Halal Food Review Restaurant of the Year 2011 – The votes are in

The Results are in for our 2011 restaurant of the year. Voting commenced from the 20th December 2011 and closed on the 4th February 2012. We had over 100 votes cast from our readers who were given a choice of 7 restaurants and you’ve given us your verdict!

Congratulations to Mughal E Azam for getting 29.21% of the vote and being crowned our readers choice for 2011.  A special mention to our runner up the Chicago Gourmet Burger Company. Inshallah all our nominations in this category will go from strength to strength and continue to offer halal diners a wonderful experience throughout 2012.

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New Halal Restuarants coming to Birmingham

Salaams from the Halal Blogosphere! If you believe what Dickie Attenborough tells you nothing stirs in Winter, well as much as I love the voice of Frozen Planet things are definitely stirring in Birmingham as we look forward to the most exciting Winter in living memory as we anticipate the opening of a whole series of new halal restuarants in Birmingham. So to help you pile on those festive pounds here is a our guide to the some of the highlights coming to a street near you.

Royal Haveli Restuarant – This was even caught your halal food reviewer by surprise but it didn’t get past the attention of our HFR reader Angela Thakur who has informed us this super new buffet restaurant will be coming to Coventry Road in December featuring a full live music programme! Whats really got us excited is that the restaurant is being opened by former managers and chefs at Manchester’s premier buffet restaurant Nawaab’s! Birmingham has been crying out for a really good buffet, we have some great B and C grade efforts but Birmingham deserves a A grade buffer and lets hope the team behind the Haveli can deliver!

Fargo’s Food Factory – The Punjab Paradise is dead long live Fargo’s Food Factory, Ladypool Road’s first attempt at an American Diner concept which is again due to open in December. The last time we had a diner concept in Birmingham it was the team at Mushtaqs who were so far ahead of their time it never quite clicked. I am really looking forward to Fargo’s opening and bringing a different offer to Ladypool Road.

La Favorita – After the failure of Al Faisal’s Pialto, Birmingham has waited for the next version of Halal Italien dining and its coming soon to a side street just off the Ladypool Road. The La Favorita chain is brining its italien concept to the odd location that is a side street of Ladypool Road. I’m not sure if it will be Halal in the fullest sense or whether they will slap a big fat bar behind the counter but it will be interesting to see how halal Italien goes down in Sparkbook.

Ismail’s Grill and Yaqub’s Steakhouse – We’ve mentioned both this restaurants before, Ismail’s has been reviewed and Yaqub’s just keeps telling us it will open soon. We are definitely excited about both opening up in Sparkbrook with Ismail’s taking over the old Angel pub at the junction of Ladypool Road and the Stratford Road and Yaqubs taking a corner plot at Stoney Lane across the road to Sparkbrook’s Hubb Art Centre run by our famous foodie and award winning artist Mohammed AerosolArabic Ali who will probably be one of the first diners to experience the new steak menu. Whilst we have all been waiting for Ismail’s and Yaqub’s to open the team at Grill 3 have quietly opened up their second outlet in Sparkbrook which might just have stolen Small Heath’s crown in the halal steak stakes, see what I did there! Rumours are that Small Heath might have something up it’s sleeve and we may see some exciting changes coming to Abu Zayd…. Watch this space.

Two other developments that we know very little about at this stage is the renovation and reopenings of the old President Restuarant and the opening of a new Akbar’s concept restuarant at the old Jug of Ale in Moseley. Both look like they will be hitting the premium end of the market which is the new sweet spot for the Birmingham halal market.

Birmingham doesn’t forget budget conscious halal foodies, Bismillah Bakeries has opened another outlet on the Stratford Road in Sparkbrook which is great for light lunches and cakes and some really interesting home cooked takes on the Gregg’s Pasty! In the City Centre the halal revolution continues in Martinuea Square with the opening of Frydays a traditional styled halal food outlet with a focus on good old fashioned fish and chips and yes you get read COD!

Hopefully that has more than tickled your halal tastebuds and we can’t wait to go out and review all these new places as the Birmingham Halal Scene fights back!

Mughal E Azam – The return of the Halal Reviewer!

Mughal E Azam has got our Halal Food Review readers all shook up and its not just the hot Lahori spices the waiting staff pre warn you about before you order your dish!

I’ve now returned from my third trip to Mughal E Azam and I can say with complete certainty it is my favourite dining experience in Birmingham, the service is vastly improved from my first visit but in all fairness that was in the opening week and the food is equal to anything in Birmingham. The portion sizes are great, premium prices don’t always mean micro portions and Mughal E Azam has the balance just right.

I’m not going to go into too much detail about the food as so many of our readers are providing feedback I would have to comment that on the three occassions I have been there the tandoori roti has been a let down. The roti is being cooked far to thin and as a result instead of a soft roti you get a dried roti that is doing its best imitation of a poppadom. My request to the chefs would be to add some extra flour and water and give us a roti with some texture to it. Some of the roti was so hard and sharp it could cut through some of the really delicately cooked lamb which was delicious. Other than that no grumbles from Mr HFR!

The menu offers a great choice in the most unique halal dining experience available in Birmingham. If you’ve not had a chance to go down, give Mughal E Azam a go! If you need to go to the toilet don’t wait till you get home, Mughal E Azam has toilets that would be the envy of every Mosque and restuarant in Brumistan!

Quality of Food – 8
Quality of Service – 8 – service is improving with each visit, though the waiting staff can be over eager to interrupt you every 5 minutes!
Quality of Space – 10 – the magic 10 has just been slam dunked!
Prices – 8 – Premium Prices but Premium experience
Overall – 9 – The new standard bearer in Birmingham halal dining.

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Mughal E Azam Restaurant Birmingham

This is a first for the Halal Food Review where we don’t actually complete a review. Yes I sampled the menu but in all honesty I wasn’t really wearing my Halal Food Review hat, mind you I’ve not been wearing it for a while!

So why do I flag up this restaurant? Well to put it simply its probably the most stunning renovation I have seen for any restaurant in Birmingham. Mughal E Azam is located on the border of Hall Green and Sparkhill just past the junction between College Road and Stratford Road. The full address is Church Hall, Stratford Rd, Birmingham, B11 4DA, just pop it in the old satelite navigation and it should get you to the restaurant, there is ample parking on site.

The owners have beautifully transformed the former church into the most attractive balti restaurant you can possibly imagine. They have retained the charm and beauty of the old Church and added some stunning touches in relation to the décor with influences from Mughal India and the Middle East.

If you are looking to take a loved one for a fine dining experience that is pleasing on the eye then look no further. Food wise my experience was generally pleasant with a fantastic starter and a main that could do better but as I said earlier I wasn’t in full review mode.

I definitely plan on returning and will update my review accordingly but for now I would encourage you to experience the restaurant for yourself. The scale of the restaurant also suggests it will be ideal for meetings, functions and intimate weddings. If you happen to be a restaurant owner I would encourage you to go down simply to see how you should design an eating space!

Until the next time, I’ll sign off for now until I hear the familiar call of Food I hear you cry!

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.

JustGiving - Sponsor me now!

To donate via mobile phone text NPWX82 £3 to 70070

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