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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.