Tuesday, 1 May 2018

Food: Itihaas

Style: Indian fine dining    Price: ££ (Mains around £15-20)  Location: Fleet Street

The Venue

On a sunny evening, my first day back at work after the Easter holidays, I made my way to Itihaas, a sophisticated Indian restaurant with a focus on quality cooking and service. I was there for a blogger's dinner where we were to try lots- lots- of dishes from their menu.

I really like how fancy it is in Itihaas; it certainly feels like a special occasion venue, with moody lighting, lots of gold everywhere and lovely plants.

We were downstairs, which is available for private dining. This felt lighter due to the large windows. There's a bar there too so it would be great for parties.

The drinks

I'd already drank plenty of rose champagne with the canapes before I realised there was a rum and brandy ambassador present, who would be providing us with paired cocktails for each course.

With the canapes, I tried a Rum and Grape, made with Bonpland Rum and Ferdinand's Peach Bitters. I liked how simple and summery this was, though the grapes make it a little difficult to drink.

During the meal, we had some of the Bonpland VSOP rum over ice and a lovely rum Old Fashioned. With the dessert, we were served Chateaux Labaude Armagnac XO, whoch was rich and splendid.

Itihaas have an extensive wine and cocktail menu. I've had a look through the cocktails and the champagne cocktails look especially appealing, all £10.50 and made with Piper-Heidsieck champagne.

The food

When I arrived, they were handing out canapes, which would be lovely at a party. These were mostly from the chaat section of the menu- little tasty bites with street food influences. My favourites were the potato patties with chickpeas, yoghurt and pomegranate which you see above and the salmon and goats cheese samosas below.

When we sat down at the table, we were handed a starter of Soft Shell Crab in a pakora batter. As well as being beautifully cooked and seasoned, this was striking to look at too. I don't usually fuss about whether something is on a plate or not, but this particular meal was tricky to eat off a slate!

A trio of starters followed. Lamb Tikka and Chargrilled Salmon both had a gorgeous dry heat to them, having being cooked over an open charcoal flame. The Salmon and Seabass fishcake was delicate but still packed a punch of flavour.

I was already feeling quite full having gobbled up too many canapes, but an absolute feast awaited me.

Chicken biryani was fragrant and the chicken was moist. It's got to be the best one I've had. This was served alongside raita and traditional Biryani gravy. I really enjoyed mixing these in with the rice dish.

Other dishes included Jaipur Lamb Takka, a rich tomato-based curry, and Goan Lobster Curry, which had a beautiful coconut base. Everything was delicious; I just wish I had enough space in my stomach left to enjoy more.

They've done interesting things with desserts, making Indian-inspired cheesecakes or slices. I had a taste of the Gajar Halwa Cheese Cake, a cheesecake with a carrot cake base but I was so full it was rather lost on me.

I had an incredible experience at Itihaas. I had so much to eat (and drink) and everything was a joy. I definitely need to head back to really appreciate the excellent cooking and ingredients on offer.

Itihaas, Fleet Street, Birmingham

Food and drink were complimentary; thanks for the invite Delicious PR

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