Krahi King – the return of the reviewer

Salaams and welcome back to the Halal Blogosphere where today we made a return to one of our old favourites Krahi King on the Coventry Road in Small Heath. We’ve not been back to Krahi King in a very long time and since we re have returned the team have refurbished the restaurant.

There is still the traditional dining area downstairs which is largely a male domain, the space upstairs is now much more family friendly. Blue is the colour of choice in the new Krahi King with menus and seating getting the full blue treatment.

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On our return we decided to keep things light and didn’t order any of the krahi dishes which sounds odd when you go to the place called the Krahi King but we don’t mind being a bit odd and left field in the pursuit of halal food excellence.

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We ordered the sheekh kebabs which come in a generous helping with a side salad of lettuce, red onion and jalapenos. We would have welcomed some tomatoes but they seem to be in danger of extinction in most South Asian restaurants, we might have to start packing our own parcels for when we eat out! The sheekh kebabs were delicious, there was a slight difference of opinion as to whether they were perfectly cooked or slightly undercooked this would probably be down to individual taste. As far as my taste palette goes they were fine.

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The naan was just what we were expecting it arrived warm and soft without any of the crinkly bits you dread which turn naan orders into oversized poppadoms.

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If I had to pick a weak link in our menu selection then it would have to be the masala fish, it was ok but I expected better, I’d much rather restuarants serve a smaller but thicker portion that you can really sink your teeth into then a longer piece which is so thin around the edges that it feels like you’re just eating crispy masala batter which isn’t great!

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Where the masala fish was a let down the half chicken exceeded expectations, the chicken was perfectly cooked and remained moist, its to easy for chicken to dry out. The portion was a generous size and was definitely the highlight of the meal.

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Overall our return to Krahi King was a success, we didn’t try the full menu but from experience and reader feedback their curry and krahi dishes remain hard to beat. The refurbishment might not win any design and living awards but it has definitely made Krahi King a more welcoming place for families in particular.

Service was excellent, our waiter was attentive without being overbearing and was more than happy to meet our extra little demands that come as standard when you take the kids to a restaurant. Price wise Krahi King is hard to beat. So if you’re looking for traditional desi food outside of the Balti Triangle, Krahi King is hard to beat especially in Small Heath. We would definitely encourage you to take a trip to Krahi King.

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Krahi King Review – Birmingham

Salaams and greetings to the blogosphere!

Over the last few weeks I’ve been pleasantly surprised by how many people are following the blog and how much they are enjoying it. Please do keep your feedback coming both positive and constructive!

This week I’ve reverted back to life as a bachelor while the wife and kids have packed their bags and I do mean BAGS for a week at the in-laws. A bachelor week wouldn’t be complete without a night out with the guys so a group of the great and the good joined me for a bite to eat.

Our original plan to visit Desi Khana Grill on the Ladypool Road fell through as we arrived to the sight of shutters down which is never a good sign for a Balti restuarant and sets your mind wondering on why the shutters are down!

It turned out to be a blessing in disguise as our band of the great and the good were agreeing to disagree on whether or not to eat there in the first place. An executive decision had to be made so we opted for Krahi King on the Coventry Road.

Krahi King is located at the Morrisons end of Coventry Road and comes with standard bright neon lettering letting you know in no uncertain terms what the name of the establishment is. For anyone of a nervous disposition be prepared for a shock when you walk into Krahi King this is one place which definitely does not pride itself on its décor. The walls need a good lick of paint, there are holes in the wall and I’ll stop right there!

The restaurant is split over two floors with a family dining area located upstairs. The downstairs seating area entrance is dominated by the counter, grills and tandoor where all the starters, rotis and kebabs are prepared. The dining area is long and narrow and this does cause problems for large dining parties. We arrived shortly after 7pm and had to rearrange the furniture to seat 7 people at one table.

Once we sat down we experienced air conditioning Small Heath style, an open window at the front of the restuarant sent a draft right up us faster than Corporal Jones could stick his bayonet up a German soldier!

For entertainment the restuarant has a flat screen television which pumps out the latest Urdu naats from the endless parade of 3rd rate television channels that dominate the Sky listings when you hit the 800s!

Food I hear you cry 🙂

Having survived the décor, recovered from Corporal Jones’s icy blast and blocking out the entertainment we were ready to order starters.

