I’ve passed Parkgate Shopping Centre, Stratford Rd, Shirley many times and until now, I’ve only seen it as an inconvenience, as I always end up in the lane that feeds you into the carpark, rather than straight ahead towards Wythall. After a recent visit to Indico Indian Street-food restaurant things will never be the same again, I shall now have hunger pangs and, perhaps, deliberately swerve into the wrong lane for a hearty nosh-up!
Parkgate Shopping centre is fairly nondescript but actually quite nice, with various shops, supermarket, gym, and in the middle sits Indico.
As you walk into the restaurant, you are overwhelmed with a palette of incredible colours, every wall has some form of Indian inspired graffiti art and it isn’t just downstairs. The characters and creatures, lead you upstairs, to an even more stunning mezzanine level, with breathtaking artwork by local artists. I did notice too some framed artwork by local artists Jinxy – a lot of thought has gone into this aspect of the restaurant and is much welcomed. I note Indian restaurants leading the way in this field, with Journey’s Restaurant having rail platform scenes, Zindiya and The Indian Streatery with traditional Indian inspired scenes too, flamboyant and exciting.
Staff were attentive and cheerful, without being over the top or pestering. Nothing was a hassle, you could tell that the diverse mix of diners felt very relaxed and this added to the welcoming atmosphere. I noted a group of what seemed to be business men, several young couples and a large family all enjoying the vibe and food. A nice touch was the competent saxophonist who is there every Thursday for Ladies night, it just worked and just seemed to make the characters on the walls come to life.
Chennai style spicy fried chicken & Chilli Paneer
The food is very much street food inspired, mainly from Northern India, but where Indico is slightly different is you can order the larger more traditional curries, as well as the small plates. Some will prefer this, especially those who prefer a set meal.
To start we opted for Chicken 65 which is Chennai style spicy fried chicken breasts, marinated in a special blend of mustard, curry leaves, green chillies and spices. Chicken lovers… I would recommend this without hesitation. Very spicy outer crust, and the soft succulent chicken inside just melts in the mouth. You’ll definitely need a swig of lager to cool your mouth as you go.
We also tried the Chilli Paneer vegetarian option. A fiery Indo-Chinese dish made of stir fried cottage cheese on a bed of salad, peppers and green chillies. Again this was as you would imagine, hot and spicy, also fresh tasting and one of the best paneer dishes I have tried – it was actually pretty filling in itself.
An unusual dish, and a first for me was Pani Puri Gol Gappa. This consists of puffed hollow pastry rounds served with seasoned potatoes and chilled mint flavoured water. This was nice, but the star of the starters for me was definitely the Chicken 65 and I’d make a special trip back just for that.
There really is so much choice here, and it all sounds so enticing. So we spoke to the manageress, who suggested a few suitable options, to ensure we gained a true taste of Indico.
Indico Mix Thali: Butter Chicken & Mughlai Lamb Rogan Josh
Next up was the two mains which arrived together and what a sight. The Indico Mix Thali was a large plate of mixed meats: Chicken Tikka, Seekh Kebab, Tandoori chicken leg, Lollipop chicken, Fish Pakora, Curry Dip, Mint Sauce and Naan bread. The chicken was once again soft and delicious, in fact all the meat here was equally as moreish, the fish did not let the side down either. Spicy, and flaked away with each bite. This was an epic choice, and too filling for us both, so we asked for the leftovers to be boxed up which tasted just as good the next day cold.
One recommendation was the Chef’s Special Thali. This is comes with salad, papadums, daal makhani, mixed vegetable masala, raita, starter of the day, rice, naan and choice of any two curries. We chose the Butter Chicken which is Delhi style chicken tikka in a fragrant butter based tomatoes, cashew nut & cream sauce seasoned with fenugreek leaves. A heartwarming curry for a rainy cold February evening.
The other curry was a traditional Mughlai Lamb Rogan Josh, slow cooked lamb in rich onion, tomato and whole masala sauce. This was rich and hot, the small dishes seemed like lucky dips, with tasty morsels of meat hidden beneath the flavoursome homemade sauces. The curries are served in small portions but are plentiful as a whole and are a great way to try out a few different curry styles, without a huge single plate to consume.
Indian Cocktail Passion
Dessert was equally as colourful and creative. Gulab jamun, ras malai, saffron milk, chocolate brownie, vanilla ice cream and pistachio nuts was a large and tasty glassful of sweetness, and probably would have been sufficient for us both (though I did manage to polish off the homemade lollipop).
A great deal of thought has been invested into Indico’s Cocktail list. A separate booklet educates diners and drinkers on some fab creations. I can confirm the ‘Love guru’ (Vodka, passoa, grenadine, lemon juice, blue curacao, lemonade) and ‘Jadoo’ (Prosecco, st. germain, fresh mint, lime, cucumber, ginger) were tasty and strong, so we finished off with two Mocktails.. Jaipur Passion and a Coconut Shake. One tiny change worth considering for Indico, would be the transition from plastic to paper straws, a few other restaurants have done this recently and a great idea with so much talk about plastic pollution in our oceans.
A big thank you to Izzi, Meena and Ibraham (hope we got that right), for the friendly service. We will return, with reinforcements to help demolish more of your amazing Indian street-food cuisine.
Review by Nick Byng for Grapevine Birmingham.