Following in his great grandfather’s foodie footsteps the creator of Mahfil, Bahar or B to his friends, is super enthusiastic about the vision behind the restaurant which lays firmly in his Bangladeshi roots.
Bahar’s talented forebear enjoyed cooking up a feast and inviting the whole of his East Bangladeshi village to share in it. Although the vibe is clearly more formal at Mahfil, the origins of the food remain the same. Bahar has done his homework and picked the location carefully. Nestled on the Green in Kings Norton, Mahfil is modern and inviting. The interior has been well thought out with a mix of cosy banquettes, standard tables and a fantastic private dining area. The menu is great and it’s nice to see the hardworking chaps at Soul Tree Wines made it onto the wine list. Had we left the car at home a bottle of their sauvignon would have gone down a treat. We were happy to be led by the Chef’s Signature Starters which promised to be inventive. I ordered Haleem which was spiced lamb chops with lentils. It was nicely spiced and really tasty but I found the lamb a bit tough. The Crab Khazana on the other hand was a real gem.
The crab was fresh and delicious served on fluffy garlic bread. There was a fiery drizzle of chili oil on each plate which was fantastic and added another level of heat. Another of the Chef’s Specialities, the Adha Murgh, winked at me from the mains. It sounded simple – chicken cooked in a ginger sauce, but was complex and tasted amazing. I had to fight off my dining partner who chose Lasani Ghust – lamb with pickled garlic, onions and chili. It was gorgeous, but was slightly overshadowed by the greatness of the chicken. Although Mahfil only opened in October, it’s already busy. The private dining area has proved a hit with the locals with bookings flooding in before Christmas and beyond. The brand is strong and expansion is already on the cards.