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Balti #7 – Mint – Yew Tree Retail Park, Yardley

July 12, 2010

So this one was another rule breaker, Mint is squarely outside of the Balti triangle. However when you’re given a personal invite by the owner, a guided tour of the kitchens, and the opportunity to make your own naan to accompany your meal, who could say no!

The Balti

Gentlemanly partner-owner Afthab Rahman, who’s joining me at this weeks public Balti debate, had done his research, and subsequently my vegetable Balti was stuffed full of okra which I adore, alongside potato, tomato, aubergine, peas, and fresh green chillies – it was nice and hot, which almost overpowered me at one point but I was probably gobbling it down too fast. The Balti was heavy on the vegetables and less so on the gravy, but that’s not to say it was lacking in flavour – it was a vibrant curry with a fresh citrus tang and punchy fresh coriander,  in the same ball park as the curry I had at Grameen Khana, though not quite reaching their dizzy heights. The only disappointment really was that it wasn’t cooked in the traditional Balti way, instead coming to the table in a clean steel serving dish, with a plate for decanting onto.

The Naan

Although I’m a bit biased, having taken my own dough to the restaurant to be made into naan to accompany my meal, flavour-wise, this was the best naan yet. Instead of the usual self-raising flour and egg combo used in every restaurant I’ve eaten in so far, I used a yoghurt, milk and plain flour recipe where the yoghurt, milk and a little of the flour is prefermented with a little bakers yeast, before adding water, more flour, salt and fennel seeds, and allowing it to rise. By the time I arrived at the restaurant, the dough had risen nicely, and was ready to cook. The tandoori chef expertly rolled it out and shaped it by slapping between his oiled palms, before gracefully chucking it onto the side wall of the tandoor for about 90 seconds of cooking. It was skillfully removed with cast iron tandoor tongs, and served nice and hot. It smelled and tasted slightly sour from the fermented yoghurt, just as it should, and a far cry from the chemical smell of ‘normal’ naan breads (we had one at the table for comparison). It didn’t taste yeasty as there was a relatively small amount in the dough, and if anything the fennel seeds rather dominated the flavour, I’ll reduce the amount next time or include onion seeds instead. Disappointingly the naan didn’t puff up half as much as the normal naan’s and so didn’t have the fluffy mouth feel that we’ve come to expect. The dough was a little over-proofed when it came to cooking it though so it may have already expended most of it’s carbon dioxide, I’ll try baking it a little earlier next time.

So overall a good experience at Mint – they have lots of Bangladeshi specialities on the menu, such as the perfectly cooked sea fish Roop Chanda that I started with, and they definitely have one eye on the environment when it comes to things like recycling and food sourcing, so definitely worth hunting down and supporting if you’re over in Yardley. Find out more on their website.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. davidbench permalink
    July 12, 2010 6:04 pm

    Reading this is making me hungry…oh, we’re going for balti at 7.30 aren’t we! YES!

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