Yaqub’s Steakhouse Review – Birmingham

Salaams and welcome back to the Halal Blogosphere. Over the last few weeks months we’ve seen a number of new Halal restaurants open in Birmingham from Mughal E Azam to Haveli Buffet and our first new opening of 2012 Yaqub’s Steakhouse.

As our readers know we are currently running a 25% off your total bill promotional offer and we’re grateful to the management at Yaqub’s for extending this generous offer to Halal Food Readers. Inshallah we will be bringing you other restaurant offers in the future, if you are a restaurant owner reading this then please do get in touch. If you want to be kept in touch of any offers like our page at Facebook or follow us at Twitter @halalfoodreview

In order to keep our reviews completely impartial I have not written the review for Yaqub’s, so that our readers get a completely neutral perspective and we maintain the integrity of the site so please welcome back Altaf H Kazi who has kindly agreed to review Yaqub’s Steakhouse. For regular readers with a long memory Altaf’s name might ring a bell he also penned our La Fibule review. So without further to do over to Altaf for our review of Yaqub’s!

Yaqub’s Steakhouse Review

After months of anticipation Yaqub’s finally opened its doors to the public. I was well excited; I’d been missing my lamb steak and picante gravy. This, I thought, would be my fix! I convinced a group of mates to join me. We had heard rumours that it was a little expensive so the guys warned me, that it better be worth it. I booked the table on Wednesday and got a late Friday booking, which was good. We booked our table before the Halal Food Review discount code went live so we paid the full price for our meals.

Getting to Yaqub’s is easy it is located opposite Lahore Chinese on the Highgate Road near the junction with Stratford Road. There is ample free parking opposite the restaurant which makes it easily accessible by car. From the outside Yaqub’s looks the business and looks like an upmarket establishment even though this seems a little odd for Highgate Road! But does it look like a Steak House? Unfortunately it doesn’t it looks good just not a steakhouse. It reminds me a little of Ismail’s with it being finished to a high spec but not having a steakhousy feel if that makes sense.

As you enter you are greeted by a ‘door opener’ standing between the two entrance doors which seemed a little odd but nevertheless he greeted us with a smile and did his job; making sure we got in safely. Doors are dangerous things, potential hazards even so it’s nice to see Yaqub’s safeguarding its customers from risk! It wasn’t particularly busy when we arrived but we did get there at 9.45pm.

So what about the food? 

Between our group of five we ordered different starters, I opted for the fish tikka whilst others in the group ordered the lamb chops, potato skins, prawns and fried beef starters.

My fish tikka was very nice; the batter was crispy with the right amount of spice, whilst the cod was perfectly cooked and moist.

Unfortunately my mates on the other hand were not as happy and understandably so; the lamb chops cost £4.50- for that price you’d expect to get 3/4 pieces but we received 2 chops for £4.50, that’s £2.25 a chop!  That was not the end of it we received 5 prawns for £5. The potato skins tasted fine but didn’t look impressive and I’d expect more when it comes to presentation particularly for a fine dining experience. I hope the management can take note.

On to our main courses. Yaqub’s offers a range of Steaks, Burgers and Fajitas. Their steak menu is extensive and they offer a range of different cuts of beef, t-bone, sirloin, rib eye or rump as well as lamb and chicken options. There is even a picture of a cow on the menu showing you were the different cuts are from. Along with offering the choice of your steak being prepared in 5 different ways you knew the team at Yaqub’s had done their research! With all this information I was about to go Heston on them and ask them if their meat was fresh or not. Steaks are better the more mature the meat gets- they are best at around six weeks from slaughter. 

The prices at Yaqub’s are definitely at the premium end of the dining experience and thus expectations are also raised high. I don’t think we mind paying good money as long as we get good quality food, attentive customer service and experience a good ambiance.

My mates ordered the t-bone steaks and burgers. I stuck to my guns and ordered a lamb steak (medium to well done) with picante gravy in the hope of getting my fix. The burgers looked exceptional- towering high and made from pure meat. They went down a storm. The burgers were succulent and juicy they had the right amount of cheese and where served in a ciabatta bap. They were as good as those served at Chicago Gourmet Burger with the bonus of more meat! We had the doubles and they were definitely the highlight of the evening!

The t-bone steaks didn’t hit the same note on the other hand and were just average in comparison. They didn’t jump out or taste exceptional and the gravy again was at best average. Now for the science part!

The t-bone steaks were not cooked to perfection. I could see the cooks using thermometers and for those who know about preparing and cooking steak should know that the medium to well is served best at 54- 57 Celsius. In my opinion it looked as if they had got the temperature right but forgotten to take into account the fact that residual heat keeps cooking the steak and that after resting the steak for at least 5 minutes they need to run the steak out to you. I think when you offer so many ways of cooking steak you need to get it right, especially at the premium side of things and this is something I hope improves with time as the potential is there. 

I got my lamb steak and was expecting a fillet of lamb (about the size of a burger patty) but what I got was four small pieces of lamb. I was gutted and all my mates were laughing at me! My dreams of getting my lamb fix were dashed! On enquiring with the waiter I was told that this was spring lamb and it came like this. I told him that they should tell customers this in order to manage expectations. He apologised and suggested that I could order something else. Having seen the burgers I ordered one of those instead.

The customer service at Yaqub’s is as good as anywhere in Birmingham but in my opinion the standard in Birmingham is below par compared to other cities I have eaten in. The service was ok, the waiter came and took our order, he then re-read the order to us and asked us how are food was once it had been served. So he did his job. In many other places that would have sufficed but when it comes to the premium side of the dining market I want the waiter and service to be exceptional at a level that goes above and beyond what I would expect at other restaurants. Again I think there is room for Yaqub’s to improve this part of their offer.

A note to Muslim customers Yaqub’s has no lota in the washrooms for making wudu so take your own bottles or wudu mates with you but I’m hoping the restaurant will rectify this!

Overall our night out to Yaqub’s wasn’t the success I hoped it would be but it wasn’t a failure either. The guys didn’t ‘cuss’ me for taking them there which shows that it had some good points like the quality of the fish tikka starter and the excellent burgers. The other starters were just ok particularly related to the price we paid. The restaurant needs to focus on delivering value for money for what is a premium dining experience and this includes improving the presentation of the food that is served so that it reflects that premium experience. My share of the total bill came to £18 including the starter and main dish and at that price the food, service and presentation has to be consistently good.

The biggest disappointment of the evening was the steaks; I was expecting something exceptional, something to befit Yaqub’s as the new premium choice, unfortunately our experience was average at best but I would hope things improve as we’re still at the early stages where all restaurants have teething problems.

I am planning on returning in a month or so after the restaurant has had some time to bed down. In a month’s time I would hope they have perfected the steaks and gravy as well as raising the level of customer service to reflect the premium dining experience.

I hope they do as they have the potential to become one of Birmingham’s finest dining places.

Scores

Quality of Food: 6
Quality of Decor, Facilities: 7
Quality of Service: 6
Value for Money: 3 (full price paid, no discount codes used)

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