The Indian Brewery is literally a two minute walk from my front door, which is why I think I’ve eaten most things from their delicious menu, and they’re always my first port of call when I can’t be bothered to cook in the week. I’ve also taken friends, been for pre-drinks dinners, post-drinks (pissed) food, and everything in between, because I feel it’s reasonably priced, always tasty, and super friendly. My husband and I love it. Housed next-door to Snow Hill Station on Livery Street; the craft beer and Indian street food providers have recently expanded, and now take up two of the arches under the railway. The place has always been packed, so hopefully the extra space, with a larger bar will mean there are less queues on a Friday night. Although, they’ve added to their menu too, so I’m expecting an increase in Brummie footfall, and the place will be as cosy as ever.
I thought I’d share a few of my favourite dishes from their original menu which are still on their new one, and also tell you about what I tried from their new selection when I visited a couple of weeks ago. I’m no expert when it comes to beer, but I’ve also sampled a few pints from the bar, so I’ll share what I enjoyed too. I’m already recommending that you go and grab some food and drinks there whenever you’re able; it will add some colour, cheer, and warmth to a bit of a bleak January. And, if you love Indian cuisine, I’m pretty sure you’ll keep going back.
When we just want to grab something quickly, or if I send Marv out to get a takeaway (so that I can remain in joggers and some sort of pyjama top); our standard order is the Indian Fish and Chips and a Chaat Bomb or Fat Naans. There is plenty to choose from for vegetarians; I’ve also heard great things about some of the meat dishes, but as a pescatarian, I can’t give you any advice on what to go for. However, I would suggest grabbing a few veggie dishes to try, because they are the (chaat) bomb.
I can’t stop singing Chaat Bomb, Chaat Bomb, You’re my Chaat Bomb…in the style of Tom Jones. Anyway, the aforementioned bomb of dreams is made from vegetable samosas, which are topped with chickpeas, crunchy bombay sprinkles, and a variety of spicy and cool sauces. There is plenty of heat without being overly spicy; I can always taste the chickpeas and veg, and the minty dressing cuts through everything right at the end with cool freshness. All the textures turn up for a party in your mouth, and at £5.50; I can’t fault it. Thank god they’re still on the new menu.
The Indian Fish and Chips is exactly what it says really. the cod has always been soft and flakey and never dry. The spicy batter has been crisped to perfection, and hugs the fish without being clingy (a skill I still need to learn); it’s like your classic battered fish, but with added warmth and spice. Yum. The Masala Fries are another item where the clues really are all in the name; spicy, crispy fries, which are full of fluffy, soft potato; pure comfort food. The dish is served with lemon and tartar sauce; both of which add a little sharpness and creaminess right where it’s needed. You can grab some Masala Fries as a side, and I thoroughly recommend that you do!
Another small bite that I need to shout out are Pakora Pops; they are basically teeny mouth-sized pakoras served with a sweet chutney. Fried, but not greasy, crispy, and full of potato, onion, and spinach (which makes them healthy in my eyes). They’re the sort of dish that you’ll be really grateful you ordered with your meal.
Okay, so now onto a couple of things from the new menu (which also now has Pakora Chaat; wooooohooooo! This will be my first order on my next visit). Having tried my first Thali at Tamatanga and loving it; I was excited to see that now Indian Brewery offers one, which can be adapted for meat eaters and veggies alike. You can select five portions from the list of Indian dishes, and they are served with salad, roti, rice, raita, poppadum, and far far. The Bombay Thali is for one person (which i was thrilled to hear), and costs the same as the Mixed grill at £18, so it’s not cheap. We went for the Aloo Gobhi; this was milder than I expected, but the timers shone through and the texture of the veg was great. Because the vegetables (potato and cauliflower) were cut into larger pieces, there didn’t feel like there was very much to sample in the pot. However, it left me wanting more, and there were four other dishes to choose from, so I happily carried on.
The Tharka Dhal had plenty of depth to it’s warmly spiced pulses, and it felt rich and comforting; I scooped it up with the roti, which was the perfect paring. The chickpeas in the Chana still had plenty of bite, and the tomato-based sauce was full of garlic and gingery goodness. There was a great kick at the end, which was welcomed, and the rice was a textural addition that I feel went well. The Paneer was perfectly cooked, but I’d say it was my least favourite from the five we’d chosen; I just felt it needed a little extra zing or spice. However, I found it mixed in well with most of the other dishes, and it all got eaten. The Saag was something I kept going back to between the other dishes; there was a saltiness to it that I became very fond of, and it also provided an excellent pot to dip all the carby sides into.
For £18, I’m not sure I’d order it again for myself; I think it’s an excellent way of trying a variety of Indian dishes, but compared to my beloved Chaat Bomb, it didn’t make name as excited. I’d also have liked a little more salad and an extra poppadums, but maybe that’s me being greedy. Marv and i had ordered other items off the menu, and it did feel like a proper feast when it arrived in the middle of our table. It was great to mix and match and dip various things in others. However, at £18, I think you could each order a few other items off the menu for a similar price, and have a better Indian Brewery experience.
We also ordered a Vada Pav, which was spicy fried balls of mashed potato in a butter milk burger bun. The double carb attack was served with red and green chutneys, and Marv and I fought over who was to have the last bite of this. Looking at it, I wasn’t overcome with food excitement, but after biting into the soft salty bun and scoffing the spicy soft potato balls inside, with the sweet and fresh chutney additions; I was amongst it. I may have had an eyes rolling back moment; it was so good. A lovely, and unexpected surprise, and I will be ordering one again. The burger arrives with a fresh toasted green chilli. Unless you are into take-a-layer-off-the-roof-of-your-mouth type of heat level; do not chomp on this. Marv went pale and sweaty very quickly, and immediately regretted his (stoopid) decision. Save it and give it to somebody really mean instead. if you are hardcore when it comes to raw chillies; nibble away my friend!
In case you fancy a little look at the new menu; I’ve popped it below, because I feel kind today (and I remembered to take a photo of it)…
In terms of my diabetes and blood sugar control; I tend to carb count along the way. Once I’ve ordered, I’ll do half of the insulin from my carb estimate. If i’m working my way through several dishes and drinks; I’ll do a two or three more top ups so I have more of a steady release, and I’m not at risk of a hypo from a large dose at the start. i have found that with many meals in restaurants; I’m best off giving my insulin in stages, and pre-emting what is going to be put on the plate before it arrives regarding the carbs. It’s a right pain in the arse when you’ve been drinking, but it’s worth it not to pass out in public which does nothing for my anxiety. Alcohol and insulin doses can be tricky. With so much sugar in beer, wine, and (my most used mixer) tonic water; I still work to the one unit per 10g of carbs ratio. However, I check directly before bed, and aim to be a tiny bit higher than normal so that I’m not risking a hypo in my sleep. I think I’ll do a whole post on alcohol and hypos; I’ve learnt the hard way, and have some great ambulance stories for you.
Anyway, the Indian Brewery is a place I’ll continue to visit, and I love the new, extended environment. The service there is always attentive and we’ve always felt very welcomed. If you haven’t already, pay them a visit; you won’t be disappointed.
Peace, love, and pakora pops, Fay x