Chicago Gourmet Burger Groupon Deal is back!

Salaams and welcome back to the Halal Blogosphere. If you’re in the mood for a Chicago Gourmet Burger then get yourself to the Groupon website and bag yourself a special deal where you can snap up 2 meals for £6 and 4 meals for £10.

The deal is on for a limited time only so get yours before they run out. Just follow the link and get saving!

Chicago Gourmet Burger Groupon Deal

Slice of New York Review – Birmingham

Salaams and welcome back to the Halal Blogosphere. We are slowly waking up from our halal food slumber and inshallah will bring you more news, reviews and views from the Halal Food Scene over the coming months.

We were recently alerted to the opening of Slice of New York on the High Street in Kings Heath at the Vicarage Road Junction. We have to confess when we first heard about it we didn’t really pay much attention. We’re quite used to seeing fast food joints open in Birmingham and then vanish almost as quickly as they open.  Slice of New York has only been open for a couple of weeks, the menu is still being tweaked, developed and added to and there seems to be some rather frequent changes to prices too! We’ve made two trips to a Slice of New York in the last couple of weeks and have seen the menu expand from a core staple of pizza options and Philly steak sandwiches to include homemade burgers with plans in place to introduce a pasta menu in the coming weeks.

Slice of New York occupies a small retail unit on the High Street, the first thing that hits you when you walk past is a rich and colourful display of pizzas in the shop front. As you enter you are greeted by a counter that runs the length of the eatery on your left hand side and a row of covers on the right hand side. The biggest challenge for anyone who wants to eat in is the limited width of the space which means that there are two rows of tables that seat a maximum of 2 people per table.  This is great if you’re a couple or eating with a friend. If there are more than 2 of you eating then it does mean sitting on different tables which is a rather quirky and interesting experience! We love the name and really like the concept, the menu and the branding is still a bit rough around the edges but definitely a work in progress.

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What makes Slice of New York even more interesting is that the owner has relocated / returned to Birmingham after living in Florida in the United States. Why is this important I hear you ask? The American influence is not just in the name but also the menu, there is no other place in Birmingham where we’ve seen Gyro served and the Philly and Greek Steak sandwiches have a definite American twist to them.

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So what about the Food I hear you cry.

We’ve sampled the Steak sandwiches, we’ve sampled the pizza and we’ve also sampled the legendary New York Special burger and we have to say the food is of a really good quality. The sandwiches are generously topped with meat, cheese and extras and for an extra £1 you can upgrade your sandwich to include fries and a drink. The sandwiches are not your typical baguette or panini which is easy to find in Birmingham and it really does give you an American experience in of all places Kings Heath!

The pizza is definitely the star of the show at Slice of New York, the clue is in the name and the branding 🙂 If there is one pizza we would recommend people trying it is the Al Fredo. The customer service team will also let you tailor your toppings. This cream themed pizza is the business and unlike anything we’ve experienced in Birmingham. Try it, love it and come back for seconds we definitely will!

The New Yorker burger is feast on its own, we didn’t need any sides to accompany the burger which comes topped with onion rings, salad and jalapenos. The meat patties are 100% home made and there isn’t a processed piece of meat in sight! As burgers go Slice of New York can compete with the best in Birmingham whether your preference is for Chicago’s, Fargo’s or Rock Diner’s burger of choice. It is great to see Birmingham develop a strong offer that is no longer based on picking a processed patty of choice.

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The big challenge Slice of New York does face is it’s location. It’s on the edges of the King’s Heath High Street shopping parade and the team at Slice of New York really do need to raise their profile and the marketing to entice potential customers in. During the two visits we made to Slice of New York there was a lot of passing interest in terms of people looking in but they kept walking on. I would definitely embark on a street marketing campaign that allows customers to sample some of the menu and maybe even run a special offer or two.

If there is one thing Kings Heath is not lacking it is places where you can buy burgers, pizzas and sandwiches. With competitors like Caspian, Big John’s, King Kebab, Al’s Diner and Papa John’s it is really important Slice of New York can carve its identity on to the High Street. Price will be a big factor in the battle for hearts and minds and we have a feeling that Slice of New York are still testing out price points as we have seen price fluctuations during our visits.

So what are the scores on the door!

In terms of the quality of the food we have no complaints. The food delivers with the Al Fredo pizza being the absolute highlight for us. For customers eating in the food could be served on traditional plates rather than paper plates but thats a minor grumble!

Space is a key issue and the seating configuration is not great, with a limit of two people per table it may put off larger groups of friends and families. There is no real fix to this due to the layout of the restaurant. This causes few problems when the restaurant is quiet but it could be disruptive during busier periods.

The Customer sales team are relaxed and friendly, they are more than happy to guide you through the menu options and recommend particular highlights. Pricing has seen a few fluctuations over the last couple of weeks but we think this is partly to test the waters as part of their soft launch. One thing we do like is the option to purchase pizza slices rather than a full pizza, the slices are very generous and it lets you fill your pizza craving without having to buy a whole pizza.

