Tinseltown Halal Food Review – Star City, Birmingham

Salaams and welcome back to the Halal Blogosphere.

With the rapid growth of the halal food scene in Birmingham there is only so much food one reviewer can eat! So when we got an email in our inbox telling us that the team at the Musk and Moccasin blog had been updated to include a review of Tinseltown we couldn’t open the link quick enough!

For those of you who don’t follow it, its a great blog with contributions from some really interesting people, share the love and give them a follow and add them to your blogroll. It came on our radar as one of their writers is someone we regularly interact with on Twitter. The review is beautifully written so why duplicate a good thing when Wali Khan has done the job already.

So over to you Wali Khan….

Anyone who knows me personally knows I take my food seriously. I’m not into expensive cuisine but I like a proper meal and one that’s worth its money. On occasion, a nice relatively expensive dinner with friends, at about £30+ per head (OK I haven’t done Michelin Stars yet), isn’t too bad – especially when the food is amazing and the company with friends is even better. I like my local chippy just as much; ideal for when you want a quick bite to eat – the freshly made chips and the donner kebab sizzling away in the polystyrene container… perfection, my mouth is salivating at the thought (even though some would gasp at the thought!).

More recently however, those of us in Birmingham, have experienced a boom in the halal restaurant game. A few years back, Nandos (controversially) announced it is to do halal chicken, and KFC followed soon after. Add to this the myriad indian restaurants, steak houses and other food joints dotted around the city, you soon begin to realise that us Brummies spend quite a lot of our hard-earned cash on food.

Right, onto Tinseltown. Tinseltown is a well established brand that has recently branched out by opening it’s doors to the Birmingham crowd in Star City. It’s an American Diner style restaurant serving anything from steak to burgers and everything in-between. As you approach the restaurant, the decor is quite sleek, modern and grey. Take a few steps inside and you’ll soon see photos of Hollywood stars dotted around the place (hence the name).

As you get shown to your seat, and get told to remember your table number when you order, the waitress (more than probably from an Eastern European country – nothing against this, I actually find it quite nice *wink wink*) will hand you a menu. My friends and I have been twice since the opening and on both occasions, our eyes got hungrier than our stomachs. The menu looks brilliant and the variety of choice is actually amazing. Then you get to the milkshakes section and you can’t help but want one just to see if the hype is true – everyone says Tinseltown’s milkshakes are good, and my God, I’ve so far only tasted the Ferrero Rocher one and it is to die for!

Sadly however that’s where the good news stops. With all that I was expecting, Tinseltown is, in my books, a let down. Yes, I know this may be premature as I’ve already said I’ve been only twice and I certainly haven’t tried all the menu but I don’t think I’ll ever bother. This is why…

So what about the food I hear you cry….. click here to read on!

Until the next time happy eating!

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Rock 66 Diner Now Open – Birmingham

Salaams and welcome back to the Halal Blogosphere.

A quick update to let our readers know that the Rock 66 Diner is now open in Birmingham, its an American style diner with some amazing burger and milkshakes options. We wait years for something to happen in Birmingham and before you know it we have Rock 66, Tinseltown and Fargo’s!

Rock 66 is located in Washwood Heath, near the Fox and Goose pub. The full address is 891 Washwood Heath Road, Birmingham, B8 2NA. The telephone number is 0121 785 1234

Even better news alhamdulillah Rock 66 are offering a free meal and a milkshake to the Halal Food Review reader who pledges the highest donation to our Feed the Poor Campaign. The donation to beat to get your free meal and milkshake is £50.

What about the food I hear you cry.

We tried out Rock 66 this past Friday and here is our super quick mini review to get those tastebuds tickled!

Rock 66 offers a super menu that offers something completely different, they offer steaks, grills and some of the most interesting burgers in the Midlands offering you a whole range of different beef, lamb and chicken options with a whole host of different toppings and extras to choose from! I have to say I love the design of their menu it looks slick!

We experienced a good level of customer service, they exchanged one of our meals no questions asked after one of our group fell out with his burger! (not me)

The portion sizes are generous, so be careful when you order, its very easy to order too much and end up like us having eaten so much we left no room for a milkshake or dessert. With over 55 different milkshake combinations that was the ultimate mistake we could have made!

In terms of could do better we felt the fries were very bog standard its aminor quibble but they were completely outshone by the potato wedges which are worth paying the 99p extra for. Also I’d love to see Rock 66 offer free refills on the soda drinks for the full American experience even if they charged a bit extra for their initial drink 🙂

The what I learnt about myself bit

I absolutely hate beefburgers!, Give me lamb or chicken any day. I didn’t really enjoy my burger but that is down to my own poor decision making! I take full blame for that. Next time I will try the Chicken or Lamb options!

