The Lifestyle Post #30: Indulgent Indian at Ithiaas

If there is one thing the Birmingham food
scene is renowned for, it’s Indian cuisine, with big players like Lasan and the
world famous Balti Triangle coming together to make The Midlands the place to
be for any Indian fan. 
One venue, I have never paid a visit to
however is Itihaas and a few weeks ago I was invited down to try out their new
menu.

Like the more high-end venues such as
Lassan and Pushkas, Itihaas offers a taste of India in a more contemporary,
sophisticated setting than your average curry house. The most recent menu
demonstrates how the attitude of curry lovers has changed. Raj Rana, Head Chef
Exec at Itihaas explained how when they first arrived in the city, customers
would come in asking for a vindaloo or a madras, but now things are different.
Customers are longing for authenticity and dishes they have never tried or
heard of, which has allowed the Itihaas team to present their most extravagant
and experimental menu to date.

The décor:

No expense has been spared in this 2 million
pound restaurant, where slate finished walls and plated glass create a
sophisticated interior that is sure to impress. This is complimented however by
the inclusion of 18th and 19th century Indian artifacts,
such as carved stone elephants and 300 year old doors, which give the place an
ambience that doesn’t sacrifice tradition for style.


What’s cooking:

Inspired by the Mughal era, the food at Itihaas
is unapologetically indulgent, taken largely from the North of India, with
influences from Kenya and Mumbai. Their latest menu sees newly created dishes
such as the scallop and prawn masala and banana leaf salmon join much loved
favourites like the butter chicken served in a smoky tomato sauce to create a
sizzling collection of rich and tasty dishes which capture the decadence of
indian fine dining. 


What’s not to miss:

The lobster Panchporan, which is simmered
with five spices in a creamed mustard paste is definitely the stand out dish, as
fresh and you like and packed full with flavour, proving why seafood dishes are
a specialty here. At £29.00, although not one of the cheapest dishes it is also
one of the better value options on the menu.

Although I’m not usually a huge lamb fan,
the Nalli Ghost served off the bone was also one of my favourites. The tender
meat is stewed in a thick and spicy masala gravy to offer a rich and decadent
flavour.

When it comes to dessert, no indian dish
has ever seriously impressed and Itihaas was no exception. Best of the bunch
was the Chai Masala Mousse. Light and fluffy it is a fairly non-offensive way
to satisfy any sweet cravings after your main but if I were you I would skip
saving room for anything sweet and go for that extra half a naan bread!


The
booze:

During the evening we also got to sample
some of Itihaas’ specialty Torunska cocktails. Known as Poland’s best kept
secret, Torunska has a velvety clean taste that would make any vodka aficionado
fall in love. After discovering the brand on a Polish business trip, Itihaas
have used it to create their own selection of signature cocktails, including
‘beautiful moment’ which pairs it with german elderflower liqueur, lemon juice,
sugar syrup and hibiscus essence, which was far too drinkable for a school
night!

The verdict:  

In a city that is accustomed to madras or masala,
it is difficult to offer something to make you stand out from the crowd, but
Itihaas does just that. The variety of exotic dishes and flavours combine with
décor that is dripping with luxury to give you the feeling of dining in an
Indian palace on the streets of Birmingham. The menu doesn’t come cheap but for
a special occasion, this should be at the top of any Indian lovers list.

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