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/



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Lasan Restaurant-teasing the senses-review


Let’s get this out of the way from the begining 🙂 I think Lasan is one of the best restaurants in Birmingham. I have been there many times over the years since it opened and I think it is one of the best places for vegetarians to eat in and around Birmingham City Centre.

Lasan is located in the Jewellery Quarter area of the city just off St Paul’s Square. It is in a tidy location, one that is smart and discerning, with many good eats and drinks.

Inside Lasan is smart (again), with a contemporary style and old world charm that feels comfortable and spacious, with its ornate mirrors and its F Word trophy 🙂 It feels busy, it feels popular, the food aromas are good, it ‘teases the senses and stirs the soul’. I like it. I really do 🙂

Lasan restaurant has won numerous awards winning Gordon Ramsay’s the F Word a few years ago. Chef Director Aktar Islam has graced our TV screens on the Great British Menu with aplomb cementing his and Lasan’s reputation as a culinary go to destinaion.

My wife Ruth and I were visiting to celebrate our Wedding Anniversary, its a special place for us, one of the first places we went together, its friendly charm and service along with the glorious food makes us feel that its a restaurant deserving of a celebration.

So to the food.

There are many good vegetarian options on the menu. Ruth and I decided to share a vegetarian platter for two which includes a assiette of traditional vegetarian bites, caraway spiced paneer, which is a subtle blend of mild cheese and tasty spices that coated enhances the flavour, spinich and potato tiki, onion and palak pakora,, south indian potato cakes and sweetcorn and onion bhonda, all served with a tamarind and mint sauce. It is superb, the flavours and variations of scents are magnificent. It is without doubt the dish to have for vegetarians for the full flavour of Lasan. For me the Panner is perfect, the best I have had anywhere, and the potato cakes an all round taste sensation.

To follow (Ruth ate non veggie, because she is) 🙂 I ate the sweet potato kofta, a particular favourite. This is sweet potato roundels flavoured with crusted corriander and cumin seeds, rolled in toasted cashew crumbs resting in a rich onion and tomato sauce. This main course is superb. The rich tomato and onion sauce is subtly creamy, its spice resting around the sweet potato with a punch that is not to overpowering but richly compliments the toasted cashews and onions of the kofta. A taste sensation that when accompanied by one of the many side dishes that are all vegetarian makes for a hearty main course with many tempting flavours.

On this occasion I chose the Gobhi Angara, a tandori roasted cauliflower which is coated in a beautifully scented onion masala. A lovely dish, that compliments the silky rich tomato sauce of the kofta perfectly.

There are many good veggie options on the menu.

We ordered two puddings to follow. Ruth ordered the spiced apple macaroon, which was a warm cinamon scented apple macaroon that she said was delicious. A good flavour of spiced apple against a well made macaroon. Superb.

I ordered a the Gajar halver Samosa, which was a sweet carrot and ground pudding with pistachio in a traditional samosa pastry, served with kulfi. It was lovely. The pastry was delicious, not too thick, the cinamon gave it a subtle flavour that proved to be a superb surprise, and a good desert to order if you have the room. Well we were celebrating 🙂

The service throughout was friendly, and as always with Lasan is spot on.

The lasting impression of Lasan Restaurant is one of confidence. A confidence in their dishes, their flavours and their hospitality. Those are all the things to applaud with Lasan, and the feeling you have the diner when you leave is when can I return.

This is a testament to the hard work that goes into making the Lasan experience whole and complete.

One that teases the senses and stirs the soul.

Thanks Lasan for that last line 🙂

Disclosure: we paid for our meal and all the opinions are honest and my own,

Lasan Restaurant

3,4 Dakota Buildings

James Street

St Paul’s Square

Birmingham

B3 1SD

0121 212 3664

http://www.lasan.co.uk

@lasan

@aktarislam

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Great British Menu Finals week. Go Aktar!


If like me you have been following the Great British Menu on BBC 2 in recent weeks, you will know that the finals of the competition for 2014  are starting on Monday 2nd June and continuing all week until Friday 6th June when the banquet will be held.

Birmingham’s own Aktar Islam, Chef Director of acclaimed Lasan Restaurant in Birmingham’s St Paul’s Square area (apt) is competing against 7 other chefs. Only 4 of them will get the honour to go to St Paul’s Cathedral to cook a very special banquet to honour the men and women who gave so much for our country. The banquet itself will be televised on Friday 6th June, the 70th Anniversary of D Day.

I have always loved Aktar’s food and Lasan restaurant is one of the jewels in Birmingham’s fine food scene. As a veggie I have enjoyed some superb food over the years. See my review to come shortly of Lasan Restaurant.

On watching the Central region’s heat I loved and admired Aktar’s desert choice, (always a good section of the programme for veggies) called ‘Victory is Sweet’ which proved sweet for the judges in the heat. Aktar’s take on the queen of puddings featured  a Winston Churchill cigar filled with ganache, plus crumble, meringue, a quinelle of raspberry sorbet and spun sugar crowns. The judges said it was ‘the perfect pudding’ giving it a perfect score of 10 all round, making 40 points of sweet indulgence!. Fantastic!

The competition will be tough as there are some great chefs and competitors on show.

It should be a great week on the Great British Menu (GBM).

I wish Aktar a great week, we are rooting for you. Go Aktar! Go Birmingham!

 

Lasan Restaurant

3,4 Dakota Buildings

James Street

St Paul’s Square

Birmingham

West Midlands

B3 1SD

0121 212 3664

http://www.lasan.co.uk

@lasan

@aktarislam

@gbmofficial

@gbchefs

http://www.greatbritishchefs.com

 

 

Watch Great British Menu tonight 6.30pm


Watch the Great British Menu tonight on BBC2 from 6.30 to see chef Aktar Islam fight it out in the Midlands Heat.

Lasan is one of my favourite restaurants and is superb for vegetarian flavours and the choice of dishes. Look out for my review in a couple of weeks.

Go chef! Watch for the whole of this week.

Www.lasan.co.uk