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Having now been established for 35 years, award-winning fine dining restaurant The Bilash is renowned for its modern and innovative Bangladeshi and Indian cuisine.
Situated opposite Wolverhampton’s Civic Centre, the family-owned eatery boasts many an impressive accolade - including a Michelin rating - and has featured in the Sunday Times’ list of the top 10 restaurants in the Midlands.
The Bilash is on two floors and blends a modern style with a relaxed and welcoming ambience.
On arrival we were politely greeted and shown to our table, which was located on the lower floor of the restaurant.
We perused the mouthwatering menu over a cold Tiger and some poppadoms - surely a necessity when visiting an Indian restaurant.
The starter menu featured tiger prawn in pepper sauce, Neza Kebab (marinated chicken leg with flavour of green cardamom) and Batata Vadas (battered spicy potato balls). My partner and I opted for the spicy tandoori lamb chops and the Jalpari Kebab, which comprised saffron-flavoured fish rolls stuffed with prawns to share. The kebab was a dish I’d never come across before. Light, and packed full of delicious flavours, it’s something I’ll most certainly be ordering if I see it on a menu again.
The spicy tandoori lamb chops were divine; juicy, nicely seasoned and ever so flavoursome. So far, so good. We were seriously impressed.
Making our way down the menu, there wasn’t a single dish that sounded less appealing than its predecessor, which made choosing our mains quite a problem!
After much deliberation, we selected the Maacher Jhool (spicy hot Bengali fish curry) and the Murgi Diya Doniya. The latter won Curry Of The Year in the 1999 and 2001 Wolverhampton & Central Region championships, and also came runner-up in the national finals. Comprising chicken breast marinated in garlic and ginger puree, salt, pepper and sesame oil, then cooked with fresh onions, ground coriander, curry leaves, fresh mint, chives, finely chopped tomatoes, chopped coriander, homemade tomato paste and green chillies, it was extremely tasty. Served with stir-fried noodles, it wasn’t your average Indian dish, but the flavour combination was absolutely spot on.
The real star of the show, however, was the Maacher Jhool. The beautiful Bengali fish was soft to the bite and fell apart at barely a touch. Boasting just the right amount of heat, the seasoning, comprising ground spices, ginger, fresh chillies and turmeric, was an incredible medley of stunning, full-bodied flavours. Every mouthful was an absolute joy to eat, and the dish proved to be the highlight of my Bilash experience.
We ordered sides of bhindi bhajee (stir-fried spicy okra), shahi paneer (cottage cheese cooked in tomato, yoghurt and cashew nut paste), mushroom basmati rice and a garlic & chilli naan.
The shahi paneer was quite simply the most gorgeous paneer dish I’ve ever tasted, with the soft Indian cheese effortlessly melting away in the mouth.
The moreish okra pieces were delicious - salty little bits of heaven. I could’ve eaten the dish three times over, despite ordering more than our fair share of food. The mushroom rice and garlic & chilli naan were extremely tasty and the perfect main-course accompaniments.
Although both feeling suitably full, the offer of sampling an authentic Indian dessert was one we just couldn’t turn down.
We shared the gulab jamun (milk dumpling deep fried and soaked in scented sugar syrup) and the white chocolate mousse. Both were served with vanilla ice cream and a selection of fruit. The sweet, sticky dumplings were as naughty as they sound; the mousse, nothing short of outstanding. The smooth, creamy taste and texture was to-die-for, and something I seriously urge everyone to try when they visit. A perfect end to a perfect dining experience.
All in all, our night at The Bilash couldn’t have gone any better - it’s no surprise that the restaurant has been in operation for more than 35 years! The food was exemplary, the flavours exceptional and every course was a showcase of excellent technical ability. The service was fantastic too, with the staff being both knowledgable and friendly.
I can’t wait to make a return visit, to sample some more of the outstanding cuisine that this gem of a restaurant has to offer.
***** Lauren Foster
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