Lahore Karahi Chinese Birmingham – Halal Food Review Discount Voucher

The team at Lahore Karahi Chinese on the Highgate Road in Sparkbrook, Birmingham are offering a 25% off your total bill discount exclusively for Halal Food Review readers.

The offer is valid Sunday through to Thursday each week until the 12th April 2012. The offer is only valid if you PRE BOOK YOUR TABLE via their website or by calling the restaurant directly.

To book online visit http://www.lahorekarahiltd.com/lahore/index.html  and use the live table reservation system or the contact us page. When completing your booking please quote Halal Food Review 25% Offer in the comments section.

Bookings can also be made by calling 0121 773 7575.  When booking by telephone please quote Halal Food Review 25% Offer.

Once a booking has been made you will receive a confirmation message by text which needs to be shown when you arrive at the restaurant.

Please remember the discount code is only available for pre booked tables and is not valid without prior booking.

 

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Basha Halal Food Review – Birmingham

Salaams and welcome back to the Halal Blogosphere.

One of the things we love about our work at the Halal Food Review is the interaction we have with our readers on Facebook and Twitter and one thing that is really clear to us is that some of our most serious foodies are female! Our female readers are passionate about their food, vocal in their opinions and have a great eye for detail. So if any of our female foodies want to write for the Halal Food Review get in touch via Twitter or Facebook and share your views and you never know you might get a call from the HFR to pen our next review.

If you’re not a member of our Halal Food Review community on Facebook you can find us at http://www.facebook.com/halalfoodreview or if you want to follow us on Twitter we can be found @halalfoodreview

That shout out to our female readers brings us on to our latest review which is written by Halal Food Review correspondent Shabana Qamar. Readers with a long term memory will remember her from our review of Chaii in Birmingham.

Over to you Shabana!
 
Basha review

You would be forgiven for not noticing Basha amongst the hustle and bustle of Coventry roads Arab eateries in fact I have probably walked past it numerous times until a friend suggested we eat there. I was quite apprehensive as it looked like a male dominated cafe rather than a welcoming restaurant but when the sign read ‘Arabian/Turkish’ cuisine I did think oh this could be different. Basha is located a few doors down from Bader which is a firm favourite of the Halal Food Review and opposite Pastry House on the Coventry Road in Small Heath, Birmingham.

When walking in to Basha you are faced with a really small room with a counter full of tempting desserts so I was somewhat puzzled as to where the actual ‘Turkish cuisine’ was!  We were greeted by a waiter with an unexpected traditional Turkish top hat (we did get into a slight debate as to whether it was Turkish or Moroccan but if you have seen Tommy Cooper’s stand up you will know what I am referring to).

We were lead to the back of the cafe where I must say I was surprised to see a spacious well decorated room stretch out before us. It was only then we noticed how empty it was considering we arrived straight after Jummah prayers which is the busiest time for most restaurants on the Coventry Road as the hungry masses from the mosque head out to eat and socialise!

Without wishing to burst anyone’s bubble I am not a big fan of romantic dim lighting I don’t care how ugly my company is I still want to see their faces!

When presented with the menu I was pretty disappointed, I didn’t see anything ‘different’ neither did it shout TURKISH at me unless you included the grilled kebabs? I would compare it very much to the likes of Bader or Abu Zayd but even then their menus have more combinations and variety on offer. I was also struck by the rather odd baguette and Panini options which seem better suited to the cafe than the restaurant.

We opted for the mixed mezze starter along with the meat kabsa with rice and the barbecued chicken with fries for mains option. We decided to wait and see if we had enough space in the belly for dessert which I usually don’t after eating on Coventry road unless I decided to take a brisk walk to Asda and back!

The waiter with the traditional Turkish/Moroccan hat was quite friendly and in all fairness all the staff were smiley and pleasant. Our food came out almost instantaneously which wasn’t surprising seeing as there were only 2 other people in the restaurant at the time we ate.

Our starter was your standard mixed mezze which included hummus, falafels, vine wraps (name I forget) and a salad which all tasted fine. The falafel for my own personal taste was a little too oily and the hummus was a little too lightly spread for my liking I prefer my hummus to come in more generous servings!

The mains came out shortly after and the portion sizes were as big as I would expect from our Arab/Turkish brethren. The fries had some kind of chilli spice sprinkled over them which I actually liked but some may not as it can dominate the taste of the fries.
The chicken was well cooked but lacked a depth of flavour. I couldn’t figure out any distinct spices and I was expecting at least a subtle barbecued flavour but what came out was rather bland in terms of flavour. With the meat kabsa on the other hand it was very well spiced, beautifully seasoned and the meat was well cooked. My only issue here was that I didn’t realise the meat is mixed into the rice so for me it became a bit stodgy I prefer the rice and meat to be separated.

