Just after a few months of coming to the UK, the inner desi food desires start to kick in and the urge to unite with desi Pakistani food tends to arise. With the increasing Pakistani community in the UK, there has been a massive increase in the number of places offering Pakistani cuisine, but finding quality and authentic Pakistani food still remains a challenge. For the surety of finding tasty desi halal food, one heads to Birmingham without a second thought, mini Pakistan as they call it! The city offers a wide variety of Pakistani dishes at every nook and cranny in this vibrant bustling city. In certain areas, the number of Pakistanis help one feel as if they are not even outside of Pakistan.
The desi food hunt led us to a small eatery on the beginning of Alum Rock (the hub of Pakistani food outlets in Birmingham). It is difficult to choose what might please one’s taste buds especially when you have so much to choose from. Our rumbling tummies couldn’t let us pass through the first few and we decided to check on a restaurant called Lal Qela. Upon arrival, one instantly connects the name with the ambiance of the place. It actually has red painted all over it.
There is adequate seating space and the staff is friendly to accommodate hungry guests. We ended up ordering their very famous grill platter which turned out to be an absolute delight! A huge thaal (platter) of pulao rice at the bottom, topped up with the most delicious, grilled to perfection array of chicken, meat, and fish. Including mutton chops, chicken wings, chicken tikka boti, chicken malai boti, seekh kebab and fried fish. The grilled platter comes with one of the best-chosen chef’s special chutneys (sauces) to match the plethora of grilled meat and rice. The imli (tamarind) and mango sauce is a sheer treat for your taste buds. In addition to the grilled platter, we ordered chicken handi Karahi. Lal Qela has a reasonable quantity of Karahi in a beautiful copper dish and the accompanying naans (flatbread) are super yum. Coming straight out of their in-house tandoor (oven), these freshly baked naans are a perfect match with the Karahi.
One thing that everyone must try is their mango lassi (buttermilk). Served in a large jug capable of feeding at least four people, it is all that you need in every weather, be it the snowy month of January or the sweltering humid month of July.
Overall, a great experience and worth every penny spent. Oh, and don’t forget the meethi saunf (sweet fennel seeds) placed at their reception on the way out. Just as an extra token of appreciation by Lal Qela.
Stay tuned for more details on treats for taste buds from all across the UK!
Address: Birmingham B8 3PP