Sunday, 5 April 2009

Curry in a Hurry

ACCORDING to the Birmingham Mail, 'curry connoisseur' Craig Hazell has given the Brummie balti the thumbs up.
The 25-year-old spent six weeks travelling the UK in search of the country's best curry, and has drawn the conclusion that Birmingham is a real hot-spot.
He could have saved his train fare. I would have told him this for free.
In my opinion, Brum is Britain's best city to munch a masala, and this was confirmed again to me last night with an eagerly-awaited trip to Lasan Eatery.
I've made no bones about the fact that I think Lasan proper, in the Jewellery Quarter, is one of Brum's best restaurants, so the prospect of dining at their street-food sidekick, in Hall Green, left me salivating.
Unlike it's sister restaurant, Lasan Eatery isn't a place you can linger - because you aren't given the chance.
As long as you accept that you're going to be shuffled in and out as quickly as possible, and bullied into making hasty menu decisions, the experience is quite endearing.
The restaurant's small and lively, centered round an open kitchen where chefs slave over sizzling stoves.
Our party of four started with baskets of poppadum slithers - lighter than the norm - which came with the usual chutneys and salads.
Shared starters of palak tikki and malai murgh tikka arrived promptly and were tucked in with gusto.
The boy and I shared the palak tikki -
spinach, paneer and potato cakes stuffed with spicy sauté mushrooms - which beneath its crunchiness made way for a fiery punch.
The accompanying salad was perfectly dressed, and fresh carrot chutney provided zing.
On the other side of the table appreciative noises were being made for the marinated chicken, which I had ordered a portion of for my main course, so resisted a sample.
Empty plates were whipped away and swapped for the main event.
Three of us had opted for kebab 'meals', which represented great value. My malai murgh tikka included two full chicken breasts, which has been marinated with cheese and hung yogurt, and then skewered, a buttery naan and portion of dhal makhni. All for £8.50. There was salad too, and a sweet, light yogurt dressing.
The chicken, mild and subtly spiced, burst with moisture; so often kebab meat can be too dry but this was delightfully succulent.
Meanwhile, the boy opted for the adraki seekh kebab meal - a minced lamb kebab flavoured with earthy nutmeg, cloves and plenty of chilli.
We all agreed the dhal makhni was rich, almost musty with spice, and very satisfying.
The none-kebab meal diner, instead enjoyed a traditional chicken korma which, unlike many of its curry house counterparts, was lighter and not overly sweet but featured great hunks of breast meat. A side dish of pilau rice was nicely topped with crispy-fried onions.
There shouldn't have been room for puds, but Lasan is legendary for great Indian puddings - not a prepacked chocolate bombe or knickerboker glory in sight - so we shared a gajar halva and a portion of pistachio kulfi.
The gajar halva may not have been the winner of the prettiest pud award, but the combo of grated carrot, pistachio nuts and sweet syrup, topped with quality vanilla icecream, was a revelation. The kulfi was creamy but not sickly.
Lasan Eatery gives Indian food a healthier, modern twist, a world away from the ghee-laded dishes found in many curry houses.
A great place for a curry in a hurry.
For more details visit www.lasaneatery.com

Lasan Eatery on Urbanspoon

6 comments:

Heavenly Housewife said...

Hmmm, will have to try that sometime. Hubby and I go to Birmingham a lot. We go to a place called Al-Faisals (not sure about the spelling).
I totally agree with you about kebabs having a tendency to be dry. Your chicken kebab sounded pretty good. I am going to look that place you recommended up.
Hope you had a great weekend :)

Emily said...

Hi HH. Thanks for reading. I hear good things about Al Faisals although I haven't been myself yet. Supposed to be one of Birmingham's best traditional baltis in the famous balti triangle. Recommend Lasan Eatery, or Lasan if you fancy something a touch more refined!

helensjourney said...

I've tagged you for the Questions Post

http://helensjourney.wordpress.com/2009/04/06/tagged-questions-post/

Emily said...

Thanks Helen. I'll have a look!

helensjourney said...

So you mean a link to another site on your post?

Highlight a phrase (eg if you were linking to my site, helen's journey) then there should be a link button at the top(next to the text colour button)then type in the url (begins with http)
Hope that helps

Emily said...

Helen, you are a star!