In 1580, Sir Francis Drake circumnavigated the globe and returned to England bearing treasured silver, gems and exotic spices. 437 years later I made (for me at least) an equally unchartered journey to Erdington to visit a new restaurant named in honor of Drake’s famous expedition.
A joint venture between four friends, it was clear as soon as we arrived the passion and energy that has been put into getting this contemporary Indian restaurant up and running. It was great to see the attention to detail in the decor; from the sailing vessel which dominates the far wall to the beautiful light fittings that give the place an inviting glimmer from outside.
As was to be expected, we started the evening with poppadoms. 1580 have given them a slight twist, serving them in a cone shape. This means they are slightly thicker than usual, a plus for me as they can hold more chutney without collapsing. The accompaniments were excellent, in particular the punchy green dip – hot with mint and coriander flavours running through it.
Our table opted for the non-veg starter, which was a sharing platter of murgh (chicken) tikka, lamb chops, kochi kekraa (soft shell crab) and zaffrani bada jingha tikka (spiced tiger prawns). The lamb chops were faultless; well spiced, tender and even better when combined with the green dip. The chicken was well cooked and flavoured, and the enormous prawns were a hit. I enjoyed the soft shell crab but thought there was a slightly ‘floury’ taste to the batter – maybe a couple of seconds more cooking would have fixed this. 1580 claim to only use fresh, high quality ingredients in their food and I think the meat and fish in this starter proves that this is true.
Again, we opted to try the non-veg main courses; murgh tikka masala, pot pepper lamb curry and bater (quail – yes I had to Google) curry on the bone. Full of flavour and without the dreaded layer of oil, we happily mopped up every last drop of all three dishes. Although the lamb was my favourite, the quail worked surprisingly well and it was nice to see a more unusual meat being used. I would usually avoid chicken tikka masala in a restaurant but this seemed closer to home cooking than the bland, creamy version often served in restaurants.
Throughout the evening, the staff could not have been more accommodating and were always on hand to answer questions about the food or top up drinks. I have no doubt that any visitor would be very well looked after by this team.
A few minor areas for improvement: the toilet is a little tired and could do with an update to bring it into line with the look of the main restaurant area. Personally, I’d also like to see a bit more detail and choice on the wine menu. Maybe this will be something that the team will look into once they have been open a little bit longer.
As a JQ dweller it’s a little far for me to travel regularly but judging by the surrounding food offerings 1580 will be a welcome addition to this area; I would certainly recommend it to those who live a little closer. The owners are lovely and I can see how much hard work they have put into making 1580 a reality. I wish them the very best of luck!
Disclaimer: I was a guest of 1580 and Delicious PR at their blogger’s preview evening. You know the drill: my writing, my opinions always!
Find 1580 at 710 Chester Road, Erdington, B23 5TE. WEBSITE.