Milan restaurant, Birmingham – review

Milan Restaurant, Birmingham
You say Birmingham, I say Food.
With such variety, from Thai to Italian, American to Greek, Indian to Caribbean, Birmingham is a foodies paradise. No wonder, I went foodalistic (food + ballistic) trying various cuisines and soaking in the flavours of the world. However, my heart beats the fastest for Indian food (not because of the spices, I genuinely love Indian food) and that’s the reason I’m writing this post. I want to share with all my readers that I’ve found one of the best Indian restaurants in Birmingham, and that restaurant is Milan.
Considered to be a dining institution, Milan is tucked away nicely at the outskirts of Birmingham city centre on Newhall Street. The entrance and the interiors are inviting, with a modern setting coupled with an old world charm, low lighting, soft Bollywood music and fresh flower arrangements. As soon as we (me and my husband) entered the restaurant, we were greeted with a nice, big smile by the Head Chef of the restaurant, Parvinder Singh Multani. Ushered in to our seats, we were attended to immediately by the waiting staff. Drinks and Poppadoms (£1) followed soon after.
The restaurant has classy and inviting interiors
Milan offers an impressive and expansive menu, with a lot of vegetarian options. Innovation, it seems is the key word at Milan, as the dishes on offer are a unique fusion of East and West flavours. One look at the menu and the dishes with its innovative names, and you can see how much love and effort has gone into designing the menu for this place.   
To kick start, I ordered Almond Pears (£3.95), while my husband went for Naram Dill Tikki (£3.95). True to its name, the Naram Dill Tikki was super soft, with melted cheese oozing out from the heart-shaped dumpling. Almond Pears were served over sweet yogurt and were a delight. 
Almond Pears
Naram Dill Tikki
For mains, I ordered Bhindi Mushroom (£6.95) and Tadka Dal (£6.95) with Naan (£1.95). My husband went with Chicken Mirch Masala (£8.95) and Tandoori Roti (1.95). Flavoursome food with artistic presentation is how I would like to describe the mains. Naan was soft and chewy, and the Rotis were perfectly layered. The portions were just right as they arrived in cute little copper kadhais. No overpowering smells or spices, just amazing taste.
Bhindi Mushroom with Tadka Dal
Tandoori Roti
For desserts, we went with the highly recommended Rasmalai (fresh cheese dumplings cooked in milk) and Gajar Ka Halwa (a carrot based sweet). The desserts didn’t disappoint either, however, the star among the two was Rasmalai that was served with a strawberry decoration.
Gajar Ka Halwa with a dollop of Vanilla ice cream and Rasmalai with strawberries
Because of the reasonably priced menu, we could eat to our hearts content and still manage to keep our bill under £55. The ever friendly and smiling staff made the experience even more wonderful. Without doubt, I can say that this restaurant is sure to impress both the pocket-friendly crowd, as well as the most passionate North-Indian food aficionados. If we lived locally, Milan would have been my food mecca.


London Street Brasserie, Reading – review

What a view! London Street Brasserie
The thing that amazes me most about London Street Brasserie (LSB) is how insanely popular it is, even after almost 14 years in business. While all the other restaurants that opened at or around the same time in 2000 have either shut down or made way for fast food joints, LSB, interestingly, has not just survived, it has thrived over the years. Reason? It comes from a rich pedigree. Paul Clerehugh, the man behind the ultra-famous The Crooked Billet is the owner of LSB. Needless to say, I was super excited to dine at a restaurant that has been recommended in the prestigious Michelin guide every year, since 2002.
My gourmet experience started as soon as I entered LSB with my husband for a Monday night dinner. A lady with a warm and friendly smile greeted us from behind a bouquet of fresh flowers. Quickly confirming our booking, she ushered us into the dining area, where our table was beautifully lit and laid out.

Given the fact that Reading has so many eating out options, LSB was unusually packed for a Monday night, which I believe, speaks volumes about how good the food is and how well it is received. The restaurant offers an eclectic selection of dishes, both in a la carte and set menu. The wine list too is expansive and impressive. The place offers more than 60 options, including a lot of award-winners, with as many as 20 that are available by the glass.

Marvelling at the eclectic selection of dishes, I went with Garlic & Herb flatbreads, hummus, baba ganouj, green olive tapenade & tomato chilli chutney (£7.90) for my starter, while my husband kicked off with Chicken liver parfait, rhubarb compote, toasted sugar dough (£8.50) from the a la carte menu.
Scotch and Eggs

The starters arrived soon enough and I have to say, the green olive tapenade was out of this world. A soft punch of garlic and a whisper of thyme, gave it such delicate flavouring that I wished I had some more on my plate. Garlic & Herb flatbreads were well toasted and baba ganouj had the perfect taste and texture. My husband’s Chicken liver parfait arrived in a neat little Kilner jar. He described it as, “velvety, smooth and tasty, with a hint of fruity”. Head chef Sam May had worked his magic.  
More than content with the generous starter portion, I ordered Moroccan spiced baby aubergine & butternut tajine, yellow lentils & chickpea, yoghurt sauce& lavish flat bread crisp (£16) for my mains. My husband went with Roast halibut, salt cod brandade, broad beans & peas, lemon butter sauce (£20) with chips (£3.25).
The mains took some time to arrive, but it was worth the wait as the food looked spectacular. True to its name, my dish arrived in a colourful earthenware saucer. Gently simmered baby aubergine and butternut, sitting pretty on a bed of yellow lentils, chickpea and yogurt sauce. A simple dish, with very little spices, so as to allow the flavours of all the ingredients to come through. On my right, I could see the look of satisfaction on my husband’s face, as he digged into his delicious white-fleshed flatfish. “What a classic, deep taste of the sea,” he exclaimed. Head chef Sam May had worked his magic. 

After all this, going for deserts was the like a Man vs Food moment for both of us. Nevertheless, we decided to have a look at the desert menu; after all, no harm ever came by just looking.
Chocolate Nemesis
With such an amazing choice on offer, from sorbet to crème brulee, it was hard not to order something. Within a couple of minutes, Tiramisu, biscotti (£6) appeared on my right, and a lime & ginger cheesecake (£6) was placed in front of me. If there is ever something that defines Death by Deserts, this was it. One bite into the succulent cheesecake, and I was transported into a desert heaven.    
To reiterate why LSB has not only survived, but thrived over the years, is undoubtedly owner Paul’s vision and his fabulous food, but it is also because of his carefully selected team of chefs and a polished and friendly staff. The place is like a happy home, where the staff is proud to serve and take care of its guests. Take a look at the huge picture collage right outside the women’s loo on first floor and you’ll know what I’m talking about.

My last thought as we got up to leave was, ‘What a lovely, romantic place. Perfect for celebrating special occasions. Should come here for Valentine’s. Or maybe for our anniversary!’ Well, I think, I’m coming back for both.

Au revoir!

Name: London street brasserie

Website: http://www.londonstbrasserie.co.uk/

Location: Riverside Oracle, 2-4 London Street, Reading, Berkshire, RG1 4PN

10-15 minute walk from Reading train station

Accommodation: Ground and first floor as well as outdoor seating. Accommodates up to 80 people at a time.


A la carte - http://www.londonstbrasserie.co.uk/a-la-carte-menu

Set menu - Set menu offers 2 courses – starter and main for £16.50 pp. Deserts are all £5