We will update the review once we’ve had a chance to try out some of the shakes and desserts!

For more info on Rock 66 visit their website at http://www.rock66.co.uk/

Tinseltown Review, Fargo’s Food Factory and Lahore Karahi Discount Code

Salaams and welcome back to the Halal Blogosphere!

Inshallah everyone is enjoying the wonderful sunshine, Spring has definitely come early and where there is good weather there is always an apetite for good food!

Just a quick update to let readers know we should have a mini Tinseltown Star City review up in the next week or so and we will also be bringing you an exclusive money off voucher for Lahore Karahi the Halal Chinese restaurant.

Also to let readers know Fargo’s Food Factory the new American Diner is now open on the Ladypool Road in Birmingham. The diner is located at the old Punjab Paradise location at the top end of Ladypool Road towards the junction with Church Road and joins Khan’s Fish Bar, Adil’s, Ulfat’s and the Lahore Buffet to create a nice little food quarter past the Brighton Road junction.

Before we do there is still the very big matter of our fundraising campaign. A big thank you to the readers who have donated to the appeal may Allah reward you and accept our duas on your behalf for your generousity. We are still short of our fundraising target by £95.

Inshallah we can hit our target and even exceed it with your help, its not to late to donate and there is no donation too small, every little helps. I know its not the easiest of climates to donate in but there is always someone who needs our help and blessings more. Inshallah with a little help from everyone we can help those who need it most. Please don’t wait for someone else to donate after some donations in the first few days of our appeal the donations have stopped even though our website hits haven’t!

To donate just click on the just giving link in the top left hand corner or read our previous post. You can donate online, by text or send us an email with your offline donation pledge.

Salaams and duas

The Halal Food Review Charity Appeal – PLEASE DO DONATE

UPDATE WE HAVE CURRENTLY RAISED £165 FOR THE FEED THE POOR CHARITY, WE ARE STILL £95 SHORT OF OUR £250 FUNDRAISING TARGET BUT INSHALLAH WANT TO RAISE MUCH MORE WITH YOUR SUPPORT!

Salaams and welcome to the Halal Blogsophere!

Today we don’t have a food review for you but we do have an urgent request for help. We pray that you will not only read this message but also action it through your generousity. PLEASE DO MAKE A DONATION.

I have been thinking for a while about how we can utilise the popularity of the Halal Food Review to support a greater good. I set up the Halal Food Review back in 2010 simply to share my passion for food and creative writing but inshallah going forward we can also make a difference and support those less fortunate than ourselves. Inshallah our readers who have benefited from the site can now return a small favour by helping us to help our brothers and sisters who don’t have access to basic necessities such as clean water or food.

For our first appeal we have chosen ISRA UK – FEED THE POOR a charity based in Birmingham which has done some excellent work in supporting those less fortunate than  ourselves. It’s a charity whose work I am both familiar with and proud of. Inshallah your donations will help support both their Water Aid and Iftaari Food Parcel Programmes.

We’re asking members of our community to make a contribution to our fundraising efforts. It could be a couple of pounds, it could be the equivalent of a tip you left at a restaurant or it could even be the equivalent of the price you paid for your last meal out. Whatever amount you can donate please DO DONATE no matter how small inshallah it will make a big difference.

So if you’ve enjoyed reading the Halal Food Review then please do help us to ensure those less fortunate than ourselves don’t go without basic access to clean water and food during Ramadan. What we take for granted others can only dream of.

If everyone one of our readers donated just £1 we would raise thousands each month, I pray that your generosity will help us meet and exceed our modest first target of £250. If the appeal goes well inshallah we will try to help raise funds for other charities in the future.

To donate just click on the following link http://www.justgiving.com/halalfoodreview

To donate via mobile phone text NPWX82 £3 to 70070 You can change the amount from £3 to a lower or higher amount.

Donating through JustGiving is simple, fast and totally secure. Your details are safe with JustGiving – they’ll never sell them on or send unwanted emails.

Once you donate, they’ll send your money directly to the charity and make sure Gift Aid is reclaimed on every eligible donation by a UK taxpayer. So it’s the most efficient way to donate.

So please dig deep and donate now by clicking on the link below

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We have already had restaurants express their interest in supporting our fundraising efforts in the future and we have some exciting plans in development for the future so watch this space.

