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    Musings, Restaurant reviews, Reviews

    Akrams, Stirchley

    I kinda think the whole Balti Triangle thing in Birmingham is a bit of a marketing gimmick.  It’s one I’m totally fine with, because Birmingham on the whole never seems to do very well at claiming its rich heritage, but we totally claim the balti, check wikipedia.  Because if there’s one thing Brummie love, it’s a good curry.  And the reason i think the Balti Triangle is a gimmick is because whilst there might be a whole pile a cracking curry houses around the Ladypool Rd, Sparkhill, Balsall Heath area, I kinda think it’s pretty hard to find bad curry in Birmingham.

    You see, Travelodge wanted me to talk about the Birmingham Balti and whilst it would’ve been easy to bang on about the Balti Triangle, I’m gonna be lazy and tell you about a balti house down the road from me.  To me, this is one of the great things about Birmingham…you never have to go far for a good curry.  And, my friends, the balti at Akram’s in Stirchley is properly good.

    Akram’s pride itself on Kashmiri cuisine, which means lots of meat and rice and I can tell you they do both well.  Rogan Josh is probably the most well known of the Kashmiri curries, especially round these parts, and the traditional lamb version at Akram’s is delightful – and if you ask nicely they’ll add a whole pile of vegetables to it, because a girl’s gotta get her greens. I’ve been to Akram’s few times now, owing to it being one of my nearest curry houses, but on my last but one visit I discovered their spinach and chicken balti.  And whilst my food photography skills are passable at best, I cannot get a good photo of this, but trust me it’s good. Popeye would be happy with it because there’s a load of spinach, rightly so, and lovely tender chicken.  In fact, there’s so much spinach that it’s not so much a wet sauce as wilted spinach carrying some extra liquids.  It also means you rarely leave any behind, which is totally worth it.

    I like to do the duo of rice and naan, because carbs give me life.  They do those giant table naan at Akram’s and one day I will order it, but my love of bread is so strong that I will probably try and eat the whole thing myself.  So for now I stick with the standard naan which is lovely and fresh, but still nicely doughy round the edges.  They do all the fancy types of naan you’d expect, and some you wouldn’t, but the quality of the simplistic plain naan is so good I’m yet to move on.A special mention has to go to the music, which I’d totally not noticed on previous visit but I got to fully absorb the soundtrack this time round.  And the cover version of such classics like Careless Whisper and I Believe I Can Fly were so notable that I Whatsapped my friend to arrange a visit next time she’s in town.  If the good curry doesn’t convince you to make a trip, then the music choices should.

    Birmingham is the best place for Balti and whilst I’d recommend any visitors to the city to visit the Balti Triangle, but south Birmingham locals or those sticking around a bit, Akram’s is totally worth a visit.  And if you’re staying at the Maypole Travelodge, the food offerings for dinner nearby are fast food so come to Akram’s instead – it’s less than a 10 minutes taxi ride away.

    Akram’s, 1526 Pershore Rd, Birmingham B30 2NW.

    Disclaimer: Travelodge paid for my meal but all views remain my own, as ever. The restaurant didn’t know why I was taking photos of my dinner and giggling at the music, until they asked me if I used TripAdvisor and I thought I better own up.

    Cafe reviews, Reviews

    First bite of Can Eat in Stirchley

    For anyone that follows me on social media, they’ll know that my Saturdays start with a trip to the bakery in Stirchley, so the conundrum of Can Eat opening posed some problems.  Well, I say that, really what I mean is that I try and fit in two breakfasts these days.

    For those who think the name sounds familiar, CANeat was previously a pop-up restaurant run by Dom, Vic and Lap in association with Loaf community bakery and cookery school back in 2013…which is my justification for the whole two breakfasts thing.  Dom has now revived the name to open a lovely little cafe in Stirchley that is so dangerously close to Bournville train station that I worry people might genuinely start getting the train to it and I’ll never get a seat in there again.

