Restaurant Review: Raja Monkey, Birmingham.


Birmingham’s current fondness for all things Indian Street Food is in a word becoming interesting though maybe the beginning of its undoing. With two new street food places due to open before Autumn snuggles into Winter, and one recent one Indian Streatery doing well in the centre of Birmingham, you may easily forget the original cafe in Brum that is the funky Raja Monkey.

Owned by the good kids of the Lasan group it strikes one instantly of the organisation and sophistication of its big brother Lasan (though on a smaller more intimate street food scale). Here you find the same high quality ingredients, the same beautiful attentive, polite and obliging service, and the same attention to detail in the cooking, that has heralded lasan as one of best, if not the best Indian palace of gastronomy in Birmingham.

The dishes are simpler here at the roadside Dhaba like Raja Monkey and more authentic.

The dishes show a vibrant complexity of flavours, spicing and cooking that is the sale of the century when you tally it with the price of the dishes.

To say the food is outstanding is in a way to undersell the joy that I experienced. I’ve been before (with Ruth) and salivated over the veggie Thalis and supreme dosas. And yes I’ve eaten so many takeaways from these guys that I’d hate to count up the total bill. Yet compared to some other more recent openings on the Indian Street Food trail Raja Monkey is the Manchester United to the Aston Villa (and I’m a villa fan). One that others should learn from in its effortless simplicity and devotion to the diner having a fine night out.

On this occasion my dining partner wasn’t Ruth, but a guy called Paul (Ruth did know where I was, so I wasn’t dodging fatherly duties, but then I may have been slightly!)

To say Raja Monkey is intimate is an understatement though it’s size doesn’t detract from the comfort of the comfortable long bench seats that recreates the informal rustic street food cafe look well. The walls adorned with retro pictures and artefacts with the faint sound of Indian music in the distance conjures up the road side cafe image it sets out to be.

The food is influenced by the Southern Indian cuisine of the continent.

Set off from the busy Stratford Road in the Hall Green part of Birmingham, Raja Monkey greets and meets that neighbourhood eatery concept well.

The Popodoms or Papads we ate whilst looking at the menu were crisp, served with a deliciously sweet yogurt Raita that had a delicious flavour.

I ate a Samosa Chaat, Chickpeas, potatoes, fried samosa pastry, served cold, piled high, with a soothing spicing that tickled the mouth and danced in the club of classic curry dishes and then somehow betters them making you sigh and dip into your cold beer with joy. An instant satisfying joy.

I also tried the Pau Bhaji, a deeply satisfying Street Food snack of mashed veg Bhaji with roasted pau buns, brioche like with uplifting flavours and spicing made with panache. A very satisfying starter.

We both moved onto a Vegetable Kadai a melange of veggies in a masaledar gravy. Colourful crunchy vegetables with an appetising appearance. Rich with tomatoes, a good chilli heat gave the veg a rich textured flavour that rewarded generously.

Mopped up with an appreciative Roti it was a sensational dish of perfect spicing and immaculate cooking.

A delight of a vegetarian curry.

To finish, a lip smacking soft and spongy Rasmalai was enjoyed. A melt in your mouth texture, and the perfect refreshing pallet cleanser after a spicy curry.

A pudding of pure joy.

Raja Monkey Excels with its Brilliant Vegetarian cooking. They make use of quality ingredients and thoughtful spicing with an artistic touch of sophistication, all without the pomp. It’s self confident and on a Tuesday night the food hit the curry longing spot like a Romalau Lukaku shot on the turn.

Raja Monkey always been good, but to be honest now It excels.

For a sublime, but informal curry with a great value price maybe it can’t be beaten in Birmingham and for Vegetarians if it’s not on your list of places to visit or revisit then I’m afraid you don’t deserve promotion to the Premier league.

A true road side cafe.

Thanks for reading,

Andy 😊

<

Thanks to Paul Fulford for the invite to dine with him at Raja Monkey. My food and drink was complimentary but all views expressed are my own.

Our Food was washed down by a couple of Cobra lagers.

