Restaurant Review: Lasan, Jewellery Quarter, Birmingham. A sophisticated experience for Vegetarians.


It was roughly twelve years ago that I first entered Lasan’s doors. I was gobsmacked by the textures and flavours of this exotic place and of then head chefs Aktar Islam’s touch in creating such beauty on a plate. There was nothing like it in Birmingham.

Two years later i met Ruth and it soon became our go to place for great food, celebrations and an all round good night out ( who can forget one New Years Eve and scarf gate).

We took Ruth’s parents, friends, my Mum enjoyed a few meals there with me and anyone who cared to listen we insisted it was the best place to get s curry in birmingham.

Roll on a few more years and chef Aktar has now left to follow other exciting dreams. We are both a little older, with less money and less time to eat out, but hey, Lasan is still here. But wait, now with its refurbishment things have changed.

Launched In 2002, Lasan, based on James Street just off St Paul’s Square, has now experienced a £500.000 re dawn. Lighter, brighter, glistening in its re birth. The decor in the dining room is beautiful and comfortable. It’s A triumph and so much better than the dark and slightly dull, tired look of before. The bar area is also light with tables, bar stools and a cocktail menu. A place for a pre or post meal drink that makes a loud statement of intent when you walk into it on arrival.

The food has always been the thing with Lasan, but to me it had sadly dipped in its importance and felt as if it was trading on past awards and praise. Ruth and I hadn’t been for awhile, says it all really.

Now, in its reincarnation the vigour feels like its back. I feel an excitement return like the days of old. Hopes have stirred.

The Popadoms have always been some of the best in the city, but often the sauces have let them down. Not now, the pineapple one is one of the nicest small bowls of food you can taste anywhere, the mint sauce was superb. Popadoms, Crisp. They come with three Pani Puri, tiny morsels of chickpeas and tamarind to be eaten in one go. They are lovely.

My starter of Ananas Paneer, Pineapple infused Paneer, garlic and onion seeds, textures of beetroot highlighted the point to me where majestic cooking can make a simple sounding dish sing, lovely flavours, the Paneer perfectly cooked so that it soaked the delectable gentle pineapple, not sweet but holding a well balanced flavour. A stunning dish perfectly presented.

My main course Shakarkand Kofta, followed the same line, roasted sweet potato kofta roundels were gently simmered in a yoghurt and turmeric sauce. Again the execution of the dish showed the simple art (for some) of presenting simple ingredients and spices to perfection. The kofta roundels sparkled in their gently spiced sauce with overlapping flavours punching the taste buds with a soft delicacy that was quite enrapturing.

Two sides were chosen to have with the kofta, both complimented the main course perfectly. The Gobi Angara, tandoori roasted cauliflower sautéed with Nigella scented onion masala. A knock out side with a stunning complex earthy flavour.

The Nigiri Paneer, soft Paneer, slow cooked spinach and fenugreek nilgiri korma sauce which was also beautifully cooked and both sides made perfect additions to the kofta main course.

I’m overexcited by desert. The Beetroot Halwa, a clean precise plate of refreshment that engulfs and rewards with every slither. Caramelised nuts apples, pistachio ice cream create a delicious combination of flavours with the earthy Beets. Gentle notes of harmony with lovely contrasting textures, A charming pudding of classy and sophisticated pleasure.

Lasan’s food is ambitious, made to a higher standard than the norm, harmonious flavours, quality ingredients, perfectly cooked and spiced, in a polished, relaxing dining room that has a touch of luxury about it.

The attentive, well informed service simmers gently and is relaxed.

The vegetarian dishes sing, refined spiced perfectly each ingredient can be deciphered from the next.

For lovers of fine food and a dapper and quietly amazing food experience it’s comforting in my world that when all else in my life has changed in the last year beyond comprehension Lasan is now truly back in pole position of Birmingham’s Indian food scene and the world is better for it.

Thanks for reading,

Andy 😊

The beautiful recommended bottle of red wine enjoyed on the night. Sadly not on the menu.

