Royal Watan Tandoori Restaurant Reader Review

Salaams and welcome back to the Halal Blogosphere, today we have a mini review for the Royal Watan Tandoori Restuarant submitted by Halal Food Review reader Ali. The Royal Watan Tandoori is located on the Pershore Road and away from the traditional balti and tandoori hotspot of Sparkbrook so its always great to hear from our readers especially when they are happy to submit a review. The full address for the restuarant is 602-604 Pershore Road, Selly Park, Birmingham, B29 7HQ

Over to you Ali.

I was actually suprised to find that this restaurant had not been reviewed by the Halal Food Review, it may not be as well known as many other halal restaurants due to its location but the quality of food is excellent. I had a chance to visit the Royal Watan Tandoori establishment recently with my family, we were welcomed by a polite waiter and escorted to our table. The restaurant was not too busy with a few groups dining in on the day of our visit.

Once we were seated we were given our menus as well as being served complimentary bottled water( normally its hellish getting waiters to give you water at some restaurants as they want you to buy drinks lol) then we were asked about poppadoms and they arrived with a nice selection of dips. The menu is brimming with choice and is based on a traditional balti concept. For starters we ordered a mixed grill and the waiter also recommended the Kashmiri Fish which we also ordered, it was a nice touch for the waiter to suggest specialities on the menu that we may not have considered otherwise.

Firstly the best word to describe the fish is WOW, it is one of the best fish starters I’ve had with a melt in your mouth taste. The mixed grill was a really generous portion which had a selection of everything in it and there was enough for the whole family. The lamb chops in the mixed grill were really nice if there was to be a criticism then it would be that the mutton tikka was slightly on the hard side and overcooked.

Progressing onto the main course, the waiter recommended that we have our dishes cooked “desi style” and I am glad we made that choice, the lamb karahi was beautifully done, and our second dish of boti kebab again was really well prepared. From the sundries menu we had a medium cheese and garlic nan, which looked as good as it tasted!

One niggle that I had was that the Royal Watan didn’t serve my favourite dessert rasmalai so we opted for milkshakes instead and again they really hit the spot. The atmosphere at this restaurant is cosy, perfect for families with a nice contemporary modern decore. Me and my family are now regulars at this establishment and are always welcomed and treated well.

Value for Money: 9
Quality of the Food: 9
Atmosphere: 8
Would I Go Back: definitely!

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Royal Haveli Buffet Restaurant Now Open

Salaams and welcome to the Halal Blogosphere!

The Royal Haveli is now open on the Coventry Road. Opening hours are 5.30pm to 11.30pm so don’t be rushing in expecting a buffet extravaganza at lunch times! The restaurant has taken over the old Dubai Express premises which was the second most searched for restaurant in 2011 by Halal Food Readers. Lets hope Royal Haveli are here for much longer than Dubai Express lasted. Birmingham has been crying out for a really good high end halal buffet location and Royal Haveli seems to have spotted a really good niche in the market. Also big props to the team at Royal Haveli for their radio, billboard and banner marketing campaigns, its great to see a halal restaurant develop a clear marketing strategy.

The buffet menu is £11.99 excluding drinks and there is currently an offer running where kids under 10 can eat for free. This offer is valid until Christmas day. The Halal Food Team will be heading down to review the Royal Haveli in the coming weeks, but if you plan on eating out at the Royal Haveli before we get there then please do send us your reviews and comments.

Let the feast begin!

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Sameer Eats – Douglas Pizza and Grill, New Jersey

Salaams and welcome back to the Halal Blogosphere, we thought we’d share some love at the Halal Food Review by introducing you to our favourite reviewer from the USA who takes the Halal Food Review experience to a whole new level with live video!

Sameer is an institution back in the USA and if you like your halal food then check out his website at http://www.sameerseats.com you can also find Sameer on Twitter and Facebook!

In the meantime check out his latest video which features the Douglas Pizza and Grill in New Jersey, USA.

Halal Food Review Restaurant of the Year 2011 – The votes are in

The Results are in for our 2011 restaurant of the year. Voting commenced from the 20th December 2011 and closed on the 4th February 2012. We had over 100 votes cast from our readers who were given a choice of 7 restaurants and you’ve given us your verdict!

Congratulations to Mughal E Azam for getting 29.21% of the vote and being crowned our readers choice for 2011.  A special mention to our runner up the Chicago Gourmet Burger Company. Inshallah all our nominations in this category will go from strength to strength and continue to offer halal diners a wonderful experience throughout 2012.

Which Restaurant are you most looking forward to opening in Birmingham

The Results are in for our 2011 vote to find out which restaurant Halal Food Readers were most looking forward to seeing open. Voting commenced on the 20th December 2011 and closed on the 4th February 2012. We had just under 100 votes cast from our readers who were given a choice of 5 restaurants and you’ve given us your verdict!

Congratulations to Haveli Buffet for getting a whopping 49.51% of the vote.  A special mention to our runner up Yaqub’s Steakhouse and Grill which received 21.36% of the vote. Both restaurants are now open. We’re expecting the other 3 restaurants in this voting category to open in the coming months with Fargo’s the most likely to open next.

Inshallah all our nominations in this category will go from strength to strength and continue to offer halal diners a wonderful experience throughout 2012.

 

Chicago Gourmet Burger Company

Salaams and welcome back to the Halal Blogosphere where man and food collide for a fusion of opinion, flavour and social comment.

Last week your Halal Food Reviewer was tipped off to try out the Chicago Gourmet Burger Company which has recently set up operations in Birmingham. The only clue given to its exact location was it was near the Subway outlet adjoining the Matthew Boulton Campus on the east side of the city centre. Its not the easiest place in Birmingham to find and its tucked away in a discrete part of the student quarter on the Eastside. If you can locate the Subway then follow the narrow road around the block and you will stumble upon the diner.

