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Balti #5 – Hajee’s, 512 Stratford Road

May 24, 2010

I was enticed to Hajees in the Stratford road by the Punjabi specialities that had been promised in the review on the Balti Birmingham directory, and as it was my Birthday, the rule book was definitely getting thrown out of the window. Ironically for a restaurant in a converted pub (M&B’s The Antelope), they have a strict no alcohol policy, so we ordered an excellent mango lassi with our meals. After bizarre debate with the waiter about ordering the Magz (sheeps brains – “no don’t order that, who would want to eat brains?!”), I opted for the lambs trotters (Paya) instead.

The Balti

Firstly, this was no Balti and it didn’t claim to be, but this was my birthday and I didn’t care. Secondly, if you go on a date at Hajee’s don’t order the Paya – it ain’t pretty to eat. Fortunately I was among friends, and they didn’t seem to mind me shovelling bones into my mouth and munching on the marrow, meat, and sinew – this could have been a disatastorous (and chewy) meal if under -done, but these trotters had clearly been braised for a very long time, leaving them succombing and almost sweet. They were surrounded by a gorgeous thin sauce, tasting somewhere between a well made lamb gravy and a madras curry – I was glad the waiter warned me off the magz.

The Naan

Better than most of the naan I’ve eaten so far – it still had a faint chemical whiff, but smelled yeasty too – the waiter assured me they used both yeast and self-raising flour, which seems odd, but it’s definitely an improvement.

I’d like to return to Hajee’s when this project’s over, they have a decent menu which is fortunately about half the size of a lot of curry houses. There are a few other things I’d like to try – I might even brave the Magz!

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