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Subpages for Restaurant Reviews ~ Midlands:

Review of Five Rivers, Walsall

New Indian Restaurant Five Rivers

Five Rivers is a new North Indian restaurant serving food from the Punjab.

Five Rivers, WalsallBased in Walsall I wasn’t sure what to expect. It’s not the easiest place to find and not in the most salubrious location – but having been asked to park in the car park ’round the corner’ we eventually made it into the restaurant. I expect the majority of customers will arrive by car so I would suggest they address this, especially as I almost drove the wrong way up the one way street!

However the exterior of the restaurant itself is really rather lovely and this is reflected by the interior decor. You are greeted on arrival by a pleasant – if slightly over eager – team, but then is a new restaurant and I’d rather that than rude ignorance anytime!

From the Divas on the tables to the leather look bar, exposed brick work, spotlights and contemporary furniture, this is easily recognisable as one of the new upmarket breed of Indian restaurants – similar to Pushkar in Broad Street, Birmingham. We had drinks in the bar  – they have an impressive cocktail menu – not extensive perhaps but enough to tempt you, alas I’m off alcohol at the mo so nothing exciting for me. We ate spiced nuts and a Bombay mix while  we had a good look at the A la Carte menu (not sure if there’s any other option).

Sheekh Kebab StarterThere is a choice between classic starters, which are easily recognisable such as Murgh Malai Tikka (£5.50) and Tandoori Lamb Chops (£6.50) and then, for the more adventurous perhaps, a range of Connoisseur Starters. I plumped for the Tandoori Quail (£6.95) and my companion the Raunaq – e-Sheekh (£5.50).

We were asked to take out seats without too much delay and the starters were served as we were seated – good start! Presentation of both dishes was really good – served on a bed of salad with fat lemon wedges to squeeze over them. I was really hungry and my quail was admittedly looking a little inadequate! On further inspection I think I would perhaps have been better with a quail’s egg as there would have been more on it. The tandoori taste was delicious, as was the salad, and yes I do know that quail is very small, but this dish doesn’t really work for me. I am quite a carnivore and I think at least a mouthful of meat is necessary.  This dish is more for decoration than degustation! However the Sheekh kebab was a different story altogether, a very generous portion of minced lamb mixed with fresh coriander, capsicum, ginger, green chilli and spring onion was delicious – so I stole as much of it as I could!

As soon as we had put out or knives and forks down they whisked away our plates (and very lovely plates they are too!) and were standing by with the main course. I did unfortunately have to remind them a couple of times for another drink.

For the main course I ordered Lamb Rogan Josh (£8.50) with a Punjabi Salad (£2.95) in an effort to at least look like I’m trying to be healthy. And my companion has the Lasani Chilli Chicken (£8.50) with a Tandoori Naan (£2.00). I must admit I loved my choice – this classic Kashmiri dish was full of tender and succulent chunks of Lamb which melted in the mouth. The rich flavour of cardamom, hari mirch and piaz was extremely satisfying and you can’t beat the flavour of fresh coriander. The Punjabi Salad was fresh and crisp and a great accompaniment – a really generous portion of cucumber, tomato, red onion, lettuce and green chilli. The chicken was beautifully cooked but lacked depth of flavour for my taste, however I was at odds with my companion who preferred the chicken by far. The naan is a thinner crispier version than some but it was warm fresh and full of flavour.  Both dishes were were quite spicy but not too hot at at all – that can indeed be subjective.

The desserts were not enough to tempt me away from January’s healthy eating regime but there’s a good selection of ice cream, a white chocolate champagne mousse, a trio of chocolates or a cheesecake to choose from. The one thing that I was very close to having was the Halwa; finely grated beetroot cooked in milk with almonds, raisins, cardamoms and cashews but the portions are generous and I was full enough (with no pudding over £4.00 they are a bargain if you can fit one in). I plumped for a Masala Chai – a firm favourite which aids digestion after a spicy meal. I had only just said we would be in out in under an hour, but I hadn’t bargained for a wait of just over half an hour for the tea. It was tasty when it arrived, but not worth the wait. They were reasonably busy for a Friday night but somehow lacking something of an atmosphere – perhaps this needs work?

If you are in the area or north of Birmingham and looking for somewhere different to try then I would certainly recommend Five Rivers, not quite up to the exceptional standards set by some of the city centre favourites like Pushkar and Lasan but all in all very enjoyable and certainly not overpriced.

Five Rivers has its own private dining area on a separate floor and are offering a 4 course valentines menu (£29.50) if you’re looking.

Kate Eccles for ETM

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