We’ve driven past Praza numerous times, but never ventured in, so when we were invited to review, we were eager to try out the food. Generally on A Little Luxury For Me, it’s just the two of us trying out the food and if it’s a family focused restaurant we try it out on Nine to Three Thirty. Our son though is well used to dining out and has no problem with different cuisines and being a bit adventurous, so on this occasion we ended up bringing him along. It’s certainly a welcoming restaurant for a youngster and we were given good advice by the waiting staff about what food to order for him. H loved the decor especially the big black chairs that almost dwarfed him. That’s enough on the family perspective though and on with the gourmet view.
Praza is conveniently situated on Hagley Road (A456) on the way out of the city centre, just a little beyond Five Ways. It’s the sister restaurant Pushkar, another upmarket Indian restaurant with an established reputation. Praza is housed in an elegant, white stucco, Georgian building in Edgbaston. There’s a spacious car park at the rear and you can enter the restaurant there as well. Inside Praza’s decor is modern and sophisticated with a mostly monochrome palette, enlivened with copper tones. It’s not the decor of a standard curry house and it has a real, modern vibe. The service is attentive, but not obtrusive and we were made to feel very much at ease. It’s the sort of restaurant you could dress up a little to go to, but you’d be very welcome if you were more casually dressed.
Generally, I think beer goes well with Asian food as a refreshing contrast and my husband ordered one with his meal. As I was driving, I opted for the Mango Mohito, which is a blend of fresh lime wedges and mint, churned with mango and apple juice, and topped with ginger beer. It was very refreshing and we ended up ordering another for our son as it was a big hit. We loved that popodoms were brought to us pretty much alongside our drinks with a selection of 3 dipping sauces to go with them.
To start we choose the Praza’s Kebab Platter to share. This was a great way to try out three different dishes from the tandoor: chicken tikka, duck sheekh kebab and Arctic char tikka. The seasoning was nicely judged and there was a range of heat between these dishes, which made for a varied starter. It would have been nice to either to have still had the poppadom sauces on the table or had some more sauce provided as an accompaniment to this dish as there wasn’t very much on the plate itself.
I chose a Butter Chicken Delhi Wale for my main course. I like the idea of trying this dish as it’s apparently developed from the street-side eateries of Northern India. It was a dish of tandoori cooked chicken, simmered in a subtle creamy tomato and cashew nut gravy with dried fenugreek leaves, ginger and honey. This is fairly mild fare, which is my preference, but it was seasoned with a complex and complimentary mix of spices with the depth of flavour that you expect from a tandoori cooked meal. My husband ordered Laal Maas, which is a red curry of diced lamb cooked with onions, red chilli paste and yogurt, flavoured with cloves, chilli and garlic. It’s a traditional lamb dish from the state of Rajasthan. This was described as spicy in the menu and so it proved. It wasn’t heat without flavour or subtlety though, as is sometimes the case, but the heat built through the meal. We loved the richness of this dish, which envelopes your taste buds as you eat.
For dessert we went for two contrasting dishes. I went for a traditional Indian dessert: Kulfi. This dish was trio of Kulfi with pistachio, malai and mango flavours. The different tastes went together quite nicely, although I wasn’t very keen on the malai. I’d never had it before, so it might have been a dislike of the flavour rather than how it was prepared. The dessert was sprinkled with toasted almonds which provided some contrasting texture. Our other dessert choice was a western favourite of Chocolate Brownie with Cappuccino Ice Cream. The brownie was rich and dark, with just the right amount of gooeyness for a brownie, and the ice-cream was silky smooth without overpowering the chocolate with its coffee flavour.
We will certainly be dining at Praza again as we love Indian food and it’s nice to be able to sample high quality food it in a modern and stylish setting.