Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Malaysian Delight, Chinatown, Birmingham

I've been in Birmingham today. I needed a quick, casual, cheap meal before leaving and was reliably informed that the city has a decent Chinatown. Where better to head?

A bit of a British Chinatown classic this place. It reminded me of similar restaurants I've encountered in London, Manchester and even Newcastle. Small, a bit grubby, brisk, efficient service and a menu covering all the usual Chinese bases (i.e. if it's on your local takeaway menu it's on this one) to keep the punters happy.

That, and a separate menu section for whatever the restaurant actually intended to specialise in. In this case not Chinese at all, but Malaysian.

There weren't really any Malaysian sides or starters which was a little disappointing. I wanted roti canai damnit.I bloody love roti canai. Against my better judgment I ordered curry samosas, kind of hoping they'd turn out to be a delectable curry puff.

They were ok, in a straight out the freezer and fried properly in hot, fresh oil sort of way, but nothing more. The salad underneath and an almost tasteless dipping sauce were completely pointless.

I fancied noodle soup but not anything coconutty so I went a little off piste and ordered assam laksa rather than the more common curry laksa. I'd never had an assam laksa before but had a vague notion it was fishy and sour.

Memory served me correctly as what arrived was an exceedingly fishy, moderately sour (tamarind I think) and spicy broth topped with various bits and bobs. The broth itself was very good, intensely flavoured with shredded mackerel and (probably) shrimp paste.

Everything else was a bit of a let down though; overcooked noodles with no bite, very little mackerel in actual pieces and not much of the other stuff which mainly comprised cucumber and pineapple (though I'd happily have foregone all of that for some good springy noodles in the broth).

Passable and cheap at £12.50 including a beer but I wouldn't rush back. It's also worth bearing in mind that as well as only taking cash, they also only accept real cash. There's a useful sign pointing this out at the counter. 'Forged money is forbidden' it says. I was ok today as I've not been on the counterfeiting plant and I won't be laundering until next week, but on another occasion it could have been embarrassing. You have been warned.


8 Ladywell Walk
B5 4ST

Malaysian Delight on Urbanspoon

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