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crsm

Best balti in Birmingham?

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Glad you enjoyed it David, phew! I am also a committed carnivore but never feel like I missed out when I go to Jyoti's. It is true they are easy on the salt arm but I again don't seem to find there (and I am also a dedicated salt lover).

On the subject of meat I thought I would post a picture of our Valentine's supper as I was quite pleased with it - a quite delicious woodcock which I picked up from the farmers market for a fiver!! It was on for £7 but they thought I was haggling and sold it for £5. Actually I was just dumbstruck by my good fortune. All that blood, brain and guts is a bit full-on for my lady partner who had partridge :)

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Glad you enjoyed it David, phew! I am also a committed carnivore but never feel like I missed out when I go to Jyoti's. It is true they are easy on the salt arm but I again don't seem to find there (and I am also a dedicated salt lover).

On the subject of meat I thought I would post a picture of our Valentine's supper as I was quite pleased with it - a quite delicious woodcock which I picked up from the farmers market for a fiver!! It was on for £7 but they thought I was haggling and sold it for £5. Actually I was just dumbstruck by my good fortune. All that blood, brain and guts is a bit full-on for my lady partner who had partridge :)

P1060294.JPG

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Mmmm, Woodcock what a find. I'm sure Will Holland mentioned on yesterdays Saturday Kitchen how rare they are offered to chefs.

Not had one for years in fact the last one was when Simon Hopkinson was cooking at Bibendum and we had one at Alex Aitkins, Le Poussin down in the New Forest, seems like donkeys years ago

I'm envious.

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I went to have a nosy at Shiraz as recommended upthread. No menu posted outside so I dont know what's what but it was packed with middle eastern looking folk (not always a recc, I know). However, only a curry was going to do.

Went to Rose Murree (pun presumably intended) almost opposite the Shiraz. A cut above your run-of-the-mill curry house which, apparently, used to be "the place" in the area but is now losing business to the ever expanding Akbar chain (which was literally next to my hotel. Food has a Kashmiri spin so I went for a recommended masala fish (nice spicing "burnt" on to the fish) as a starter and the lamb rogan as a main (this much more delicately spiced than the usual offerings). Rice and tandoori roti to keep upo my carb intake. They're making a bit of an effort - proper napkins, nice white serving dishes, friendly service (they must be used to single "business" diners, as a newspaper and magazines were offered). I liked it.


John Hartley

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Oh yeah, we went there a few weeks back for the first time. It was decent but not exciting. Probably a reasonable option if you are trapped on the Hagley Road as it sounds like you were.

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Better late than never. I got to Shiraz on this year's trip

Even though I had booked, it was packed early evening and I had to wait some ten minutes for a table to come free. It remained packed throughout the time I was there.

I went with the “mixed starter”, assuming correctly this would be a decent mezze for one. Well, it was a decent mezze for a very greedy one and would easily have fed two. There was a good houmous. And a mashed aubergine dish – similar in texture to the Lebanese moutabel but without the smoky flavour you get there. There was also yoghurt, lightly flavoured with shallot. These were pretty much generic middle eastern dips – none the worse for that, though. Yoghurt also appeared mixed with wilted spinach in the Persian dish of borani. The final dish was also specifically Persian – salad oliveh is a mix of potato, mayo, egg, gherkin and peas. It’s quite a solid affair which contrasted well with the dippy things. I ate this with the recommended nan – a large thin crispy bread, similar to a tandoori roti. And an order of torsi – mixed pickles, very vinegary with a chilli kick – the vegetables a little too soft for my taste.

The menu had a range of stews but, while I was waiting, I could see most tables were getting stuck into kebabs of one form or another. So, I thought, that’ll do for me. Two very generously sized koobideh lamb kebabs – the minced meat had been shaped round a skewer prior to grilling. Meat was well flavoured and still very moist. I liked this a lot. Alongside, a grilled tomato and some perfectly steamed rice, very lightly flavoured with saffron – more for colour than flavour I suspect.

It’s not an issue for me, but those who drink alcohol should note that Shiraz does not sell nor does it permit “bring your own”.

Really enjoyed this solo dinner.


John Hartley

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For years Shiraz had a note in the window stating it was a 'non-alcoholic' restaurant which always made me smile. I liked to think it meant you could drink alcohol in there so long as you did it in moderation! :laugh:

Quite confused why this post is in a thread about Baltis though :unsure:

In response to your earlier post though I think I'm pretty qualified to say that Rose Muree has never been 'the place' and Akbars for all its bling serves some pretty dreadful curry :wink:


Edited by KaffirLime (log)

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Quite confused why this post is in a thread about Baltis though :unsure:

Well, partly because the original mention of Shiraz was in response to my 2010 query. But mainly because I couldnt be arsed about being tidy and starting a new thread.

Interesting that you don't rate Akbars. The more northern branches usually get a good response (and certainly from me it does). Perhaps it hasnt travelled well.


John Hartley

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Best curry house in Brum at the moment is Mughal E Azam, all my Pakistani friends rave about it. They say it's just like home, one is convinced that they must ship in their their masala direct from Pakistan because the taste is so authentic. I don't know about that, but what I do know is that the food is lush and the church restoration it's in is lavish. You might as well be in Dubai or Las Vegas, no expense has been spared on the decor.

