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Best balti in Birmingham?

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Anyone got any recommendations for balti/indian restaurants in Brum?

I tried Lasan and Shimla Pinks few months ago and was sorely disappointed. I'm visiting Brum again in the next few weeks and would be grateful for other recommendations.

Cheers!

Richard

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Anyone got any recommendations for balti/indian restaurants in Brum? 

I tried Lasan and Shimla Pinks few months ago and was sorely disappointed.  I'm visiting Brum again in the next few weeks and would be grateful for other recommendations.

Cheers!

Richard

Surprised you didn't like Lasan. It's one of my favourites.

If you want Balti, you really have to go to the Balti Triangle, a few miles south of the city centre.

Of the places there, I've tried Jyoti's http://www.jyotis.co.uk/ which if you can get past the rediculous appropriation of the Jamie Oliver brand (he ate there once, and was reasonably positive about it) is a good vegetarian Indian restaurant. Certainly no bells and whistles there, but solid homely cooking.

For a very cheap and informal lunch, a meat balti at Saleem's is pretty good (Ladypool Road).

People speak highly of Al-Frash and it has won various awards http://www.alfrash.com/ but I was not 100% convinced on my visits that it was up to much.

An Indian friend of mine swears that the Haweli on Hagley Road is the best Indian restaurant in Birmingham, but the one time we had a take-away from there, I wasn't particularly convinced. It was fine. http://www.birminghamplus.com/reviews/revi...3&iid=308&uid=6

I have heard good things about Itihaas http://www.itihaas.co.uk/ but not yet been there.

Shimla Pinks I agree is pretty poor.

I'm afraid I still haven't had the Indian restaurant nirvana that I was expecting when I moved to Brum. Lasans and Jyoti's probably do it for me the best.


Edited by nickloman (log)

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I remember years ago reading about the balti triangle in Birmingham.

I had to make the journey, The talk of the town was Adil, in Sparkbrook.

What a load of tosh, who dream,p't this bollocks.

Unconvinced by my original opinion we visited again a few years later, again, absolute bollocks.

Years later we visited Lasan, and hey flavour, and unusually with many Indian restaurants, different flavours!

Have I finally found the balti triangle? or is it a mirage?

I think so, this is the real deal, perhaps as good as it gets for Birmingham?

Nickloman is correct, in as much that I have heard good reports of Itihass but likewise have not dined there yet, but its not on my doorstep, so planning is in order.

I would be most interested in some insider information as to the true balti triangle in Birmingham

Does it exist, or is it a mirage?


Edited by david goodfellow (log)

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Years later we visited Lasan, and hey flavour, and unusually with many Indian restaurants, different flavours!

Have I finally found the balti triangle? or is it a mirage?

I think so, this is the real deal, perhaps as good as it gets for Birmingham?

I belive it probably is the best in Birmingham. You do have to choose well though. My tip would be the goat biryani which comes in a clay pot, lid sealed by cooking the rice. And we'd always start with the tasting plate of vegetarian starters. And the rasmalai for dessert is always a hit. Some of the other dishes are a bit 'one-note', and I'd stray away from any of the standards like sag aloo etc.

Next time you go, ask them to give you one of their cookbooks which was prepared with U of Warwick to encourage people to cut down on their saturated fat intake. Reading the recipes you can see they go the extra mile, doing things like smoking the curry afterwards for extra flavours.

I too would be interested to know if there is really a hidden gem in Sparkhill, or whether its all "tourist curry", i.e. shit.


Edited by nickloman (log)

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Years later we visited Lasan, and hey flavour, and unusually with many Indian restaurants, different flavours!

Have I finally found the balti triangle? or is it a mirage?

I think so, this is the real deal, perhaps as good as it gets for Birmingham?

I belive it probably is the best in Birmingham. You do have to choose well though. My tip would be the goat biryani which comes in a clay pot, lid sealed by cooking the rice. And we'd always start with the tasting plate of vegetarian starters. And the rasmalai for dessert is always a hit. Some of the other dishes are a bit 'one-note', and I'd stray away from any of the standards like sag aloo etc.