<<<<<<<<<<<<<
Fulford and Lasan for the invite and Paul and fellow Brummie blogger Laura from Bite Our Brum for the company. All food and drink was complimentary.

All opinions and photos of the food are my own. The photos of the restaurant and bar are courtesy of Lasan with thanks.

For Laura's blog

https://t.co/ztvfni9Pvk

Lasan, 3-4 Dakota Buildings, James Street, off St Paul's Square, Birmingham B3 1SD.

https://lasan.co.uk/

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Restaurant Review: Raja Monkey, Birmingham.


Birmingham’s current fondness for all things Indian Street Food is in a word becoming interesting though maybe the beginning of its undoing. With two new street food places due to open before Autumn snuggles into Winter, and one recent one Indian Streatery doing well in the centre of Birmingham, you may easily forget the original cafe in Brum that is the funky Raja Monkey.

Owned by the good kids of the Lasan group it strikes one instantly of the organisation and sophistication of its big brother Lasan (though on a smaller more intimate street food scale). Here you find the same high quality ingredients, the same beautiful attentive, polite and obliging service, and the same attention to detail in the cooking, that has heralded lasan as one of best, if not the best Indian palace of gastronomy in Birmingham.

The dishes are simpler here at the roadside Dhaba like Raja Monkey and more authentic.

The dishes show a vibrant complexity of flavours, spicing and cooking that is the sale of the century when you tally it with the price of the dishes.

To say the food is outstanding is in a way to undersell the joy that I experienced. I’ve been before (with Ruth) and salivated over the veggie Thalis and supreme dosas. And yes I’ve eaten so many takeaways from these guys that I’d hate to count up the total bill. Yet compared to some other more recent openings on the Indian Street Food trail Raja Monkey is the Manchester United to the Aston Villa (and I’m a villa fan). One that others should learn from in its effortless simplicity and devotion to the diner having a fine night out.

On this occasion my dining partner wasn’t Ruth, but a guy called Paul (Ruth did know where I was, so I wasn’t dodging fatherly duties, but then I may have been slightly!)

To say Raja Monkey is intimate is an understatement though it’s size doesn’t detract from the comfort of the comfortable long bench seats that recreates the informal rustic street food cafe look well. The walls adorned with retro pictures and artefacts with the faint sound of Indian music in the distance conjures up the road side cafe image it sets out to be.

The food is influenced by the Southern Indian cuisine of the continent.

Set off from the busy Stratford Road in the Hall Green part of Birmingham, Raja Monkey greets and meets that neighbourhood eatery concept well.

The Popodoms or Papads we ate whilst looking at the menu were crisp, served with a deliciously sweet yogurt Raita that had a delicious flavour.

I ate a Samosa Chaat, Chickpeas, potatoes, fried samosa pastry, served cold, piled high, with a soothing spicing that tickled the mouth and danced in the club of classic curry dishes and then somehow betters them making you sigh and dip into your cold beer with joy. An instant satisfying joy.

I also tried the Pau Bhaji, a deeply satisfying Street Food snack of mashed veg Bhaji with roasted pau buns, brioche like with uplifting flavours and spicing made with panache. A very satisfying starter.

We both moved onto a Vegetable Kadai a melange of veggies in a masaledar gravy. Colourful crunchy vegetables with an appetising appearance. Rich with tomatoes, a good chilli heat gave the veg a rich textured flavour that rewarded generously.

Mopped up with an appreciative Roti it was a sensational dish of perfect spicing and immaculate cooking.

A delight of a vegetarian curry.

To finish, a lip smacking soft and spongy Rasmalai was enjoyed. A melt in your mouth texture, and the perfect refreshing pallet cleanser after a spicy curry.

A pudding of pure joy.

Raja Monkey Excels with its Brilliant Vegetarian cooking. They make use of quality ingredients and thoughtful spicing with an artistic touch of sophistication, all without the pomp. It’s self confident and on a Tuesday night the food hit the curry longing spot like a Romalau Lukaku shot on the turn.

Raja Monkey always been good, but to be honest now It excels.