Our duas and prayers are with all of you and we pray you can help us in raising our targets to help those less fortunate than ourselves. If you are not in a position to donate then please keep us in your duas and share the link to a campaign with friends and family using the sharing buttons below.

Shere Khan Halal Food Review – Birmingham / Star City

Salaams and welcome back to the Halal Blogosphere, this week we bring you a review of Shere Khan courtesy of our regular HFR correspondant Altaf H Kazi. Over to you!

I had arranged to go out to eat with one of my outlaws we decided to go for the safe bet that is Shere Khan. It also occurred to me that no one had done a review of this old haunt in Birmingham. So with my Halal Food Review hat on I made my way there.

Shere Khan is located in the Star City Complex offering a unique Pakistani Cuisine experience. I use the term unique as being an Indian I notice that a lot of Bangladeshi and Pakistani cuisine is often advertised as Indian cuisine when it really isn’t.

Walking into Shere Khan you experience a sophisticated modern feel to the place which draws on Moroccan / North African influences. The use of soft and dimmed lighting adds further to the experience and ambiance. The kitchen is visible to diners depending on where you are sitting which can always add to the theatre of the eating out experience.

If you arrive early you get to sit in the entrance waiting area whilst waiting for a table. We were warmly welcomed and the service was impeccable throughout the evening. After every course we were asked if everything was ok and to our satisfaction without it becoming overbearing. The drinks were served promptly and we had no delays in requesting or settling the bill for the evening.

Shere Khan offers a range of starters from mix grills through to kebabs, tikka, paneer and other vegetarian options. We opted for the Shere Khan Combo which included four sheesh kebabs, two lamb chops, three pieces of chicken tikka and a portion of salad.

The starter combo was of a very good standard. The sheesh kebabs were succulent with an array of spices; the lamb chops were exceptional cooked with a range of tandoori spices without overpowering the natural flavour of the lamb. The chicken tikka was also of a good standard but as I took my last bite on the tikka there was an abrupt break to the ambiance and suddenly a Happy Birthday song broke out on full blast!

Now I am a regular at Shere Khan and depending on what time you go on occasions you will have to endure the happy birthday song sometimes up to 5 times in a single evening! Now I’m not a party pooper but a remixed version of Happy Birthday can get annoying after the third or fourth time! There must be a way of it being toned down so it doesn’t impact on everyone in the restaurant but as I said as a regular at Shere Khan it is part and parcel of the offer and experience so be prepared!

With a successful starter lining our stomachs we eagerly awaited our mains. We had ordered both the Prawn Bhuna and Chicken Jalfrazi selected from an extensive menu of curries, grilled chicken and some additional Chef Specials and salad options. These were accompanied by three naans and one roti.

On arrival of our food my outlaw remonstrated that both portions were on the small side! I assured him that it was a barakah (blessed) portion J However; on reflection the portions were served in small serving dishes. I normally eat my wheatabix minis out of a bigger bowl!

The dishes themselves however were full of flavour with a little heat added to the equation. They were well prepared and delivered on taste as per our expectations. With the prawn dish we got an adequate number of prawns and there was actually chicken in the chicken jalfrezi! (Unbelievable, I know). I have been to too many places where you only get three or four prawns and a few pieces of chicken in your dishes, Shere Khan delivers better than that ensuring you get exactly what you asked for.

Onto our desserts or shall I say puddings! Shere Khan offers a wide range from Sticky Toffee Pudding through to Chocolate Melt in the Middle and Movenpick Ice Cream. In previous visits I have tried both the Sticky Toffee Pudding and the Chocolate melt in the middle, both were delicious!

We opted for the Ice Cream. Now the Chocolate and Vanilla Movenpick is like the Bentley of Ice Cream it is refined and sophisticated with both power and substance. So as you can imagine, I was quite looking forward to my portion! The ice cream was just as described and hit the spot however they presented it with a serving of cream! I would much rather have a bigger scoop and portion of the ice cream I ordered than a complimentary portion of cream! It’s a bit like buying a Bentley and then decorating it with a magic tree and a tissue box dispenser. (you know, gold and red- the type our dads and uncles have all had!)

Ok that’s the end of my ice cream induced rant! A word of advice to restaurants don’t serve premium Movenpick with cream, it doesn’t look any prettier, it doesn’t add to the taste and you’ll save yourself a bit of money in the process!

Our bill for the evening came to £36.00, which was on the higher side for two people however we did have a mixed grill starter, a prawn course, two desserts and four drinks. If you’re looking to save a few pounds on the bill then cut back on the drinks and stick to water!