Overall our food experience was average, on the plus side service was good and we were given courtesy cinnamon tea during our mains which I thought was a nice gesture.

The total bill for our starter and 2 mains came to £17 which is reasonable for what we received. What you make of Basha is entirely dependent on your expectations from Arab/Turkish cuisine and given the local competition from established rivals such as Bader, Abu Zayd and Momo’s you can’t help feel that Basha needs to offer something different or extra special to convince people to give up their loyalties. If you fancy somewhere quiet to get away from the hustle and bustle of the Coventry Road then Basha offers that.

Food – 5/10
Service- 7/10
Space – 6/10
Prices- 7/10

Azka Halal Food Review – London

Salaams and welcome back to the Halal Blogosphere where we are very excited to bring you our first ever London review! Readers who have followed our blog over the years will know we’ve got Birmingham covered but inshallah over the next few months we want to bring you more national and international reviews! A big thank you for the review to one of our regular readers, its always great to receive a review from a reader who shares our passion for food!

Working in my field you’re always on the road on one mission or another, London is one of those stops you make on a much more regular basis than any other city and in my case more so due to having family in the capital.  As a regular reader of the Halal Food Review I’ve  been waiting patiently for someone to write reviews in London (hint hint) with no joy so I finally decided enough is enough if no one else will do it I will, or at least I’ll get the ball rolling.

On this occassion I was heading to East London. Driving down the Bethnal Green Road we had a couple of options including Maidah but we decided to stop off at Akza when we stumbled on it by chance and I thought lets see what East London can offer in terms of Turkish cuisine!

The first challenge you always have in London is finding somewhere to park so it was great to find on street parking right outside the restaurant. I’m guessing I was quite lucky with it also being Sunday afternoon, I’d imagine it would probably be difficult to park otherwise during busier parts of the week.

On this occassion I had travelled down with the wife and kids so was looking for somewhere that would be suitable for the family. Azka has a nice casual feel to it, the signage on the outside appealed to the creative side in me and the decore inside looked comfortable and suitable for a family dining experience.  Once in the restuarant we were greeted by a member of staff who took us to our table. The menu at Azka is a very traditional Turkish menu but I was a bit baffled as I noticed that the majority of staff didn’t seem to be Turkish which did make me wonder how authentic or traditional the Turkish menu would be when I had the food in front of me! Thankfully my mind was put at rest when I saw the chef who was of Turkish origin!

For our starters we ordered the Sucuk Hot Mezze (£4.00) which is a spicy Turkish beef sausage sliced into smaller pieces which came with a portion of salad. We also order two portions of the Chicken Wings Hot Meze (£5.50 per portion)  for the kids accompanied by two portions of chips and then for our mains we order the Azka special mixed grill for two and the Iskander Kebab.  The special mixed grill (£17.00) included lamb chops, chicken shish, adana kofta, cop shish, lamb ribs & chicken wings.  The Iskander kebab (£9.50) is  a dish comprising of an Adana kebab (minced lamb) & yoghurt with a special sauce

As we waited for our food to arrive we were pleasantly surprised to receive traditional bread, salad and sauces which again made me have a deja vu moment of being in Woody’s Grill another Turkish eatery in the capital. I guess it must be the standard thing to do at a Turkish restaurant in much the same way you get the poppadoms and sauces in Indian restaurants! The salad was a proper salad not the type you often find in restaurants which consist of some limp lettuce and if you’re lucky some bits of cucumber and onion. The bread came with a white sauce and a tomato salsa type dip, the bread itself could have done with being warmer.

The first thing you notice about the food at Azka is the portion sizes which are absolutely massive! The mixed grill in particular was a really generous portion. The portion sizes ultimately overcame us and we had to take some food home, in hindsight we probably ordered for three adults rather than two and had underestimated how much food would be served. Both the mixed grill and the Iskander kebab dishes were of a really good standard. I was intrigued by how the Iskander kebab was presented. I am normally used to having it served in a bowl with the meat at the bottom with different layers of the yoghurt etc. I was told that the chef was experimenting with how to present their menu differently. The chef had been poached from a nearby restaurant so it seemed to me that the team behind Azka whilst not being Turkish had wanted to secure an authentic Turkish chef for the restaurant. On the whole thought I had very little complaints about the quality of the food it was really good.

If I had one complaint about Azka it was that the restaurant was not the warmest place to eat which doesn’t help in the coldest February I can remember! Whilst not generally a problem it does mean that food also gets colder quicker than it normally would as happened with our rice.

When it came to settling our bill we received a handwritten bill which you expect less and less these days, the total bill came upto £47.60 which was on the steeper side but we had definitely over ordered with the special mixed grill, the Iskander kebab and the three meze dishes in addition to two portions of chips. In addition to the food we ordered two cokes and two apple juices. I am guessing we might have also been charged for the bread and the dips at the start of the meal, we did have two rounds of the bread having asked for extra.