Raja Monkey, 1355 Stratford Road, Hall Green, Birmingham, B28 9HH.

<<<<<<<<<<<<<
commend a take away from Raja Monkey. Menu on website.

http://www.rajamonkey.co.uk/

My previous review is here:

https://www.google.co.uk/amp/s/vegiefoodie.com/2015/01/23/raja-monkey-authentic-indian-street-food-in-birmingham/amp/

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#TastyMorsels: Veggie and Vegan happenings.


Mowgli Street Food is opening at Grand Central by the end of September, offering simple Indian street food.

YouTube Vlogger Nisha Katona owns the restaurant which originated in Liverpool.

Mowgli will opening in the centres casual dining area next to Tapas Revolution and Pho. Serving home style fresh food including tiffin boxes.

Mowgli sets itself up as taste of adventure with their famous yogurt chat Bombs at the heart of the menu.

The menu will include many vegan dishes and will now doubt be popular amongst veggies and vegans in Birmingham.

A healthy mix of good food and fun atmosphere awaits.

Watch this space for more news as I know it.

Laghi’s Deli has just opened on Islington Row just off Five Ways island.

Italian delights a plenty, home made breads, cakes, homemade pasta you name it it’s here. They also do Aperativi. The aperitivo period after work in Italy when for the price of a cocktail or wine finger foods can be enjoyed alongside. So try focaccia, olives or cheese maybe. Heaven! Is there a finer time in Italy? From 5-7pm

Oh and good coffee…but of course.

They also stock an impressive range of wine.

The 40 cover restaurant bar is open for brunch, lunch and dinner.

Expect a visit from me, to sample their wares, at some point… could be the Italian gaff I’ve been dreaming of for Brum!

At last.

Laghi’s is open from 8am-11.30pm Mondays to Saturdays.

Vegan Mex it Up are presenting An American Affair on Saturday 30th September at The Pie Shop in Stirchley on the Pershore Road.

The menu is below:

Booking via info@mexitupfoods.com

The Vegan Cakery will be providing the desert.

Mex it up have also been nominated for best vegan caterer. You can vote for them below.

https://london.vegfest.co.uk/awards/vote/

As mentioned in the previous Tasty Morsels, The Indian Streatery is now open for business with a great selection of veggie and Vegan dishes. The menu is below:

Find it on Hill Street just off New Street in Birmingham City Centre.

I Can’t wait to try it out.

Las Iguanas opened on Temple Street in the city centre on the 28th August. The Latin American themed restaurant has many vegetarian dishes and a devoted Vegan menu on offer. Plus 2-4-1 cocktails all day every day. They are also still open in The Arcadian area of Brum.

Tamatanga.

Anther new Indian Street Food eatery is due to open in Birmingham City Centre on Navigation Street this month. Tamatanga is Nottingham based for over ten years and is now opening up a flag ship restaurant in Brum. Authentic Indian dishes will be served all day including breakfast and the restaurant will be completely family friendly.

Open from 7.30am food will include breakfast items and thali’s and small plates, 3 dishes for £15 and five for £23.

Veggie Dishes include Chaat, veg samosas, chilli paneer and a dish called ragda Pattice, crispy potato cakes on masala yellow peas, with homemade chutneys.

Cocktails are also served.

They will have crayons, high chairs and kids menus.

Sounds a brilliant family restaurant.

Can’t wait to try it.

Vegetarian restaurant Bistro 1847 are offering 50% off in Birmingham this month (September). For tables up to 4 people, when booking quote September50 in the comments section online and receive the deal on their a la Carte menu.

Sounds veggie and vegan heaven to me.

Photo AH

And another new kid on the block is Grit -Food and Drink- opening at the space in the Jewellery Quarter vacated later this month by the excellent Two Cats Kitchen.

The former Jewellery workshop on Warstone lane will be serving affordable quality food from an A la Carte menu. More neighbourhood restaurant than fine fine dining a sample menu highlights some lovely sounding veggie dishes such as caramelised cauliflower, scorched salad , truffle, cheddar and sunflower seed. Using some of the old Two Cats team this opening sounds right nip my street and offers the type of food I love.

