Visited the Masalla Merchant for the first time in a while last night, and had a really nice meal. I'd say this place is probably the best of the numerous Indian restaurants in the area - the buckle in the Stirchley curry belt.
I arrived a little earlier than my fellow diners and sat on a comfy sofa by the entrance, clutching my bottles of beer. This is a bring your own booze restaurant (which really keeps the bill down). I recommend getting drinks from the excellent Stirchley Wines, which is just a short trot up the Pershore Road, and is full of excellent and unusual beers, wines and spirits. However, if you're feeling lazy there is a standard off license virtually next to the restaurant.
Once my fellow guests arrived we were seated at a large table in one corner of the restaurant and served the traditional poppadoms and dips. The menus are crammed with loads of traditional dishes, plus a 'contemporary' section. If anything the menu is too big, and we all took a while to navigate it. After ordering, the food did take quite a while to arrive, perhaps because the restaurant had become much more busy.
Our food all arrived at once, in a flurry of naan and sizzling hot dishes. I ordered a hot lamb dish (something, something Naga) from the contemporary dishes section, with a peshwari naan and fried rice. The curry was delicious, with chunks of really tender lamb in a hot but really flavourful sauce. The naan was light and sweet, filled with almond and drizzled in honey. Perfect combo. Two of our group went for vegetarian dishes, including the paneer cheese parcels, which looked great and, I'm told, were really tasty.
Overall, I rate this place. Service can be a little slow but the food is really tasty and the prices are reasonable. Our bill was accompanied by white chocolate mice and gummy bears to sweeten the deal (although at £77 for 6 of us it was already pretty palatable). Retro sweet win.
Masalla Merchant is a place where we tend to go on work meals. I have been here couple of time and although it's not mind blowing, they do a decent curry with a massive choice on their menu.
It is more a Bengali restaurant so you will find dishes you may not be familiar with, but menu consists of many dishes from the whole Indian subcontinent.
It's a bring your own restaurant which has certainly brought down the price per person when I have been in large group and split the bill.
For my starter, I had the fried Fish which was soggy with oil, which I didn't enjoy so much. My main dish was a tamarind prawn dish which was very rich in sauce and taste, There is a vast section on the menu which has the curry houses speciality dishes, which come with pilau rice which made it very good value.
Masalla Merchant is a nice restaurant in Stirchley which is very popular with the locals, and has been busy on both of my visits and worth a visit for sure.
The Masalla Merchant is conveniently situated about 2 mins walk from my house. Admittedly, this doesn't particularly help anyone else so here's some info that might:
- On the plus side: the food is generally very good. Better than your average balti house, so you will pay a little more. But not much. I opted for the old tikka masalla: figuring that if the restaurant had 'masalla' in the title then it ought to do a good masalla. Which it did. Other good points: you can bring your own booze and there's no corkage fee. They also throw in a couple of little extra touches like a rose for the ladies, and little sweets and things for kids.
- On the minus side: the staff aren't always hugely friendly. It's often busy in there (a good sign) but I'm not sure that this completely excuses the occasional abruptness of the staff. When its really busy you can feel a bit squashed: there are a lot of tables in there, so when they're full you're pretty wedged in.
By and large, the Masalla Merchant is not going to change your life, but they do offer some nice touches.
We had a fairly good meal in here recently. The food was fresh and tasty and fairly reasonable. It was a busy evening, and the restaurant was fairly cramped, but we didn't have to wait too long for our food, and the staff were friendly and had a good chat with us. I like my curry hot, my wife likes hers mild - and they catered for both of us.
In fairness, we are spoilt here in Birmingham with a choice of literally hundreds of places to get a curry. As such, a restaurant really has to pull out all the stops to get a fantastic review, and we all have our personal favourites. In another city this would be one of the best curry houses around. In Brum it's just another curry house.
The Masalla Merchant is a Bengali, Indian & Tandoori Restaurant in Stirchley, Birmingham.
Contemporary surroundings. Tasty food, more expensive than traditional Balti Houses but good quality.
Attentive service. Our meals have usually been accompanied by a complimentary liqueur, and the ladies are given a real red rose as they leave! nice touch.
Masalla Merchant is very popular and booking is highly recommended. Takeaway Available.
Good, reasonably priced food. Attentive but not over-intrusive staff. Clean. Gets crowded but with all that going for it you can see why.
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