    Anyway, this isn’t a full review, just a ‘first bite’ to say how much I’ve enjoyed the few times I’ve been in there.  A preliminary visit for coffee left me pleasantly surprised to find out their non-dairy milk is oat milk (praise the gods, soya is not my favourite) and that they’re cashless, as in you pay by card…although cash tips, totally still welcome.  On second visit I had the eggs with gochujang mayo on toast…and then I had it a second time on my third visit, because it’s that good. Honestly, I’m planning on going back again soon and I’m telling myself I need to order something else, but the gochujang mayo makes me really happy…I want it on everything, even ice cream.

    I like the menu, it’s small and relatively uncomplicated with porridge, bircher and granola as well as a few toast options for breakfast and some lunch items, as well as a very well stocked cake cabinet.  Keeping it local, they serve Quarter Horse Coffee and there’s also something called a Turmeric Arnold Palmer which I totally had to look up and turns out it’s probably an iced tea and lemonade thing with turmeric…I think they’ve out-Moseleyed Moseley on that one.

    Can Eat is open Tuesday – Saturday from 7:30am – 4pm, which means I’m a little disappointed that there’s no after-work trips, but it does mean that if I speed up on my bike I could theoretically do breakfast before work.  Also, they do lunch but I haven’t gotten over the gochujang mayo to try that yet…one day.

    Can Eat, 1397 Pershore road, Stirchley High Street, Birmingham B30 2JR

    Disclaimer: paid for all my visits myself. Or rather I used my magic contactless card to pay but probably should just set up a direct debit.

    Reviews, Take away

    First Bite: Chilli Aariz in Stirchley

    lamb_mirchi_masalaYou know how it is when you’re full of the lurgy and after what feels like a lifetime you’re finally able to eat something other than bread?  Yep, that happened to me recently and I celebrated with curry…obviously.

    I still wasn’t feeling tip-top, so ordering a take away to be delivered seemed like the wisest plan and, as I was sitting on a voucher for hungryhouse, I figured I’d try one of the local curry houses.  Honestly, I’d like to tell you there was lots of thinking behind this but I went with whichever one the app came up with first and Chilli Aariz in Stirchley was it.

    I sort of went overboard with the ordering, mainly because all I’d eaten all week was bread, and they had a deal where you got 20% off if you spent over £20, so I figured what the hell (and I could always reheat the leftovers).  I wasn’t overly sure spicy curry was the wisest idea so went with something mild and something a bit spicier.  In the end I ordered; chicken tikka masala, saag paneer, naan, pilau rice, shish kebab and lamb mirchi masala.

    The chicken tikka masala was pretty standard because I’m not sure it’s ever the most exciting of dishes.  I sometimes wish saag paneer wasn’t a side dish because spinach and cheese is lovely, although the addition of a few slices of tomato confused me a bit.  The lamb mirchi masala was described as arinatuc herbs and spices along with green chillies, garlic and coriander.  I probably should’ve guessed that spices and green chillies might be a bit on the hot side, but their menu never mentioned this.  For most of the week my taste buds couldn’t cope with much more exciting than bread, so maybe I was being a wuss but this blasted through my head cold and felt more of the medium-hot scale.

    The service was also pretty good too; the food arrived in the time they said it would, and whilst the driver got a little confused as to where I live was (the sat nav likes to send people to the wrong road) he called and apologised profusely.  I’m not sure my taste buds were entirely up to reviewing this place properly, but I was satisfied with my first bite of food after not being able to eat much all week, so I’ll order from Chilli Aariz again.

    hungryhouse are running a competition where they’ll be awarding £25 hungryhouse vouchers every day until the 23 October 2015.  To enter, Instagram a photo of your food, tag @hungryhouseuk and use the hashtag #FirstBite.   For more information, or to check out their terms & conditions, visit


    Disclosure: hungryhouse sent me a voucher which had no strings attached – no really!  Anyway, as it arrived just in time for me to be able to order actual food I figured I might as well tie it in with their First Bite competition, because who doesn’t love an excuse to Instagram.