We’re looking forward to seeing the pasta menu come onstream but in the meantime we would definitely recommend checking Slice of New York out if you’re in the area. A word of warning Slice of New York does close around 8pm, we were told they will be reviewing opening hours in the future so if you’re planning on making a trip we suggest you err on the side of caution and go earlier rather than later.

Quality of Food 8.5 – Try the Al Fredo Pizza, it would be rude not too!
Quality of Service 8
Quality of Space 6.5 – the seating configuration is the key challenge here otherwise we like it.
Prices 7 – We’ve seen a few price changes, we’d like to see a more settled menu and pricing before we can give a higher score.

Overall rating 8 out of 10

2 Chicago Gourmet Burgers + Drinks for £6 or £10 for 4 Burgers + Drinks

Salaams and welcome back to the Halal Blogosphere where we’ve been fairly quiet over the last couple of months but we’re back to share an absolutely brilliant Groupon deal brought to you by the excellent Chicago Gourmet Burger Company.

You can pick up 2 burgers and 2 drinks for £6 or 4 burgers and 4 drinks for £10. The deals includes fries! (We thought it didn’t previously! That makes a great deal even better!)

To take advantage of the offer just click here vouchers are only available to purchase for the next 4 days but can be used until May.

Submit your dish to Fargo’s Food Factory

Salaams and welcome back to the Halal Blogosphere.  Just a quick reminder to our readers Fargo’s Food Factory is still looking for submissions to their X Factory competition. If you have a concept for a brand new dish then Fargo’s want to hear from you. The winning dish will be added to the menu and we’ll even come in and do a special Halal Food Review for the winning dish!

To find out more check out the flyer below

Eid Day 2 lunch at Chicago Gourmet Burger Company

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Salaams and welcome back to the Halal Blogosphere where we continue to celebrate Eid. This afternoon we took the family for their first Chicago experience. The food was brilliant as ever and the kids loved it.

After the excesses of the day before we stuck to the tried and tested Jacket Potatoe and Strips meal. For those of you who have not eaten there this includes a jacket potatoe with cheese and spicy beans with a side salad plus strips of your favouite burger patty where you can choose from various fish, chicken and lamb options. The meal also comes with a drink and a dessert. If I had to be critical the dessert offering of a tub of custard or creamed rice is really not that inspiring and feels a bit out of place with the other elements of the menu.

The kids shared a very generous portion of jacket fries and chicken nuggets.

A big thumbs up to the Chicago crew and a special shout out to their staff who seem to be on first name terms with most customers. In conversation with the staff there is talk of refreshing the menu at some point. I’d definitely recommend introducing a milkshake and ice cream menu as part of the dessert offer as well as a selection of cakes and bakes. This is the only part of the offer that I really do think could be improved upon.

If you’ve not tried out Chicago, we’d definitely recommend it!

Until the next time happy eating!

Get your dish on the menu at Fargo’s Food Factory!

Salaams and welcome back to the Halal Blogosphere.

How many times have you been to a restaurant and scanned the menu only to think I wish they had that on the menu. Well think no more thanks to the team at Fargo’s Food Factory who want to put the power in your hands. They are running the very aptly named X Factory competition where diners can suggest a dish to be added to their menu.

So if you have an idea for a new burger, grill, stir fry, curry or pizza dish let the team know. You can do it via Twitter, Facebook or best of all in person at Fargo’s itself.

You can email your dish idea to info@fargosfood.co.uk tweet your dish to @FargosFood or via Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/#!/fargosfood

Fargo’s Curry and a Side Dish £5 Euro 2012 offer

Here at the Halal Food Review we are total marketing geeks and we’re loving the quirky and interesting marketing offers at Fargo’s Food Factory. For the duration of Euro 2012 they are running a special deal where you can order any Curry Dish and a side for£5. The Chicken Balotelli is simply screaming at us “why always me” so if you’re in Birmingham during the Euro 2012 competition, get yourself to Fargo’s and give the Curry Dishes a red card!

To keep updated on special offers join our Facebook community at http://www.facebook.com/halalfoodreview

EXPIRED! Get a Fargo’s Special KGB Deal – 2 people eat for £15 including starter, main and a drink!

Salaams and welcome back to the Halal Blogosphere.

The KGB has struck again, no its not our favourite Russian spy agency but the voucher people from KGB Deals. This time they have teamed up with Fargo’s Food Factory which is a favourite of our’s at the Halal Food Review to offer a super deal.

So if you want a starter and a mains plus a drink for two people for only £15, yes we said only£15 then grab yourself a voucher deal at KGB. The voucher lets you choose any starter or main so you could be tucking into two steaks, brick burgers, pizzas, curries or stir fry’s to your hearts content.

Show me the deal I hear you cry. Hit the link, if the offer doesn’t appear on the front page just click on the All Deals Tab and you will see it, KGB tend to rotate their deals and link pages! Until the next time happy eating!

Fargo’s KGB Deal Offer

The offer runs out in 6 days so you need to book before the 8th May, vouchers however can be used until July 9th

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

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!