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“It's something that we've always wanted to add on to the menu after the success of the Brummie Bacon Cake,” says Chef Lee. We’re at B:Eats, the Symphony Hall eatery located at the heart of Centenary Square. Chef Lee is joined by Chef de Partie Ross and Kitchen Porter Baljeet.

The eatery is set to release a new Spring menu soon with some exciting additions. “We wanted to have traditional Birmingham dishes on the menu to represent the city. We've always wanted to put a proper thali on the menu. With new team members Amal and Nikhil recently joining, we've got a team who can help us produce a truly authentic dish using traditional methods. I didn't want to put something on that wasn't going to be good enough. We leaned heavily on Baljeet and Amal especially, in terms of their influences and experience. We’re really looking forward to it.”

With a new menu comes learning new techniques in the kitchen. “The way the marinade is prepared for the chicken, for example, is nothing we've ever done before,” Chef Lee and Chef Ross note. “We've had to source ingredients that we've never used before which has been interesting and the way they use charcoal to smoke the chicken. It’s been good to see how it’s been made properly. I’ve never felt confident making a proper, authentic curry myself,” Chef Lee confesses. “And because I've never really used the ingredients myself, it's not as if I can just watch a YouTube video and do it. I wanted to do it properly.”

Chef Lee emphasizes the importance of his team when it came to creating the new menu. “If you ever want to see someone speed-make samosas, just watch Baljeet. She can make thousands. That’s another thing. The samosas that’s going with the dish—Baljeet’s taught us how to do that from scratch which has been amazing.”

“It's just like when I'm cooking at home as well,” Baljeet adds. “Sometimes I'll just bring like a little bit for Lee to try.”

“That's where it's come from. Baljeet’s made some samosas at home and brought some in. They were amazing. And then I've gone “right, they’re going on the menu in some way”. It’s called a thali, isn't it?”

Baljeet nods. “You make lots of dishes like a balti chicken, then a dhal, then sabji, the vegetables, then the roti. Then there’s the side dishes, chutney and pickle. When you put them all on one plate, it's called thali. This is what we're trying to make.”

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My younger son did an art degree. He’s an art professor in university now and when [Lee and Ross] are both cooking, when I look at them, I think: ‘This is their art.’

– Baljeet

It’s all about working together in the kitchen to pull of these different elements of the menu. “We’ve got Amal and Nikhil, they’re both from South India. Baljeet’s from Punjab. We wanted to lean heavily on how to make it authentically and properly and their ideas creating this menu. From the marinade of the chicken to the sauce itself, to the roti, to the samosa – everything is made in house. We're doing everything from scratch. And you can really tell when you get it. There's a lot of effort put into it. I think there's a lot of enjoyment gone into making this as well. Ross and I, we've never done this type of thing before. It's been interesting to get to grips with them and kind of take a bit of a back seat and watch the masters do it. We’re really excited. I think this is the best menu we've done so far.”

The Spring menuis available now at B:Eats, Symphony Hall.

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