Our dining experience began with a waiter who refused to write anything down, he will now be known as the memory waiter who calmly reassured us he did not need a pen and paper despite our pleas that he should get a pen and paper.

For starters we ordered a large mixed grill, sheesh kebabs, chicken pakoras, lamb chop sizzlers, masala fish and fries. Our starters took a while to arrive but we were provided with mint sauce on saucers and an ample supply of salad to occupy our gaze and stomachs. Not wishing to be picky but I don’t want my mint sauce arriving on saucers, stick it in a proper serving dish or in a squeezy bottle but please don’t put it in a tea cup saucer!

After a slight wait our starters finally arrived and our memory waiter had not let us down he delivered everything that was ordered. The sheesh kebabs were the undoubted standout option from the starter menu. Having sampled the best and worst of sheesh kebabs and koftas all over Birmingham I think you would have to go a long long way to find better sheesh kebabs than King Krahi. The portions are generous, there is a spicy kick to the sheesh kebabs and they are not burnt to a crisp or completely undercooked as can be the case in certain kebab houses across the city.

The masala fish was not far behind, the fish was cooked to perfection and had the right mix of masala so as to not drown the taste of the fish. The mixed grill also lived up to expectations with a mix of sheesh kebabs, lamb chops, chicken tikka and lamb tikka. The chicken pakora was standard fare and the only really disappointing starter was the lamb sizzler which failed to keep up with the high standards of the other starters.

Before I review the mains its worth noting that Krahi King was extremely busy when we arrived which caught us slightly by surprise for a Wednesday evening. The majority of diners were of Pakistani origin. The restuarant has a real desi feel to it and seeing so many Pakistani diners including elders is always a good sign when it comes to judging the quality of food. The locals are the most demanding when it comes to baltis and tend to eat where the food is most authentic.

For our mains we ordered the chicken saag, chicken, lamb and keema baltis with traditional rotis. If the starters had set a high standard then the mains raised the bar even further. All four balti dishes hit the spot. The lamb and the chicken were cooked to perfection with both meats literally melting on the tongue. The chicken saag was as good as any home cooked meal I’ve experienced.

Keema baltis can be a hit and miss affair but it was a winner at Krahi King and narrowly pipped the other three baltis to the post to the crown of best main dish on the night. The rotis continued to come fresh off the tandoor and made for a relaxed and pleasant dining experience.

The beauty of the balti and karahi dishes in particular can be put down to the fact they are freshly prepared and you can taste the different flavours unlike rival restaurants which often have their balti and karahi dishes preprepared.

Service on the night was erratic but in all honesty in an establishment like Krahi King the erratic nature of the service adds to its charms. If you choose to dine at Krahi King you are coming here for the food and the food is as good if not better than any restuarant I have reviewed in the short history of this blog.

If you want suited and uniformed waiters, posh cutlery, plates of food that resemble works of art and a price to match then you’re better off looking elsewhere and settling for superior surroundings and most probably inferior food.

I’d urge any reader to look beyond the tatty walls, brave the open windows and put up with the latest naats and temperamental service to experience some of the best and most authentic Kashmiri / Pakistani food in the city.

No trip to Krahi King is complete without a cup of desi chai to wash down your meal. True to form the chai comes in cups that have seen better days, with spill marks adourning the cup but credit where its due the tea is excellent!

The consensus around the table was extremely positive, one of our diners admitted when he first walked in he wasn’t expecting a classic but he was positively surprised by the quality of food he experienced. Price wise the restaurant is an absolute bargain, the karahi dishes are delicious and significantly cheaper than similar options in the Balti belt. A group of seven can eat like kings and queens for well under a tenner per head. We had minor quibbles over the availability and serving of the various condiments, some of the starters didn’t match the fish and kebabs but all in all it was a wonderful experience.

A word of caution to anyone thinking of going to Krahi King for a romantic meal DON’T. Krahi King will do your love life no favours but if you want a good night out with the boys or want to treat the family to good desi food Krahi King ticks all the boxes.

Quality of Food 9

Quality of Service 7

Quality of Space 4

Value for Money 10

Overall rating 8.5 ( yes the maths doesn’t add up but I’m negating the impact of the décor on the score as I’ve left you under no illusions of what to expect and the food has been the best to date