Balti #6 – Al Frash, 186 Ladypool Road
For Balti number six it was time to return to the Ladypool Road, and to the rule book. This one was a last minute surprise, and it was free too! I was joined at this highly accoladed Ladypool Road restaurant by freelance journalist Chris Arnot, who was researching for a piece on the Birmingham Balti. It’s a nice clean place with modern art on the wall, and simple wood-effect tables. I ordered the usual, here’s what I thought…
Served in a searingly hot black Balti dish, and on our table within about 8 minutes of ordering, I was immenseley pleased with this very fresh tasting, seemingly authentic Balti. The vegetables were perfectly cooked – melt-in-the-mouth courgette and al dente carrot chunks, along with plenty of potato (which I love in curry), peas, onions and fresh tomato. Pre-cooking the veg was the very first task performed by chef Azam, we were informed by our busy waiter (the only one on on a hectic Thursday evening), which I suppose shouldn’t have surprised me given the speed of delivery of our food. There was plenty of fresh chilli in there too, along with a definite smokiness, presumably from paprika. Although this wasn’t as good a curry as Grameen Khana, it was definitely the best Balti so far – a deliciously authentic experience!
Sadly another soda bread naan, though it was cooked well. I didn’t bother confirming whether it was made with self-raising flour with the waiter, the chemical whiff was instant on tearing open the bread. I’ve heard about a great naan shop over in Cape Hill, perhaps I’ll venture over there soon…
The Balti really was fab – I will definitely be returning to Al Frash, together with a slow pre-dinner stroll up the Ladypool Road, it’s the kind of place I would bring visitors for an authentic Balti experience.