Review: Lasan Restaurant: Birmingham


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Lasan’s reputation has often in recent times proceeded it. Offering a fine dining like experience, it’s Indian dishes are refined, and woo the diner with their keen and exquisite seasoning and little touches of street food delights. It feels more like an experience than a general night out.

It’s those touches that have brought it accolades not only from Gordon Ramsey but The Sunday Times newspaper who have named it as one of Britain’s top 100 restaurants, the Good Food Guide and the Michelin Guide. A true list of quality.

Chef Aktar Islam and his team have consistently created on all my numerous visits (and there have been many from whence Lasan opened) Vegetarian dishes that demonstrate those techniques, textures and flavours that are a joy to discover and heavenly to taste.

On our mid week arrival Ruth and I decided to enjoy a Gin and Tonic in the smart bar area with the menus. A good thing to do when visiting Lasan.

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I discovered disappointingly a few weeks previous that Lasan doesn’t serve a vegetarian tasting menu-minus points- but only a non veggie one. Though this is sad, as other fine indian restaurants in London do its not the end of the world, as the menu for vegetarians is excellent, with plenty of choice and from previous experiences delightful.

Having taken our seats at our favourite mezzanine level table, good for people watching, we observed the restaurant filling up with large table bookings and couples. Excellent to see mid week.

I like the decor of Lasan, slightly modern, slightly Eastern influenced, a lovely wall mounted sitar and large ornate mirrors give the space a brightness, though with an intimate feel.

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We began our meal with a complimentary Indian Street Food morsel (not an amuse bouche, that’s French) called Panipuri which originates from the Magadha region of India.

A popular street food snack it consists of a round hollow puri, fried crisp and filled with a mixture of chaat masala, potato, onion and chick peas. To be taken in one mouthful, it was delicious, sweet, savoury, gently spiced. I love Indian street food. I could have quite happily eaten more.

Plus some quality crisp and flavoursome poppadoms and dips.

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For a starter Ruth and I chose to eat the vegetarian shared platter. A dish we’ve ordered before many times. The street food leanings of this dish is the main draw for me.

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It combines an assiette of two each of Caraway Spiced Paneer, Spinach and Potato tiki, onion and spinach palak pakora, South Indian potato cakes and a selection of well made dips.

A dish of differing and contrasting flavours and textures with vibrant touches. The potato cakes an all round taste sensation, the spinach and potato tiki, superb. All round for veggies this starter can’t be beaten and is my favourite. The only catch you have to find someone to share it with. Ruth as a meat eater loves it.

For my main course I ordered the veggie Chamon Punjab (paneer) with two vegetarian sides to share with Ruth-the Gobhi Angara and Ghar ke dhal, with a Garlic and Coriander naan and Pilau Rice accompany.

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The Chanon Punjab was delicious. Spiced with caraway seeds and scented with cloves, with a smooth spicy Kashmiri spinach and fenugreek gravy it was probably the best paneer I’ve tasted in Birmingham and only the one I ate at Michelin starred Benares in Mayfair London beats it. The flavours were deeply spiced and went perfectly with the two side dishes I ordered. A lovely vegetarian main dish.

The Gobhi Angara, is a North Indian delicacy. As lovers of cauliflower in curries both Ruth and had to choose this dish. The nigella scented masala with roasted cauliflower a gentle lighter contrast to the paneer punch of the main dish. More subtle in flavour, but delivering with aplomb.

The Ghar Ke Dhal offered once more a delicious contrast. The blend of lentils, simmered gently and spiced with green Cardamom and cassia bark had finely tempered flavours, with the tomato base and fresh herbs providing subtlety. A lovely dhal.

Ruth didn’t have space for a pudding so ordered some petit fours for her coffee. Disappointingly they proved to be sadly underwhelming which we thought would be homemade but wasn’t. Not great, she felt and for £2.50 very expensive. Why not a plate of traditional Indian sweets or small Indian deserts instead. More authentically Indian please.

For pudding I ordered the superb Gulab Jamun Rabri.

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To describe: the Gulab jamun Rabri is a Holi festival recipe with cardamon. It can be defined as deep fried melt in the mouth dough balls which are coated in sugary rose water and cardamon, slightly warm. Gulab means rose in Hindi and Jamun is a South Asian fruit. An Indian version of doughnuts. Drizzled with rabri a form of sweetened reduced milk flavoured with nuts and spices.

It was a delicious melt in the mouth pudding. Creamy, nutty, lovely. Not heavy to eat, but light and perfect after the spice of the previous dishes.

Lasan do the traditional deserts well, more please.

Throughout the meal the service was impeccable, courteous, charming, they explained every dish enthusiastically and with knowledge but not overwhelming you with attention. The balance was as it should be.

With our food we also ordered two glasses of wine, Ruth had a white-a lovely Gewürztraminer and me a punchy Red Malbec, both complimented the spicy food well.

Plus to follow two brandies to follow our Americano coffee. (Ambre Pierre Ferrand cognac)

Lasan is the real deal for curry in Birmingham. More pricy than some, it’s certainly a splurge kind of place and why wouldn’t you. A treat to enjoy, overwhelm and dive into. The vegetarian dishes (as the non are, according to Ruth) are inspiring, and flavoursome.