Next time you go, ask them to give you one of their cookbooks which was prepared with U of Warwick to encourage people to cut down on their saturated fat intake. Reading the recipes you can see they go the extra mile, doing things like smoking the curry afterwards for extra flavours.

I too would be interested to know if there is really a hidden gem in Sparkhill, or whether its all "tourist curry", i.e. shit.

Mmmmm, Goat biryani, never had Goat before, always wanted to try it, most definiteley next time.

Have to make a concerted effort to try Itihaas, looks pretty posh, but was sadly closed on our impromptu stop

That is of course if I'm not seduced by that bargain lunch at Purnells :laugh:

Thanks for the tips, your obviously a seasoned campaigner.

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Anyone got any recommendations for balti/indian restaurants in Brum? 

I tried Lasan and Shimla Pinks few months ago and was sorely disappointed.  I'm visiting Brum again in the next few weeks and would be grateful for other recommendations.

Cheers!

Richard

Surprised you didn't like Lasan. It's one of my favourites.

If you want Balti, you really have to go to the Balti Triangle, a few miles south of the city centre.

Of the places there, I've tried Jyoti's http://www.jyotis.co.uk/ which if you can get past the rediculous appropriation of the Jamie Oliver brand (he ate there once, and was reasonably positive about it) is a good vegetarian Indian restaurant. Certainly no bells and whistles there, but solid homely cooking.

For a very cheap and informal lunch, a meat balti at Saleem's is pretty good (Ladypool Road).

People speak highly of Al-Frash and it has won various awards http://www.alfrash.com/ but I was not 100% convinced on my visits that it was up to much.

An Indian friend of mine swears that the Haweli on Hagley Road is the best Indian restaurant in Birmingham, but the one time we had a take-away from there, I wasn't particularly convinced. It was fine. http://www.birminghamplus.com/reviews/revi...3&iid=308&uid=6

I have heard good things about Itihaas http://www.itihaas.co.uk/ but not yet been there.

Shimla Pinks I agree is pretty poor.

I'm afraid I still haven't had the Indian restaurant nirvana that I was expecting when I moved to Brum. Lasans and Jyoti's probably do it for me the best.

Thanks for the info and links.

Maybe my expectations of Lasan were rather too high, or they just had a bad night. I noticed they made a big thing about healthy eating and the fact that they don't use ghee, maybe that's the reason I thought that there was something missing!

I used to go to the Royal Naim in the balti triangle but I hear that's closed down. It's difficult to get reliable reviews of other places so your views are very welcome. Most recently I've tried curry houses in Halesowen and Lye and to be honest can get a much better curry in Brussels!

Changing the type of cuisine completely I also plan to have lunch at either Turners or Purnells on this trip.

Cheers!

Richard

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I grew up in Sparkbrook and the Balti triangle is not a myth it does exist!!! Broadly speaking it's the triangle bounded on two sides by the Stratford and Ladypool Roads. 100s of balti houses line the streets with their garish neon entincing late night revellers with the promise of a 4am vindaloo or fahl, a ghee-slicked Vegas of pleasure and pain. Who can forget the sight of The President on the corner with the Warwick Road, once the Mermaid Pub, with it's rainbow water fountains? It was only open for a few years but my how it distracted the traffic at that junction!! To be honest with you the food was never that great around there as it mainly catered for pissed up Brummies. All we wanted was some meat and gravy back then and that's what we got, if we were lucky they'd be a fight too. The only curry house I go to with any regularity nowadays is the Kababish in Moseley. The photo they have in there of when Muhammed Ali (the boxer) ate there always brings a smile to my face. I suppose it's right on the edge of the balti triangle though nowadays they served their desi gosht on white plates rather than rusty metal bowls. I'm convinced that for that authentic balti flavour you need that metallic tang. If i had to recommend then it would be them and maybe Al-Faisals on Stoney Lane too.

