deliveroo

Saba, via Deliveroo

Saba has been on my radar for some time, though probably not for the reason you might assume.  You see I have a younger brother who’s nickname is the same as of the restaurant.  Please don’t ask me why, I really have no idea, but it is how everyone knows him.  My family, his friends, the local police – we all call him Saba.  Every time I look at the slightly tattered building in Balsall Heath it makes me think of him looking at strangers and saying “do you have a problem, mate?”, or the time the helicopters hovered over the house looking for him.  Brilliant lad is my little Bro.  I love him dearly.  

But the reason I haven’t visited, wait for it, ShitAdvisor’s 13th top ranked Birmingham restaurant, is a simple one.  No booze on the premises.  This is a problem for me.  I can barely eat breakfast without a glug of wine, so it’s never going to happen at dinner.  I’m sure they offer a tantalising selection of non-alcoholic drinks, but when it comes to tails I’m all cock and no mock.  I order via Deliveroo, crack open the vino, and put on the least amount of clothing possible to scare the rider without him pressing charges.

The reality is that the restaurant is nothing like my brother.  It punches with little strength and is far too polite.  The starter promises wheat sauce, walnut and garlic, but if it’s there it’s swamped by aubergine and tomato.  Likewise a Karahi that is all tender chicken and tomato paste.  Where is the spice? More importantly where is the portion?  It takes up a quarter of the tray and is smaller than the starter.  We’re sixteen quids worth of food down and I’m still starving.  



Here’s the stuff they do well; naans and chilli sauce.  The former is supple and light, the latter fruity and backlit with heat.  Two thirds of the kebabs also impress, one of lamb, another of chicken, both tender and wholesome.  The sheekh kebab is dry and lacking any flavour at all.  These three kebabs will cost you £14 and you will find them under the specials section, an exaggeration at best. 


For those not able to read between the lines, this is not an endorsement of Saba the restaurant.  Delivered to the front door and lubricated with alcohol it is tolerable, but that is about it.  It’s overpriced and surprisingly short on flavour.  If I want some Saba action in future I’ll be picking up the phone to my brother to go for a pint.  

Deliveroo supplied the credit for this.  By all means give Saba a go, but if I were you I’d be in The Wellington ordering a Tortilla burrito via them instead. 

Adil’s Balti, via Deliveroo

The Deliveroo menu for Adil’s is littered with warnings, instructions, and goading’s for us feeble Westerners. Are you the kind of fool that orders mango and lime at Nando’s? I pity you if so, but you can order the Maliah which is ‘suitable for Kurma eaters’ whilst hanging your head in shame. Those ‘feeling brave’ are instructed to order a Vindaloo, a statement that usually makes me as brave as I am stupid. And then there is the curries described as ‘not for the faint hearted’, a clever turn of words that appeals to idiots like me. I can’t turn that stuff down; it’s a red rag to a bull, a picture of Princess Diana to The Daily Mail. It’s the stuff I live for, the fuzzy wave of pure heat that pulsates through my veins and escapes via sweat on my brow. By telling me I that it is not for the faint hearted I have to order it, despite knowing all too well that my body will hate me for it. Which, 16 hours on, I can confirm that it does.

So, yeah, Adil’s Balti. Those not familiar should know that it is the original home of the Balti in Birmingham, maybe even the UK. It resides in the Balti Triangle, where nostalgic fiftysomethings go for a ‘real Balti’, armed with a six pack of Carling. All of this is fine. I go there, quite a bit actually. It’s dependable and consistent and they do chilli bhaji’s that might even trump the naan as the greatest thing to dunk into a curry.  I’ve written at length about it back in the early days of this blog.  If you were one of the two people that read it back then congratulations, if not, please let me tell you about the recent meal I had courtesy of those dandy people at Deliveroo.

Pani Puri is the first thing to enter our gigantic gobs.  The puffed up shells arrive intact as we crack open the top and pour in the spiced water to neck in one go.  They are delicious, all umami and spice.  Paneer tikka is charred on the heavy side and is all the better for it.  The bland cheese has taken on all the marinade, transforming it from a nothing to something extraordinary.  We fight over the last piece.

