Isaacs, Bennett’s Hill

Lunch in the city needs to be slick, fast and tasty with an ideal 45-minute turnaround.

Ticking all those boxes is not easy, but there’s a restaurant nestled on Bennetts Hill that claims it can do it. The buffet-style lunch certainly ticks the speed box, but what about taste and experience? The word ‘buffet’ conjures up images of soggy vol au vents and sad-looking salmon, so we wondered how successful this would be as we headed off to Isaacs to find out. First impressions were good – huge chandeliers, pristine white leather seating, a swanky balcony and champagne bar give a slick and modern feel. Greeted by the lovely Nick who talked us through the menu and origins of the food, we were happy and hungry.

The key here is that they haven’t gone mad and offered the whole menu on the buffet. They’ve kept it small and aimed to do it really well. The starters were delicious. The chicken tikka was really succulent, the lamb packed a punch and the carrot salad was fresh, minty and moreish. While the vegetable samosas had succumbed to a touch of sogginess, their flavour was just gorgeous. The wine list was good and reasonably priced with the house white starting at £15. We opted for a glass of Soultree Wines sauvignon blanc and a vouvray. Both were great. The mains were interesting. The choice was two types of curry – lamb and chicken which were quite mild, but fragrant, really nicely spiced and perfect for lunch. The steamed rice and naan bread accompaniments were great too. Then there was a random spicy pasta dish and chips, which we didn’t try.

While some diners may prefer chips we’d say scrap them and ditch the pasta too and just focus on what Isaacs does brilliantly. An authentic vegetable dish would be a far better option in our view. All-in-all, we were thoroughly impressed by the Isaacs experience, minus the couple of rogue dishes. The setting is stylish, atmosphere warm and the timing works – we were in and out having had a lovely lunch in 45 minutes. At £9.95 it’s also fantastic value. If you don’t find what you want on the buffet table, there’s a good-looking business lunch menu that might tickle your fancy instead.

ISAACS CONTEMPORARY INDIAN RESTAURANT 7 Bennett's Hill, Birmingham B2 5ST tel: 0121 212 1020 www.isaacsrestaurant.co.uk