Another week, another Indian street food find to shout about. If you read Brum and Beyond, you’ll know that I really like Indian food. I mean, eat out at an Indian restaurant, street food spot or desi pub once a week -like Indian food because unfortunately I haven’t found a husband who will cook like this for me everyday. Yet. I’m working on it, obvs.
Indian street food as mentioned all over Brum and Beyond, is one of my favourites and I never get tired of the concise menus, the twist on roadside Indian staples and the chilled vibes that seem to be at the core of this influx of street food in Brum at the moment.
Based on Stratford Road in Hall Green, Raja Monkey is, admittedly, outside the city centre but don’t let this stop you from visiting. Raja Monkey is an absolute find and really does transport you back to the roadside cafes in India- just close your eyes and tune out the Brummie accents all around you. It works, I promise.
From the guys behind Lasan, Fiesta Del Asado and Nosh & Quash, you know you’re in for a treat here. These guys know their sh*t when it comes to knocking out cooking that will make you never want to bother cooking steak or indian food at home again. Its food worth shouting about and shouting about it I have been- I haven’t stopped.
As you walk in, you’re greeted by an open kitchen on the right hand side and booth seating alongside the wall which continues throughout the restaurant before making way for more tables. It really does feel like a cafe restaurant, a vibe I really like when it comes to eating out. This is no industrial style Indian Brewery, theme-style Tamatanga or exposed brickwork and Muriel’s adorning the walls Zindiya, it feels different. It feels more simple, more understated and a lot more like India.
The food menu is concise, well crafted and focused on classic Indian street food with a twist, including familiar light snacks like Bhel Puri and Paani Puri to indulgent thalis, classic curries and biryanis. It’s a really good menu, with the kind of choice that makes you want to immediately return and sample, well EVERYTHING.
We start with Onion Bhajis (£4.79), big balls of crunch, stuffed with spicy vegetables that arrive piping hot, alongside a tangy, fresh coriander chutney.
Then, Bhel Puri (£4.49), puffed rice with mango shavings, potato, tamarind, green herb chutney and tomato relish, sprinkled with sev. The puri is fresh, real and takes me back to those Juhu beach days in Mumbai, packed with people, street food and where my love for India started.
We order Chicken Jalfrezi (£8.49), generous pieces of chicken in a spicy, tomato, onion and pepper sauce. The chicken is properly marinated, none of this fake news chicken and the sauce, a delicious consistency to scoop up in a hot, buttery Garlic & Coriander naan (£2.99). This is probably up there with one of the best jalfrezis I’ve had in a while in Brum because more often than not, I’m never happy with the sauce. Never happy. As my mum would say, I’m a difficult lady, cheers mum. This sauce is lovely.
We also ordered a South Indian Dosa (6.49-7.99), a savoury crepe made with rice batter and lentils, stuffed to the brim, with tomato and coconut chutney on the side. I am too preoccupied with my own feast to sample this but by all accounts, it tastes really bloody good- just look how light it is.
Raja Monkey is a quirky find, an absolute gem that I can imagine is often overlooked, due to its location but don’t you dare. It’s probably one of the most impressive street food finds I’ve been to in a while and the staff are super friendly which makes all the difference in my book.
I’ll definitely be returning to eat more street food bites here and so should you.
*I was invited along to try the food and drink but didn’t have to write about it. As always, my opinions are my own*