I’m no stranger to The Horseshoe in Hall Green. When I first moved to Birmingham I rented a house just yards from it, and spent many Sundays in the bar watching the football (blame the ex) and supping beers.
Since then it’s had a decent refurb, making it one of the more stylish venues in that area of Brum, but what’s been lacking is a clear focus with regards to food. That is until now.
Despite still offering various menus (avoid the Italian one at all costs) The Horseshoe is thankfully now focusing on North Indian food, with a clear passion for honest home-style cooking and bright, bold flavours.
The Mixed Grill is available in various sizes and is all anyone has been talking about; it’s the main reason for our visit. We chose to share the Horseshoe Special (£16.95) which is the large grill but with additional prawns. A towering feast of chicken and lamb hit the table sizzling, a heady mix of spices and gently charred meat filling the air. I want that smell as an Air Wick plug in.
The variety is excellent and the meat of notable quality. Two types of chicken tikka make for a great start; the green chunks lifted by coriander and mint, the red by chillies and fresh lemon. Both tikkas are layered with deep spices and are better than similar I’ve recently had at Indian Brewery.
Chicken wings offered juicy meat to pull from the bone, encased in moorish crispy skin. There’s also loads of them. Seekh kebabs come in lamb and chicken variations, both smoky and delicately spicy; the chicken steals the show which surprised me.
Tender lamb chops offered up a crisp bark, packing a satisfying savoury smack round the face. Tandoori chicken finished the meat mountain, and proved to be some of the best I’ve had anywhere. Fried prawns were big but less inspiring, and forgettable compared to the meat. Pick the £12.95 large grill and skip the prawns.
The rest of the Mixed Grill menu (different to the a la cart menu in the restaurant) is packed with traditional curries and the sundries you hope to find in any good desi-pub. The garlic and coriander naan managed to be thin and supple enough for scooping up the rich tarka dhal, but offered crispy bubbles to give it some texture.
Speaking of the dhal, a silky triumph, what a generous portion for just a fiver. It’s comfort food done well, very, very well in fact. You can’t knock the quality of the food, and you certainly can’t deny they want you to leave having unbuttoned your jeans.
Attentive, helpful and clued up waiting staff made the bar dining experience very pleasant. There’s a cocktail menu being launched soon according to restaurant manager Veena, so plenty to return for. I tried The Fruit Runner (courtesy of a real life Shakira) who is being trained in mixology to ensure they’re decent; can’t knock the level of commitment.
A hefty claim here, but I’m pretty sure they’re offering one of the best mixed grill in Brum right now. Certainly the best I’ve tried. And it’s round the corner from my house, which means I can visit and roll home in minutes. Winner.
Have you tried the mixed grill yet? Let me know in the comments if this is a place you will be visiting.
The Horseshoe Bar and Restaurant, 1214 Stratford Road, Birmingham, B28 9BJ
Disclosure: Food was complimentary of the restaurant in return for an honest review. I liked it so much I’m off back next week with my husband in tow. All opinions, photos and full belly are my own