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. 

Advertisements

Review: Leon, Natural Fast Food in New Street Station, Birmingham. 


  

Now just imagine this..healthy fast food..now that’s a discovery..imagine all fast food was healthy. How many Marmite crisps would you eat? Now that’s probably just me, I think I’m the only sane person in the world that likes them, hey what do you mean, insane? No seriously healthy fast food, that’s the domain of Leon, yes even their chips which are baked. 

I love much of vegetarian style fast food, a veggie pie, a good veggie burger, a slice of pizza, sweet potato fries, and eating chips on Aldeburgh beach in Suffolk, yum..no surprise to anyone who follows my blog. Yet, healthy fast food, is a new one on me. In fact it’s a new one for Birmingham to, if the rise of Five Guys burger chain is anything to go by..big anti vegetarian Yuk! (Oh dear sorry) (must remember to not get so cross!) 

Leon has recently opened its first store in Birmingham temptingly close to the main atrium of the New Street Station / Grand Central complex. With branches famously in London for 11 years and an expansion plan in place, Leon will become more familiar outside of the capital in due course. Serving food from breakfast until evening. The menu includes burgers, wraps and superfood salads as well as breakfast baps, breakfast muffins, smoothies, and coffee. Fast Naturally Food with an excellent vegetarian and vegan choice. 

Wow, The Leon menu covers every moment. 

As its in New Street Station just below the shiny new Grand Central it will naturally be a top choice for the commuter and those on the move. It’s also a very good choice for families with lots of choice for children, with the smaller pots ideal for the younger foodie. (See children’s menu at foot of my review) 

Though quite small inside the turnover of tables appears quite quick which is helpful. The decor is industrial feeling, but is light and feels bigger with tables not on top of each other. Plenty of space for cases, bags and buggies. It has a friendly feel and staff are happy to advise on dietary needs and ingredients in the dishes. Service is also prompt and the restaurant tables are kept tidy and clean. 

All food and drink on the menu is made fresh daily. Their coffee is fair trade and organic, as are their eggs, milk and porridge oats. Leon are also a founding member of the Sustainable restaurant association. 

   
   
Leon was founded in 2004 and only employ people who are “full of sun”, (not full of chips). The award-winning, London-based company is as I’ve said the healthy side of fast food with a notable leaning towards Vegetarian and Vegan dishes. 

Take the Roasted Cauliflower Salad with Chinichurri: In my case onion, courgettes, pomegranate, roasted with turmeric and cumin with alioli and baked fries. (Side extra). £5.10 plus £2.50 for the fries. 

Packaged in a nice box, the inner cauliflower Salad packed plenty of flavour, cauliflower has always been a personal favourite and though I asked for a recommendation I knew I wanted to try this dish. The dish full of fresh flavours, crunchy textures with a good turmeric and cumin finish, was delicious. It felt healthy and nutritious,  it felt warming and filling and good value for the price. 

The Baked fries on this occasion I hasten to add were not so good, though packing plenty of potato flavour they were not to hot and felt disappointing in the end. I like the sprinkled seasoning and the curly look though and would order them again, as i’m sure they could be done better. Nice alioli though. 

With my food I ordered a Flat White. Though their were delicious juices and smoothies and coconut water on the menu an opportunity to try a coffee never escapes me, and it was a very good flat white, great for a take away. 

(My Recommendation was the Halloumi wrap by the way,which I’m looking forward to trying along with the supper food salads.)

  
   
  Baked Fries 

 
  
  
Roasted Cauliflower salad 

Leon is a chain, and though I’m not usually a massive fan of chains I’m a big fan of what I’ve seen and experienced thus far. It’s because they do care about Vegetarians and Vegans, about the food we eat and about the ethics of it all. Yes, Birmingham has another chain, and yes I wish somebody independent could offer this kind of food, this kind of experience, but until that happens Leon will be a place I’ll call back to any time of day. It’s ethos should be applauded and the food on offer with its high nutritious leaning eaten. Food should taste good, and if it can do you good as well even better and for this Leon is a vegetarian friend. 

