For colleagues who may be coming to the British Sociological Association conference in Birmingham in April and who want to taste the local cuisine, here are some personal favourites …
The best restaurant in Birmingham is Itihaas – it provides, in its own terms, ‘a Mughal era inspired cuisine’, but there are also great Punjabi dishes. They also have a brasserie version of the restaurant on the ground floor of Selfridges in the Bullring. My favourites are the Dal Makhni and the Aloo Ravia, but everything I’ve tried there has been excellent – my meat-eater friends have also enjoyed their meat dishes! For starters, I would strongly recommend the Ajwani Paneer ka Tukrah. The portions are decent sized and it’s nice to get a variety of dishes and share.
18 Fleet Street, Birmingham, B3 1JL
0121 212 3383
For a cheaper, café version of the same sort of food – where the food is just as good, but a lot cheaper – you can try Chandini Chowkon the Soho Road and also take in one of the most vibrant and bustling local street centres in Birmingham. Their Dal Makhni is also good and I have also enjoyed their Okra (Pindi) dishes and their Aubergine dishes. Meat-eater friends also recommend their meat dishes!
125 Soho Road, Handsworth, Birmingham, B21 9ST, England
0121 554 0042
Other ‘Balti’ restaurants are primarily in the ‘Balti Triangle’ in the Sparkhill /Moseley part of town. They are well worth visiting, but are often quite meat-focused and so, being vegetarian, I haven’t gone to them very often.
If, rather than Balti, you want to try Baltic cuisine, then find your way to the Two Cats – a wonderful new venture that’s recently opened up in Birmingham offering Baltic / West Russian cuisine. With a little bit of advance notice, they also cater very well to vegetarians/vegans. On the pricier end of restaurants listed here but unusual flavours and a great location – when I last went, they played the best jazz music as well!
27 Warstone Lane, Jewellery Quarter, Birmingham, West Midlands B18
0121 212 0070
For a taste of the Deep South, Louisiana to be precise, in Birmingham, and for great cocktails, think sazeracs, in a funky bar, The Church is your venue. It’s in the Jewellery Quarter and isn’t the prettiest part of town, but the food, drink, and vibe of The Church is well worth the visit. They have a great vegetarian selection and did I mention the cocktails?
22 Great Hampton St., Birmingham, B18 6AQ
0121 448 3866
The Warehouse Café is a long-standing vegetarian restaurant that shares its location with Friends of the Earth in the Digbeth area of Birmingham. It also has excellent vegan food and a great selection of cakes and desserts! They get their bread from Loaf – the best bakers in Birmingham – and another plus for visiting this café!
54-57 Allison Street, Birmingham, B5 5TH
0121 633 0261
For coffee, I’d strongly recommend Faculty at the Piccadilly Arcade, close to New Street station – they are open 8am to 6pm Monday to Friday and offer coffee to take away and have in. They are very small and so seating is limited, but this really is some of the best coffee you’ll get in Birmingham. Right next door there is a wonderful sandwich and soup place – perfect for a light lunch.
14 Piccadilly Arcade, B2 4HD