The fact I didn’t keep a copy of my handwritten bill after paying makes me unsure as to whether or not the bread and dips were complimentary or not.

Overall I thought the food was of a good standard, the total cost definitely reflected us over ordering! If I was to have one complaint it would be that the restaurant was on the cold side throughout our meal which is not ideal in winter!

Overall I’d give Azka a very credible 7

The Azka website can be found at http://www.azkaturkish.co.uk/ the full address of the restaurant is

267 Bethnal Green Road, E2 6AH London

 

Fargo’s Food Factory Review – Birmingham

Salaams and welcome back to the Halal Blogosphere

A week doesn’t seem to go by at the moment without a new restaurant opening up in Birmingham, since October last year we’ve seen a whole host of new restaurants opening offering everything from opulent Mughal cuisine to All you can eat buffets to new steakhouses. Recently we’ve seen a flurry of American style diners with the opening of Tinseltown, Rock 66 and Fargo’s Food Factory all in a matter of weeks.

We’ve been waiting rather impatiently for Fargo and his team to lift the shutters on their food factory ever since we first got news that the old Punjab Paradise was closing down. As much as we love the Balti Triangle we’ve been crying out for some different types of restaurant to open in the city’s most famous food district. Fargo’s as you’ve probably guessed is located at the top end of Ladypool Road and joins Ulfat’s Grill, Adil’s,  Lahore Buffet and the much loved Khan’s Fish Bar to create a varied dining offer that further extends the appeal of Ladypool Road as a dining destination of choice for so many halal foodies.

Fargo’s has an interesting internal configuration, as you enter the restaurant you see the counter half way up the restaurant and then there is a further dining area stretching past the counter. We sat in the dining area directly opposite the counter which has traditional American style booths. It did take a bit of adjusting to get our bearings but once seated we instantly felt the warmth of the restaurant and its great to have access to heating on a cold February evening. There seems to be the odd remnant of the old Punjab Paradise with the decorated archways but everything else definitely has the Fargo’s factor. One of the things I do like is a restaurant that develops a unique and different style of branding and I have to say I do love the Fargo’s concept with the storyboard, the narrative and the cartoon characters. I was eating with the family and the kids simply adored some of the imagery on the walls and it makes for a really nice environment for young kids with plenty of space to run around in.

The menu at Fargo’s is different and basically offers diners five food options each themed around one of the Fargo characters so you have a choice from a range of burgers, grilled options, stir fry, curry and pizza options. There is also a themed dessert menu and a kids selection. The menu is varied without being over powering, the choices are sensible and the only thing that I found missing was a good fish option in the grill section as I am definitely partial to a good piece of Salmon!

The service at Fargo’s was good, the staff were friendly and attentive without being overbearing. Once you place your order you also get an estimate from the waiter of how long your food will take which is a nice touch and helps to manage expectations especially amongst impatient diners. We were told our food will take about 30 minutes and it came to the table after around 20 minutes which was great. The staff were also really good with the kids and as a parent that’s a big plus for me. Coupled with a kids menu that works for me. When you’re eating out with young children you’re always a bit more conscious as to how the kids will behave as well as the reaction of other diners and restaurant staff, we had none of these worries at Fargo’s. If I could offer one recommendation to the team at Fargo’s it would be to include a juice or diluted drink with the kid’s meals. (the team at Fargo’s have heard our request and kids meals now come with diluted drinks)

So what about the food I hear you cry!

Based on my Facebook research and talking to friends who had eaten at Fargo’s a day earlier I had no hesitation in ordering the Brick Burger which offers diners the option to simply double up on their burger choice and mix and match their combination. After my beefburger experience last week I decided to stick to what I love which was the lamb and chargrilled chicken which fused the Grizzler and the Colonel Burger options. Doubling up is a great option and really good value for money for an extra £1.50. The wife decided to try something different and opted for the Vegetable Chow Mein with the option of added chicken from the Stir Fry Menu.

The Brick Burger hit the spot and the flavours of the Chargrilled Chicken and the Spicy Lamb patty really complimented each other and were perfectly finished off with the chilli relish. For £6.95 you can’t really go wrong for a premium burger of this quality and the standard was definitely on a par with what we’ve enjoyed at the Chicago Burger Company, I was tempted to go with the full loaded fries but stuck with the safe option of chunky chips! The stir fry was a generous portion with a great fusions of flavours. I did have my doubts about offering four very different options on a menu but its great to actually be able to go to one restaurant and order from different and distinct options. It gives you more reason to come back and try something different.

