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. 

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Veggie dishes of the day: Umami Indian Kitchen, Harborne celebrates its First Birthday. 


  
  
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) 

  Lentil Dhal.

   Aloo Palak.

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, 

Andy 😊

  
  Rice and Naan.

  

 

   
 
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. 

0121-427 8773.

http://www.umamiharborne.com/

https://m.facebook.com/UmamiHarborne/

  New environment friendly take away boxes and take away menu. A tempting prospect.

  

Veggie Foodie guide to the Best places for a vegetarian curry in Birmingham.


Curry in its various guises is for many Vegetarians their go to food. It is for me and often the first meal I have when I come back from a holiday abroad for instance. 

For veggies, it appears to be the cuisine that we have the most options on the menu. 

Birmingham has a number of fine Indian restaurants and cafes. This is my personal selection (though not definitive) which originally appeared in the Birmingham Mail for National Vegetarian Week. 

http://www.birminghammail.co.uk/whats-on/food-drink-news/need-decent-vegetarian-curry-birmingham-11337381

In no particular order:

Lasan:

For a sophisticated and exquisite curry in cool surroundings Lasan in the Jewellery Quarter ticks the box. Try the Tikki Veggie Platter to start, so as to get a flavour of the refinement of the subtle spicing. The Chamon Punjabi main course is easily the best paneer, Spinach combo in the city. The Sweet Potato Kofta is also memorable. Never fails to inspire. 
 Sweet potato Kofta. 

  
Chamon Punjabi

  Tikki vegetarian platter.

Deepalis

A fully Vegetarian indian restaurant, based on Alfred Road, Sparkbrook and in the Jewellery Quarter (currently closed). Try the Chilli Paneer, Aloo Dosa or Papdi Chaat or for dessert the indulgent Gulab Jamun. Deepalis represents skilfully cooked vibrant vegetarian food, modestly priced in informal surroundings. A winner. 
  Chilli Paneer

Ashas:

For Luxurious surroundings and homely but well-crafted food try Ashas in the city centre, with cocktails a flowing Ashas is modern and full of atmosphere. Try the best Papdi Chaat in the city, or the main course Kadhai Paneer an exotic treat, or the divine and succulently spiced Aloo Mattar Gobhi. The Naan’s and Poppadoms are also superb.

For a sophisticated curry in the city centre Ashas is a joy for veggies. 
  
Papdi Chaat

  
Kadhai Paneer

Milans Sweet Centre:

Based on Stoney Lane, near Sparkbrook and the Balti quarter, pure vegetarian Milans is informality and charming personified. Try the Matter Paneer the Daal or the Palak, the Masala Dosa’s also popular as are the indian Sweets. A vast choice for veggies at bargain prices.

  

Jyoti 
One of my favourite places to eat in Birmingham. Based in Hall Green on the Stratford Road,  Jyoti is fully vegetarian and doubles as a restaurant and sweet centre. Taking its inspiration from South India It entices the palette with exotic flavours and a massive choice of 15 starters and 72 main courses. With a homely feel there’s no better choice. Try the set meals which gives a terrific overview of the food, or the Thalis  and Puri and Aloo Curry. The paneer dishes are also incredible. Bring your own alcohol. 

  
Jyoti from the outside.

Itihaas:

Located in the city centre on Fleet Street and in a smaller capacity at Selfridges food hall, Itihaas is one of the best indian restaurants in Birmingham for vegetarians, smart, but traditional. It’s sleek, contemporary and friendly. Try the vegetarian sharing platter to begin or the Chaat and dosas or one of the many Paneer dishes such as the Makhani Paneer with its top notch spicing or maybe for something different the Quorn mince Kofta. Itihaas has Outstanding choice for vegetarians who seek aromatic joy. 
  
Makhani Paneer
  
Itihaas from the outside.

  Paneer at Itihaas

Pushkar:

The glamorous and elegant Pushkar, on Broad Street in the city centre has consistently been winning awards since it opened. For exquisite cocktails and a vibrant atmosphere visit on a weekend and indulge. The phadhari Kofta is superb, as is the saag paneer and appetiser Vermicelli William and For the undecided the Pushkar panorama , a taste of all the veggie appetisers. A classy taste fantastic restaurant, and one of my favourites.

  
Phadari Kofta and Saag Paneer (Left)

  

  
Pushkar from the outside.

Kababish

A Moseley institution, a fine family run restaurant that’s consistent and full of good veggie options. Serving authentic Pakistani dishes try the Paneer Shashlik for a subtle joy or the Tarka Daal, which is stunning and a must have. The Gobhi Mutter is lovely and the Balti’s are some of the best in the area.A rewarding reasonably priced experience, plus there’s cocktails and lovely friendly service. Food made with passion and care.
  
Gobhi Mutter
  
Tarka Daal.

Raja Monkey:

Get closer to the real India with Raja Monkey. A roadside cafe on the Stratford Road in Hall Green serving true classics. Owned by the aforementioned Lasan restaurants its a vibrant space of informality. A must is the veggie Sharkarkand Thal  for that complete and authentic meal experience and to begin their famous Dosas.The Masala Aloo Dosa is perfection made fresh in front of you. I adore the food, the rustic decor, for veggies its a must place to visit. Raja Monkey is also do the best take away and delivery. Restaurant food at home. 
  
