Ibrahim’s grill & steakhouse 5/5
Value for money: 4.5/5
Atmosphere and Decor: 3/5
Note: All meat halal, No alcohol served on the premises, family and prayer space upstairs.
ShakerFries and I first visited Ibrahim’s when they were newly opened and when we weren’t very hungry. I recall sharing a plate of lamb chops on an incredibly full stomach and we both agreed that despite our lack of appetite they tasted so good that we would have to return, hunger intact. Could Ibrahims be the first halal grill house to make cooking meat to perfection look like a piece of steak?
Ibrahim’s is situated in Acocks Green, Birmingham, which lies further away from the string of restaurants which I frequently visit on Ladypool Road and Stratford road in Sparkbrook / Spark hill. I have visited this branch many times since the initial lamb chops experience but since this is one of my most favourite restaurants in Birmingham, I thought I would tell you about my most recent experience. (They have since opened a branch on Ladypool Road, which I haven’t yet tried but may also be worth a go).
Last week my very pregnant Bristolian bestie KOcakes and her other half Oraby visited ShakerFries and I for the weekend. ShakerFries, being Ibrahim’s biggest fan, suggested we take one last visit before I leave Birmingham. I invited my Birmingham bestie SA to join us, and eager to check out their recently extended their menu, the five of us booked a table before promptly heading over to see what Ibrahim’s had to offer.
The newer extended menu includes venison, wagyu, ostrich and filet mignon steaks (I wouldn’t recommend the Venison steak which I had last time – although the steak was large it was extremely tough even when cooked medium rare, was too fatty and lacked flavour). If you want to explore these new meats be prepared to pay, as these steaks and burgers are pricier than your standard sirloin with prices creeping up to £20.
We opted to start with shami kebabs, sticky wings and chicken nambali. The portion sizes were large enough to keep us all content until the mains arrived. The wings were soft and juicy, with a thin tangy crispy skin. The chicken chunks in the chicken nimabli were tender and succulent, however as one of the ‘newest’ dishes on the menu, I wasn’t blown away. It was a bit too bland for me, but that being said the lack of spice went down well with our arab guests! The shami kebab was a bit on the dry side and looked more like a burger than a shami kebab. It did however, have just the right amount of spice, and was tender and flavoursome.
It’s now that I should shamelessley disclose that I am probably the worlds biggest steak diva. If it ain’t medium rare I won’t touch it.. cue the eye roll from ShakerFries. But seriously, unlike the majority of the south asian population, I don’t like my steak to be a charred, dry, tough mess. Consequently, the struggle to find a decent halal steak in a city saturated with halal restaurants who serve dry tough messes is too real. Ibrahim’s (with the exception of the venison steak that one time) ALWAYS cook my steak to perfection. The process is the same every time I order.. whenever I order my steak medium rare they double and triple check with me that that’s really what I’m after (because most asians like to ensure their steak is dead…twice), after which I agree, their eyes bulge out of their face, and I end up worrying that they will cook it how they please anyway.
Anywho, given that I was famished on this occasion, I decided to play it safe with a 12oz lamb steak, mild spice, with Ibrahim’s gravy and steak chips. ShakerFries ordered the sirloin (with a hot spice level). We went through the ‘the process’, I spent the next 15 minutes worrying, until my steak arrived in all its glory. It was garnished with mushrooms and green beans, served on a wooden board, and grilled to a perfectly pink medium-rare. The green beans looked a bit limp and overcooked, however the meat served was of a high quality, with just the right amount of fat, which was flavoursome and melt in your mouth soft. This aided in making the steak itself juicy, succulent and tender. The peppery Ibrahim’s gravy served separately in a mini gravy ladle was a perfect accompaniment to the lamb. My only regret was not ordering the sour cream and chive mash which I tried from SA, instead of the standard steak chips option. It had a fluffy light texture and the flavour was not too overpowering. I think it would have rounded off the meal more nicely and would have resulted in me feeling a lot less stuffed in comparison to the chips.
I have to dig deep for criticisms about Ibrahim’s, as for some reason it holds a special place in my heart. The service has always been outstanding, food presented well and the waiters always polite. On the 1 occasion out of 7 that I was unhappy with my steak they offered to change it free of charge for something else.
My main issue with Ibrahim’s was always location. They always seemed SO FAR AWAY from EVERYTHING which put me off going more than I wanted to… however they now have a new, more glamorous branch open on Ladypool Road, problem solved! Another disadvantage is that the restaurant itself is quite small and in dire need of a makeover. That being said, there is nearly always a que out the door and the fact that you almost certainly always have to book a table there as a good sign. Ibrahim’s may not be The Ritz, but don’t let that put you off. It’s authentic to its core from the family environment and warm atmosphere to the outstanding food and exceptional service.
Overall, once again Ibrahim’s steak exceeded my expectations and I even cleaned my entire plate (if you know me you’ll know I usually never do). Our guests finished their entire meal despite not being huge fans of steak so we were convinced they were left more than satisfied. The only additional wish for Shakerfries would be for Ibrahim’s to introduce an additional size for each steak as on a hungry day, it would be nice to have the option to upgrade past standard 10oz of sirloin without having to think about ordering the 12oz Lamb for fear of not being entirely full – or maybe that’s just being greedy! With the standard steaks being priced between a reasonable £13-15, and gourmet burgers costing even less, Ibrahim’s is the best steak house I have visited when it comes to value for money. It rarely disappoints and is always unparalleled when it comes to customer service, placing the otherwise unknown Acocks Green firmly on my food map. If you’re extremely hungry, fussy about your steaks and looking for a meaty treat with the family, I highly recommend dining at Ibrahim’s. I would be shocked if you were disappointed…check TripAdvisor if you don’t believe me.
The in-laws decided to surprise ShakerFries and I in Birmingham whilst we were moving out, so we decided to seize the opportunity and try the new Ibrahims branch on Ladypool Road. I can honestly say it was the same as the Acocks Green branch and MORE. On this visit I ordered the veal steak, medium rare, with Ibrahims gravy and the sour cream and cheese mash. I had never tried veal before and wasn’t expecting the texture to be so different to the beef steak. Veal is a much lighter meat compared to mature beef, has a much finer texture and was a lot more smoother and tender than the sirloin that I usually order. I really enjoyed it as the meat was juicy and marbled with soft fat, but it had a slightly different taste that I wasn’t sure I enjoyed more than the sirloin, so I’m not sure that I will be ordering it again. I’m so glad that I opted for the mash on this ocassion as it was fluffly and flavoursome. It’s also important to note that the decor issue has definitely been addressed in the new branch. The booths with velvet seating and the spacious setting made our dining experience on this occasion much more enjoyable. Furthermore the service was exceptional as always.. with the young waiter crossing the restaurant just to offer to retrieve the straw from the inside of my FILs glass bottle of coke! We left satisfied, after being handed a bowlful of Ibrahim’s chocolates by the waiter at the till. I’m so glad we had the chance to fit in one last Ibrahim’s before I left Birmingham! If you haven’t been…GO GO GO!
Ibrahim’s Grill & Steak House
1159 Warwick Rd,
Phone: 0121 764 4659
Hours: 4:30–10:30 pm