For a sublime, but informal curry with a great value price maybe it can’t be beaten in Birmingham and for Vegetarians if it’s not on your list of places to visit or revisit then I’m afraid you don’t deserve promotion to the Premier league.

A true road side cafe.

Thanks for reading,

Andy 😊

<

Thanks to Paul Fulford for the invite to dine with him at Raja Monkey. My food and drink was complimentary but all views expressed are my own.

Our Food was washed down by a couple of Cobra lagers.

Raja Monkey, 1355 Stratford Road, Hall Green, Birmingham, B28 9HH.

<<<<<<<<<<<<<
commend a take away from Raja Monkey. Menu on website.

http://www.rajamonkey.co.uk/

My previous review is here:

https://www.google.co.uk/amp/s/vegiefoodie.com/2015/01/23/raja-monkey-authentic-indian-street-food-in-birmingham/amp/

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/



Raja Monkey: authentic Indian street food in Birmingham


Raja Monkey is in Hall Green in the south part of Birmingham. It’s the small brother in the Lasan Group which includes award winning Lasan and Argentinian Fiesta Del Asada.

It’s based on the true indian road cafe that is found traditionally providing soul food around the old atmospheric streets of India. It’s rustic, colourful, and vibrant filled with a cosy charm of charming service and delicious harmonious cooking aromas.

It has a relaxed feel, like a cafe with a difference, you can feel the quality of the cooking just by being there and knowing the Lasan reputation.

You notice the open kitchen with chefs making dosas, and content in their craft. It makes for a fun atmosphere, making you feel almost part of the kitchen.

The menu includes traditional street food, Dosa’s, Thali’s and snack like starters, ideal for grazing.

For vegetarians it’s paradise, with so many tempting dishes to choose from.

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The restaurant is on the Stratford Road opposite Waitrose in Hall Green nestled amongst a few shops.

On a midweek night Ruth and I braved the snowy air and the freezing temperatures and walked into Raja Monkey to find a cosy and warm hearted place. We had never eaten inside the restaurant before, but had enjoyed numerous take aways since it opened.

In fact we’ve raved about the quality of Raja Monkey’s take aways to anyone that would listen, it’s our go to take away in South Birmingham.

In order to test the quality we both ordered Papads (poppudums) to nibble on.

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They were crisp and fresh. The chutney and pickles that accompanied them were excellent, a good selection including a cool yoghurt dip all presented in tiny silver pots with lids on- very sweet.

After much deliberation on what dishes to choose Ruth decided to have as a way of a starter the
vegetarian Masala Aloo Dosa:

A Dosa is a popular Southern Indian savoury street food fermented crepe created from rice, butter, and lentils stuffed with a filling of choice meat or veg and served with coconut chutney.

The Masala Aloo Dosa was filled with crushed potatoes fragranced with turmeric, mustard seeds with curry leaves and wrapped in a delicious crepe. Ruth loved her Dosa, hot off the griddle, made in front of your eyes, it had a good balance of flavours, crispy, nutty, and was well recommended.

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I chose the Samosa Chaat.

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A pickling savoury snack of a vegetable samosa, chick peas, tomato, onion relish, coated with yoghurt, tamarind and green chutney and finished with chaat masala and Papdi.

The flavours and textures of this dish were lovely. The layers of samosa deconstructed almost and lightly meshed into the chick peas, yoghurt and chutney felt so like Indian street food that the sounds and atmosphere of India filled this tiny corner of Hall Green and warmed the cockles of my heart. I can’t praise the Samosa Chaat enough. So very very good.

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For our next course we both chose to order the house speciality The Thali.

A Thali meaning plate, comprised of a selection of various dishes served on a silver platter compartmentalised so that you can either eat them as you see them in turn or you can tip the small platters into the larger platter and eat them as a normal curry. The choice is yours. We did both.

Ruth chose the Rajosthali mutton thali. She loved it, I can tell as she went quiet-as she was eating.

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Rajosthali

I chose the vegetarian thali called the Shakarkand thali.

