We've not been anywhere new in Birmingham since last year; it's all been re-treads of places we like here.
So, to Pushkar. Being close to us means Pushkar was on the radar for takeaways which have always been good, if quite expensive. So when we were invited by some friends to go for a meal there I was keen.
Pushkar is a relatively up-market place on Broad Street billing itself as a Punjabi and North Indian restaurant. It's right where the action is and passing it on an evening will show its popularity on any day - its always busy. Part of this is due to the location, part of is due to the cocktail bar they've shoehorned in and part of it is the quality of the food.
Service is good, the cocktails we ordered whilst waiting for the entire party arrive were very satisfying and its a nice place, if a little noisy for my tastes. The service is good. I know I've said that but really our waiter seemed to be on hand all the time despite the restaurant being very busy during our visit.
So, to the food. I shan't be going through dish by dish like I usually do because it was too long ago and not memorable enough. Which isn't to say it was bad; far from it - the food here is very nice. Our party ordered popadoms with condiments and starters, all of which were fresh and good quality. A special mention goes to the popadom condiments which are of a much higher quality than the usual fair in Birmingham.
A: Lamb biryani.
This is the only dish I distinctly remember and it was well prepared, the meat was tender and tasty and there was nothing at all to complain about apart from the portion size. The biryani comes in its own pot and it has a sort of baked skin, like a bread or fine pastry, that you have to break to get to the meat and rice.
I'd say we had a nice meal at Pushkar and, apart from that meagre portion, for flavour you can't go wrong here. I don't remember what Z ordered but I know we all enjoyed our meals.
I have a reservation though, which you might have thought was coming. The price. Simply put; Pushkar is overpriced. There isn't a main that is under £10 here and the seafood dishes are all over £15. With a larger portion I'd have no issue with this but a few prawns for £16 is not reasonable, unless you're talking Venice quality concotions. We all liked the food but it's not worth this and I feel Pushkar is making the most of its prime position in a slightly unsavoury manner.
Return to an old favourite
Between Pushkar and the present day we went back, again(!), to Fiesta Del Asado. A trip there is never disappointing and it had been a while since I'd had the pancake dessert.
Z: Spinach and provone cheese empanada.
A: Chicken and sweetcorn empanada.
We'd had the spinach empanada before (and the beef) so knew what to expect. The chicken was an adventure and to my pleasant surprise is beyond good; its now my favourite of the three empanada options.
A: Estofado de ternera
Z: Pollo guisado
I'd had the chicken before and Z thoroughly enjoyed it. Naturally I sneaked a few bites and it was every bit as delicious as I recalled. The Estofado de ternera was another adventure for me and I'm so happy that I went on it. This is the difference between good food and really good food. This dish is £18 but you don't feel like its overpriced by the time you finish it. It isn't a huge portion and it isn't very rich; the satisfaction comes from it being the right sized portion and a culinary delight. The meat just melts and is both subtle and surprisingly deep in flavour. I'm not ashamed to say I wished for some more of the dense and moist bread they serve as a pre-starter to soak up the leftover juices.
Pancakes all around. This is still my favourite restaurant dessert, despite some bits to quality establishments in London in the past few months. Try it - you won't be disappointed. The ability to replicate this at home is not something I'd wish on anyone; the temptation would be irresistible.