A few weeks back, to celebrate my parents’ ruby wedding anniversary (that’s 40 years!) we took them to Lasan restaurant. Run by Birmingham restaurateur Aktar Islam and his business partner Jabba Khan, the eatery has picked up many awards over recent years, perhaps most notably Gordon Ramsay’s F-Word best local restaurant in 2011.
The restaurant is set just off picturesque St. Paul’s Square in the Jewellery Quarter. It’s modern glass exterior extends inside where polished concrete continues from the outdoor steps through the bar and dining room. The last twice I’ve been here I’ve thought it could perhaps do with a bit of a makeover; if I’m shelling out for fine dining then the food, the service, and the décor need to be spot on. A boozy three-course dinner will set you back around £75 a head, and that should come with a pretty pristine restaurant. It’s not tatty, but there are now points that should be addressed soon (scuffed stairs, frayed sofas, nothing major).
As a pre-starter we were given some tasty crisp golappe (bitesize spherical shells, with a hole in the top, stuffed with a little spiced chickpea mixture). I could just eat thirty of those and be happy to be honest, but I don’t think the kitchen would appreciate it so we ordered starters. A tender flame-licked Navrataani lamb cutlet was served with a chickpea patty, all gently spiced and offset by a mint raita; lamb and mint, what could be better? I loved the Konkan Kedaka, soft shell crab in a light chilli batter, served with a crab cake and tomato chutney. It’s so easy to over spice crab and end up with heat and no crab flavour, but I’m pleased to report the spice was spot on here. Our other starters of Sindi murgh (tandoori chicken breast with mango, chilli and ginger) and a polished version of an onion pakora were also excellent.
For mains my mum and I both had the Bathak Ki Salan, a pan roasted duck breast, with a spiced confit of duck leg. The breast was tender and the confit was buttery with a pleasant background heat. My dad had a great rendition of a chicken jalfrezi, with a whole chicken breast plated elegantly. The Nadan, a blade of Herefordshire beef that had been braised overnight, stole the show. All the dishes came with small saucepans of extra sauce – perfect for me and my penchant for “wet” food (it was recently pointed out to me that not everyone likes their food drowning in delicious tasty sauces). We shared a mushroom rice and a bread basket on the side.
For dessert I had a whisky (hic!) but we did also try the Chai, a spiced panna cotta, and the kaffir lime posset. Both good palette cleansing desserts.
All in, we had an excellent dinner with attentive service. Thoroughly recommended.