Close your eyes And you can well imagine a perfect restaurant. Service tick, ambience tick, food tick, atmosphere tick, drinks tick.
Then tuck into the written word of those in the know, or whom think they do and then you’d feel well what’s the point in visiting it sounds so perfect.
Me included have waxed lyrical about this place (at the time without trying it, lesson learnt) and from my point of perspective well it’s based entirely on the perceived menu and it’s very veggie friendly leanings.
The written word, the gospel according to Birmingham is not always entirely accurate.
It’s not that Zindiya is poor it’s just on the night Ruth and I visited, shall I say underwhelming and disapointing.
The hype suggested get your chops round this, and you’ll be reborn, but then when those chops get chewing and ready to rock and roll we found a game of two halves Saint. It’s a game of two halves.
I wanted zip and zing but didn’t find it sadly.
Specialising in Indian street food dishes the menu is full of Vegetarian options which should make it essential and full of taste explosion and colour.
Now Imagine you are in India, smell the air, the food, the atmosphere. Now let’s get our hands dirty and snack our lips with the intoxication of flavours.
Unfortunately we aren’t in India.
The good bits: Well we had two more than decent Dishes.
An excellent traditional fast food dish Papri (Papdi) Chaat, which melted in the mouth and was very comforting that warmed the palate and an indulgent Idli Sambar, tifin dish. Idli’s are a traditional breakfast dish a savoury cake (for dipping) which came with a flavoursome Sambar, a touch of hot lentil soup with some nice textures of vegetables running through it. A Very enjoyable dish.
Plus we ate An ok Hara Bhara Kebab, which was different. A snack like a cutlet that had subtle veg flavours with slightly bland spicing that made it not very binge worthy sadly and a bit dry. The dip alongside was also underwhelming.
We also ate the Chilli Paneer which was not to my taste, and left me stunned with disappointment to its bland sweetness, and didn’t lift the paneer to any heights.
The masala chips, we ate were sadly disappointing with very little flavour (apart from a resemblance to a McDonalds fry without the salt) and if they were homemade chips then I’ll be Greavsie to the aforementioned Saint and then a unremarkable desert of chocolate balls filled with strawberries, served with chilli ice cream. (Chocolate Gol Gappe).
Ruth ordered an ok Alphonso Mango Sorbet.
I also drank a nice Massala Chai.
As an aside I would have liked some Poppadoms to nibble on with thecmenu and maybe some Pani Puri on the menu.
Hara Bhara Kebab
Idli SambaarChilli paneer
Maybe we just chose badly on the food front and we missed a jewel from a long menu, but it wasn’t just the food but the whole experience that felt underwhelming and a tad dull, forced and lacking energy which for a street food cafe which promises authenticity and a buzz was surprising.
The atmosphere felt stilted, more restaurant than cafe, not at all lively and bustling like I imagined an Indian street food gaff to be.
It was a Saturday night so that’s unusual in Moseley, right?
Staff are friendly and helpful to a degree, a bit chatty but didn’t inform us about their so called amazing cocktails or beers that I keep reading about or about any beer, cocktail matching with the food. Shame!
Small bites careering from good to not so. Some a bit dreary (masala chips) some unforgettable (chilli paneer) An evening of what ifs and why nots.
It’s a most peculiar place.
When the food’s good my it’s good but then at times the place feels confused, unsure of itself, and it’s concept. But then I suppose we aren’t in the hot aired and noisy streets of India, but hipster Moseley with its drip fed trendiness and right on smiles and why not there’s a lot to smile about in this part of South Birmingham. Stand up Cheval Blanc, Kababish, Sabai Sabai and Carters.
So it should be more authentic right? After all Moseley can cope with this can’t it?
Pluses. There’s lots of veggie choice. Which is fantastic. More than anywhere I know outside a veggie restaurant. Which I guess makes it more disappointing to me. This alone should get me a season ticket and get me dancing Bollywood style. A sight to behold!
I liked the decor, the outside is bright, cheery, but gives the impression you are entering a lively eatery which sadly wasn’t our experience. Inside touches of Bollywood, bright and airy.
It’s quite large too which I think doesn’t help the street food vibe, unlike Raja Monkey or Indian Brewery maybe it didn’t feel cool and intimate.
There are places in Birmingham that do this better with more panache, better cooking, more simplistic style. More authenticity and self confidence, more cafe than restaurant.
Zindiya didn’t feel anything special and a muddle of ideas served in a muddled way. I feel sad writing this. It’s a shame. I so wanted to love this place.
It undermined the decent dishes.
There’s some work needed on pulling the whole thing together, making the experience more seamless, explaining the dishes, exploring the tastes of the diners more, (both food and drinks) making the whole experience more authentic. Bringing the street element more into focus.
It felt like a restaurant not street food cafe.
And yes, please remember to promote your cocktails and craft beer to me. Aren’t they supposed to be special. To be shouted about.
Or at least as good as the chaat.
Thanks for reading,
Disclaimer: We paid for our food and drinks in full. All opinions are my own and an honest reflection of the experience we had on the evening.
Zindiya, 21 Woodbridge Road, Birmingham, B13 8EJ.
Veggie Foodie tip:
Do try Cheval Blanc in Moseley for cocktails and wine before and after a meal. The food is also raved about with veggie options on the menu.
I’m up for a food visit soon.
Also Carters of Moseley is outstanding for a special night of vegetarian seasonal decadence.
The Kababish for curry. Delightful veggie dishes in nice surroundings. Tarka Daal anyone?
Visit Sabai Sabai for sumptuous Thai food.