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16 Jaw Dropping Curries Every True Brummie Must Try

How hot can you go, bab?

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Disclaimer: We're using the word "curry" loosely, here. We mean any Indian, Pakistani or Bangladeshi dish, really.

1. Dhai Puri at Itihaas


Having cost £2 million to create this restaurant, Itihaas smacks of class from top to bottom. Dhai puri is a Mumbai-born street food given a stunning high end slant, here. Delicate puff pastry shells are filled with sweetened yogurt, chick peas, chopped onion and tomato, with a drizzle of tangy tamarind chutney. A true conversation stopper that demonstrates the varied taste range of Indian cuisine.

2. Lamb Chilli Bhuna at Rajdoot


Winner of the Best Restaurant Design at last year's English Curry Awards (check out the lighthouse-style exterior, here) Rajdoot is cool just to be in, but brilliant when you start eating. Unsurprisingly the lamb chilli bhuna has a kick, but the heat is pitch-perfect, never in danger of taking your head off. Which would just be messy.

3. Monkfish Masala at Purnell's


An immaculate nod to the city’s history of South Asian cuisine from one of four Brum-based Michelin-starred chefs, this really is "try it once before you die" territory. One of Glynn Purnell's most popular signature dishes it comes complete with Indian red lentils, pickled carrots, coconut and coriander. It's on his Reminisce Tasting Menu which you can check out here.


4. Paneer Tikka at Pushkar

Via Facebook: PushkarRestaurant

Head Chef, Bishal Rasaily, is an effortlessly talented man and Pushkar picked up the 2014 Asian Business Awards Midlands’ ‘Restaurant of the Year’ in no small part down to the maestro's kitchen cunning. Their paneer shashlik starter is, for our money, the pick of the menu, but you're in safe hands with any order. That goes for the cocktail menu, too.

5. Elaichi Gosht at Lasan


Behold! Naturally reared Hereford beef from Stokemarsh Farm, blade braised overnight, marinated sirloin, bone marrow pakora and tandoori sweetbread served with black cardamon scented cashew nut gravy. Yeah, this is sensational. Lasan's signature dish epitomises how they take true authentic flavours from the Indian subcontinent and combine with some of the best ingredients offered from Britain. It was Lasan's winning main course from the final on Gordon Ramsay’s F Word.

6. Nihari at Murghal E Azam


This is one to take out-of-towners to for the wow factor. Ludicrously over the top in decor and housed in a listed former church, they sell Maghaz Masala - lamb brain simmered in garlic and turmeric - for the brave, but champion of the menu is the chef's special Nihari - tender lamb shank cooked in rich gravy served Lahori style.

NB: Booze-wise it's B.Y.O.

7. Lamb Chops at Sylhet Spice


Call us melodramatic, but tandoori lamb chops are a great leveller. Sylhet, whose Bangladeshi offerings are otherworldly, do a cracking chop, perfectly charred and full of flavour. A brilliant out of town option it's so popular we once had to wait 1 hour 45 for a delivery. Amazingly, the wait was worth it. They also do ball-shaped, crispy onion bhajis, which are becoming few and far between with restaurants bizarrely choosing to flatten them into fat pancakes, these days. Stop that!


8. Balti Chicken Chilli Garlic and "MEGA NAAN" at Shababs

Instagram: ChrisQuinn3 / Via

Deep in the heart of Birmingham's glorious Balti Triangle, Shababs is home to the best chicken balti we've ever eaten. And we've eaten an awful lot. Founded in 1987 it is legendary on the Brum balti circuit and is one of only a handful of authentic balti restaurants still going strong. They also produce the city's biggest naan bread. Perhaps best to share that. Or wear it as a coat.

9. Tarka Dhal at Punjabi Rasoi


You can probably tell by this list that vegetarian options aren't on our default setting. This Tarka Dhal is an exception. Serving punjabi food only, Punjabi Rasoi's dish of yellow arhar lentils infused with garlic, tomatoes and fresh green chillies packs far more flavour than most meat dishes in the city. It's impossibly moreish and, dare we say it, healthy?

10. Thali at Raja Monkey

Via Facebook: rajamonkey

Lasan’s mischievous answer to a Bombay street cafe, Raja Monkey's thalis are comprised of one main item (be it the smoked Rajasthani mutton or the spicy Keralan style fish) with a selection of vegetables, rice, bread and pickles, all of the chef's choosing. Palpably unstuffy and with just the right amount of chutzpah this is fun, homely dining.

11. Meat Balti at Kababish

The Moseley-based restaurant has welcomed Muhammed Ali, Noel Gallagher, Robbie Williams, Geri Halliwell, Stereophonics, Steve Bruce and Roy Hodgson over the years. The management say their Murghi Cholley Saagwalla (a combination of chicken strips, chickpeas and spinach) is the dish they receive the most plaudits for but we've been going there for a standard meat balti and naan for well over 20 years, and that's probably the best compliment we can possibly give.


12. Kasondi Ka Jhinga at Chilli Spice (Horseshoe Bar)


Quite frankly, this place is stunning. With a refreshingly short menu (9 carnivorous mains and 10 veg) the owners argue that most restaurants go wrong by offering any main ingredient in any style, but not all ingredients match all Indian cooking methods. They will only stick to the ingredients that originally gave birth to the style. Allow general manager Nitin to order for you and we bet a pound to a penny the Kasondi Ka Jhinga (jumbo prawns marinated and flavoured with honey and mustard) starter will land before you.

13. Karrara Gosht at Imlees

Karin O'Sullivan

Imlees prides itself on being the go-to restaurant for Moseley locals. And Moseley locals know a good curry when they eat one. Pick of the menu is the Karrara Gosht which Imlees sell by the half kilogram. The dish includes diced spring lamb served on the bone which means the flavour is stunningly rich and vivid. This is a great sharing plate but it's rather important to remember, for your teeth's sake, that each hunk is on the bone. It takes them 45 minutes to cook it so order the moment you're through the door.

14. Butter Chicken at Asha's


Oh Butter Chicken. You're the cruelest of mistresses, you really are. So tasty and yet inevitably loaded with calories. If you're going to eat Butter Chicken, and let's face it you are, do so at one of Birmingham's finest high-end Indian restaurants. Silky and stunning this is absolutely one of the best dishes in the entire city. Tomatoey, creamy naughtiness it's worthy of the 10 mile punishment jog you'll need to put yourself through the following morning.

NB: Is the company paying? Asha's President's Platter (£59.95) is the stuff of Brum legend and includes a full tandoori lobster.

15. Sambuk Moille at Delhi 6


Out yonder in Little Aston, north of Brum, Delhi 6 is gold dust to the locals and worthy of a journey for those who fancy a change of scenery. Come to think of it, the locals will probably be furious that we're drawing attention to it. Their pan-seared scallops in South Indian coconut sauce comes infused with curry leaves and mustard seeds. A light and, they tell us, healthy starter it's immaculate in taste without ever threatening to infringe on mains.

16. Gulab Jamun at Blue Mango


The oft true theory that Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi restaurants aren't particularly skilled with dessert goes totally out of the window at Blue Mango, where the traditional North Indian Gulan Jamun is a must. A classical dessert of deep fried milk balls soaked in sugar syrup served with a cardamom flavoured rabri, it's a stonking way to end a meal. Eat them in one, or consider yourself a coward.

Tom Cullen is editor of I CHOOSE Birmingham, a free, weekly e-magazine about the best things to eat, drink, see and do, in Brum. Subscribe here.