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I'm convinced that for that authentic balti flavour you need that metallic tang. If i had to recommend then it would be them and maybe Al-Faisals on Stoney Lane too.

Good stuff, but we've moved on (a bit) in this country and I'm surprised the balti triangle hasn't considered diversifying the offering a bit. The best Indian (Pakistani/Bangladeshi) food is cooked in the home, and its a shame no-one has made the obvious jump of putting decent home-cooked food on the menu there yet. I would compare it to the situation on Brick Lane which is a row of entirely unexceptional curry houses. You have to go round the back of the hospital to find great food at Tayyab's. We need our own Tayyab's in the Balti triangle.

Will try out Kebabish though.

I'm told that Zenat Kebabish in Coventry is well worth a visit.

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Be careful not to accidentally go to Al-Faisals Indian-Italian hybrid restaurant!

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For a very cheap and informal lunch, a meat balti at Saleem's is pretty good (Ladypool Road).

I wonder if Saleem's was the sweet centre we used to go to in the late '70's when we shared a short life house (£2 a week rent) near the corner of Stratford and Ladypool Road. Did Saleem's have pictures of wrestlers on the wall or was that Adil's?

I am planning a trip back to Brum to see how it has changed since those days and plan to get a good curry, so two questions:

Which balti house would be recommend for the old style meat, chicken, mince, or veg curry served mild, medium or hot...?

Which are the best upmarket/modern Indians in Brum...?

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We ended up going to Al Frash in Ladypool Rd which we thought was rather good.

Cheers!

Richard

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Glad to hear you enjoyed it!

A couple of updates on Dos Hermanos on Birmingham:

http://www.doshermanos.co.uk/2009/05/eatin...brum-curry.html

http://www.doshermanos.co.uk/2009/05/eatin...ck-in-brum.html

http://www.doshermanos.co.uk/2009/05/eatin...um-edmunds.html

Looks like Punjab Paradise needs to be added to my "to try list".

I found this great site with lots of Balti reviews by a guy called Chris, he had a mission to try all the Balti houses in the triangle. They are pretty good reviews and reasonably upto date.

Looks like it answers my question, my local was Saleems (when I wasn't at the Paris Sweet Centre in Alum Rock Road), especially after a trip to see the Au Pairs at the Fighting Cocks in Moseley - happy days.

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I found this great site with lots of Balti reviews by a guy called  Chris, he had a mission to try all the Balti houses in the triangle. They are pretty good reviews and reasonably upto date.

Looks like it answers my question, my local was Saleems (when I wasn't at the Paris Sweet Centre in Alum Rock Road), especially after a trip to see the Au Pairs at the Fighting Cocks in Moseley - happy days.

Ah, sorry, didn't see your questions above. Saleem's has had a makeover since then and doesn't have anything on the walls anymore.

In terms of upmarket Indian restaurants, I'd definitely go for Lasans.

In terms of your classic Balti place, I'm still searching for it!

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**** BALTI NEWSFLASH ****

**** "BALTI" BID FOR DPO RECOGNITION! ****

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/foodanddrink/fo...word-Balti.html

You can imagine in the dark corridors of the Brummie council, "Er Barry, i've got a bostin idea...".

Genius.

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**** BALTI NEWSFLASH ****

**** "BALTI" BID FOR DPO RECOGNITION! ****

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/foodanddrink/fo...word-Balti.html

You can imagine in the dark corridors of the Brummie council, "Er Barry, i've got a bostin idea...". 

Genius.

Well it worked. I have booked a night in Brum tomorrow to wallow in curry. Lasan for the posh night out and then a balti for Sunday lunch. I have a list, Adils, Saleems, Al Frash or Punjab Paradise. Should I consider any others?

Also, any good watering holes near the Mailbox?

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Well it worked. I have booked a night in Brum tomorrow to wallow in curry. Lasan for the posh night out and then a balti for Sunday lunch. I have a list, Adils, Saleems, Al Frash or Punjab Paradise. Should I consider any others?

