brum for the company. All food and drink was complimentary.

All opinions and photos of the food are my own. The photos of the restaurant and bar are courtesy of Lasan with thanks.

For Laura's blog

https://t.co/ztvfni9Pvk

Lasan, 3-4 Dakota Buildings, James Street, off St Paul's Square, Birmingham B3 1SD.

https://lasan.co.uk/

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Restaurant Review: Zindiya, Moseley. 



Close your eyes And you can well imagine a perfect restaurant. Service tick, ambience tick, food tick, atmosphere tick, drinks tick.

Then tuck into the written word of those in the know, or whom think they do and then you’d feel well what’s the point in visiting it sounds so perfect. 

Me included have waxed lyrical about this place (at the time without trying it, lesson learnt) and from my point of perspective well it’s based entirely on the perceived menu and it’s very veggie friendly leanings. 

The written word, the gospel according to Birmingham is not always entirely accurate. 

It’s not that Zindiya is poor it’s just on the night Ruth and I visited, shall I say underwhelming and disapointing.

The hype suggested get your chops round this, and you’ll be reborn, but then when those chops get chewing and ready to rock and roll we found a game of two halves Saint.  It’s a game of two halves. 

I wanted zip and zing but didn’t find it sadly. 

Specialising in Indian street food dishes the menu is full of Vegetarian options which should make it essential and full of taste explosion and colour. 


Now Imagine you are in India, smell the air, the food, the atmosphere. Now let’s get our hands dirty and snack our lips with the intoxication of flavours. 

Unfortunately we aren’t in India. 

The good bits: Well we had two more than decent Dishes. 

An excellent traditional fast food dish Papri (Papdi) Chaat, which melted in the mouth and was very comforting that warmed the palate and an indulgent Idli Sambar, tifin dish. Idli’s are a traditional breakfast dish a savoury cake (for dipping) which came with a flavoursome Sambar, a touch of hot lentil soup with some nice textures of vegetables running through it. A Very enjoyable dish. 

Plus we ate An ok Hara Bhara Kebab, which was different. A snack like a cutlet that had subtle veg flavours with slightly bland spicing that made it not very binge worthy sadly and a bit dry. The dip alongside was also underwhelming. 

We also ate the Chilli Paneer which was not to my taste, and left me stunned with disappointment to its bland sweetness, and didn’t lift the paneer to any heights.

The masala chips, we ate were sadly disappointing with very little flavour (apart from a resemblance to a McDonalds fry without the salt) and if they were homemade chips then I’ll be Greavsie to the aforementioned Saint and then a unremarkable desert of chocolate balls filled with strawberries, served with chilli ice cream. (Chocolate Gol Gappe). 

Ruth ordered an ok Alphonso Mango Sorbet. 

I also drank a nice Massala Chai. 

As an aside I would have liked some Poppadoms to nibble on with thecmenu and maybe some Pani Puri on the menu. 

Papri Chaat

Hara Bhara Kebab

Idli SambaarChilli paneer 


Maybe we just chose badly on the food front and we missed a jewel from a long menu, but it wasn’t just the food but the whole experience that felt underwhelming and a tad dull, forced and lacking energy which for a street food cafe which promises authenticity and a buzz was surprising. 

The atmosphere felt stilted, more restaurant than cafe, not at all lively and bustling like I imagined an Indian street food gaff to be.

It was a Saturday night so that’s unusual in Moseley, right? 

Staff are friendly and helpful to a degree,  a bit chatty but didn’t inform us about their so called amazing cocktails or beers that I keep reading about or about any beer, cocktail matching with the food. Shame! 

Small bites careering from good to not so. Some a bit dreary (masala chips) some unforgettable (chilli paneer) An evening of what ifs and why nots. 

It’s a most peculiar place. 

When the food’s good my it’s good but then at times the place feels confused, unsure of itself, and it’s concept. But then I suppose  we aren’t in the hot aired and noisy streets of India, but hipster Moseley with its drip fed trendiness and right on smiles and why not there’s a lot to smile about in this part of South Birmingham. Stand up Cheval Blanc, Kababish, Sabai Sabai and Carters. 

So it should be more authentic right? After all Moseley can cope with this can’t it? 