 

The Balti’s do not disappoint. A lamb Balti Jalfrazzi is the ideal bastardization of complex masala and spice. The bite of pepper is welcome with the softly braised meat and heat that grows on the palate. And then there is my curry, the Balti Chicken Chilli Masala that I have been teased in to ordering with the provocative wording. It as subtle as The Suns disdain for Corbyn, a punch in the mouth of chilli; as fiery as a hungry Jeromy Clarkson. It is relentless in the best possible sense, a full out attack on the body. I love it, even if the look on my face says otherwise. The meat is tender, the sauce pungent and vibrant. I use the pilau rice to coax the last of the sauce on to the fork because a yellow garlic naan, the colour of a radioactive warning sign, goes untouched.

I’ll end with the gushing bit, so if me sucking on the proverbial nipple of Deliveroo isn’t your bag, please close down the window now and resume your normal duties. It’s meals like this that make me love Deliveroo in the way that I do – restaurant quality food delivered to my front door in under half an hour. It allows me to be lazy, to watch TV and eat dinner in my pants without compromise. To treat myself to one of the better curries in this part of the city without leaving the door. It’s the most convenient of treats. When you can get somewhere the calibre of Adil’s I fail to see why you would ever consider another option.

Deliveroo supplied the credit for this meal.  For money off your first order, please see the following link roo.it/simonc3898

Sabai Sabai via Deliveroo

Given the shortage of good Thai restaurants in Birmingham, Sabai Sabai is the kind of place that I should be going to more often. Except I can’t. Because I may have upset someone affiliated with the restaurant by being a self-entitled arse on Facebook, and now I may be too embarrassed / pig headed to show my face in the little restaurant down the road from where I live. Will I ever learn? Of course not, being an arrogant arse is ingrained in my DNA.  But my stupidity is Deliveroo’s gain. When I am feeling flush it is my takeaway of choice. And sometimes its rescued me, like on last valentine’s day when it saved me paying for an overpriced set menu and allowed us to fake romance from the comfort of our own home.

It’s nearly always the same order; sweetcorn cakes, almost bhaji-like in texture and devoid of grease, to start, along with their crackers which are thick and crisp. We always order the Pad Thai noodles, silky and moreish, with perfectly judged acidity from the lime. We scatter it generously with both peanuts and chilli flakes and entwine the chicken with the noodles.  It captures the very essence of Thai food.

I’d written about the holy basil stir fry before, so I’ll spare you the finer details again.  It’s my favourite thing on the menu here – spicy enough to hold interested, with enough veg to nourish.  It gets even better with the addition of egg fried rice that soaks up the salty sauce and ensures the plate enters the kitchen clean.

IMG_8554

We both agreed that this was up their with the best we’d ever had from Sabai Sabai – proof that food can travel and still be as good.  The only thing stopping us from having it every week is the cost; both mains are about a tenner, starters around a fiver, rice £3.55,  and crackers a hefty £2.25.  Add that up and it doesn’t come cheap.  My opinion?  Treat it as a meal out – order it and crack open a decent wine.  Make a night of it. It’s worth it.

Deliveroo kindly provided the credit for this meal.  Sabai Sabai can be found in Moseley, Harborne, and Stratford-Upon-Avon.  For free credit on your first order please see use the code roo.it/simonc3898

Black Lab, Via Deliveroo

This could potentially get me I trouble, but the pubs of Moseley don’t do food. Some try to, in the same half-arsed way that I try to do modesty, but it’s not there. I live next to one that I would love to tell you were brilliant, but the reality is it’s dismal; an embarrassment to the grand building and plush interiors it houses. Still, I like to have a pint in there occasionally and I’m not about to ruin that by calling them out publically. Others don’t even try; at present both The Prince of Wales and Patrick Kavanaghs are open to folk taking in their own food, on account of them not having a functioning kitchen in which to sell their own food. I prefer this, as I can control exactly what I want to eat. So, on a bitter January Saturday evening, we descend on Patrick Kavanagh’s for beer, football, and a takeaway courtesy of Deliveroo. That sentence was so masculine it should come with a beard and a pipe.

I’d never heard of Black Lab before we placed our order with them, though Google Maps tells me that it is on Kings Heath High St.  The menu reads well; some sandwiches, some tapas, mostly with a Mediterranean slant.  Food is ordered from phones, pints obtained from the bar.