The highlights were definitely both the mixed combo starter and the prawn bhuna. The ice cream was what I expected. I had enjoyed my authentic Pakistani meal, although I am still debating the authenticity of the Pakistani roots of the humble Sticky Toffee Pudding!

If you’re looking for a good night out you can’t go wrong with Shere Khan it delivers a good overall experience. For me, the food is akin to the Ronseal of Birmingham- it does exactly what it says on the tin!

Quality of Food – 7
Quality of Décor- 7
Quality of Service- 8
Value for Money- 6

Overall- 7

We are fundraising for the Feed the Poor Charity to support investment in clean water and the distribution of food parcels during Ramadan please make a donation no matter how small.

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To donate via mobile phone text NPWX82 £3 to 70070

You can change the amount from £3 to a lower or higher amount.

Rasoi Halal Food Review – Great Horton, Bradford

Salaams and welcome back to the Halal Blogosphere. We’ve been looking for contributers from outside of Birmingham for a while and we were really pleased to hear from Rachel a resident in Bradford who has agreed to step up to the plate pardon the pun.

Rachel is an active blogger who runs the Dinky Thinks blog which is her wonderful contribution to the blogosphere you can follow the blog by clicking the link above. We’ve got a special edited version of her review of Rasoi in Bradford but for the full fat feature including photos and additional thoughts please do visit her site and add it to your bookmarks. We’re hoping Rachel will be a regular contributor to the Halal Food Review so keep an eye on the site as we broaden our coverage to Bradford and Yorkshire!

You can also follow Dinky Thinks over on Twitter @DinkyThinks. Over to you Dinky!

A new kid has opened up on our block. Rasoi is located right on the traffic lights at Great Horton inBradford and occupies a former pub site. There is no parking but you can probably find a spot on the main road. Rasoi offers a Halal menu and a takeaway service. Eating on this Tuesday evening was me, my fiancée and my father…. All of whom are interested in curry…. Very interested in curry!

The décor is very red and very new and they did have a state of the art sound system, under floor heating and televisions installed. We opted for a drink from the non alcoholic menu (a strawberry lassi, Shirley Temple and glass of water) and have some free poppadoms to munch on whilst we check out the menu. The menu is quite small; which I don’t think is a bad thing to be honest; a lot of places in Bradford have so many items you just get lost trying to find anything you fancy.

The owners were fantastically friendly and courteous and the tables and restaurant were as clean as can be. The food did not come in any sort of hurry, despite how quiet it was, but we were not in a hurry so it was fine!

So to the food…. The menu has a range of English, Pakistani and Indian dishes with vegetarian options and meat too. To start with, we wanted the Dhal Bhaley (fried lentil dumplings) but they didn’t have any. We went instead for a Samosa Chat (meat samosa with chick pea salad) and a Papri Chat (fried crispy dumplings with chickpea salad). Both were delicious and fresh tasting… quite spicy and very tasty indeed.

For main course we choose the Tarka Daal (lentils infused with spices), Achari Ghost (lamb with spicy pickle) and a Lamb Special Balti – accompanied by roti. All was tasty and pretty blummin spicy too.

Rasoi have a special offer on at the moment for a free desert when ordering a main course. Deserts range from Kulfi and Rassmalai through to Jam Roly Poly and Chocolate Fudge Cake.

The meal cost £33 which we thought was great value for the portion sizes and we got leftovers to take home.  I would recommend Rasoi for the food, but it could do with a bit more of a buzz and a few more people…. Which will hopefully come with time – after all they had been open only 5 weeks! 

Read the full review at http://dinkythinks.wordpress.com/2012/02/01/restaurant-review-rasoi-great-horton/ along with more from Dinky.

Quality of Food – 7
Quality of Décor – 7
Quality of Service – 8
Value for Money – 7

Overall Score = 7

 

53rd and 6th halal cart New York City – The Legend of the White Sauce!

Salaams and welcome back to the Halal Blogosphere!

If you’re a resident of New York City then you will instantly know the reference to the 53rd and 6th Halal Cart. Simply put it is the most famous street food vendor address in the whole of NYC and best of all its halal! No trip to New York City is complete without a trip to the Halal Cart.

If you thought that was good you wouldn’t believe the politics but those let us spoil the viewing for you. The original Halal Cart is only open in the evenings from 8pm to 5am, so if you’re ever in town try out the legend of the white sauce.  We’ve tasted the $6 special platter and can confirm it truly is the real deal!  Trip Advisor has gone so far as to say this is the number 1 place to eat in New York!

So whats all the fuss, well check out the YouTube videos and find out for yourself. Until the next time happy eating.