Pluses. There’s lots of veggie choice. Which is fantastic. More than anywhere I know outside a veggie restaurant. Which I guess makes it more disappointing to me. This alone should get me a season ticket and get me dancing Bollywood style. A sight to behold! 

I liked the decor, the outside is bright, cheery, but gives the impression you are entering a lively eatery which sadly wasn’t our experience. Inside touches of Bollywood, bright and airy. 

It’s quite large too which I think doesn’t help the street food vibe, unlike Raja Monkey or Indian Brewery maybe it didn’t feel cool and intimate. 

There are places in Birmingham that do this better with more panache, better cooking, more simplistic style. More authenticity and self confidence, more cafe than restaurant. 

More crafty.

Zindiya didn’t feel anything special and a muddle of ideas served in a muddled way. I feel sad writing this. It’s a shame. I so wanted to love this place. 

It undermined the decent dishes. 

There’s some work needed on pulling the whole thing together, making the experience more seamless, explaining the dishes, exploring the tastes of the diners more, (both food and drinks)  making the whole experience more authentic. Bringing the street element more into focus. 

It felt like a restaurant not street food cafe. 

And yes, please remember to promote your cocktails and craft beer to me. Aren’t they supposed to be special. To be shouted about. 

Or at least as good as the chaat.

Thanks for reading, 

Andy 😊

Disclaimer: We paid for our food and drinks in full. All opinions are my own and an honest reflection of the experience we had on the evening. 

Zindiya, 21 Woodbridge Road, Birmingham, B13 8EJ. 

0121-439-0593.

http://www.zindiya.co.uk/

Veggie Foodie tip: 

Do try Cheval Blanc in Moseley for cocktails and wine before and after a meal. The food is also raved about with veggie options on the menu.

I’m up for a food visit soon.

Also Carters of Moseley is outstanding for a special night of vegetarian seasonal decadence. 

The Kababish for curry. Delightful veggie dishes in nice surroundings. Tarka Daal anyone? 

Visit Sabai Sabai for sumptuous Thai food. 

AH.

Vegetarian street food traders The Indian Lunch Box are at 1000 Trades in the Jewellery Quarter this week. 



Make sure you get down to 1000 Trades in the Jewellery Quarter this week as vegetarian Indian street food company The Indian Lunchbox are taking over the kitchen for one week only. 

Street food trader Reena Mistry has a mission to open minds and mouths to tasty, homemade Vegetarian street food. The Indian Lunchbox is all about fresh ingredients and many of the dishes are served traditionally on the streets in India, and have been passed down the family.

Their signature dish is the Double Roti burger- a soft bread bun filled with potato curry, Chevdo (like Bombay mix), chopped onions, peanuts, and a chilli coriander chutney.

Other highlights include Bhel, a dish made with puffed rice, potato, chickpea, and a tangy tamarind sauce, and Pav Bhaji, a mixed vegetable curry. There are also Onion Bhaji’s. 

All these dishes are suitable for Vegans. 

The food will be complimented by the delicious and local Indian Brewery, one of the most recent additions to The Birmingham evolving craft beer scene. 

They will be laying on a selection of their crisp and refreshing craft ales. As well as the highly new Birmingham Lager. If it’s ready in time on draught. 

Established in May 2016 The Indian Lunchbox is a Veggie Foodie rising star and one to watch in 2017. 

The menu’s below: 



1000 Trades can be found at 16 Frederick Street in the Jewellery Quarter, Birmingham.
The Indian Lunchbox will be at 1000 Trades from Monday 31st October to Saturday 5th November, serving from 5-10pm Monday- Friday and 1-10pm on Saturday. 

Should be a fantastic week of vegetarian food. 

Thanks for reading, 
Andy 😊

All photos courtesy of Indian Lunchbox and 1000 Trades. 

Look out for The Indian Lunchbox at Streetfood events around the Midlands. Including the new Hawker Yard in the city centre. 

Restaurant review: Kababish, Moseley, Birmingham.



Many years ago when I was a young fledgling curry eater and ‘Don’t look back in Anger’ was number one, the Kababish was my favourite curry house. Moseley Village was a lot less hipster and more crusty around the edges, pubs were pubs and curry well it was a balti or nothing fancy and washed down with a pint not a cocktail. The good old days, maybe we thought they’d live forever, maybe it was the ‘day we caught the train’ to the future. Maybe I’m just grumping. Maybe it’s the cocktail infestation in the village. 

