After growing up in Birmingham but then living up north in Sheffield for 8 years, we’ve now been back in the Midlands for 3 years and live in Tamworth. We moved there because the house prices were more affordable than closer towards Birmingham City Centre, but didn’t know that much about it. In retrospect, for a ‘foodie’ couple it probably wasn’t the best choice and we have struggled to find any decent places to eat in the town. To put you in the picture there are a lot of average pubs, Indian takeaways and a Frankie and Benny’s. Slim pickings. Luckily there are lots of nice pubs a further 5-10 mins out and we’re only 25 mins from Birmingham so we can still eat well, its just a shame there’s nothing on the doorstep for when time is of the essence, or for a quick bite before catching a film etc.
When we first moved here, the previous owners left us a heap of takeaway menus and a little note to suggest we tried Champagne Indian Fusion, their favourite. We did try a takeaway from it once near the beginning and enjoyed it, but it didnt have a website or online ordering system, which is probably why we didn’t continue. The other Saturday night we were going to a late cinema showing in Tamworth, because hubby was working until the evening. As it happened he finished a little early, so on a whim we decided to try out Champagne again before the film – but this time to go and eat in their restaurant.
On arriving we were pleasantly surprised; it was busy and had a great atmosphere. The staff were extremely polite and friendly, and really quite attentive – you certainly weren’t left wanting for a drink refill! The decor wasn’t really to my taste, but I can’t really complain about that!
Being called ‘Indian Fusion’ we weren’t really sure what to expect from their restaurant menu. It was really extensive – all the things traditional things you would expect, from Korma to Vindaloo, but also quite a long list of other interesting sounding dishes, some using quite unusual, unique ingredients, including;
- Haash Assamme Jalfrezi – Morsels of duck breast prepared in a spicy sauce of onion, capsicum, green chillies and coriander leaves, a slightly hot dish with a dash of cumin seeds.
- Silver Seabass – Fresh seabass spiced with chillies then pan-fried served with a mushroom and pickled lemon bhaji
- Shahi Chocolate Korma – Chicken or lamb braised in chocolate gravy enriched with cream, almond powder and with a touch of coconut powder
- Ostrich Spice – Marinated pieces of fresh tender ostrich cooked with chunky pieces of capsicum, onions, green chillies and garnished with coriander
A lot of their dishes sounded really exotic, but did make us wonder if they could produce them all to a good standard.
We had some obligatory poppadoms to start with a pickle tray…I quite often judge an Indian restaurant or takeaway on the quality and choice of pickles and onion salad! We also had some vegetable samosas to share. The poppadoms were lovely and warm and crisp and the pickle tray was pretty decent, the onion salad the standout of this; tangy, with a hint of chilli and tomato coating it.
The samosas unfortunately weren’t great in my opinion; nice and crisp on the outside but a bit bland and the filling had the texture of mashed potato, where I prefer mine a little more chunky.
Moving on to the mains, Lee had a Lamb Potato and Spinach Balti, while I had the Chicken Volcano – which was heavy on garlic and onion (yum) with green chilli and capsicum. We also shared a garlic naan and a portion of pilau rice to go with them (Yes, I was going to smell of garlic the next day, but I didn’t care!) We both thought the curries were really good. They came sizzling hot, and were really tasty. Lee often feels that takeaway curries are all really similar and we find it difficult to say one is better than another, but we can both safely say that these were some of the best ones we had eaten in a long while. The accompaniments were also a really good standard; a garlic laden naan, soft and fluffy and well cooked, well seasoned rice.
Maybe not quite a hidden gem in Tamworth, but definitely the best restaurant here that we have found. So if you live in Tamworth and haven’t been to Champagne, or if you’re ever ‘fortunate’ enough to venture to the suburbs and fancy a curry – give this one a go.
Champagne Indian Fusion – 7a Aldergate, Tamworth, Staffordshire, B79 7DL
Disclosure: We paid for our own meal, and all opinions expressed are honest and our own