Lasan – A jewel in Birmingham’s food crown

It makes me totally ashamed, as a foodie, to admit that, until yesterday, I had never tried the fragrant delights of Lasan, the restaurant judged by Gordon Ramsey to be the best local restaurant in the UK. Well, it is safe to say that although this was my first visit, it will most definitely not be my last. The food, service and setting were all, quite simply, perfection.

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Lasan is situated just off Birmingham’s St Paul’s Square. The restaurant has a cool, contemporary decor with large picture windows helping the light to flood in. There are a selection of tables of varying sizes, certainly making this a wonderful place to choose for a large family occasion. I was dining with my sister so a small table was sufficient, but this was roomy enough for all of the food and drink that we ordered.

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We visited the restaurant at lunchtime and so soft drinks and hot coffee were the beverages of choice, particularly as the weather was so horrendous, with the snow pouring down during our stay. The service was brisk but very friendly, the waiter and Maitre D were chatty and also helpful in helping us make our food choices, asking about our taste and palette for spice and flavours.

We started with a pre-starter selection of poppadoms, dips and a gorgeous Amuse Bouche that consisted of a poppadom style shell filled with chick peas and tomato masala, tamarind and a mint style sauce. This was just delicious, the flavours came through the sauce with a surprise kick at the end. I loved this so much I used my poppadom to mop up the excess sauce that had dropped onto my plate.

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My sister and I are both spinach lovers, and often go for the vegetarian option on a menu, we were also keen to try paneer, so we opted to share a vegetarian platter which consisted of sweetcorn fritters, Onion bhajis, Potato cakes, marinated Paneer cubes and, our personal favourite, a spinach pakora. All were delicious, the paneer had been marinated in a tomato sauce and had a slightly toasty taste that I loved. The Potato tikki was also exquisite, with a taste of spice that was flavoursome rather than overpowering. Everything had me smiling and nodding in delight, there was nothing that made me reach for the water.

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For our main meals, we both opted for chicken dishes. I like my curries to be full of flavour but slightly milder in terms of spice, so the Kukkar Makhani was perfect for me, with its blend of honey and cashew nuts and yoghurt. I expected this dish to be sweet, but it was perfectly balanced, with the smokiness of the tandoor roasted meat blending in perfectly with the sauce. With soft and fluffy pilau rice, this was a really pleasing dish, with a sauce that I couldn’t resist mopping up with a selection of breads from the bread basket.

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My sister Jodie chose a different chicken dish, the Dopiaza Murgh, which consisted of free range Cotswold white chicken cooked two ways, slow braised leg and roasted supreme marinated in chilli and pomegranate seed. This was s served with caramelised shallots, wilted onion shoots and, most exciting, a classic Kolkata style dopiaza gravy. The presentation was amazing, and the tastes certainly lived up to the appearance, with the chicken soft and tender and packed with flavour, particularly the slow braised leg. The Dopiaza sauce was a delight, with the taste of tomato and onions a real treat for the palette. We’d been advised that one rice would be plenty for two, and this was proved when we couldn’t actually finish it. The term pleasantly stuffed has never been more aptly used.

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Lasan is a jewel in Birmingham’s proud jewel crown, with food of the highest standard that is complimented by the knowledgeable staff who add to your experience with their advice and information about the dishes on offer. I left Lasan feeling like I had been truly blessed in the gastronomic stakes by a meal it will take a long time to forget.

 

Lasan Restaurant, 3-4 Dakota Buildings | James Street | St Paul’s Square | BIRMINGHAM B3 1SD | TEL: 0121 212 3664 | 0121 247 8570

To visit the Lasan Website, click here.

*We received a complimentary meal in exchange for a honest review.

 

What to Wear: Casinos

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When the safe, yet repetitive tedium of work and home becomes all too much, the urge to throw on your glad rags, order a taxi and head to the bright lights of town is enormous. Although we all know what’s great to wear for a tip out on the tiles, an increasingly popular late night pastime is somewhat more mysterious when it comes to deciding what to wear: the casino. We’ve all been told scare stories of how degenerative gambling can be- and these stories are indeed true- but enjoying one night of silliness and excitement is perfectly all right every once in a while! Nowadays the popularity of playing these types of games is so huge, many websites are offering live deal entertainment where players can play others across the net! You might not feel the need to dress up for this kind of fun, but nevertheless, what exactly do you wear at the traditionally glitzy hotspots?