From the dessert menu we opted for the Cookie and Cream Sundae and the Mango Milkshake. The Cookie and Cream sundae split opinion on the table, the kids and I enjoyed it whilst the wife was in two minds about it though she did have her heart set on the Chocolate Cake and Ice Cream only to be vetoed by me! The one thing I did agree with though was that more thought could have gone into the presentation. Desserts should be as pleasing on the eye as they are on the the tastebuds. It delivered on the latter but could do more on the former! The mango milkshake was the only real let down for me during the evening, I normally opt for a mango shake from any milkshake menu as quite often its the most difficult to get right in terms of that unique balance of flavour and the milkshake for me didn’t really capture that mango essence!

Price wise Fargo’s is a hit for me, the portions are generous, the prices are competitive and there is a really good selection both in terms of food but also in terms of drinks. Service as I mentioned earlier was also a hit, staff were friendly and courteous, we were offered free water as a matter of routine and when it came to settling up at the end of the evening we were asked for feedback on the food and our experience which I really appreciated. We did talk about the mango milkshake and it was great to have the team ask why it didn’t work for me and what would make it better  and that they would look to address it in the future. Its a small touch but an important one that separates good service from bad service reminding the customer that they are valued.

So to summarise, Fargo’s is a great addition to the halal dining offer in Birmingham, the food was great, the prices are competitive and service was also spot on. They were also really receptive to my feedback on the milkshake. I’d definitely recommend Fargo’s to Halal Food Review readers and I have a feeling people will try it more than once and mix and match from the different options on the menu. It would be great to see Fargo’s open a bit earlier to offer a lunch option on Fridays and the weekend but maybe that is already in the pipeline, if not its worth thinking about.

Quality of Food – 8
Quality of Service – 8
Quality of Space – 7
Value for Money – 9

Overall score 8

Discount Halal Food Dining

Salaams and welcome back to the Halal Blogosphere!

With the credit crunch hitting our pockets it’s not easy to dine out on a regular basis especially if you’re taking the family out for a meal or are having to cut back on your spending to make your income stretch further as utility bills, petrol prices and general inflation goes through the roof! The good news is that halal restaurants are finally beginning to replicate the mainstream model and introduce a range of discount offers, money off vouchers as well as featuring on popular mobile applications such as Voucher cloud to make it easier for us to dine out whilst save money in the process.

So how do you go about saving money on your meal. While firstly get yourself on Facebook and Twitter and connect with any restaurant that might have a digital platform. If a restaurant is going to offer a special deal it will most certainly use Facebook or Twitter to promote the offer. Tinseltown is an excellent example of a restaurant offering halal food that utilises the social media power of Facebook and Twitter. Its lightening Monday deals are a fantastic way of encouraging its customers to come back and try a range of different special deals that offer a big discount to what you would normally pay. The concept of offering the deal on a Monday is not too different from Orange Wednesdays and encourages people to go out on a day they might not necessarily associate with socialising or eating out.

If you have a smartphone then make sure you download Vouchercloud which is a great application to help you save money on shopping, food, leisure activities and a whole range of other options. When we’re out and about in Birmingham we have no shortage of offers offering discounts at coffee shops, sandwich outlets, restaurants etc. The halal options are limited at the moment but that’s not the fault of Vouchercloud we need more of our halal restaurants to connect with social media. With every customer now likely to have a smartphone in their pocket its never been easier for someone to use an application to help identify where they can eat. If you can integrate a special offer to that interest then you’re more than likely to find yourself a new customer.

At the Halal Food Review we have set up our Facebook page to connect not only with our readers but also the halal food restaurants so when we see an offer we can also share it with our readers. That really is the power of social media the ability to see something and share it with people you think would be interested.

The other benefit of social media is the speed and simplicity in terms of letting people know there is an offer, we couldn’t possibly update the website every time we came across an offer but it’s incredibly easy for us to share an offer via Facebook or Twitter, it literally takes us one click.

So if you’re interested in finding good food at an even better price then join our Facebook or Twitter community using the buttons below or the top right hand corner of the site. Also a call out to our readers who are active on Facebook and Twitter as well as any restaurants. If you are aware of an offer or are running an offer let our community know by sharing the link or tweeting it. Whilst we try and keep up to date with things its impossible to catch everything and that’s where even the Halal Food Review can benefit from the social reach of our readers.

Just in the last couple of weeks we’ve been able to share with our readers how you can save money at Tinseltown, Guanabana, Archies and Peri Peri Grill and thats just the tip of the iceberg. I am sure there are loads of other offers out there so if you know of an offer a restaurant is running share it with us! If you like a page on Facebook or follow a Twitter account that we don’t just flag it up with us and we’ll add it to our network.

You can find us on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/halalfoodreview or you can follow us on Twitter @halalfoodreview

Until the next time happy eating!