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

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Oodles Noodles Mini Review – Birmingham

Salaams from the Halal Blogosphere.

After what feels like a lifetime I am back to provide a quick mini review of Oodles Noodles in Star City, Birmingham. I’ve been thinking about going to Oodles Noodles for a number of weeks now but have always found a reason or an alternative which has kept it on the radar but off the pages of the Halal Food Review.

This past weekend I finally managed to find the time to head to Oodles Noodles with the family in tow. We arrived mid afternoon after the quickest and most productive shopping trip ever. The restuarant is based in Star City which is great for free parking but there is something about Star City which simply doesn’t inspire me. Living in South Birmingham I can quite easily find any number of reasons not to travel to Star City and its not always the distance!!!!

We arrived to an almost empty restaurant which is always worrying especially during half term in Star City with a car park full of visitors. Its hard to be inspired when there is a lack of buzz or energy in the dining area. The décor is modern and classy, the lighting and colour scheme are well done and as a diner you have a good level of visibility of the kitchen area.

What did strike me was the number of staff who were just standing around in an empty restuarant it took a few moments for me to get the attention of a waiter to come and take our orders. We ordered two chicken dishes in the Desi Wok and Stir Fry variants, in hindsight it might have been good to experiment with a beef or vegetarian second option, both were accompanied by noodles.

The dishes arrived super fast which can only mean most of the food is pre prepared which I’m never sure is a good thing or a bad thing. The Desi Wok was a sweet and mild dish whilst the Stir Fry had enough chillies to make your heart race and set fire to your taste buds! I have to confess both dishes were absolutely first rate, the portion sizes were just right. If you’re used to Abu Zayd portions you will leave hungry but the menu definitely delivers on taste and flavours.

The Oodles Noodles concept is simple but brilliant, I can’t remember the last time I have really enjoyed a lunch meal with the family and what really stood out was the clear flavours in each dish which you can often lose out on in so many halal restaurants.

Whilst the food was great and the décor is of a high standard I thought the service was found a bit wanting. The restaurant also seemed to lack an ambiance due to so few diners in a large dining space. On a personal level I’d love to see something like Oodles Noodles in the city centre, the quality of the food would definitely draw in the punters and you just can’t help feel it would benefit from the energy and intimacy that you so often experience eating at a Wagamama.

Prices are competitive and portions are ample though some readers may disagree but its important to judge food on flavours rather than quantity.

If you are in Star City territory then Oodles Noodles is well worth a visit. Service standards could improve and it would be great to try it out again when there are more diners in the restaurant. Oodles Noodles scores a very positive 7 out of 10