If there’s something Birmingham’s already blessed with plenty of, it’s Indian restaurants and, with the famous Balti Triangle barely a Seekh Kebab’s throw away, perhaps it takes a brave soul to open a new one – especially on Broad Street which has certainly seen its fair share of restaurants come and go over the years. EastZEast already has five seemingly very successful venues in the north west though so they must know what they’re doing.
This is their first foray down ‘south’ and from the moment you step through the doors you can clearly tell they’ve spent a rupee or two fitting the place out. Dazzling white walls and crystal chandeliers greet you and it feels a little more like a palace than a curry house. In fact less karahi, more Liberace you could say.
The menu’s pretty extensive too so allow a good few minutes to plough through it all, although fans of the cuisine will be pretty familiar with many of the offerings. For starters we went for the old favourite Seekh Kebab and one of many the many veggie options, Aloo Tikka. The kebab was suitably deli-seekh; juicy, well spiced and retaining a decent meaty texture whilst the Aloo Tikka was a moist parcel of potatoey loveliness with just enough heat.
That pretty much set the template for the mains, good food, well flavoured and cooked with just that little more sophistication than usual. The Chicken Tikka Masala, whilst distinctly lacking the deep (and let’s face it sometimes slightly gory and suspicious looking) red hue of some examples, was sweet, mild and creamy. The Lamb Sookah Bhuna packed a decent punch and the meat itself had clearly been cooked long and slooooooooow as it genuinely melted in the mouth, dissolving in a saliva erupting burst of heat and spicy flavour. Highly recommended. In the interests of research we tried a couple more veggie dishes too, a deliciously smooth and creamy Tarka Daal and a chunky Aloo Gobi Mutter that delivered the kind of flavours and textures rarely found in a dish that doesn’t contain various bits of animal.
The rice was fine, perhaps a little clumpy (this was opening night and more of a buffet set up so allowances can be made), but the naan was spot on, thinner than some but sufficiently robust to mop up the sauces without feeling that you were eating an entire king size dough-vet.
No doubt the Halva we shared for pudding contained more calories than the average human should consume in a month but it was worth it. In terms of taste think a slightly lighter treacle pudding with some plump raisins chucked in for good measure and a little more textural variety. Indian puddings can sometimes be tooth-rottingly sweet but this one was just right.
Price-wise you’re obviously paying a little bit of a premium for the opulence, location and that little extra sophistication in the cooking but if bling’s your thing EastZEast is hard to beat.