  

  

Leon cookbooks available at all good booksellers.   

  
http://leonrestaurants.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/16.PAPER_MENU_2015_AUTUMN.pdf

http://leonrestaurants.co.uk/restaurants/birmingham/

http://leonrestaurants.co.uk/menu/children/

http://leonrestaurants.co.uk/vision/sourcingsustainability/

You can find Leon in Birmingham at Unit 25, New Street Station B2 4QA. 

0121-643-5925. 

Open from 6.30am-10pm every day apart from Sunday which is 8am-10pm. 

I paid for my meal in full at Leon. My views are my own, honest as always. 

Thanks for reading, 

Andy 😊

REVIEW: HEALTH COUNTY: STAR CITY, FRESH, HEALTHY, TASTY, CRAZY


20140819-093800.jpg20140819-093814.jpg20140819-093847.jpg

I have to confess that I hadn’t been to Star City for a number of years. Partly due to where I live and partly because it didn’t appeal to me.

Star City is in the Aston area of Birmingham, a few miles out of the centre near the Spaghetti junction and M6.

Health County is a fairly new independent addition to Star City and is superb for vegetarians, vegans and anyone who is looking for the healthy option. It caters for the lunch time takeaway crowd mostly, but is also a good spot for a sit down lunch or coffee or juice break when in the area.

Health County is the healthier option serving, juices, smoothies, wraps, salads and Panini. It’s a life style cafe/kiosk that offers simple, fresh and tasty food. It has a good choice and good accesibility. It focuses on the individual which I like.

The smoothies and juices idea isn’t a new one but at Health County, they aim to make it central to their philosophy, that eating fresh and healthy ingredients that are locally sourced where possible can reap benefits in the long run.

They provide breakfasts, lunch and snacks and their smoothies are superbly fresh and fruity.

Health County in Star City is a sweet place 🙂 it’s a kiosk, that is small but, bright and cheerful , a lovely space with equally lovely service. It is quite small inside, but it has seating outside with a weatherproof canopy that is private and away from the traffic.

I met second in command Radu their and he spoke enthusiastically about the Health County concept, future expansion into Redditch and new ideas for the cafe including a suggestions voting system for new smoothie and juice flavours, and ideas from the public regarding food.

I decided to sit outside and drink a smoothie and eat a veggie wrap.

I chose a Berry Blast Smoothie.

20140819-095600.jpg20140819-095619.jpg20140819-095637.jpg

My smoothie was delicious, cold, fruity, and felt beautifully healthy, a blend of strawberry, banana, blueberries, raspberries, and cranberries. The banana wasn’t overwhelming but added creaminess to the smoothie. I enjoyed it.

My wrap, was a mixed salad and veg wrap stuffed with my own choice from the salad deli bar. It had carrot, lettuce, sweet corn and other veg fillings (see picture) and was lovely. The bread of the wrap was fresh, soft, firm and didn’t fall apart when bitten into. I added cheese to my wrap, but you could also add salsa or any extra.

The fillings gave a lovely crunch and flavour and made for a filling and excellent lunch. The wrap complimented the smoothie well and was a filling lunch which felt fresh and healthy.

20140819-100428.jpg

20140819-100447.jpg

20140819-100513.jpg

20140819-100537.jpg

Health County is an excellent independent cafe for vegetarians and vegans or anyone looking for that healthy option.
I Like its ethos on health and freshness. It provides plenty of choice from wraps through to jacket potatoes, to pasta, to couscous, to noodles. It radically focuses on the needs of the customer, providing a choice of ingredients and menu options. It’s good for snacks, to stay, to go, for lunch or a thirst quenching juice stop.

I will certainly return to Health County and Star City. Health County is a place to return to try something healthy and different in a sweet and tasteful bar.

Good for veggies, good for everyone.

@healthcountymag

http://www.healthcounty.net

For menus see website.

20140819-101252.jpg

20140819-101311.jpg

20140819-101329.jpg

20140819-101344.jpg

Disclaimer: I was invited to Health County as a guest to try out their food menu and drinks. It didn’t require a positive review. My opinions and thoughts are my own.