VALUE FOR MONEY: 4/5
VENUE & ATMOSPHERE: 2.5/5
Note: All food is vegetarian. No alcohol is served on the premises.
Attending a hepatology conference in Birmingham meant an obligatory meal with my bestie SA had to be on the cards. Both of us were feeling a little ‘meated out’, and so following SA’s *strange* paneer craving, we decided to dine at Deepalis, Stratford road.
I first visited the vegetarian restaurant Deepalis when my vegan cousin came to stay with me whilst I was studying in Birmingham. Since then I have taken a couple of friends there and all have relished it. Deepali’s used to have a branch in Jewellery Quarter, which has since shut down, leaving the one branch in Sparkbrook. If you didn’t already know there was a restaurant inside, you would have walked straight passed Deepalis, as it appears to be a small modest looking cake shop from the front. Inside however, the restaurant is spacious and clean (no lingering unpleasant scents or stuffiness), but on both occasions when I’ve visited it’s been completely empty.
Nonetheless, when SA and I visited, the waitress was extremely polite when welcoming us and seated us immediately. The decor is simplistic but the restaurant spacious and extremely clean. We very quickly placed our (rather large) order and opted for the papdi chaat, chilli mogo chips, gobi manchurian, chilli paneer and daal makhani with garlic naan. SA also ordered a mango lassi. Needless to say the waitress was taken aback at our order of 5 dishes between the two of us, and there was an unspoken ‘daaaaaaamn daniel’ in the air.
The chilli mogo chips were the least exciting thing on the menu. They were deep fried and crunchy, served with a spicy, sweet tamarind sauce. I found it a bit bland, but to be honest I was too busy being blown away by all the other food to care too much. The aloo papdi chaat was tongue ticklingly sweet, sour, and spicy all at the same time, and had the perfect combination of crunch and mouth-watering chutney flavours, complimented by the softness of the chickpeas and potatoes, and the coolness of the yoghurt.
Gobi manchurian is one of my favourite indo chinese snacks, and I have to say the best gobi manchurian I’ve ever had has been at Deepalis. The cauliflower was deep fried in a batter which maintained it’s crispness despite being smothered in a rich salty, spicy manchurian sauce. It was garnished with peppers, spring onion and coriander which only further added to the flavour. The chilli paneer was again up there as one of the best that I’ve eaten to date (and coming from a pure vegetarian family trust me that’s a bold statement!) The paneer cubes were firm and crisp on the outside, and the sauce was sweet and tangy. By the time the daal makhani arrived at our table, we were full. But both of us had a point to prove to the waitress so took a spoonful on our plate before asking for it to be packed! The daal was creamy and flavoursome, and if I’m honest, approximately 5x better than Dishoom’s (I can hear the haters already). The mango lassi wasn’t too thick, but was sweet and cooling for when the food got too spicy.
Overall our entire bill came to £30 – that was for 5 dishes and 2 drinks. And with service as quick and exceptional as what I experienced here, you really cannot go wrong! The food was presented beautifully and was so good that I didn’t even notice I wasn’t eating meat. In fact, it really upsets me how this restaurant is almost always empty when it serves food this good and the restaurant looks this clean and presentable – it truly is one of Birmingham’s hidden gems. Next time you want a break from burgers and steaks, and are in the West Midlands, check out Deepalis for some delicious Indian food.