Definitely consider the revitalised Jyoti's in Hall Green (near Sparkhill) which is a Gujerati indian vegetarian restaurant - so different from your standard triangle fare. It has been recently revamped. Highly recommended. Go for the dhosa and the thali http://www.jyotis.co.uk/

If you want to go farther afield, my new tip is Zeenat Kebabish in Coventry (159 Cambridge Street next to the mosque) - this is an Afghan place which does excellent kebabs (lamb chops to die for) on their charcoal grill. Service is slow so be prepared to wait. No alcohol.

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Well it worked. I have booked a night in Brum tomorrow to wallow in curry. Lasan for the posh night out and then a balti for Sunday lunch. I have a list, Adils, Saleems, Al Frash or Punjab Paradise. Should I consider any others?

Definitely consider the revitalised Jyoti's in Hall Green (near Sparkhill) which is a Gujerati indian vegetarian restaurant - so different from your standard triangle fare. It has been recently revamped. Highly recommended. Go for the dhosa and the thali http://www.jyotis.co.uk/

If you want to go farther afield, my new tip is Zeenat Kebabish in Coventry (159 Cambridge Street next to the mosque) - this is an Afghan place which does excellent kebabs (lamb chops to die for) on their charcoal grill. Service is slow so be prepared to wait. No alcohol.

Thanks, we eventually chose Al Fraish, mainly because of their car park opposite. It was an early lunch and the food was great, all tasted very fresh with good spices. The naans are excellent and arrived straight from the oven. It may not be the best in Brum but compared to Bristol/Bath it was superb, we actualy thought the curries were even better than Tayabs (in London).

Lasan was also very good, quite the best I have been to in the UK. Started with Subji Tikki and Hyderabadi Seekh Kebab which are first class, the mains were Dum Ki Biryani (Goat), Methi Murgh and Mirch Baingan Ka Salan (Aubergine), the goat was wonderfully fragrant, and the chicken methi was possibly the best I have tried.

We loved Brum, everyone was so friendly and chatty, good food in a nicely rejuvenated city (a lot of change since '82). A really good option for a weekend break, it isn't a weekend break hot spot so hotels are very reasonable.

We would have tried Purnell's but it is booked until October for weekend dinners....!

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I had yet another stand-out meal at Jyoti's the other night and I now have to give this my best indian restaurant in birmingham award because a) you can still book unlike Lasan's b) its unbelievably good value - you can have a total blow-out for under £30 for 2 c) the dishes are just so satisfying, the chef has such a great light touch with the spicing and you feel positive invigorated after eating here rather than a big bloated mess.

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I'm staying at a hotel on Hagley Road, B16, next month for a night, prior to a conference the next day. I've no idea of the local geography - am I on the plot for some decent, but not posh, Indian food (within walking distance)

TIA


John Hartley

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I'm staying at a hotel on Hagley Road, B16, next month for a night, prior to a conference the next day. I've no idea of the local geography - am I on the plot for some decent, but not posh, Indian food (within walking distance)

TIA

Ah. Well firstly please don't judge Birmingham by Hagley Road because it is really quite depressing.

The good news first - you are just around the corner from Great British Eatery (http://www.greatbritisheatery.co.uk/) and you can get some great dripping-fried fish and chips and some real ale.

The bad news - you are a longish drive from Hall Green and the Balti Triangle, so Jyoti's and Lasan Eatery are not in walking distance.

You can walk to the Jewellery Quarter which houses Lasan, but that is posh so perhaps not what you are looking for and you probably won't be able to get a table (the F word has made that impossible).

I can't vouch for it myself but there is Itihaas quite near-by which I've been meaning to go to.

There's a reasonable (but by no means great) Persian restaurant on Hagley Road called Shiraz which might be an option if you have to walk.

There's a new Indian place on Broad Street called Pushkar which looks terrible but managed to get a good review in the Birmingham Post (http://www.birminghampost.net/life-leisure-birmingham-guide/restaurants-birmingham-midlands/2010/01/22/pushing-up-the-bar-in-brum-65233-25663110/)

Good luck!