Veggie Shakarkand Thali 
  
Masala Aloo Dosa 

  

Kings Indian Dining:

A Kings Heath institution, veggie friendly Kings is comfort curry, but with keen spicing and a large veggie menu. Try one of the Balti’s, Saag Aloo or Mattar Paneer. Also the Onion Bhaji is an appetiser to recommend. Traditional, affordable and Friendly. Delivering excellent choice for vegetarians. It’s also Bring Your Own alcohol and does takeaways. 
  

Al Frash Balti:

  

A addition to my original article Al Frash is Located in Birmingham’s Balti Triangle  (meaning Butterfly) it serves reputable Balti’s on the Ladypool Road. With numerous vegetarian options its a bargain winner with a bring your own policy. One of the best Balti restaurants you could find anywhere.

Thanks for reading, 

Andy 😊

Links to my previous articles with the Birmingham Mail:

http://www.birminghammail.co.uk/whats-on/food-drink-news/very-best-places-vegetarian-food-10157489

http://www.wowbrum.co.uk/food-and-drink/10-best-restaurants-cheese-birmingham-10467564

Some of the photos from The Birmingham Mail. 

Veggie lunch watch: Asha’s restaurant, Birmingham.


Some restaurants will always hold a special place in your heart. The type of place that you go back to because it conjures those memories that make us who we are. 

That is certainly the role that Asha’s in Birmingham City Centre fills. It was here that Ruth and I ate on our first proper date, where we talked and ate for what felt like ages. On that night I can remember talking about singer Nick Drake and the place his music fills in both our lives, laughing and feeling happy that I’d met someone like Ruth who I could talk to at length and who shared my love of food. 

Then on another occasion I remember celebrating our engagement here with friends, of eating there with my brother a few weeks before I got married to Ruth, a little celebration, a toast to the future.

So for my Birthday lunch on this occasion it seemed the right place to go. 

What is it about some places that have this resonance, have this pull? Is it the food, the atmosphere, or does the memory fuel the desire to revisit? In Asha’s case it’s all of those. 

     
  

Asha’s is located on Newhall Street, in what is known as the Colmore Business District of the City Centre. Approximately 5 minutes from the shops, the restaurant offers a large bar area that serves cocktails (recommended) and is a good venue for private parties and celebrations. 

Rated in the Michelin Guide, Asha’s has a stylish, but cosy and warm feel about it with a sophisticated note that stems from the clientele and delicious cocktails that it serves. Decor is exotic (a bit Bollywood) and the menu is extensive with good and varied choices for vegetarians.

  

Asha’s offer an Executive Lunch. 

For £16.95 you get 2 courses, with pulao rice, vegetable raita, Popadoms and a selection of bread. The price also includes either a glass of red or white wine, beer, soft drink or mineral water. There is one Vegetarian choice on the starters and main courses (which may deter some) with four non vegetarian main courses including a fish curry. 

The vegetarian options were a Vegetarian Kebab Platter (Paneer Ka Soola, Aloo Tikka, Papdi Chat) and the main course of Kadhai Paneer. 

  
  Crisp Popadoms with varied dips, some of the best I’ve eaten. 

  
    
  Starter: Comprised of Paneer Ka Soola: A delicious marinated, firm paneer piece, juicy, served with a green pepper that had a nice deep spice flavour. This contrasted the Aloo tikka or spiced potato patties. The perfect Northern indian street food. Asha’s were hot, spicy, with a crisp outside and soft inside with a good savoury flavour. and perfect with the creamy Papdi Chaat. 

For me one of the best dishes in Birmingham. A lovely street food dish. With a Creamy and crunchy texture, a melt in the mouth fusion of chick peas, potatoes and yogurt. Sweet, sour, tangy and spicy flavours. This dish had me in Mumbai. A Delicious and varied vegetarian starter platter.

  Rice and breads with a glass of Red wine.

 

   Kadhai Paneer:

My main course was the Kadhai Paneer and came with the pulao rice, vegetable raita and selection of breads, including Naan and Roti.

A mouthwatering dish, delicious gravy like consistency, paneer  blended with tomatoes onion, with a good spicy lift that served with the Naan made for an exotic taste. Lovely. 

   Nice vegetable raita.

  
  

Kadhai paneer served in a nice bowl.

 

Asha’s is stylish and exotic with a keen eye on the business surroundings outside. The vegetarian options on the Executive Lunch Menu are cooked with aplomb and are plentiful Asha’s is a sophisticated spot, with a warm feel and atmosphere especially on the weekend. 

Birmingham has many curry houses but if you want a superior meal in Birmingham City Centre then you won’t go far wrong with Asha’s. For value and quality the Asha’s Executive Lunch is a steal and a lovely way of spending that hour of the day which is so precious and for a celebration it’s well worth revisiting. 

Thanks for reading, 

Andy 😊

We paid for our lunch in full. All opinions expressed are mine and honest as always. 

Ruth enjoyed a glass of house white with her meaty curry and myself a glass of house red with our lunch. Both went well with the dishes.