Bored of the same old city centre eateries claiming to be Birmingham’s best Indian restaurant, The Birmingham Gazette decided to visit the infamous Horseshoe Bar and Restaurant which really does have a reputation as serving Birmingham’s finest, authentic Indian cuisine.
Whether you’re in the mood for a glass of Merlot, or feeling adventurous and want to try something different like their spiced Mojito Cocktail, the owner was only too happy to show us around the impressive interiors and warm and cosy atmosphere the venue has since its recent refurbishment.
Based in Hall Green, the Horseshoe has all the comforts of a modern country pub with the added benefit of being close to the city centre and most commuting routes within Birmingham. There’s also ample parking which caters for both the bar and restaurant and lavish banqueting hall next door.
There are a variety of menus at the Horseshoe but after speaking with the owner for a few minutes we decide to go for the Indian dining menu.
With such an array of mouth-watering dishes, we needed some help to choose. We opted for a platter of both vegetarian and meat starters that gave broad range of North Indian flavours and combinations. As a meat eater I enjoyed the tiger king prawns, the honey giving them a gentle sweetness with kick of chilli added for good measure.
These were succulent and juicy and went perfectly with both a Barrah Kebab of baby lamb chops, marinated in yoghurt, ginger and garlic coupled with chicken tikka in achari marinade and roasted in a tandoor. My friend Swapon loved his vegetarian option of a Hara Bhara Kebab. These were spinach and fenugreek patties lightly filled with cheese, onion and coriander. Using just the right amount of spices, these left you wanting more and a bharwan aloo was an excellent finishing touch, the stuffed potato with raisins and nuts leaving a deliciously sweet aftertaste on the tongue.
The owner took time to explain how many of the top Indian restaurants that win so many awards often have a common flaw, and The Birmingham Gazette happened to agree. Indian restaurants can often claim to be 100% authentic but their head chefs aren’t even from India. India is a sublime fusion of the west and the east, in the most delicate and subtle ways the Horseshoe definitely comes up top trumps as our number one Indian restaurant after our delightful experience.
The key the owner tells us is in this authenticity. Chefs are firstly from India, and second have worked in some of the finest restaurants in Delhi making for a truly unforgettable selection of starters.
The Chilli and Spice Restaurant offers the very best North Indian cuisine, led by the majesty and five star experience of Chef Chandra Shekhar Raturi.
Our table was booked on a Saturday evening and it was great to see the restaurant at a traditionally quiet time of year with such a buzzing ambience. The restaurant was packed out but surprisingly enough the service kept up with the pace effortlessly. Our waitress and the Manager spent time making sure that we had everything we needed, even a top up of mango chutney to accompany my starter.
Onto the mains, it had to be said that this is an even more difficult choice. The Raarah Gosht is a classic Punjabi recipe of boneless lamb in keema curry. This went incredibly well wrapped in pieces of Laccha Parantha, Pudina or Ajwain – an aromatic layered bread made with whole-wheat flour.