I ended the review of One Star Doner Bar in Manchester with the line “He’s done good, Bab, but now it is time to bring it home. I think I know just the place”. And I did. It was even in Kings Heath. But for all the talk of food halls in Kings Heath – and they’ll be two, maybe three of those – Brad Carter chose the best possible venue for him in The Hare & Hounds. The eclectic pub on Birmingham’s trendiest road is ideal for Brad for a number of reasons; firstly, because he’ll be able to go raving even more frequently than usual simply by popping upstairs, and, more crucially, he’ll be mixing it with Brums Finest. Quite literally, they are over the road, along with POLI, Grace + James, and The Juke. The Birmingham edition of One Star Doner Bar is but a day old and it already feels like home; Brad Carter popping his heavily bearded face through the makeshift hatch in the door to say hello to me and everyone else who bothers him. The bar is heaving with people eating the food, some trying the kebabs for the first time, others having queued outside Carters during lockdown when they were being road tested for the first time three years ago. We sit by a couple who, like me, had made the trip to its first incarnation up north. If anything, the arrival of One Star Doner Bar means I have even less of a reason to travel to Manchester. I jest. I love Manchester, even when I’m escaping barefoot from a hotel at 5am. Long story.
The menu hasn’t changed much. There is now paneer to sit alongside the lamb and chicken, and the smileys are ditched in favour of curly fries, but other than that it’s business as usual. Again, we double drop on the kebabs and once more with the fries, ordering all five hot sauces, a couple of drinks and parting with a bill of £50. This time – and I must stress you can still smell the drying paint – the lamb with feta cheese is slightly better than the chicken shawarma, though both are excellent. The pide bread is superb and the grilled pepper is a genius addition. The hardcore hot sauce shines most along with the jungle one which is essentially green chilli and coriander, and both are excellent at lifting the kebabs to a level either greater than they already are. The fries with techno slaw are great but it’s hard to look past the ones topped with lahmacun; the spiced Turkish mince. I want it in my doner, with the lamb and some hardcore sauce. Pretty please.
So, unsuprisingly he’s nailed the best kebab about town, but that was never really in question. Brad is a details chef and although its unlikely that he will be there all of the time, you can guarantee he’ll be veering up the Alcester Rd frequently to keep an eye on preceedings. I happen to know that the sides are going to be expanded and there is talk of fried chicken. It’s only going to get better. He’s done good, bab. He’s done real good.
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- Brad Carter,
- Hare and Hounds,
- Kings Heath,
- one star,
- one star Doner bar,
- York road,