Anyone who knows me knows how much I love food! I'd heard so many fabulous things about Qavali in Brindley Place, Birmingham and FINALLY got around to paying it a visit. From the minute we walked through the doors, as well as being in the perfect company, we were greeted by a welcoming aroma that instantly stimulated our taste buds. Not only that, but the decor was warm, friendly and immediately transported us to somewhere far more exotic than having just stepped of Broad Street, as we took in the layout of plants and earthy tones, the lighting and overall ambience of what we knew at that point would be the perfect setting for the evening.
As opposed to the standard layout of sitting across from each other on square tables of 2 or 4, it was so nice to be greeted and seated in a cosy booth area, that not only suits a romantic set up with your partner to snuggle pre-meal, but it's just as inviting for groups of friends. I felt this brought a much more relaxed and less formal vibe to the dining experience, whilst still remaining sophisticated. Then the first decision of the evening were the cocktails, of which there were so many to choose from. And oh my goodness, not only was the 'Alexandria' a winner but the Jasmine Gin in the 'Flowers of Hafez' will forever be my go-to on every visit!! (Yes, I already knew at this point I'd be coming back)!
As for the food options, we genuinely didn't know where to start! We also found ourselves with a welcomed distraction of a live and very talented violinist at certain intervals throughout the evening, enhancing the experience even more. Between the glorious smells and sights coming from plates as they were taken to neighbouring tables, it simply added to the confusion and made us that much more spoilt for choice. In the end we opted for the Peshawari Chapli Kebab and Kofta Afghani starters, followed by the Punjabi Chicken Tikka and Persian Lamb Shank as our mains with a Butter Naan and Tandoori Roti. Our only error was ordering a portion of saffron rice each, as one portion can easily be shared between 2. Ordinarily, my fear when dining out, especially in restaurants as exquisite as Qavali presents itself, is that you'll receive a very pretty display of food but with tiny portions. Well, we were not disappointed! As well as the food being full of those tasty Indo-Persion flavours that it sells itself on, each plate had a more than generous serving. So much so that we struggled to finish our meal which NEVER happens. It was also a blessing to see that we didn't have to worry about any waste, as staff were more than happy to send you away with whatever you had left.
With barely any room left for dessert we opted to share the final course (again a first), after being tempted by the Persian Chocolate Brownie (substituting the Turkish Delight Ice Cream instead for the Figs & Cinnamon Qavali Artisan Ice Cream, which in itself was heavenly and can easily stand up on its own). The perfect finishing touch to what had been a fantastic meal.
Overall and from only one visit, Qavali is a hit! From families in attendance with young children (who you know are there as they admire the quality and authenticity of the food on offer), to the groups of girls on a night out (with their ring lights to get those instagramable shots of the cuisine and setting), to the couple who just want a romantic night out, it really was refreshing to find a restaurant that caters to all and with friendly staff and service to top it off.
Qavali is a new found favourite for us both and this was definitely the first visit of many!