Food arrives half an hour later.  Whitebait is crisp and lightly fried, exuding a whiff of ammonia throughout the bar that upsets a few nostrils.  Camembert has an equally strong aroma, baked with a little onion that has sunk into the skin.  The inside is molten and smeared thickly onto chunks of baguette.  We round up the food with a chicken quesadilla, cheesy and not exactly brimming with meat.  It all serves a purpose.

My biggest issue is the price.  The cheapest of those three items was £8.00, the other two a tenner each – this is when I could have ordered a Cafephilia from Deliveroo for about half the price.  Will I be hunting Black Lab down in Kings Heath?  Probably not.  Will I order them again on Deliveroo?  I doubt it.  But the experience has opened up a new way of dining that I’d probably not considered before.  Take one pub that doesn’t serve food, log on to phone and order what you like.  I’m eying up The Wellington in the city centre next, already dreaming of a pint of real ale, a game of darts and a Byron burger.  Now try telling me that doesn’t sound like a plan.

The credit for this meal was provided by Deliveroo. For £5.00 credit on your first meal use the code roo.it/simonc3898

 

Damascena, Moseley, Via Deliveroo

Mention Damascena and you will most likely get a hushed response like it is a dirty secret. It seems that despite numerous awards and a fair amount of press, some people would still have you believe that this is a hidden gem for only those in the know. It’s not. Everyone knows this is the place to come for the best m’tabal and shawarma, they just don’t want to talk about in case another hipster takes their place on the majlis to sup on chai.  And who can blame them – I hate it when my favourite majlis is taken.

I love it there, though I happen to hate queuing more and I now generally prefer to let those nice people at Deliveroo take the stress away by bringing it to my doorstep. It seems to be a healthier takeaway, one that fills my heart arteries with glee instead of ghee. Falafel may be fried but there is no oiliness to the crisp exterior and we feel no guilt as we dredge it through a thick hummus nutty with tahini. Eighteen months ago I wrote about a little place up the road in Kings Heath when I alluded to Damascana making the best hummus in Birmingham. Its a view that hasn’t changed.

img_7550

Minced lamb is loosely compacted and doused in a warm tahini sauce that lifts the meat.  It is fresh with parsley and oregano and best enjoyed piled on to flat breads which are the perfect vehicle from plate to mouth.  Add some of the pickles from the falafel tray and you have something really special. Halloumi is marinated and grilled, the bland cheese taking on the sweet pops of pomegranate and crunch of raw onion.

I always order a m’sakhan flatbread and the counter staff always try not to smirk as I fail to pronounce it.  Order it from inside Damascena and the bread will be layed flat, with the spiced chicken and onion mixture piled on to its centre point.  Here its folded like a wrap, the olive oil seeping in from every angle.  Its as good as a chicken sandwich can be; the tender brown meat long marinated in olive oil and sumac so that it takes on a sharp citrus notes.  Slithers of almonds offer bite, chunks of softly braised onion do not.  When Damascena opens its second premises early next year in the city centre, you could do far worse than make this your lunch of choice.

img_7551

Four dishes, enough to feed two, for little over twenty English pounds.  We even had enough left to make a small lunch the following day.  Its cooking of character, the sort you imagine that the team sits to eat together long after that the last hipster has left and enjoys as a communal.  Its a gem, not a secret, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.  Food this good deserves to be shared on the widest scale possible.

Deliveroo supplied the credit for this meal.  For £10 credit from your first order please use roo.it/simonc3898

Damascena Coffee House Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Kababish, Moseley, Via Deliveroo

I need no reason to eat curry. I would, if my doctor would allow me, feast on the stuff every night.  Cut me open and I bleed ghee, ask me what my aftershave I’m wearing and the answer will be eau de garam masala.  For me, the food of the Indian subcontinent is simply the best.  A go to cuisine whenever my body needs a lift; whether that be I am ill or hungover or emotionally down or overexposed to back-to-back episodes of TOWIE.  It is a special kind of food that lends itself as equally well to dinner for two as it does to a post-pub feed or the simply takeaway.

Where I am from (Moseley, if you are planning on stalking me), the long standing king of the curry is Kababish.  With a reign of over 30 years, they have seen the suburb go from its arts of crafts roots into the national hotspot which it is now.  My future mother-in-law recalls queuing for Kababish when she were a student, and she is officially ancient.

