When it comes to Indian dining, Birmingham certainly has a lot to offer. There are, however, a couple of restaurants that are a cut above the rest. Pushkar (and its sister venue Praza) is one such restaurant, and has been one of my favourite places to get a great curry for a while. So when I was invited down to sample some dishes from their new street food menu I knew I could expect some great food – and when I saw that eight out of the ten options on the menu are vegetarian, I got even more excited!
Situated on Broadstreet, Pushkar is certainly one of the classier establishments in the area! Expect modern, luxurious decor, with nods to Indian culture, and friendly, professional front of house staff. The street food menu is made up of ten smaller dishes that range from £3.99-£8.99 and serve as either starters or could be tried as a series of multiple courses. We had four of the dishes between us, and I’m just going to throw it out there now – they were all absolutely brilliant.
First up was Gol Guppa, crispy wheat shells stuffed with lentil and tamarind, with a spicy dressing. Our server explained to us how to eat these small treats, which was to pour the dressing into the wheat cup and pop it whole into your mouth. When eaten like this, the intense burst of flavours is really unique and definitely a talking point. Though very spicy, the dish itself was perfectly light, making it a great starter.
Next we tried the Machhi Ke Pakode – basa fish marinated in garlic, ginger and chilli and fried to create a crispy coating. This fish was extremely tender and smooth, and the batter, rather than being overpowering, added extra subtle flavours without taking away the lime light from the fish.
We were then served Chinese Bhel, a traditional Indian Chinese dish, which is a cuisine that has changed little in the last hundred years. Having never tried any kind of food that combines these two distinct styles, I was certainly intrigued as to how it would taste. The crispy noodles had a hint of something similar to sweet and sour yet the spices and fresh coriander certainly brought through those recognisable Indian flavours, making for, again, another very interesting, simply delicious course.
Finally we had the Pav Bhaji, a mashed vegetable curry served with traditional hot, buttered rolls. This was one of my favourite dishes as the two components went perfectly and there was something comforting and indulgent about the hot, buttery pav. Also, as we were simply picking up the rolls and tucking in, this course felt the closest, perhaps, to the traditional street food experience.
To wash all this down, we, for once, stuck to non-alcoholics, as we knew Pushkar does some fabulous mocktails. Jack went for the Mango Mojito (also available at Praza), which was so good he had to order another, and I went for the Oswald Cooler, which was a refreshing long drink with cucumber, mint and cranberry flavours, and was gorgeous. As the food we were served was also pretty spicy, I also opted for a strawberry and almond lassi, which was like drinking an entire glass of Activia, which is no bad thing.
Overall, I can’t recommend the new street food menu at Pushkar enough, whether you opt for one as a starter or, like us, fancy trying a few. We left the restaurant feeling satisfied by some fantastic food, but without that regretable food-coma that can often come along with a trip to an Indian! The street food menu is only available for a limited time, so if you’re tempted then make sure you get yourself down to Pushkar soon! Thank you to Rai and everyone at Pushkar for having us – see you again soon!