There’s a handful of restaurants in Birmingham that need little introduction, and Lasan most certainly falls into that category.
Launched in 2002 by Jabbar Khan, the Indian restaurant – part of the Lasan Group that includes Fiesta del Asado, Nosh & Quaff and Raja Monkey Cafe – has recently undergone a £500,000 refurbishment. With the doors reopening at the St Paul’s venue I was eager to experience the ‘new and improved’ Lasan, especially after hearing there was a revamped menu to accompany the aesthetic makeover.
Bright and inviting, the facelift has given Lasan a less stuffy ambiance, plus a beautiful bar/dining area ensures this venue can be more than just a restaurant. A more relaxed place now, Lasan 2.0 is still upmarket but without the fuss; I really like the makeover.
We kick started what was to be a deliciously varied meal with crisp shards of popadom and a trio of sauces; the morish pineapple chutney, a new one on me, blew my mind. On the advice of our waitress we also had a bottle of Durbanville Hills Pinotage; a light, fruity red wine from South Africa. A great recommendation and one we all all enjoyed.
For my Mahi Machli (£10.50) starter, chunky pieces of tender salmon are basted in a tomato, red pepper, garlic and lime marinade before being gently roasted. The generous portion of pink fish flaked at the touch of a fork, and the aromatic coriander and mint sauce provided freshness to the dish. It’s beautiful to behold and even better to eat thanks to the vibrant flavours.
A meaty main to follow, with the Sikandari Raan (£21.80) proving to be a lamb dish that packs a real flavour punch. The slow roasted shank is delicately spiced with Kashmiri chilli and finely ground coriander, and fell away from the bone, cooked to tender perfection.
The warming hum of garam masala and garlic delicately penetrates the meat providing a truly delicious lamb dish, but it’s the crisp outer bark that steals the show. A cooling Raita accompanies the meat and compliments the hung yoghurt in the lamb’s marinade. Sublime.
A side of buttery Dhal Makhani works in perfect harmony with the robustly spiced lamb, tasting equally good when enjoyed alone or with a paper-thin roti. I’m a big fan of dhal generally but this warming bowl of mixed lentils flavoured with cumin was simply stunning. This side dish – rich thanks to additional cream – also makes this choice a hearty meal, ideal for the colder months ahead.
A side of Nilgiri Paneer (£8.50) in a leafy green spinach sauce proves to be a glorious addition to the meal, and the earthy Gobi Angara (£7.90) side provides a tandoori take on cauliflower that warrants another spoonful.
Dessert is probably unnecessary in light of the savoury feast I’ve enthusiastically wolfed down, but I’m pursueded to try the Beetroot Halwa (£6.90)with caramelised nuts, apples and pistachio ice cream. What an absolute treat for the seneses. The combination of textures proved to be sublime, and the earthy beets with the sweet candied nuts and cool ice cream provided a satisfying and unique dessert. I would order this again in a heartbeat.
Refined yet homely dishes make this place a real winner, and the attentive service and attention to detail with regards to presentation is, to me, what elevates Lasan above the competition. This is Indian food with the volume turned up to 11, and I like it so much I’m booking my husband and I in for dinner right now. Pass me my phone… and some more of that paneer.
Have you tried this place? Do you have any favourite menu items? Let me know in the comments.
Lasan, Dakota Buildings, James St, St Pauls Square, Birmingham, B3 1SD
Disclosure: I was invited to Lasan as a guest. All opinions, photos and lamb chat are my own