I have eaten here many times, though tonight I am kicking back and letting those boys at Deliveroo sort my dinner whilst I watch another British team fail miserably in the Champions League.  I order, crack a beer open and meet the driver at the door before the bottle is finished.  Its piping hot, which is a marked improvement on the first time I had a delivery from here some time back.

img_7540

I’m a simple soul when it comes to the menu here, every time ordering the lamb kebab followed by the Dhesi Karai Murgh with a peshwari naan on the side.  The kebab is shaped into roundels and is deftly spiced with cumin and green chilli.  It has tenderness to the mince meat that could only be achieved by a lengthy marinade and a gentle touch in the tandoor.

img_7542

The Dhesi Karai Murgh is the star turn.  A Balti for the brave, fragrant with spice and with a healthy kick in the finish.  The cubes of poultry collapse into loose strands when pressured and have to fight for attention, which they just about manage.  The peshwari naans sweetness is a natural foil to the heat and mops up the last of the thick juices.  I have converted many to this curry over the years.  Give it a go and you wont be the last.

img_7541

I meant to post this last week to coincide with National Curry Week, though I am useless.  It matters not; curry may as well be our national dish, its ingrained in our culture and should be eaten often and with pride.  And those who do indulge could do far worse than doing so at Kababish.

Deliveroo supplied the credit for this meal.  Use the link roo.it/simonc3898 for £10 credit

 

Chilli Dog Dogs via Deliveroo

I’ll stand by what I’ve said before; nobody does better hotdogs than Chilli Dog Dog’s.  I’ve been to the one in London that also sells fizz, the one in New York through the phone box with the bearded hipsters, and the one in London which name checks New York and now sells to the Birmingham restaurant which is a bit like Burger & Lobster.  Still with me? No, well neither am I.  I guess what I am trying to say is for all my travels, I always end up back in Moseley, queuing up for the tin shack in the back garden of the Prince of Wales.

But now I am cold and yet again hungover, with no desire to be judged by the length of my stubble or depth of the bags underneath my eyes.  I have a stomach to answer to and credit in my Deliveroo account thanks to a nifty referral system (get your ten pound code here roo.it/simonc3898).  We order and wait all of twenty eight minutes for a polite man to arrive with dinner.  He doesn’t judge me, dressing gown and all.

098

The dog is a relatively new one, from a menu seemingly aimed at food intended to threaten fingers and chins as much as mouths.  Its messy in the best possible sense, a lashford sausage drowned in a mixture of chopped mango, spicy sriracha sauce, pickled carrots and toasted peanuts, all of which hint at warmer climes than B13.  The sausage is rightly the star, robust and piggy in texture and flavour.

099

Don’t let the name kid you, he does burgers as well.  Aged patties from a proper piece of cattle and a butcher who knows his trade.  The one we order is loosely packed, big on the taste of bovine and topped with a generous amount of macaroni cheese and bits of crispy bacon.  Its familiar burgers flavours reinvented for those with a dirty mind.  And boy do I have a dirty mind.

101

We take two sides when one would have been plenty.  The chips are better than the nacho’s, though the latter have a beef ragu sauce that would improve anything, desserts included.  Next time it will be the chips topped with the silky cheese sauce and the beef.  Just thinking about it makes me want that next time to be now.  I’ve come to the conclusion that we’re lucky to have the likes of Chilli Dog’s on our doorstep, and they seem happy enough braving the elements in a pub back garden so I can get my feed from the comfort of my living room.  And that relationship works perfectly fine for me.

As well as The Prince of Wales and Deliveroo, you can also catch Chilli Dog Dogs frequently at 1000 Trades.  I thought I should point that out, too.

 

<a href="https://www.zomato.com/birmingham/prince-wales-moseley&quot; title="View Menu, Reviews, Photos & Information about Prince of Wales, Moseley and other Restaurants in Birmingham"

Deliveroo; Chilli Dog Dog’s / Heavenly Desserts

If you are one of the dozens of people that follow me on Twitter, you may have noticed that I am partial to food from Chilli Dog Dog’s. I occasionally post pictures of their food, which, if you are not familiar with their back catalogue, mostly amounts to buns containing protein and other stuff that tastes nice. These food porn images have led to a bit of an on-line bromance with Simon, the cordial chap that slaves behind a grill in the backyard of The Prince of Wales so that I can get fatter. He humours me, which is an achievement in itself. Outside of Twitter our relationship extends to me being a drunk and him working in a beer garden that I often drink in. I am a big fan of his cooking, so when those nice fellows at Deliveroo suggested that I have a dinner on them, there was only one place I was going to fill my boots at.

