The Blue Piano, not far from Five Ways in Birmingham offers South-East Asian cuisine, with dishes from all over Singapore, Cambodia, Malaysia and more. It’s owner Siew Kuan has trained at the world-famous Raffles Hotel and Shangri-la Hotel in Singapore and brings this expertise to her cooking style.
It was our first visit and I was looking forward to it. To be honest when we arrived, I was a little worried, the restaurant inside a converted house is a little rundown from the outside to say the least! Inside there is a restaurant and a bar, the latter of which often has live music, which it did on the night we were there. We took our seats in the restaurant, and although it was nicer than the outside, we weren’t blown away, our table was wobbly and it was quite cold! My husband commented that the decor looked a little colonial in origin, with a lot of wood, wicker style chairs and white washed walls and columns. After appreciating this, the place grew on me!
Our waitress was really friendly, and knew a lot about the food served, offering to explain anything we weren’t sure of. They have a nice wine list, but we went with a couple of Tiger Beers on this occasion.
To start we shared a couple of dishes; the Chicken Satay served with homemade spicy peanut sauce and the Crispy Spring Rolls with green beans, yam and glass noodles.
Both were really tasty, the chicken on the satay juicy and tender and the peanut sauce lovely and spicy, while the pastry on the spring rolls was thin and crisp and came with a lovely fresh dipping sauce. Hats off too to the bed of pickled mooli and cucumber that came with the satay – so fresh tasting and the sourness was a great way to cut through the sauce. A good way to start the meal. There were some other really interesting sounding ‘dim sum’ too including Singapore Carrot Cake and Top Hats, ones to keep in mind for a return visit.
For my main I chose the Prawn Tamarind Curry – Juicy prawns cooked with tamarind and a rich roasted curry powder to produce a sour and spicy curry and served as a nasi lemak. Being pretty naive of this kind of food still, I wasn’t aware of what Nasi Lemak was but it turns out that it is coconut rice, fried anchovies, fried peanut, sliced cucumber or tomato and hard-boiled egg as well as the curry itself all served on a large Pandan Leaf. All the elements are in separate little piles. I wasn’t convinced when it first arrived, but the prawn curry itself with large juicy prawns in an amazing sweet and slightly spicy sauce was so good that I just got stuck in. I kind of mixed all the ingredients up a bit and the combination of textures and flavours actually turned out to be a real winner. The only thing I wasn’t as keen on were the fried, dried anchovies – a bit strong for me. My husband went for the Lamb Mee Goreng – Yellow noodles, stir fried with lamb, tomatoes, peas and sweet potato. This sounded quite simple, but was really superb. As nice as my main was, after a couple of forkfuls of my partners’ meal this really was a case of main course envy. Delicious.
We passed on dessert, and after starting off a little sceptical, thoroughly enjoyed our meal. The food was of a really high standard, cooked really well with amazing flavours and I wouldn’t hesitate to go back there to eat again now. Certainly one of the better restaurants offering South East Asian Cuisine in Birmingham.
24-26 Harborne Rd
Have you been to the Blue Piano? I’d love to know what you thought.
Disclosure: We paid for our own meal, and all opinions expressed are honest and our own