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Dawat

300 Ladypool Rd B12 8JY Birmingham Phone: 0121 449 4474 Authentic Balti: No
Credit Cards Accepted: Yes
License: BYO
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7
Date added: 2009-10-27 11:45:15    Hits: 848
8 
Hot and cool
by Andy Cowan
on September 6, 2010
Decided to try somewhere new this week, following a mid-week outing to the Al Frash, and being in the mood for something hot, and after a bit of discussion with the wife, we decided on the Dawat.

We ended up sat on a table for two that was right next to the door, the tables seemed very tightly packed - may be a bit too tight. The décor is cool, the ambiance of the place is quite up market compared to other balti houses, but this was not reflected in the prices. Looking around, the clientèle were a cosmopolitan cross-section of the city - something I always find encouraging. If the local south Asian population rate the place, that's good enough for me!

Service was reasonable and the poppadoms appeared fairly quickly. Crisp and tasty, accompanied by the usual raita and onion salad. The onion salad was good, with a touch of sweetness. I suspect that the chef had chosen a milder, salad type onion rather than dicing somethign out of the bag of cooking onions he used for everything else. This resulted in a better onion salad overall - so far so good.

Starter were ordered - sheek kebab and a meat samosa each. The sheek kebabs were perfect, it's difficult to imagine that they could be any better elsewhere. Tasty, spicy and succulent, with a slightly barbecued finish where they had caught on the sizzle plate, these were kebabs of the highest quality. Definitely recommended. The samosas however were a different story. Now I don't know about you, but for me a samosa has to be crisp. Not so that is explodes when you eat it, but still crisp. These samosas were very definitely soggy - generous yes, filled nicely (if a little bland) but with a lot of greasy soggy pastry around them. A total disappointment when things were going so well.

Main courses - the wife had ordered her usual - chicken tikka with salad and plain rice with a roti. I ordered chicken balti vindaloo with a nan bread. The tikka was good, again well cooked and succulent.

My vindaloo was amazing. To start, I marvelled at the depth of flavour, and was a little disappointed by the lack of heat. However, I had worried for no reason. By the time I was a quarter of the way through, the heat has really kicked in an I was on a whole new level of chilli experience. This was absolutely what I had been looking for tonight - a balti with flavour, not just heat, plenty of rich sauce, well cooked fresh chicken and enough spice to take me right to the edge of what I can cope with. I don't crave a really hot dish all the time, but when I do, I'm inevitably disappointed - either the dish is *just* hot, with no taste other than the heat of the chillies, or it's not hot enough. This dish met all my requirements, tasty and searingly spicy.

However - one black mark, where was the traditional karahi? I firmly believe that if the balti triangle restaurants start ditching the traditions that make this area, and the dishes of this area unique, before long they will just be a street of Curry restaurants in South Birmingham. Do not make the mistake of thinking that we all want you to move upmarket - posh décor is fine, waiters in uniforms is fine, but mess with the essential elements that make up the experience and we'll stop making the pilgrimage to Ladypool Road because we can get the same from our local curry restaurant. Seriously, you've been warned!

Summary: great food (although I would avoid the samosas at all costs), but toying dangerously with new fangled fads like the stainless steel shiny balti pan. If you dine here, let them know that you disapprove of their serving style, but the food is highly recommended.
6 
Andy's Review
by Andy
on October 30, 2009
Dawat is undeniably popular and it’s conveniently situated with a car park opposite. It’s modern and smart inside without being overdone and service was brisk and friendly.

It was a bit disappointing to be charged for poppadoms but at least they were perfectly presented – neither chewy or flat, they were also accompanied by a small bowl of chopped tomatoes and onions with a separate dip as smooth as a Frank Sinatra CD . Whilst my partner predictably liked it, I thought it lacked any sort of ‘bite’.

My starters were Paneer Pakora which came in ingot shaped slabs in a nicely spiced batter … this latter point was particularly important because unadulterated paneer can make tofu seem a treat for the tastebuds. The other starter was Chicken Tikka and this was served up sizzling with plenty of onion … and it was good to have tasty tikka which wasn’t fire engine red.

There were a variety of main courses ranging from ‘Tawa’ specials and Baltis through to ‘Karahis’ , with latter being described as ‘ served up sizzling in a black wok’. I went for a Balti Tropical bizarrely NOT served up in a sizzling black wok!
In fairness it was perfectly palatable if a bit over tomatoey and slightly watery – my partner’s Balti Chicken Dhansak was similar if slightly drier thanks to the lentils. The pineapple content was a bit of a let down being confined to a single ring anointing the dish obviously added at the point of being served up. In both cases the the Baltis could have been from my local Bangladeshi Takeaway who wouldn’t recognise a Balti if they fell into one.

The accompanying Garlic Naan was of a good slightly fluffy consistency but it’s acquaintance with garlic was merely passing and if I’d been spending the night in Transylvania I would have undoubtedly been in trouble.

However overall it was a pleasant meal – very good in parts but mediocre in others – a final disappointment was a ‘no show’ in the free mints department.

ANDY MUNRO
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