"10 years ago the Asian community never went out to eat, but now they do."
Today in Britain it’s common to walk down the road and find a local curry house that serves a variety of Asian cuisine.
But where in Birmingham is the best place to find the most authentic and tastiest Balti houses? Ladypool Road of course.
A Balti is the name for the thin steel wok curries are served in; however, it is now referred widely to a type of curry rather than the dish itself.
The Balti was introduced to Britain in the 1990’s and Adil’s Restaurant, which had been open since 1977 finally began getting recognition.
Ladypool Road is also a part of the famous ‘Balti Triangle’, which is a cluster of areas in Birmingham where the main Balti Houses are placed; these cover Stoney Lane, Stratford Road and Ladypool Road.
DESIblitz takes you through the best Balti houses this busy street has to offer!
1. Al-Frash Balti
Al-Frash is one of the most acclaimed restaurants on Ladypool Road and even considered to be the ‘Best Balti in Britain’.
They offer an ‘authentic mouth-watering Balti cuisine served fresh’ and their menu includes famous dishes from the homeland.
Dishes include: Chicken, Lamb, Gosht or Keema Balti dishes with sides of rice and naan but if you’re looking for something with a spicy kick, you can order from a Bhoona dish (known to be drier and spicier).
The prices for a dish excluding sides range from £6-9, which is incredibly reasonable for high quality dishes that are large enough to share for those of smaller appetites.
2. Imrans Restaurant
Owned by the well-known Mr. M. Afzal Butt, who was a big part in establishing the Balti, Imrans is extremely popular with everyone because of its pure Pakistani cuisine.
Manager, Mohammed Rafi explains: “Imrans started in 1971, which is the oldest restaurant on Ladypool Road, so it has a name. We specialise in Lahori food because the owners originate from there and we have all our recipe’s made in the Lahori way.”
Since its refurbishment, it has attracted many more people to the establishment, which offers authentic herbs and spices in all its dishes.
Prices are very reasonable at £6-£7 for a dish, but extras such as prawns and peppers can be added to personalise your dish to exactly how you like it. If you want something that does not feature on the menu, Imrans will be happy to cook it for you.
It is also popular among the locals; designer Chand from the well-established fashion store Khushboos says: “I only really go to Imrans because it is more proper Pakistani cooking, which is what I enjoy.”
Slightly pricer than others, Dawat is highly rated for its attentive staff, good food quality and pleasant atmosphere. Manager Naz is extremely personable and will ensure you are taken care of with best quality food arriving on time.
The menu reflects the spices of Indian cuisine that are dishes infused with cardamom, cumin, garlic and cumin seeds to create a variety of Balti’s that will bring the heat.
Sonia Malik, student from Birmingham says: “When I last visited Dawat, I told them I couldn’t handle spicy food, so the chef made sure my chicken Balti was mild but full of lots of flavour, and because of that I feel safe to return again.”
The Pathia, Keema Naan, Vegetable Samosas and the Lamb Bhuna are all popular dishes with guest at Dawat and many would be happy to return for the flavoursome dishes and excitable atmosphere.
4. Al Faisals
Al Faisals pride themselves on understanding the art of Kashmiri cooking. Known for its fresh, fluffy naan bread, this restaurant is as popular as ever following its refurbishment in 2005.
Manager Usman Ali tells us: “There are more Asian people around now, back 10 years ago the Asian community never went out to eat, but now they do.
“We have 80 per cent Asian trade. Al Faisals have been established for over 35 years now and we make real Kashmiri cooking, and that’s why were so popular.”
Good customer service is one of the many reasons Al Faisals is so well visited. The menu caters for everyone, with a separate kids’ menu that is price friendly and a range of appetisers, including seafood options.
There is also a part of the menu dedicated to the world famous dishes of Kashmir such as Chicken Korma, Murgh Makhani, Chicken Karahi and Kofta Egg all prepared from fresh produce and infused with colourful spices.
Recently named one of the four most authentic Balti houses in Birmingham, visitors have sung its praises by saying it’s surprisingly enjoyable.
The balti dishes can be personalised with tons of options to accompany the meat of your choice; such as peas, egg, mushroom, kidney beans and ladyfingers.
Prices are average for a Balti and an individual can spend £10 a visit, but the energetic ambience, personable staff and portion sizes are just right. This is definitely the place to try if you want some curry with class.
Imran Qureshi says: “Shababs in a nice place to go if you want to make an evening of it. You get nice décor, friendly staff to talk too and tasty food.”
Whenever you find yourself on Ladypool Road, make sure to visit each of these restaurants for a different Balti experience each time. Whether it is lunch or dinner, Ladypool Road certainly caters to all with a taste of home at an affordable price.