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Comprising of sweet potato and cashew nut kofta, in a melon and poppy seed curry served with rice, dhal, bread and a vegetable selection (salad and a veg curry)

In total 6 components.

The centrepiece was the potato and cashew nut kofta. Heavenly succulent balls of sweet, potato, against the spice of the poppy seed and melon curry , lovely, a divine marriage of sweet and hot flavours. A warming curry for a cold night.

Alongside there was a deliciously soothing Dhal, a fenugreek and coriander Paratha (a flatbread) from South Asia which when cooked is layered. Lovely, a stunningly flavoured bread.

Then a veggie curry that was spicy, and an excellent accompaniment.

I loved this way of eating food.

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We both had room for pudding, well who can’t resist a creamy home made Indian pudding.

We both love Rasmalai and we were pleased it was on the menu.

As a definition Ras means ‘juice’ and Malai means ‘cream’

You can almost describe it as a cheese cake without the biscuit layer or cottage cheese or soft paneer cheese balls. It was lovely, cooling, fresh, the kind of pud you can fall in love with. The soft cheese immersed in chilled sweet creamy milk.

A lip smacking pudding.

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Raja Monkey shares with Lasan a commitment to quality ingredients and soulful cooking, less fancy, more street, but for good value, comfort Indian soul food it can’t be beat.

For vegetarians it’s a must.

So many dishes to choose.

From experience of Raja Monkey’s takeaways and from this meal all veggie dishes are recommended.

The service was attentive, informal, but with a keenness to explain the dishes and served with a passion and pride that is genuine.

Raja Monkey provided Ruth and I with a highly enjoyable meal, Central heating on a cold night.

Raja Monkey is one to return to again and again, without hesitation. Bravo.

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We also ordered 2 bottles of Cobra beer and 2 glasses of Sauvignon Blanc and two delicious espressos.

Raja Monkey,
1355 Stratford Road
Birmingham
B28 9HW

0121 777 9090

http://www.rajamonkey.co.uk

Twitter: @rajamonkeycafe

Facebook: rajamonkey

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We dined as guests of Raja Monkey and the Lasan Group. All food and drinks were complimentary, but I was not obliged to write a good review, but a fair one. All my opinions are honest and my own (and Ruth’s of course)

Thanks for reading.

@andydhare

Facebook: Andy Hare
and Veggie Foodie

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VEGGIEFOODIE GUIDE TO: CURRY RESTAURANTS


Today I’m introducing a new guide to my blog Veggie Foodie. This will be an occasional listing and musings on a different foodie topic. The list and guide isn’t a definitive but some of my favourites and recommendations to look out for.

To kick off, I’ve decided to look at Curry Restaurants in Birmingham, with a few from outside the area that i’ve come accross or visited.

Curry in its various guises is for many vegetarians and vegans 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 vegetarians, it seems it is the cuisine that we have the most options on the menu.

There are a number of pure vegetarian curry restaurants, sweet shops, and cafe’s in Birmingham

Deepalis: An Indian vegetarian restaurant in the Jewellery Quarter which is smart and offers a good range of dishes. Comes well recommended.

16 Hall Street, Jewellery Quarter, B18 6BS

0121 265 4726

http://www.deepalisrestaurant.co.uk

They also have a smaller cafe in Sparkbrook:

1A Alfred Road, Jewellery Quarter, Birmingham, B11 4PB

Sangam A vegetearian Cafe/sweet centre. Authentic curries, samosas, Pakoras, bhajis, to eat in and take away. Highly recommended.

334 Soho Road, Handsworth B21 9NA

Milan Sweet Centre: Vegetarian sweet centre, cafe and resturant. Good choices and always busy.

191 Stoney Lane, Sparkbrook, Birmingham B12 8HB. 0121 449 1617

Jyoti restaurant together with sweet centre is one of my favourites, offering 72 main courses and 15 starters, with an autthentic sweet centre to take away or eat in. Highly recommended. A favourite of Jamie Oliver. A personal favourite.

