Al Bader (Lebanese & Moroccan) – Birmingham
The restaurant takes its food inspiration from the hills of Lebanon and the streets of Syria, to the hustle and bustle of Morocco’s colourful Marrakesh.
This inspiration is also behind the design of its Moroccan-themed interior decor too, with all the quinessential features of the region accounted for, including lantern lights and comfortable cushioned-seating.
The 120-cover venue serves both Moroccan and English breakfast from 9am-midday.
It was also a former-HMC certified establishment.
You might want to also note that, while it continues to offer a fully Halal food menu, nutmeg is used in some dishes (inquire with a member of staff beforhand).
These large cups of freshly squeezed beverages were pretty darn good. It was the freshness of the mint that made the zesty lemonade such a deliciously refreshing one.
In comparison, the peculiarly orange apple juice was also good, with a weird grainy consistency to it. It might also be an idea to ask them to mix and match the flavour combos.
From the breakfast menu came this Shakshuka, and one which we were looking forward to. This was a traditional Tunisian-style one with far more happening in it when compared to some simpler versions we’ve had in the past.
Unfortunately, the tomato base was overly spiced, with large slices of red pepper therein. And while the eggs helped damped the heat a tad, this was far too spicy as a breakfast even for our collective palettes (and we love our spices).
The biggest shortcoming with this selection of minimally filled pastries from their Turkish bakery was the thickness of the crumbly pastry itself.
They did, nevertheless, have a good taste to ’em, with the best being perhaps the spinach-filled one.
Gotta love Birmingham! This attractively presented mezza platter (believe it or not, this is their medium-sized one) would certainly cost far more in London.
Despite the dry interior having a good herby taste, this was overcooked, and therefore not even in the same ball park as FtLion's falafel benchmark set by London's Mr Falafel.
But there were no reservations when it came to this colourfully vibrant Tabbouleh, whose ratio of parsley to the rest of the fresh ingredients was judged just right.
These sparsely-filled vine leaves, while being small and simple, were tasty enough, being soft on the inside, and offering a good kick courtesy of the pickles.
The Moutabal, also known as Baba Ghanoush, was good in flavour, though lacking that egg plant texture one would expect of a moutabal.
This relatively smooth Muhamara had a solid peppery taste to it, with a touch of heat coming through; and was certainly one of the better starters had.
Good quality hummus that's well executed ought to be smooth in consistency. This, while tasting good, was a touch on the grainy side.
The lamb cubes were a touch over culminating in a tough texture in spite of their rather large size.
While we appreciate the fact that some prefer their lamb kofta on the soft side, we would have preferred ours slightly more charred than they were so as to impart both some smokiness and a little texture too. These were decent enough in terms of flavour.
As for the subtly spiced and one dimensional flamed grilled chicken wings, then we enjoyed their moistness and charring more than anything else.
It was essentially déjà vu with the hummus. As for the lamb, then it turned out a little dry. By default, therefore, the chicken was the best part of this Mixed Shawarma, with the dressed salad being a good foil to all that meat.
Of the two, we'd pay that extra £2.50 and opt for the above mixed grill. It offers a better selection, and comes across as being more healthily prepared.
This slow cooked dish tasted more like a curry than a lamb tagine, if we're being honest but regardless tasted very good.
While the lamb was beautifully tender, what we enjoyed the most was the sweetness of the prunes, and the way in which they combined with the overly caramelised topping of onions to counter the gentle heat of the watery broth.
But, given how the entire pot erred on the soft textural-side, we felt that the addition of more crunchier nuts would have worked as a much needed foil.
All the desserts had on the evening were premade. As such, this Basbousa had a staleness to it which, we suspect, was down to this, and the rest of the desserts, being left uncovered.
Having said that though, it was well saturated in a mildly sweet syrup, which made this the best of the bunch.
How this qualified as a kunafa we have no idea whatsoever! Pretty much a red splodge on a plate!
This assortment of baklava was brought in and left out in the open; ergo, not only were they dry, but rather poor in quality too.
Large glasses of soothingly satisfying hot drinks, which one might want to consider with one's meals. Of the two, the chai latte hit the spot!
- NO / NO
- CHILD SEATING
- DISABLED FACILITIES
- JUST EAT
- LOCAL DELIVERY
While we appreciate the fact that the menu has been kept traditional, they might want to consider making a few tweaks to some of the dishes or perhaps introducing some others with a modern twist to elevate things to the next level.
Most people won't have a problem with the food; and with such variety, we ourselves really only managed to scratch the surface. As such, there's enough here for everyone to enjoy.
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