Sadly no balti on the menu though.

ETA that was a typical sardonic brummie 'sadly' if you hadn't caught that


Edited by Prawncrackers (log)

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I have heard that the northern branches of Akbars are very good - so maybe it's true that it just doesn't travel well. I've eaten there a couple of times and found the food ok but nothing special. You can certainly eat far better in Birmingham and not have to sit in a holding area waiting for a buzzer to call you to a table. The impression that I get with Akbar's is that food is almost a secondary consideration. It's main raison d'etre seems to be to easily accommodate very large Asian parties who are after a great sense of occasion and the wraparound bling and brusquely efficient service certainly provide that but if you are just going as a couple for good food and quiet conversation it's probably the last place you'd want to choose. I confess I have not tried Mughal E Azam yet but I'm in no hurry to as 'authentic' or not (and with some of the food in the Indian sub-continent I'm not sure thats a positive recommendation)it seems to be set up on the same model as Akbar's in catering mainly for large groups.

Prawncrackers - I really don't know how you can state anywhere is the 'best curry house in Birmingham' because there are almost as many styles as there are restaurants, from Balti restaurants, South Indian dosa houses, Indian barbecue grills and traditional 'flock wallpaper' restaurants to high end fine dining places such as Lasan and Saffron. The best I could probably offer is a top ten and then I'd struggle with having to leave restaurants out.


Edited by KaffirLime (log)

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IMHO, FWIW the best, my favourite curry house at the moment in Brum is Mughal-E-Azam. YMMV don't get het up about it I know there are 20 other great Bangladeshi, Pakistani, Punjabi, Goan, Afghan, Kenyan Indian, Posh sub-continent restaurants in town :laugh:


Edited by Prawncrackers (log)

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:laugh:

Well we're all entitled to our opinion! Forgive me, I know I'm being a pedant but it just sits more comfortably with me if people say 'my favourite Indian Restaurant' rather than an unequivocal 'the best restaurant'.

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Jay rayner was asking about birminghams best balti on twitter at the weekend so maybe we'll get his input in a review over the next few weeks...


"Experience is something you gain just after you needed it" ....A Wise man

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Yes, read his review of New Sum Ye in today's Observer mag and nearly fell down in a faint when I read that he thought it was better than equivalent gaffs in London. The irony is, since it's recent refurb when the old menu got thrown out and a new 'westernised' menu was introduced, New Sum Ye isn't half as good as it used to be.

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Then you will have missed out on their sublime pork chop with lemon grass - shame, it was a worthy accompaniment to a slab of crispy belly pork :laugh:

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Heehee maybe so, but I'm of the opinion that the best accompaniment to crispy belly pork is roast duck or in fact more crispy belly pork.

Anyway to get back on track, have you been to the Mughal yet? I went again a couple of weeks ago and the Tandoori mix starter is truly a thing of wonder. It's expanded and now includes some very nice salmon tikka too. As the platter is brought out you can actually see it pulling in kebabs from other diner's plates with it's gravitational field, honest.

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:laugh:

No I haven't but it would be worth it just to see that trick! My current fave is Delhi 6 in Little Aston (just around the corner from the highly regarded but short lived Mint restaurant). The head Chef is Murray previously of the Mango Tree in Stonnal and its worth the trip out to Sutton for the pineapple and ginger dip that comes with the poppodoms alone. It's not really in the cheap and cheerful sector of Murghal/New Sum Ye as it's aiming at the fine-dining end of Indian cooking and charges accordingly (expect to pay about £40 per head) but I would happily rate it alongside Lasan and Saffron.

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Is "New Saffron" on Colemore Road any good - I am assuming it is related to the Oldbury place of the same name? I only went there once and wasn't blown away, although I didn't hate it - certainly didn't think it was in the same league as Lasan.

I don't think there is a "best" balti in Birmingham ... many seem to hit the exact same standards of "quite good but not special". Although I did take a visitor to Al-Frash recently and he was blown away with the size of the large naan.

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I think your assessment of Baltis is probably spot on. I can think of at least six restaurants that all hit the same levels and then it just comes down to personal preference.If I go for one with my regular 'curry pal' he likes to go to Shabab on the Ladypool Road. The baltis are no better than at Al Frash or Saleems but the waiter will fetch you a pint of beer from the George pub across the road and that blows up his skirt :laugh:

Saffron on Colmore Row is like chalk and cheese with the Wolverhampton Road branch. Sudha the head chef at the original restaurant has moved across to Colmore Row and I think its fair to say he is chasing Michelin stars. The menu is much smaller and considered and the food has been refined to within an inch of its life. I ate there shortly after it opened in January and thought the food lacked direction - too much fusion and not enough spice but I had a long chat with Sudha afterwards and he admitted that my thoughts had been echoed by several other diners. I was fortunate enough to be invited back to try some dishes after they had been tweaked and I came away a lot happier. Definitely one to try.

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I will be visiting Brum later this month, and was interested in any updates on Bati/Indian. Please let me know of any recent developments. Thank you.

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