Firstly, one must take into account the fact that certain casinos are more glamorous and upmarket than others; in Vegas, as long as you are clean and vaguely tidy, you’ll be let in, contrasted with Monte Carlo’s casinos, where suits and gowns are a must-wear!

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In London especially, the need to wear formal wear is an absolute must. For ladies this means long, flowing or glittering gowns that fall well below the knee. Necklines shouldn’t be ridiculously plunging, so jewel, illusion, keyhole or bateau cuts will all be fine. Colour-wise, the selection is very much up to you, however this season bright pastel colours, subdued light blues and radiant purples and violets are very much in fashion.

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Eva Green in Casino

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In a casino, as a general rule of thumb, the more glamorous and flashy one’s style is, the more attention and better service you will receive! Also, really good fashion choices might give you an edge on your opponents at the table, psyching them out and improving your chances of winning!
Now some of us simply aren’t so stated in our sartorial endeavors, but there’s no need to fret! Three quarter length slim fit trousers, coupled with a structured blouse and jacket will look just as good as a flowing gown, and should probably be one’s first choice if you’re visiting with colleagues.

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For the gentlemen, suits are a must, although this doesn’t mean a full, restrictive suit needs to be worn. A stylish jacket, worn with woolen trousers or crisply cut chinos alongside leather shoes and a fashionable shirt could be just what is needed, although in the very upmarket establishments a full suit-tie combo or tuxedo should really be worn. As with anywhere, different casinos operate different dress codes, and many will be completely fine if you choose a smart casual approach.

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Sophie Ellis Bextor is the face of Phase Eight

If ever there was a match made in fashion heaven, it is the teaming up of the gorgeous and stylish Sophie Ellis Bextor with the home of feminine fashion Phase Eight. If I was choosing a face for Phase Eight, then Sophie would definitely be the top of the list. The queen of vintage styling is perfect for the vintage style prints and antique lace dresses that Phase Eight is famous for.

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Chantay Rose Dress £120.00 click to visit Phase Eight

Chantay Rose Dress
£120.00 click to visit Phase Eight

The new campaign featuring Sophie is just stunning, featuring soft focus photographs of the beautiful Singer wearing a series of really lovely dresses, many featuring floral prints that are just so perfect for Spring. The photographs themselves draw to mind those iconic Laura Ashley pictures from the 1970s, all soft lighting and dewy images. The dresses are classic Phase Eight pieces, with knee-length skirts, prom style shapes and an abundance of pink all apparent.

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Elodine Dress £140.00 click to visit Phase Eight

Elodine Dress
£140.00 click to visit Phase Eight

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Loretta Dress £169.00 click to visit Phase Eight

Loretta Dress
£169.00 click to visit Phase Eight

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Norma Floral Burnout Dress £140.00 click to visit Phase Eight

Norma Floral Burnout Dress
£140.00 click to visit Phase Eight

I always say this when I talk about Phase Eight collections, but these are dresses that could’ve come straight from the wardrobe of 50s era Grace Kelly or Audrey Hepburn, they have such an exquisite retro feel to them. It would be hard to choose an absolute favourite, but I must admit to being partial to the Chantay Rose Dress with its Oriental flower print and Japanese sleeves, and the Ariel Lace dress, which would be a total go-to dress for so many Spring/Summer Occasions.

Ariel Lace Dress £140.00 click to visit Phase Eight

Ariel Lace Dress £140.00 click to visit Phase Eight

Ariel Lace Dress
£140.00 click to visit Phase Eight

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Ninette Dress £140.00 click to visit Phase Eight

More picks from the Sophie edit

Cherie Printed Lace Dress £150.00 click to visit Phase Eight

Cherie Printed Lace Dress
£150.00 click to visit Phase Eight

Mae Rose Dress £99.00 click to visit Phase Eight

Mae Rose Dress
£99.00 click to visit Phase Eight

Avalina Fit And Flare Dress £179.00 click to visit Phase Eight

Avalina Fit And Flare Dress
£179.00 click to visit Phase Eight