I keep on returning to Chilli Dog because the standard is consistently high. In a market saturated with burgers and hotdogs he takes prime ingredients’ and doesn’t mess with them – a concept that I wish would catch on. Given the nature of this blog I should be out trying others and probably wishing that I hadn’t, but I don’t because I am fastidious and difficult with the food that I eat. I am also intrinsically lazy, so praise to Deliveroo for saving me the hassle of changing out of my pj’s and getting my dinner to me within forty minutes. Even if the man on the scooter had to handle over the goods to a rotund ageing man in a dressing gown.

The food which arrived may have had the precision knocked out of it a little by the short ride up the road, but it was hot and packed with all the flavour that I have come to expect. A cheese and bacon burger was the star; the texture tightly packed, the beef flavour massive from the coarse meat of an animal that had been properly aged since its offing. Thick, cured bacon gave smokey notes which were eventually wiped away by the pickles. Everything served a purpose. It wipes the floor with any other burger locally and you’ll be hard pushed to find a better one in the city. A Mexicana Dog has toppings of guacamole, cheese sauce, sour cream and jalapenos. It’s not conventional, though it works because the sausage is of extraordinary quality from Lashford’s. The pork flavour inside the crisp skin is ramped up enough to handle enough to handle everything that is thrown at it. It’s messy, but then the best things in life are.

007

001

Side dishes from here are usually bypassed in my attempts for a quick nosh between beers, though this time we try a variety to turn it into a main meal. Out of the additional carb’s we order only nacho’s disappoint by being far too salty, even for my taste buds. Chips have crispy exterior and fluffy centres thanks to several cooking processes, whilst a mac and cheese has pasta with just enough bite. What holds them all together is molten nacho sauce, thick like custard and cheesier than four bar stools containing the members of Westlife, for which I would love the recipe for.

002

It was a different proposition for the second Deliveroo of the evening.  I was aware of Heavenly Desserts in the sense that I had seen the constant queue of people that I was never going to wait in:  I simply don’t like sweet things enough to stand around and wait in line with strangers for them.  What arrived twenty minutes from order on my doorstep would be my first experience of them; quality was generally high, though everything was very sweet.  A chocolate cheesecake was intense on the cocoa flavour and light in texture, the accompanying Belgian chocolate ice cream equally indulgent.  It’s a chocoholics dream (which I hasten to add, that I am not) and a relative steal at £4.90.  For the same price a waffle, a wheel trim in size and appearance, felt less value.  The sweet batter was a little heavy, the sugar levels in the white chocolate sauce relentless, even more so with the addition of whipped cream that was packaged separate.

008

018

The highlight of the Heavenly Dessert order was a special that was a play on Ferrero Rocher.  Chunks of waffle, intermingled with crisp chocolate pieces and chopped hazelnuts, nutella and cream, topped with a massive scoop of hazelnut ice cream.  If the waffle was one-dimensional this was a riot of texture and temperatures, with familiar flavours cleverly pronounced.

017

A final quick word on Deliveroo, because they covered my dinner and therefore deserve it.  The on-line ordering is simple, the delivery process efficient and hassle-free.  It is never going to replace my obsession with dining out, but it does continue to give me options of eating at great places on the nights when I want the comfort of my own home.  In instances such as Heavenly Desserts its a no-brainer:  Why queue for thirty minutes in a store when you can have your sugar rush delivered to your front door in twenty?  And with Chilli Dog Dog’s, well you should regardless, because its bloody brilliant.  Go on, treat yourself.  You deserve it.

Chilli Dog Dog’s 9/10

Heavenly Desserts 7/10

Deliveroo picked up the bill on this occasion, though I’ve since ordered (again) on my own accord.  Mostly because I appreciate nice food and so do they.  Go check them out at http://www.deliveroo.co.uk