A Special Meal At Bacaba
Last Friday night, we celebrated my father-in-law’s birthday. He wanted an intimate family meal with his sons, daughters-in-law and grandchildren. There are fourteen of us in total so it’s still quite a gathering!As it was his big day, we wanted him to pick the venue. It was always going to be an Indian restaurant but we end up going to the same handful of places whenever we go out for dinner.
He chose Bacaba in Oldbury after seeing adverts for it. The chef, Indra Baluni, also appears on a local radio show and so he’s wanted to try this place out for quite some time.The chef has worked in some of the biggest hotels in India, including the very first Grand Hyatt in New Delhi. He was actually invited to work there so our expectations of his dishes were high.Bacaba describes itself as a multi-cuisine restaurant offering a fine dining experience. It first opened it’s doors just over three years ago. It’s local to us, so perfect for an evening meal when we don’t want to venture in to Birmingham’s balti triangle.It was around 8pm when we arrived. There is plenty of parking space at the front but it was almost full when we got there. Thankfully, there are spaces round the side of the building too. There are two entrances – one to the cocktail bar and the other to the restaurant itself. It was already quite busy in the bar area, as there was a birthday party in full swing.Upon entering the restaurant, we were greeted by warm staff, who showed us to our table. The room was pretty full with families, groups of friends and couples. We ordered our drinks and even though the waiter added ice when we had asked for none, he apologised and rectified the mistake with a smile on his face. Customer service goes a long way and I was impressed with the need to please.We ordered a fair few starters. My in-laws are vegetarian. They chose fried broccoli in chilli and garlic sauce along with a salt and pepper paneer. I haven’t ever seen these items on a menu at an Indian restaurant before so even I was intrigued to try these dishes.These items are the chef’s signature appetisers, so we knew they would be unique. The rest of us ordered two of the Bacaba Jumbo Mixed Grills, which include lamb chops, chicken tikka, chicken wings, seekh kebab and fish pakora. Shivam’s favourite Indian food item of all time is fish pakora so choosing this was a no-brainer.The mixed grills were sizzling nicely when they arrived at our table. All of the food was fresh and piping hot. We’ve usually eaten by 9pm on a Friday night so we were all hungry and wasted no time in tucking in.Lamb chops are my favourite starter but it’s hit and miss in many restaurants. I’ve been left underwhelmed at times because it’s arrived over-cooked. Unless lamb is easy to cut through and chew, you may as well be eating cardboard, regardless of the flavour.These chops were cooked to perfection. They were full of flavour and passed my ‘cut and chew’ test. The other items were also fresh and the fish melted in the mouth. It’s quite a large dish and there was enough to go round for ten of us.My in-laws loved their dishes too, which were beautifully presented. I had a cheeky taste of the broccoli even though the grills were quite filling. The broccoli was soft and piping hot underneath the fried coating. The sauce was delicious and you could really taste the garlic and chilli. My father-in-law is a bigger critic than me so if he says he liked something, then he really did like it.For our mains, we ordered Chicken Garlic Fry, Chicken Bhuna, Meat Tariwala (lamb on the bone), Lamb Rogan Josh and Lamb Achari. Each dish was full of flavour and you could really taste the difference between them. Sometimes you get a dish with very similar sauces and they don’t taste very distinct but you could immediately taste the effort and passion in this food.We were so stuffed by the end of the meal we couldn’t squeeze in a dessert even though I like to try something from every course of a menu when I’m trying somewhere new. We will definitely be back here though so that’s something for me to tick off the list next time.After dinner, Chef Baluni came out into the restaurant, moving from table to table and talking to the customers. I think this is something that’s become a lost tradition. I credit restaurants who still do this because it’s is important to be able to give feedback directly to the chef and for them to also seek the opinions of their customers.
My sister-in-law had really wanted to meet him. She listens to his segment on the radio and spent a while chatting to him.
I liked that the restaurant was near to home. The staff were really nice and friendly. I enjoyed everything on the mixed grill but my favourite dish was the Garlic Chicken Fry. It was full of flavour and the sauce was so delicious. I definitely want to go back soon and try some different dishes too.
It was a really nice place. I wanted to try everything on the menu because I was so hungry. I loved the fish pakora the best and the Chicken Bhuna was delicious. The service was very good and I can’t wait to go again.
Read my review of Comptoir Libanis.