Quality Hotel Birmingham South NEC
47-49 Sherbourne Road
Birmingham, EN B27 6DX
Phone: (44) 121 706-5900
Fax: (44) 121 624-5900
Recommended in many guides to good food, the Rajnagar deals in Bangladeshi and Indian cuisine of a very high standard. That's why you have to pay a little more here than in some curry houses of less repute. All food here comes recommended, particularly the many fish dishes (including Bangladeshi specialties) and any of the Chef's Specials. Other factors that may interest are car parks at the front and rear, air-conditioning and a no-smoking policy.
The Wagon and Horses is a very popular family pub/restaurant on the main A45 about ten kilometers (six miles) from the city center. The building itself dates from about the 1930s, and the pub/restaurant is part of the Beefeater chain. It's comfortable and well patronized by families with a good sprinkling of business people. Food is basic but pleasant, and there are some more unusual dishes and specials too. The restaurant is non-smoking.
A rare item, this is a purely vegetarian Indian restaurant. The atmosphere is laid back and the Gujarati and southern Indian food is as good as any you'll find along this road, famous for its excellent balti restaurants. If paalakh and aloo with a couple of rotis appeals, it is quite inexpensive. The sweet center next door will sort you out nicely if you need a pudding. Booking is seriously recommended, as this is a very popular spot and there's only seating for a few.
The Bull's Head is a large pub/restaurant, situated on the busy A34 Stratford Road, south of the city centre. The pub includes comfortable sofas and open fires, creating a relaxed and informal atmosphere. There is a landscaped patio area, good disabled access and the pub attracts a mixed clientele. Food, which consists of traditional favourites such as steak, fish and chips, gammon, and scampi is only served from noon until 8p.
This cozy Hall Green restaurant serves delicious traditional Italian food and also offers a large selection of coffees, wines, lagers and spirits. If you visit for a meal, try breaded lobster tails as a starter with a main course of spaghetti matriciana or steak alla pizzaiola. All the food is freshly prepared and the quality is normally excellent. The atmosphere is quietly welcoming and the typical Italian trappings abound.
It may seem a little odd to find a Thai restaurant with a French name in this affluent, typically English suburb. But actually, the local chattering classes like a touch of the exotic and this is a very popular little place. And the smallness of the venue is in no way reflected in the menu, for you can choose from a variety of dishes; there are also set menus to choose from. The Beau Thai has been run by a husband and wife team since 1994, giving it a pleasant family feel, and it won the Birmingham Evening Mail restaurant of the year award in 1998.
The Minar is a small, traditional balti joint which opens somewhat nontraditional on Sunday mornings. The starters are one aspect that makes the place stand out - all are freshly cooked rather than microwaved, and include the unusual such as Hadi Chop, a kebab cooked in egg. The main courses are typical, egg baltis, bhunas, biryanis and the like. They also serve traditional Indian digestives, which is also a sub-continental delicacy called pan: a mouth-staining mixture of betel-nut leaves and lime, but not for the faint-hearted.
Recommended because of its popularity amongst locals, the Royal Naim does consistently good business in an area where balti restaurants are plentiful. Considering this popularity and the quality of food, it's a wonder they don't charge more — especially since it's unlicensed so there's no profit to be made from over—priced wines and beers. Spicy succulence is what you'll find in every dish (and there are plenty to choose from), but you'll never go far wrong with anything from the Chef's Recommendations.
An award-winning Pakistani balti restaurant, Sher Khan is recommended in various good curry guides. It's a fairly grand place, almost ostentatious with silver service and smart waiters, so you have to pay a little bit more. You do get free poppadoms and dips, though, whilst you choose from the big glossy menu. All food is freshly prepared and the chops tikka are certainly worth a try, as is the spicy eastern coffee to round things off. And if you're worried about hygiene standards when dining out, Sher Khan even does tours of its kitchen on request. 10% discount for students.
The further away from city centre you go, it seems, the more likely you are to find a Harvester pub. These big, friendly, homogenized places are great if you have kids and you're after a child-friendly environment that won't cost the earth. They also have the benefit of dishing up something children eat - usually from a specially designed Kiddies Klub menu, or some such similar. The Arden Oak will serve adults with surprisingly tasty treats too, such as hickory smoked ribs or marinated cuts of flame-grilled meats. Unfashionable maybe, but cheerily nonthreatening.
Although many balti restaurants lay claim to being the first of their kind to be established in Birmingham, this has perhaps the most right to do so. The usual balti fare abounds, but the chicken balti jalfrezi is especially good—hot and succulent. You might be best advised to leave the green chili bhajis alone though, unless you're a professional fire-eater. Customer parking is a handy addition in an area teeming with similar establishments. Expect to pay for a filling two-course meal, one that should certainly be of superior quality. Restaurant is currently undergoing refurbishment and has moved temporarily. Check website for more details.
The Royal Alfaisel is one of the many restaurants that claims to be the first balti house in Britain. Established in 1982, it remains one of the city's finest restaurants and yet has few airs or graces. Food is still ridiculously cheap and it's always freshly prepared with starters being exceptional value.