Rajdoot, George Street

Not many restaurants make 50 years, but in this notoriously tough industry one Birmingham eatery has done just that.

Rajdoot in the Jewellery Quarter has racked a half-century providing spice-loving Brummies with authentic North Indian food… and the crowds keep coming. We thought it’d be rude not to celebrate their big birthday by sampling the place ourselves.

Rajdoot feels like the real deal from the get-go with décor that makes you feel warm and fuzzy. Lots of gold, rich reds, prints and traditional art. We embraced the vibe and promptly ordered a Cobra beer despite never drinking beer at any other time. Baron Bilimoria, you’re a clever man.

Poppadoms were served with accompaniments that were pretty special. The onion salad had a real kick and the raita hit the spot. I have to admit I’m usually dull when it comes to Indian food. Adventurous when cooking it at home, in a restaurant I peruse the menu making all the right noises then the words chicken shashlick trip from my lips at the crucial moment. Not today.

The lunch menu was succinct and snappy, so the friend stuck with that while I went a la carte. Shish kebab was tender and juicy with gentle spicing of cardamom and coriander and vegetable samosas were packed with veggies and flavour served with a sticky sweet sauce. So far, so good.

We paused to chat to Manjit who’s been at the helm since the restaurant’s inception and it turns out the secret to their success isn’t rocket science. They grind their own spices in the kitchen which makes a heck of a difference and they focus on quality and authenticity – nothing fancy.

The Karahi Gosht from the a la carte menu was a good example of that. Simple, but stunning. Tender lamb just fell apart and the flavours were superb and distinctive with a hint of fenugreek. Chicken Adrakhi had a rich tomato sauce spiced with fresh chilli and ginger served with a perfect naan to soak it all up.

The service is pretty nifty making a scrumptious warming lunch easily doable in an hour. There’s nothing to fault and I guess that’s why it’s stood the test of time. Here’s to another 50!

Rajdoot 78-79 George St, Birmingham B3 1PY. Tel: 0121 236 1116 www.rajdootbirmingham.co.uk