1045 Stratford Road, Hall Green, B28 8AS.

0121 778 5501. Booking can be made online at http://www.jyotis.co.uk

Pop Up Dosa: Making vegetarian dosa at home, at markets, at cafe. Offering cooking classes, and pop ups. See them at Ort Cafe in Moseley/Balsall Heath. See previous review on my blog. Superb.

@popupdosa

http://www.popupdosablogspot.co.uk

My favourite curry restaurants that are superb for veggies are:

Lasan Restaurant: Contemporary, stylish and delicious, high end curry that packs a punch in lovely classy surroundings near St Pauls Square. A treat at any time. See previous review.

Lasan, 3-4 Dakota Buildings, James Street, St Pauls Square, Jewellery Quarter, B3 1SO 0121 212 3664

http://www.lasan.co.uk

Pushkar Restaurant: beautiful Cocktails, great curries, superb service on Broad Street. Highly recommended for that touch of class and sophistication.

Pushkar, 245 Broad street, Birmingham b1 2HQ

http://www.pushkardining.com

0121 643 7978

Ashas delicious curries, good veggie choices, consistent service, good lunch time deal and cocktails. Lovely restaurant, in central Birmingham off Colmore Row.

Ashas Restaurant: Edmund House, 12-22 Newhall Street B3 3LX

http://www.ashasrestaurant.com

0121 200-2767

Itihaas restaurant Exquisite, Indian food, lovely colonial style environment with superb attentive service. Excellent vegetarian options. Recommended.

Itihaas also have a cafe in Selfridges Food Hall. Eat in or take away.

18 Fleet Street, Birmingham, B3 1JL

0121 212-3383.

http://www.itihaas.co.uk

Also to be recommended are:

Punjabi Rasoi:Authentic Cooking and attentive service in Acocks Green Birmingham.

Kababish: Long standing curry house in Moseley, excellent curries, consistent with good service. Next to the Patrick Kavanagh pub. Recommended.

Maharaja: Long standing and consistent. Old style service, and authentic curries. The saag paneer is superb. Next door to the Hippodrome on Hurst Street.

Raja Monkey cafe superb dosas, talis and curries. A lovely take away too. Owned by the Lasan Group.

Also on my radar are:

EastZEast new curry restaurant on Broad Street. Had good and tasty reviews. Good veggie options. ‘The home of Punjabi cooking’

Horseshoe: Refurbished old pub in Hall Green. Recommended by Paul Fulford of the Birmingham Mail.

Sylhet Spice on York Road, Kings Heath. Has a good reputation locally and also does takeaways. Always busy. Loyal regulars.

Imlees in Moseley, on the Alcester Road also has a good reputation and a bring your own bottle policy. Always busy.

Al Frash: On LadyPool Road, perenial favourite, balti dishes and bring your own.

Delhi 6: Sutton Coldfield favourite: Good reviews and recommendations. Good veggie options.

Street Food:

Becky’s Bhajis: Onion bhajis sold at food markets and street food days. Vegetarian and vegan friendly.

Outside Birmingham:

Mendhi Vegetarian Indian Restaurant in Droitwich Worcestershire. Comes recomended. Pure vegetarian curries.

Prashad vegetarian restaurant near Bradford Yorkshire: Gordon Ramsey favourite With a Superb cookbook. Always popular and run the Veggie hour on Twitter once a month.
One to visit.

Also in Yorkshire, North to be precise and Leeds to be exact, is an Indian vegetarian restaurant called Hansa. Which is Gujarati and run by all women. I have heard good reports. They have won
Cobra good curry awards, and also have a vegetarian Indian cook book like Prashad.

Bernares Berkeley Square London: A superb Indian Restaurant. High end and Michelin Starred. One of the best curries i’ve ever had in glam Mafair.

As I’ve said it isn’t a definitive list and I will add to it as I go along.

If anybody has any favourites that serve good veggie dishes please let me know either in the comment box below or via twitter @andydhare

Thanks for reading.

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Lasan Restaurant

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Pushkar Restaurant

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Pop up Dosa

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