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I had yet another stand-out meal at Jyoti's the other night and I now have to give this my best indian restaurant in birmingham award because a) you can still book unlike Lasan's b) its unbelievably good value - you can have a total blow-out for under £30 for 2 c) the dishes are just so satisfying, the chef has such a great light touch with the spicing and you feel positive invigorated after eating here rather than a big bloated mess.

I have cancelled our London jaunt this weekend and booked a meal here as I trust your judgement, especially after the goat curry recommend at Lasan. :biggrin:

Wonder if Jamie Oliver will be there? :smile:

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Wow David, I'm flattered that you would change your plans on my recommendation but now feeling the pressure in case you don't love it. But I'm sure you will.

Here's some of our favourite dishes

mogo chips, bhel, dahi puri (a must) for appetisers

any of the dhosas

for mains malai kofta, mattar methai malai, and any of the standard dishes you like such as vegetable biryani, paalakh and aloo etc.

for desserts: rasmalai, gulab jambu, pistachio barfi

Better to over-order than under-order I always say. You could always take it home with you :)

Good hunting!

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And I think its a shame they rely on Jamie's image to try and get the punters in, the food speaks for itself.

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Well Jamie was'n't there :smile: although he was in spirit at least as his photo with staff was on the wall.

Now I really think veggies get a bum deal in restaurants. I mean treated like second class citizen type of bad deal, so of course with such a strong recommend to a carnivore like myself, I admit to be really looking forward to this meal.

We love the down to earth shop frontage and the fine display of Indian sweets in the glass display cases.

Quite a nice interior, in beige, and more beige and dark brown almost black trim on the chairs.

Valentine hearts hanging from the ceiling gave a clue to the date.

Seated at a table for four next to a comforting radiator we scanned the menu which boasts, 15 starters, 72 mains, various rice, and other accompaniments plus a sweet menu. Quite a staggering choice really.

This is what we chose.

Starters.

Dahi Puri, eight crispy puris stuffed with potato, chick peas,& yogurt with tamarind juice

(£3.45)

Mogo Chips, deep fried Cassava chips with a tamarind sauce (£2.60)

Spicy Pepper, Whole pepper stuffed with spicy hot masala, salad & chutney. (£3.65)

Mains,

Masala Dhosa, traditional rice pancake, potato, onion, lentil sauce, coconut chutney (£?)

Mattar Methi Malai, Pea curry, fenugreek leaves, spicy masala sauce.(£4.95)

Malai Kofta, Balls of paneer(cheese) potatoes ,cashews,, with chilli and tomato and onion curry sauce (£4.95)

Boiled rice and chipatti.

Dessert,

Rasmalai, Sweet made from milk topped with cream & nuts. (£0.75)

Gulab Jambu, Spongy milk powder ball in rose water flavored with syrup (£0.55)

Now when I read that back it seems an quite lot of food and we must be looking like Mr & Mrs Piggy but I make no excuses for a healthy appetite, I would be very worried indeed if I lost it. Some of the courses were on the small side in truth especially the desserts which were mere mouthfuls.

We were very pleasantly surprised by the varied and flavorsome direction that the different courses provided, and we are glad to report that at no stage of the meal did we crave meat.

I did have to resist salting the food a bit, but must admit to liking a lot of the stuff (salt)

Clearly with such a choice of dishes anyone could return time and time again and not be bored with the choice.

It should be noted that they do not have a drinks licence, however you can BYO as we did. A sub £4 bottle of South African Pinotage from Asda which won an International Wine Challange Bronze, with a very convenient screw cap. Very generous of them they do not charge corkage.

As we live miles away and fancied an aubergine dish we had one as a takeaway along with some Patra (curried colocassia leaves)

The sweets on display were also very hard to resist so we had a large box of assorted for £5.

The meal itself including the takeaway, a decent tip but excluding the box of sweets was £34, quite simply unbeatable.

Very good recommend nickloman, just shows how a good local knowledge and egullet opens up a multitude of excellent unheard of establishments.

Still like our meat though :biggrin:

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