There are more than enough vegetarian dishes to return to again and again, their can be no complaints.

The service, hospitality and the food is testament to the hard work that goes into making the Lasan experience whole and nearly complete, (veggie tasting menu, more indian puddings) please😊

one that ‘teases the senses and stirs the soul’.

Lasan
3-4 Dakota Buildings
James Street
St Paul’s Square
Birmingham
B3 1SD

0121 212 3664

http://www.lasan.co.uk

@lasan

@akrarislam

Facebook/Lasan-Restaurant

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We were invited as guests of Lasan Restaurant Group, we received part compensation for the bill the balance we paid ourselves. As always my opinions are honest and my own. No positive review was required though there is no doubt you couldn’t fail to be impressed. 

 My previous review of Lasan Restaurant last year. 

https://vegiefoodie.com/2014/06/03/lasan-restaurant-teasing-the-senses-review/



#TastyMorsel: The Eight Foot Grocer opens: A Feast of Veg in the Jewellery Quarter


If you are a vegetarian and you don’t eat or like fruit or vegetables, then maybe ask what’s the point. Veg are the kings of vegetarian and vegan living. All hail the veg 🙂

So in that respect any news that an Independent food grocer is opening in Birmingham is therefore greeted with the applause and plaudits it deserves.

That’s why I love the idea of The Eight Foot Grocer. i did wonder if the guy who owned it initially was a giant, that eating all those veg like your Mother told you to do had made him grow so much that he had turned into a fairy tale character, old Jack himself.

No in fact, his name is Chris James and his grocers is in the lovely Jewellery Quarter and is housed in a eight foot wide former loading bay near
St Paul’s Square.

Chris has turned a quirky venue into a new fruit and veg store selling exciting deli produce locally sourced where possible and all in a eight foot wide space. The store is in Caroline Street next to the Braderie Vintage shop and opposite The esteemed Bloc Hotel.

The shop is an eclectic mix of local art, and photography, and receives daily fresh bread deliveries from nearby Peel and Stone bakers and stocks such items as jams, marmalades, loaclly made Cufuffle preserves,
Kneals Chocolates, Pip’s Hot Sauce, pastas and olive oil.

It also serves porridge for breakfast, and sandwiches, salads, and cakes for lunch.

It’s a proper shop, independent and local and open from
8am-8pm Monday-Saturday.

The Eight Foot Grocer
13-15 Caroline Street
off St Paul’s Square
Jewellery Quarter
Birmingham
B3 1TR

@The8footgrocer

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#Coffeetime: Coffee Lounge, Wake up and smell the coffee


Coffee Lounge is a newish independent coffee shop located on Newhall Street in Birmingham City centre near St Paul’s Square.

It’s tucked a bit out of the way of the main drag of the city centre, but is well worth the walk.

It was in mid week, feeling quite stressed due to moving house that I decided to find some calm and enjoy the soothing harmony ‘s of lower Newhall street and the nearby St Paul’s Square.

On entering Coffee Lounge I found a laid back and contemporary coffee shop that was quite quiet and had the peace and serenity that I required to read and relax.

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Coffee Lounge has a good mix of sofas and table seating and bar stools that should suit all tastes and customers. Though it is apparent that at certain times of the day it caters for the local business sector, it’s was also popular with families and customers eating afternoon tea and stopping off after touring the Jewellery Quarter.

The decor is modern, light with a good purple and white colour scheme that is cosy whilst been spacious. It’s a relaxed space, good for work, good for catching up with friends and good for reading.

It’s not crammed full of tables so it feels a place whereby you don’t feel rushed to leave. You can take your time and relax. Perfect😊

My flat white was good, well made, a good coffee flavour and though not the best in the city it came with a nice biscuit that is quite rare to find generally in coffee houses in Birmingham. Very welcome as I didn’t feel like any cake or sandwiches, well not on this occasion.

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The food on offer last looks good though, from cakes, pastries, sandwiches, afternoon tea, breakfasts such as full English, and burgers, soup and jacket potatoes, it is quite a lengthy list.

Charmain and Daphne are the owners, the service is friendly, and they have created a fun, modern and relaxed place to while away time and in my case chill for awhile.

As an independent coffee shop it’s a nice addition to the growing Birmingham scene, and has a different feel to the ones in the main part of the city.

This is good and I recommend the informality and charm this brings us coffee drinkers.

The Coffee Lounge is a place to return to, and for me to eat in and read or write.

A good detour with a nice vibe.

I used my Independent Birmingham card to obtain 10% off my drink. You can also gain 20% off afternoon tea for two people with the IB card. See website below if you wish to purchase one or two.

Twitter: @cdlounge
http://www.facebook.com/cdlounge

http://www.independent-Birmingham.co.uk

Coffee Lounge,
101 Newhall Street
Brindley House
Birmingham
B3 1LL

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Thanks for reading.

Has anyone been to the Coffee Lounge?

Please feel free to leave a comment underneath or via Twitter @andydhare