A while ago we were invited to the launch night of Praza, a new Indian restaurant on the Hagley Road, just outside the city centre, the sister restaurant of the well-loved Pushkar in Birmingham itself. Unfortunately we couldn’t make it to the launch but the pictures of the night looked like it was a great affair. It’s been on my radar to try out for a while now, but we finally got it booked in last weekend.
Accessibility wise it’s easy to get to, and has a decent sized car park out the back – very useful due to its main road location. Our welcome was very friendly and we were led into the plush dining area. Blacks, bronzes, velvet and zebra print runs the risk of looking a bit gaudy, but I felt it was restrained enough to work well.
We started with some mixed pappadums with the obligatory chutney. I enjoyed the pumpkin yoghurt one very much, something a little different to the usual and it was very cooling which offset the spiciness of the mint one. Whilst munching on these we ordered some drinks, A Spicy Mango Martini for me. I really enjoyed the fruitiness of this, and the heat of the jalapeño vodka it’s made with just caught the back of the throat when drinking it – gorgeous! Later I also sampled one of their non alcoholic drinks – The Praza Breeze, which was Fresh watermelon juice shaken with fresh peach pulp and pressed pineapple juice. This was incredibly refreshing, and although not the most visually appealing thing (see pic!) it was one of the nicest non alcoholic drinks I’ve tried in ages.
It’s clear with the smallish menu compared with the normal curry house that they are trying to create a more special experience, although if you’re a sucker for the standard curries there’s a few of those in there too, so something for everyone. I started with the Chicken Shashlik in Lemon and Black Cumin Marinade with Avocado Chutney. The chicken was cooked in the Tandoor and was incredibly moist. I enjoyed the flavours, and the freshness of the avocado offset the spice really well. I’d not seen avocado used in Indian food before so this was really interesting to see.
Lee tried the Duck Sheekh with Plum Chutney. He enjoyed this dish although he felt the duck flavour itself was a bit lost, and that if he was blindfolded he wouldn’t have been able to say what the meat was, which is a shame.
For mains we shared:
- Handi Gosht: marinated lamb, slow cooked with golden onion, whole spices and tomato in a seal pot (handi), finished with garam masala and fresh coriander.
- Chingri Malai Curry: Prawns simmered in a creamy onion and coconut gravy spiked with yellow mustard and green chilli. A speciality from Calcutta.
- Pulou Rice
- Garlic & Coriander Naan
- Pomegranate Raita
I felt the prawn dish was the standout for me, with 7 large prawns and a creamy sauce with subtle kicks of chilli. The lamb dish was extremely tender which went down well with Lee. I’m glad we chose to try the raita as the little sweet hits of the pomegranate seeds really livened up the food.
Our service throughout was spot on, although they weren’t that busy whilst we were there. The barman who made my cocktails was very attentive, making sure that I enjoyed them, and that they tasted to my liking with regard to the Spicy Martini particularly.
Overall we enjoyed the food a lot. Our meal & drinks would have cost us £72.20. So it’s certainly not a cheap night out, but then again it’s a bit more special than your usual local curry house. Perfect for a date or special occasion.
Disclosure: We were invited to Praza to try out the food and our meal was complimentary. Opinions and photos are my own and entirely honest.