Birmingham has its first two Michelin starred restaurant. As pathetic as it sounds, just typing that makes me a little teary. The dark, secret ways of the guide was a key reason for me getting into food. You see, nobody really knows how Michelin work, but each individual guide gives its own little clues. Service, decor and trends do matter even if they say otherwise, and neither do they promote or demote on impulse unless you happen to be Alain Ducasse in London. So on the Monday of the awards it was clear that only one restaurant in this city was possibly going to get a second star; the place whose cooking has progressively got more assured since they were awarded their first star, whose team is more polished, whose ambition allows for subtle changes that make the experience better every single time. And then it happened. The reaction of a room full of chefs telling you that the guide had absolutely got this one right.

I eat on their first service as a two star kitchen. It wasn’t planned. Long story short I have a friend up from London for a very boozy lunch who also knows Aktar, we see him, drink his wine whilst he doesn’t, I ask if they have a table for me tomorrow, he finds me one, I go back out and make an absolute state of myself, forgetting I’d made a reservation. One day and one text later I’m scrambling for clothes whilst booking an Uber. Neck a martini, make apologies for the day prior and all is good with the world.

The stars are safe. Extremely safe. This is the most refined Indian cooking in the UK by some distance. A shot of cucumber and chilli, then oyster emulsion with coriander and chilli broth, followed by a leaf tuille with mango chutney and chilli are big statements of heat and purpose, followed by a crab crumpet so perfect I beg seconds of. Another crumpet arrives, before a failed attempt at a third, then another perfect mouthful of raw beef, duck liver parfait, and date, nestled on an apple macaron, looking a bit Mont Blanc and tasting a lot three stars. Cured bass in a spicy broth of mango and ginger, another martini and we’re led from the lounge to the dining room.

We’re greeted with a mutton rib that’s my least favourite dish of the night, but still an excellent meaty thing that hums with cardamom from the marinade. It’s followed by the only dish with roots to the meal I ate on day one of Opheem; carrot as barbecued baton, purée, and a spiced soup, with a lentil pakora which used to be the weak point, but is now arguably the star. It’s followed by a roasted scallop with roe xo and almond korma that I beg never to come off the menu. I mean it, it’s that good.

The aloo tuk seems never likely to leave the menu – and nor should it – though it has rightly been intensified into a much smaller portion. There is a little palette cleanser of something floral and fresh on a spoon, then monkfish finished on the barbecue and slightly overshadowed by a truly exceptional compote of snake beans and prawn that’s brooding and menacing, along with a raw mango sauce that gives it a much needed hug. Milk bread with lamb chai broth, a kind of beautifully bastardised bun masksa, then a main of beef sirloin with sprouting broccoli, braised cheek, and a sauce of the beef cooking liquor that I lick the plate clean of. Not a deliberate reference to my mate Jon there, but when he reads this please know this dish would make his little face glow as much as mine did.

The desserts feel they’ve gone up a level, though it’s the obvious place for improvement if they do go on to maximum accolades. First the sweetest of alphonso mangoes flurried in one of those citrusy granitas that still smokes as it hits the fruit. A gorgeous way of showcasing one of the great fruits of life. Then chocolate with sour cherry and hazlenut. Precise and beautifully done even if I was a little too pissed to be fully accurate about what I ate. Back into the lounge for another cocktail and some petit fours including canelè, some very good chocolates and excellent pâté de fruit.

The day prior, whilst pissed and irritating, I ask Aktar about the inevitable price increase that comes along with being two stars. He’s not so sure, rather the opposite; he’s keen on the idea that this level of cooking should be attainable as a treat for the majority. It’s £125 at the moment for the tasting, a more than fair price given the talent in the kitchen and out front. I loved this meal which is the best I’ve eaten since they opened, loved the intelligent wine pairings from one of the top sommeliers around, and loved the cocktails which are now really very excellent. Most of all I loved the reaction from a team who have made the step-up and are already looking forward. As a proud Brummie who tires of seeing businesses set their ambitions purely within the city, I know how lucky Birmingham is to have Opheem.