If you’re driving your best bet would be to park in one of the city centre car parks and walk to the diner. Its a short walk from both the Bull Ring and the Priory Square for those who know their Birmingham city centre geography. Their website address is http:/www.thechicagoburger.com it is currently a holding place but hopefully address details will be added soon!

What struck me instantly upon entering was how busy the diner was and I do refer to it as a diner, the decore is fresh, contemporary and modern and the majority of customers seemed to be students from the local college or university campuses. The owners have put some real attention into the whole concept and its easy to see the Chicago Gourmet Burger Company morph into a chain.

The menu is really simple, you have a choice of any number of burgers from the Real Deal to the Milana Classic to the Chicago Tower as well as chicken, fish and vegetarian options. The majority of burgers come in beef or lamb options with the extra option to add a spicy kick to your burger of choice. The burgers are served with some really authentic chips cooked in their jackets with an option of a hot topping ranging from curry sauce and spicy baked beans to vegetables and a spicy lamb fusion topping.

I opted for the Milana Classic Meal going for the lamb option which comes with chips, a hot topping and a bottled soft drink for a very reasonable £4.99, there is also the option to double up on your burger of choice as well as a range of others sides and extras. The CGB Company also offers a range of jacket potatoes, hot drinks and desserts.

The restuarant definitely has a diner / contemporary feel to it and lends itself to its student crowd, the diner closes at 8pm so if you’re on the look out for a late night burger you will probably be out of luck. The service was great, the team seems really professional with the serving team happy to guide you through the various options and introduce the menu to you. The guy who served me threw in an extra side which he recommended in addition to what I ordered, small touches like that can make a big difference and its a really good way to encourage your customers to try different things on the menu.

What about the food I hear you cry!

My meal was spot on, the burger was succulent, full of flavour and I could really taste the lamb. If you’ve had the misfortunate of eating 99p cheeseburgers then this is your road to redemption and recovery. The chips were perfectly cooked and came in a sensible sized portion with customers free to select extra sauces free of charge. I really loved the little touches in terms of presentation. The burger came wrapped in a foil wrapper with the exterior offering a full menu option as well as built in customer feedback form. The chips arrive in a contemporary cardboard serving box and you are also provided with a napkin, fork and lemon hand wipe. Again this is nothing spectacular but it sets the diner out from its competition and definitely places the focus on customer service.

The Chicago Gourmet Burger Company is a great addition to the halal dining experience that is Birmingham, ever since I tried Archies in Manchester I have been looking for a really interesting specialist real burger company to open in Birmingham and Chicago Gourmet Burger Company has stepped in at the right time and delivers a really high quality experience. If I could encourage the company to make any changes it would be to introduce a funky milkshake menu to really complete the menu.

If you’re in Birmingham and looking for a high quality burger than Chicago Gourmet Burger Company needs to be your point of call. The HFR team wishes them the best of success and we wouldn’t be surprised to see the concept and the chain grow. Its a big thumbs up from me!

Quality of Food – 8
Quality of Service – 9
Quality of Space – 9
Prices – 8

Overall rating 8.5 Chicago Gourmet Burget Company has brought a much needed premium halal burger concept to the city!

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Yaqub’s Steakhouse Opening Date Confirmed and we have the exclusive!

Salaams and welcome back to the Halal Blogosphere!

Yesterday morning I had a special sneak preview of Yaqub’s Steakhouse with a behind the scenes tour of the latest edition to the Halal Food scene in Sparkbrook. Yaqub’s is located on the corner of Stoney Lane and Highgate Road literally opposite the Lahore Karahi Halal Chinese Restaurant.

Yaqub’s has a fresh contemporary feel to the decor with a strong visual brand that is visible both on the exterior and the interior of the restaurant. The downstairs dining area seats approximately 70 covers with room to seat a further 100 covers upstairs. The restaurant has a vast window frontage with the bottom half of the windows benefiting from having a frosted cover to allow diners to have a more intimate dining experience without their steaks getting the evil eye from passers by! The attention to detail expands to the toilets which have also been fitted out to a good quality standard. Too often some of our halal restaurants can really be let down by the toilet area. We’re constantly getting emails from some of our readers sharing some of the worst experiences but I digress!

Food I hear you cry! I had a chance to sit down with one of the owners of the restaurant and he was really excited about the menu the chef and his kitchen team have come up with. There was a clear emphasis on creating a unique steakhouse experience and yes folks that includes the option to ask how you want your steak cooked. I’m really hoping Yaqub’s bucks the trend of having your steak come in any form as long as its well done! What was really interesting to hear was that Yaqub’s will also be offering a comprehensive fish menu which will include everything from sea bass and salmon to lobster!

So when is Yaqub’s opening. Drum roll please……. Yaqub’s Steakhouse will be opening this coming Friday which also happens to be the 13th! Not that we Muslims believe in superstition! So start crossing off your dates on the calendar and join us in the countdown to the latest edition to the Halal Food landscape in Birmingham.

Can it get any better, yes it can! The Halal Food Review will be bringing our readers an exclusive discount code to use at Yaqub’s this should be live in the next couple of weeks so make sure you keep an eye on the website. For the quickest reminder just follow us on Twitter @halalfoodreview or join us on Facebook by clicking the link to our Facebook page in the top right hand corner of the site or at http://www.facebook/halalfoodreview

As always we will be bringing you our review of Yaqub’s as soon as we’ve had a chance to sit down and tuck into the menu at newest steakhouse in Birmingham.