Can’t wait, Standby for more details when I have them.

Open October 17th.

And finally Brewdog in Birmingham have a showcase and meet the brewer on Friday September 8th with Kings Heath, Vegan Brewery Glasshouse Beer Co.

Showcasing 4 beers, Vermont Pale, IPA, Choccy Milk, and Stout and Raspberry Pale.

A Brewery to keep an eye on, but of course I’m biased.

Oh, and Ben and Jerry’s are now selling Vegan ice Cream across U.K. Supermarket s. Check out the flavours below. Enjoy.

That’s all for now folks.

Thanks for reading,

Andy 😊

All images and photos courtesy of restaurants and breweries apart from where stated.

New Indian Streetfood restaurant Zindiya set to bring colour to Moseley. 




There have been a lot of false dawns with restaurant openings recently. The hype doesn’t always result in a place been good for repeat visits. For Vegetarians disappointment when the menu is presented to you, a lack of choice, a lack of thought. I can safely predict that Zindiya doesn’t fall into that category looking at the menu which is on first glance predominantly veggie. 

Zindiya, a new Indian Street food eatery and cocktail  bar opened on the 7th February in Moseley, Birmingham in a building that has been empty for 10 years. Some of you may remember Lukers  the bakery. Others won’t, well it was 10 years ago! Remembering last week is hard enough. 

But, you’ll remember Zindiya. Well that’s the plan from owners Ajay and Shivani Kenth. Moseley born and bred, and back to rock the village with little plated curry stuff. Hurray! 

Derived from the Indian name for life and the name of the owners daughter ‘Diya’. Seating 90 people it’s decor is colourful bustling, Indian street food market. 

Across the road, is one of the best. Kababish a Moseley icon is different so don’t go to Zindiya expecting the same. This is Street Food, tapas like sharing plates and dosas, flatbreads and more sharing dishes than  a family picnic in the summer. 

It’s the Cocktails that are on the tips of people’s tongues though. Created by Rob Wood the man behind so many great cocktails in the city they borrow influences from all over India and can be paired with food, which I’m hoping to be convinced is ok. 

Purity Beers are providing the beers for those that prefer. Lawless lager and Longhorn IPA is the name of the game. Plus delectable bakes from Miss Macaroon and wines from city centre based Connolys. 

Also Birmingham Lager from Indian Brewery Co.

The food menu is reasonably priced and won’t set you back on your mortgage repayments and includes for Vegetarians: 

Chaat street food: £4

Pani puri, papri chaat, Bhel puri, Aloo tiki chaat, Pav Bhaji, samosa chaat, chilli Paneer, and Vada Pav ( potato pasty and bun with chutneys) 

Side Street: £3

Chilli cheese toast (Mumbai cheese and toast) okra fries, Mogo Chips, onion bhajis, Masala chips.

A La Carte: £6.50

Idli Sambaar ( steamed rice and lentil dumpling served with sambaar, a lentil based stew, with coconut chutney, 

Trio of Dosas, (Masala aloo, Paneer)

Grill Street: £7 cooked over charcoal. 

Paneer tika, 

Hara Bhara Kabab(served with yoghurt dip and salad.

Paranthe Wali Gali: Flatbread. 12-4 Saturday and Sunday only. 

Aloo Paratra: potatoes and onions.

Plain Paratra 

Gobi Paratra (cauliflower)

Metri ( fenugeek leaves) 

Deserts include Chocolate Gol Gappe and kulfi and Cin alla Kreer (rice pudding) 

With so many Vegetarian options Zindiya goes straight to the top of the must visit list (for vegans check beforehand). 

Also available will be An Afternoon tea which includes sandwiches, Pakoras, Cardamon scones and chai infused prosecco. 

For the best in good value eat-drink-share It’s sure to do well and bring a spot of Indian colour to Moseley. 

See you there. 

Thanks for reading, 

Andy 😊

Zindiya is at 21 Woodbridge Road, Moseley, Birmingham. B13.

Closed Mondays. 

