Having grown up on the outskirts of the Balti Triangle, the love of a decent curry is in my DNA. Catching up with friends on a weekend and ending the night with a curry is tradition and I always have a favourite curry house of the month. After all, when there’s so many curry houses in Birmingham, the competition is fierce and there’s no room for favouritism, for long anyway.
People had been raving about The Indian Streatery for yonks. Beginning their foodie roots at Birmingham’s very own Digbeth Dining Club under the name ‘Indian Rasoi,’ the eatery soon became a firm favourite amongst diners and eventually set up permanently at a premises on Bennett’s Hill. As with many Digbeth Dining Club regulars, the ‘family foodies’ brought with them a loyal following of locals already converted to the concept of ‘Indian tapas.’ Though relatively new to the food scene, Indian tapas takes traditional dishes and gives them a makeover, much like the Deconstructed Samosa Chaat and homestyle chicken kindly created by The Indian Streatery. The idea is to bring Punjab’s food markets to the people of Britain, using tried and tested family recipes, old memories, plus a side order of added ingredients to suit British palates – Indian Hotdog anyone?
On my visit to The Indian Streatery, I was excited to find out what all the fuss was about. I was damn sure I liked my curry in a bowl with pilau rice and poppodoms, no messing around, no food antics. It was then with great delight that I found myself enjoying a Fresh Spinach & Lamb Curry, marinated overnight with a host of spices, alongside what I can only describe as ‘bangin’ Masala Fries. Both dishes far exceeded my expectations and in fact, the lamb curry was one, if not the best curries I’ve tasted in a good 12 months. Normally I’d cringe at the thought of throwing in a portion of chips with a curry, but here, with a mix of fenugreek chaat masala and tamarind on the fries, blended in with succulent slow cooked lamb, I was on the verge of dribbling.
The menu comes with a listing of gluten free, dairy free and vegan dishes, easily identifiable and ranging in choices. The waiter was extremely helpful with my allergens and offered to accommodate any requests that I had regarding the menu. By the time I had finished my curry and fries, I was already dreaming of another portion. In fact, it’s pretty much all I talked about all week.
In an age where some are predicting the death of the Balti, I feel a sense of confidence in the future of curry houses in Britain. Rather than admitting defeat, establishments such as The Indian Streatery are building on existing foundations, adapting and recreating traditional recipes to bring them into an ever expanding modern day street food market. Whether it’s slapping a curry onto a burger, or giving an Indian twist to the classic chicken and chips, there’s no doubt that these Masala fries making, Pakora transformers are here to stay, and we love them for it!