Alam (Multi-cuisine) – Coventry Road, BirminghamSPONSORED CONTENT HALAL STATUS Fully Halal food & drinks menu • Shisha served
While the coat of arms of the former brewery is still visible on the exterior, the historic site of 356 Coventry Road in Birmingham was taken over and Halalified into Alam restaurant in 2019.
What makes this entire enterprise even more remarkable though, is the fact that this multi-cuisine, all-purpose establishment is owner Chaudhry’s very first restaurant venture.
In fact, the lengths to which this young entrepreneur (young at least in this industry) has gone to to stand above the competition, is perhaps best exemplified by his successful recruitment of well-known, multi-award winning Pakistani chef Rehan Raees.
With “20 years in the finest 5-star hotel industry in Pakistan and abroad (Intercontinental Hotel, New Dehli)”, his accolades include: Pakistan’s Master Chef Award 2003 and 2009, Youngest Chef of the Nation Award, Largest International Catering Award (India), Highest Sale in India while representing Pakistani food award, Pakistani Food Festival Winning Award, and more.
In addition to the 75 seats available downstairs and the 100 upstairs, there’s 46 more situated at the back in what Alam calls ‘The Court Yard’: A custom-designed outdoor area that’s essentially reserved for shisha gurglers.
The indoor dining area itself is breathtakingly sumptuous, with an open barbecue kitchen located opposite a veritable cake stand that has their entire range of non-alcoholic beverages strategically displayed for all to admire.
With comfortable boothed seating, they even have an alluringly large blossom tree situated indoors to attract all those instagram-happy diners.
The menu itself is fully Halal, and is made up of an elaborate breakfast that’s available from 8am till 12.30pm during the weekend, with an even more elaborate afternoon tea thereafter.
You might also like to note that guests have the option of convenient parking spaces, albeit limited in number, towards the rear end of the restaurant that’s accessible via Grange Road.
Liberally covered in a well made hollandaise sauce, the eggs in this attractively plated Eggs Benedict turned out semi-soft, with the Turkey rashers, while adding that required smoky edge, being of a standard variety.
Otherwise, plenty of rocket leaves, beneath which was a relatively crusty sourdough bread, with cherry tomatoes served on the vine, which could have done with more cooking.RECOMMENDED
The addition of smooth and velvety smashed avocado and a juicy portabella mushroom, all topped with a spicy cherry tomato sauce that ensured some good heat, made all the difference in helping these Eggs & Avocado trump their Benedict counterpart. Plenty of things happening here to retain your focus right until the end.
These Buttermilk Pancakes were decent enough, turning out quite fluffy, and drizzled with treacle, before being coated in chocolate, and topped with a variety of fresh berries.RECOMMENDED
But it’s this French Toast that should be your choice of sweet breakfasts, with thick slices of saturated bread beautifully toasted and generously smothered in plenty of treacle and chocolate sauce.
We also enjoyed the caramelised addition of a long slice of banana, all brought together with an assortment of fresh berries.
Despite their presentation in custom-made Alam glasses, this pair of strawberry and original mojitos, or Nojitos as they’re known here, needed that tantalisingly refreshing kick to elevate these above the average.
Luxury indeed! Served with the theatrics of dry-ice, this newly introduced, 3-tier Luxury Artisan Afternoon Tea was an exploratory delight, with a ridiculously wide range of goodies to enjoy, all complimented by non-alcoholic wine and an unlimited supply of tea or coffee.
Served only on Sundays between 12-6pm, we were presented all three Sunday Roasts – namely the Chicken “Poussin”, the fresh Scottish Salmon, and the free-range Lamb Shank – for review purposes.
There really wasn’t much to choose from between them really. The chicken turned out superbly succulent; the oven-baked salmon managed to retain that tender translucency, while all the while boasting a crispy exterior; and the slowly simmered lamb shank offered the perfect ratio of meat to fattiness, while practically dissolving off the bone.
Add to that the whispy soft combination of roast and sweet potatoes, as well as parsnips, honey tomatoes on the vine, and plenty of gravy to boot; and this is worth travelling for.
In spite of a few minor shortcomings, what with the pair of lamb and chicken kebabs erring on the chewy side, this platter (served with three elements for this review as opposed to the default two) is definitely worth ordering, if not for its fun-factor, with the inclusion again of dry-ice, then for its price.
Alam’s battered Dynamite Prawns were quite different to versions you might find elsewhere. While these plump, aquatic crustaceans delivered on the tenderness of well executed prawns, not only could they have been better coated in the sauce, but the sauce itself didn’t quite have the required oomph to make this a dish to remember.
This was arguably the most intriguing item on the menu, and one which epitomises Alam’s ambition and scope. Given the difficulty in sourcing this particular fish, Black Cod is always going to be subject to availability, we were told.
Nevertheless, the dish turned out both to be a challenging one and a tale of two halves. The portion of cod itself, which practically flaked apart at the merest glance, was expertly judged by the chef, before being topped with a ‘hay’ of fried vegetable strands for textural contrast, and served on a bed of buttery-soft mash, boiled asparagus, and pieces of sliced radish. All good so far.
What split the crowd was the reduced pomegranate molasses. While one Lion simply couldn’t get past its jarring tangy-sweetness, the other two appreciated the way in which this flavour-profile worked with the earthy-cum-smoky flavours of the elements. This may be one of those Marmite dishes; but if nothing else and if you’ve never tried it before, this is worth the punt for the black cod alone.
While this Smashed Cheese Burger was again another item that was smartly presented, the looks didn’t translate over to flavour. Hence, although the double patties were juicy, with copious amounts of American cheese to make for a pretty picture, the burger was overseasoned.
The hand-cut chips, on the other hand, were an addictive munch, turning out uber crispy and crunchy, and, in this case at least, properly seasoned.
That’s right, they even offer Italian dishes which, in the case of this Four Cheese Pasta, was rich and sumptuous, with the piquancy of the cheeses combining to offer a soothing aftertaste.
And the accomanying crunchy garlic bread was the perfect foil against the al dente tagliatelle. Scrumptious!
A hearty Achar Ghosht that didn’t shy away in delivering some robust spices. There was nothing subtle about this rich plate of goodness, with the lamb managing to retain some of its chewy goodness.
And these uniformly presented trio of cheesecakes were decadently smooth in their textures. What we enjoyed the most, apart from the smoothness of the cheesy cream, was the crumbly base.
- NO/ NO
- CHILD SEATING
- DISABLED FACILITIES
- UBER EATS
- JUST EAT
And owner Chaudhry appears to have left no stone unturned with his very first restaurant venture, having secured the talents of multi-award winning Pakistani chef, Rehan Raees, who currently heads the kitchen.
They don't offer discounts often, but as always, and like only FtLion can, we've teamed up with Alam to offer readers an extended 20% off the entire menu up until the end of March. Go enjoy a unique dining experience.
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