0121-439-0953 Or hello@zindiya.co.uk for bookings. 

http://m.imgur.com/a/nuOtV&nbsp;

See the above link for full menu. 


All photos courtesy of Zindiya. 

Indian Brewery opens for craft beer and street food in Birmingham.



So many marvellous independent beer places have opened up over the last year in Birmingham, that now beer lovers are truly spoiled for choice.

The newest addition to the Jewellery quarter, Indian Brewery Snowhill, is set to spice things up a little which is great news for beer fans as well as street food lovers and artisan coffee folk.

The Indian Brewery has resurrected the old coffee shop, Brewsmiths under Snow Hill’s railway arches, and turned it as if by magic into a bar selling craft beer as well as artisan coffee.

Obviously being Indian you have to throw a bit of masala into the mix, so during the morning it dishes out an innovative breakfast menu and mouth watering street food from midday till late.

 Jaspal Purewal, who owns Indian Brewery which supplies Birmingham lager, Indian Summer, Bombay Honey, Peacock and IPA to Birmingham venues including Harvey Nichols, Connolly’s wine merchants and Indico, has taken over the lease of the cafe and had added an impressive bar. The old worn out exterior has been replaced by something altogether more slick and modern and the interior has a more industrial feel. 

It’s casual and relaxed with benches for drinkers to enjoy an artisan beverage whether it be coffee or Indian sodas as well as their beers, whilst admiring the classic Bollywood posters on the walls. A place of social gathering and good times.

 Jaspal told the Birmingham Mail: “We’ve wanted to set up a bar for our brewery for a long time and the Jewellery Quarter is the perfect location. There is so many exciting things happening here. This will be our flagship store – for all to consume our beers along with in-house artisan coffee and street food.”

The site on Livery Street opened on Friday 13th.

Beer is served in craft cans, bottle cask and on draught these include Indian Brewery beers and also an impressive range of guests.; The Indian Brewery beer is brewed at their Great Barr base.

The food has good options for Vegetarians and is a bright light in a gloomy slate grey January. Split into two areas Streetfood and Breakfast, 

For Streetfood veggies try: 

Chaat Bomb: veggie Gilles triangles, chickpeas, yoghurt, chutney and onion.

Delhi Paneer: Paneer cheese with spices, peppers, lettuce and yoghurt.

Fat Naans: veggie delight of potato, cauliflower, onions, chutney, mint, yoghurt and Bombay sprinkle.

For the Breakfast menu: 

Amritsari Kulcha: stuffed flatbread, accompanied by a side of seasoned yoghurt, chutney, onions, chickpeas and fresh lime pickle. 

Egg Naan

Posh Avocado: Brown bloomer with avocado and poached egg. 

For vegans I’m sure the menu can be adapted if it isn’t already vegan friendly. Check before. 


 The food menu has a distinct street flavour but there is a difference! Jaspal revealed: “We’re not your typical Balti house or Indian pub, we’re truly different and being innovative was key, the public has spoken.”

For the drinks all bottles (Indian Brewery beer) and Birmingham Lager in a can and keg are veggie and vegan friendly. 

However, the cask ale isn’t  but other guest ales are. 

The Indian sodas are also ok.


Enough to brighten even the dullest of days. 

Indian Brewery Snow Hill, Livery Street, Birmingham B3 1EU

Officially open from Monday 15th January 2017.

Breakfast is available Monday to Friday from 7am to 12pm midday, Saturday from 8:00am to 12pm midday, and Sundays from 8.30pm to 12midday.

Street Food is available Monday to Thursday from 12pm midday to 9pm, Friday & Saturday from 12pm midday to 9:30pm and Sunday from 12pm midday to 8pm.

TO BOOK : 0121 296 9000 WEBSITE: http://www.indianbrewery.com

FOLLOW : Twitter @IndianBrewery Instagram: @IndianBrewery

LIKE : Facebook.com/indianbrewery

Looking forward to trying it out soon. 

Thanks for reading,

Andy 😊

All photos and information courtesy of Indian Brewery and Delicious PR. 

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.