A week later, I’m still trying to get my head around what we experienced. Have you ever been to a restaurant where the waiters speak to you like you’re some kind of royalty? Or tuck your chair in and fold your napkin when you depart for the restroom; wipe the crumbs off the table with a knife and saucer and cater to your every single need? I have. The place is called Lasan – the most outstanding Indian Restaurant in Birmingham, and dare I say, the UK. I hope you enjoy reading this review as much as I loved eating it.
These guys at Lasan pride themselves on perfection and just so happened to win Gordon Ramsay’s F Word – Best Local Restaurant in 2012. Lasan have also appeared on the BBC’s Great British Menu, and not to mention a great inclusion in The Sunday Times Top 100 Restaurants. Chef Aktar and staff blew us away with the quality and standard of our meal.Warm welcomes into new territory are always much appreciated. Josh and I were shown to our table very quickly, and laughed at the fact our food date resembled something from The Trip. We opted for the 8-course tasting menu. Inevitably, Josh started reeling off his best Rob Brydan/James Bond impressions while I sat there sipping wine, soaking up the relaxing atmosphere.
Course 1: North Indian broth, made of reduced lamb stock, black cardamom and cream. So thick and creamy and considering I usually opt for a korma, this delicious broth went down an absolute treat.
Course 2: Smoked Duck Somosa, Aubergine Caviar spiced with Ginger and Ground Raw Mango with a Sweet Tamarind Chutney and Cucumber. One mouthful but the taste lingered long. Duck is my favourite meat of all time, so I could have eaten a thousand of these.
Course 3: Soft Shell Crab dipped in Ajwait and Kashmiri Chilli Batter, A Devonshire Crab, Green Pea and Potato Cake with a Tomato and Sour Raw Mango Chutney. I’m a huge lover of carby food, and the batter melted like butter in the mouth. One of my favouite courses of the night.
Course 4: Tandoori King Prawn from West Bengal, marinated in Mustard, Tumeric and Lemon, served with Grapefruit, Orange and Fennel shoots. Josh’s face when he bit into this was priceless. I thought he was going to eat the whole slate afterwards. Delicious tender prawn soaked in the tumeric. It was like eating gold. Photo accredited: The Foodie Blog
Course 5: Pan fried Fillet of Wild Cornish Bass, resting on slow cooked aubergine spiced with turmeric, green chilli, fenugreek scent coconut milk and tamarind sauce. The seabass was cooked to absolute perfect. The amount of time and effort which goes into each and every meal is outstanding. The crispy skin of the fish was tantilising, and the coconut milk sauce… well. I took many spoonfuls from the copper pan they left on the table to accompany the dish.
Course 6: Nizami speciality from Hyderabad, Mutton cooked slowly with pearl, barley and lentils. Finished with ginger, friend onions and lime. This dish was really bizarre. It was like eating a bowl, of lentil porridge. I wasn’t too sure on this dish at first, but the more I ate, the more I realised I was captivated with the scent of ginger. I was so very close to doing an Oliver – and asking ‘Please sir, can I have some more’.
Course 7: Slow Braised Venison Haunch, Pearl onion bhuna, tandoori spiced loin, pickle pumpkin puree. Searved with Achaar gravy, traditional indian spices with dried raw mango. At this point, I couldn’t believe it, but Chef Aktar actually came up to our table from the kitchen to deliver us this meal, personally. It was so inspiring to see a wonderful chef tell us about his menu and what inspired him and corr blimey, what an absolute mouthful the finale was. The course also came with naan and rice, and by this point, I had to loosen my jeans a little. The venison was absolutely sensational. Cutting through the meat was effortless. Most definitely our favourite meal of the entire 8 courses and it was almost of too much perfection to eat. (Score: a whopping 10/10 and possibly one of the best meals i’ve tasted in a long time!)
Course 8: We reached the end! And how far we had come. A play of the classic Eton Mess. Mango mousse, raspberry sorbet, berries, mango, pinapple and thai basil. We were waiting to see if we were going to eat something to ‘cleanse the palet’ after all the hearty food. They delivered. It was a very bright and colourful dish.
We enjoyed our tasting meal so much, we waddled out of Lasan with huge bellies and gigantic grins on our faces. The waiters, the service and the overall presentation of the restaurant is outstanding. And yes, Gary Barlow has visited Lasan on previous occasions and even said ‘No food I’ve ever tasted has been this good… Amazing’. The tasting menu comes in at £49.95 – but you won’t leave dissatisfied. I would like to personally thank Lasan once again for inviting us for one of the best meals we have possibly eaten as a couple and for one of the best night’s sleep I’ve ever had afterwards. What looks like your favourite dish? We were invited to Lasan to try their food, but we paid for our own drinks.
3-4 Dakota Buildings, James Street, St Paul’s Square, Birmingham, B3 1SD, Tel 0121 212 3664.