A couple of weeks ago I was invited to a private dinner at Vivaanta, Birmingham's newest Indian restaurant. Vivaanta has a lovely canal side location next to the bridge behind the Mailbox. With such a super location, they had to be offering good food to match.
I joined a group of assorted foodies, bloggers and writers for cocktails and a sample menu in Vivaanta's private dining room. I liked the bold colours and decor in the main restaurant and enjoyed a prosecco in there while waiting to start eating. The private dining room was behind two glass doors and had a bright feel to it, complimented by the giant light feature above our heads.
As well as food I tried another cocktail, the lychee martini suggested to me by the waiter. I do love lychee in a drink. I found this floral, refreshing and a little sweet.
While waiting for our food, we were given poppadoms with mango chutney, raita, and a hot sauce. I loved that we had a variety of poppadoms, including an interesting seeded version. I got through quite a few of these!
A beautiful side salad appeared,
To begin, a mini sampler of some of the starters. Vivaanta's speciality is seafood so most of these were fish based.
Chargrilled salmon, Crab cakes with ginger and lime, Nepalese cod pakora, baked sea bass, aloo tikki and mussels. All the items on the starter platter were lovely but my absolute favourite was the crab cake. I managed to get through two of these as I was sitting next to someone with a shellfish allergy! Fragrant, juicy and with a little chilli kick.
There were a variety of mains brought out to share. I didn't get to try everything, partly because there was so much and partly because I was very full at the end.
Garlic chilli chicken was my favourite of the mains. Spicy, yes, but not so as to overwhelm the flavours. I accidentally popped a green chilli in my mouth at one point, thinking it was a green bean. I soon learnt my mistake!
We retained our chutneys and poppadoms during the main course as were were enjoying them so much. We also had naans to share. I liked the stylish receptacles our food was served in.
I was looking forward to the prawns as my go-to dish at an Indian restaurant is Tandoori prawns. The prawns themselves were huge and well cooked. The sauce was pleasant enough but lacked the kick that I like with my prawns!
I didn't get to try the Lamb Kaalia Gosht until the end of the main meal, which was a mistake as I was already quite full. The lamb was tender and the sauce was tasty but I found it too rich. If you like a hearty curry you will love this but it wasn't for me.
Lobster Medley contained scallops and prawns and was topped with a lobster tail. The scallops were beautiful and I enjoyed the creamy sauce it was in- I've not had scallops this way before. It was great to have something different! Sadly I felt the lobster itself was over cooked. However, I'd like to go back and try this again on another evening when they aren't trying to get the dish out to 15 people!
Last but not least, dessert. I don't tend to have a dessert when I go for a curry so I was really intrigued. A beautiful platter of sweet treats was placed in front of me and I turned to Tasha of Nutella Tasha to find out what they all were.
Pistachio ice cream was flavoursome and cooling. Gulab Jamun was an oozy, milky little bite of heaven (I had two of these as well). Almond Halwa is a traditional, very rich sweet, which I have tried a few times before. I liked it very much and the small amount on the plate was perfect.
Surprisingly, my highlight of the evening was the dessert. I loved the chilli and garlic chicken and the crab cakes also. I'll definitely be back to see what the food is like on a normal evening.
Vivaanta, Waterfront Walk, Birmingham http://vivaanta.co.uk/
Photos by me.
I was invited to attend the complimentary dinner by Vivaanta in return for my honest opinion.