But less of the Brit Pop references. It’s testament to the hard work and quality of this independent and family run restaurant that now over 30 years since it opened its still going strong on the same site in a village where others have come and gone and food and drink times have changed. 

Ruth and I decided to visit one Saturday evening, finding a bustling restaurant that had a good mix of larger and small groups. 

One of the changes since those bygone days is the introduction by Kababish of a cocktail menu. I’m not a massive fan of cocktails with food generally, don’t get it when there’s beer or wine available (but with snacks/ small plates/ aperitivos its ok).  This is especially a no no with main courses but in saying that I’m happy to slurp away pre or post dinner with the best of them. 

Thus, Ruth and I dipped our palettes into a couple of cocktails before the main event. Myself The Exceptional Gentleman from their Signature cocktail menu and Ruth the Cosmopolitan which she enjoyed. 

My cocktail was lovely, Jack Daniels, shaken with fresh mint, ginger, apple juice and a dash of champagne. An indulgent tipple with a bite that was a fine pre dinner drink. 

For the food, Poppadoms are crisp with some excellent sauces. The mint, zingy and with a nice sharpness which goes well with the cocktails (poppadoms are snacks). 

At most curry houses I have the desire to keep eating. Order too much or overdo my appetite. The Paneer Shashlik starter is lusciously creamy on the inside and just charred perectly round the edges so that the soft and crisp texture can be dusted with the thinnest pasting of the mint sauce a la 1990’s with the chilli sauce zinging up the plain salad like a riot  of splashy artwork in Tate Modern. The starter soothing and reassuring of the standards set by Kababish’s kitchen. 

The Tarka Daal is one of two test dishes for me of a good curry. Here it bristles with spices, a dreamy daal of channa lentils, a creamy must have dish and possibly the best in Birmingham, still the quality dish of a bygone memory in time for me. An accomplished rendition. 

The Gobhi Mutter, fresh cauliflower, with onions, peas and peppers. A classic veggie curry, perfect for a main veggie dish. Subtle spicing, slight tomato flavour that makes for a complimentary dish to the daal.

The Saaag Paneer, the other test dish of cooking credentials is here fresh, with a nice balance of spices and fresh ingredients. The spinach not too much, but complimenting the creamy paneer and herbs. A delightful dish, another for memory lane. 

Accompanied by a well flavoured Garlic Naan that’s fluffy and light and a not grainy but softly cooked Pillau Rice. 

Dishes were washed down by a tremendous Malbec. 

Gobi Mutter Tarka DaalSaaag PaneerGobhi Mutter

Pillau rice

Garlic naan 

The only downer was my pudding the Ras Malai which was shockingly poor as only curry restaurants deserts can be. Maybe I just chose wrong but it was disappointing and not what I remember from Previous Ras Malai offerings in other restaurants. 

Ruth enjoyed her Ghulab Jamon. Oh well!  

We’ll move on. 

The Kababish is not fancy, not flash. It’s a rewarding and reasonably priced restaurant that ticks the boxes of quality, informality, good friendly service and food made with passion and cooked fresh. 

For Vegetarians it offers numerous tempting options and has the slight subtlety in choice that is tempting for repeat performances.

Though I walked through their doors 22 years ago the consistency and core values remain to this day and that’s the key to a good neighbourhood curry (open since 1983) and the essence of what makes The Kababish popular and successful and proof that though times change a good curry at Kababish doesn’t. The buzzy weekend atmosphere is a bonus which in all makes Kababish a ‘Champagne Supernova’ in the bright sky of Moseley.

My friend used to say that The Kababish was the best curry house in Moseley. You can argue that it was and still is the best. 

So Here’s to many more years of this independent stalwart in an ever evolving Moseley. 

Thanks for reading, 

Andy 😊

http://www.kababish.co.uk/

After dinner Tip:

For afters try The Bulls Head (The Cuban Embassy) in Moseley village for a rum fest and after dinner drink. 

Rum at The Bull. 

The Gastro Card offers diners 15% off food from Sunday-Thursday. 

To buy a card see the link below: 

http://www.gastrocard.co.uk/buy/

We paid for our food and drinks in full. My opinions are honest as always. 

Song references from Oasis.