Varanasi – “The spiritual capital of India”
Located on Broad Street in the heart of Birmingham, Varanasi is an exquisite fine dining restaurant, serving up a delicious array of Indian dishes. Spread across three floors, two of which are below ground, Varanasi is Birmingham’s biggest restaurant and boasts a cocktail lounge, two luxurious private dining rooms and the capacity to cater for up to 500 guests.
Varanasi opened its doors in December 2016, taking over from a former Waxy O’Connor’s venue which lay vacant on the site for years. Since opening, Varanasi has been met with an extremely positive reaction, with guests understandably mesmerised by the opulence on display.
Speaking to Premier Hospitality, Rory May, Operations Director for Varanasi, said:
“The feedback has been excellent, with everyone wowed by what we have on offer. This type of restaurant is not what you might expect in Birmingham, so when guests enter Varanasi they are quite taken back by what they see.”
“Opening a restaurant like this on Broad Street say two years ago would have been a very different experience – people wouldn’t have considered going to Broad Street to eat. Now with a surge in food offerings in Birmingham the city has a lot to offer.”
Upon entering Varanasi, guests are met with a decadent interior design, showcasing soft lighting, authentic decorations and a rather impressive indoor waterfall. The design of Varanasi is both beautiful and inviting and runs from ceiling to floor, highlighting the sheer attention to detail on offer at this Birmingham-based eatery.
“The owner travelled to India, China, Hong Kong, Morocco and Thailand to research different styles and different venues, to get a real flavour of what is on offer across the world. He then took this as his initial inspiration, purchasing decorative items that could help shape his theme.
“Initially, the restaurant was going to focus on Pan Asian cuisine, with the interior moving more towards this theme; however, we decided that Indian fine dining would suit us better. We took the name Varanasi, from the city in North India – the spiritual capital of India. Buddhism started in this particular region, so we incorporated this into the design with a number of Buddha statues placed throughout the restaurant.”
The food at Varanasi has been expertly curated by a Michelin-star chef and includes dishes such as Murgh Masala – succulent corn fed chicken tikka in a rich aromatic tomato sauce infused with ground Indian spices and nuts; Lamb Karahi – Tandoor grilled baby lamb cubes, delicately tossed with Karahi spices, fresh garlic, crushed coriander, ginger and assorted peppers; and Malabar Fish Curry – pan seared marinated fresh water sea bass, on a bed of sautéed baby spinach, coconut shavings and pan fried red chillies.
Vegetarian dishes are available, including Varanasi Paneer Tikka – homemade cottage cheese marinated and gently charred with a chilli and honey infused compote, served with blueberry chutney; and Tandoori Til Wale Aloo – crispy sesame coated red potatoes filled with assorted nuts and paneer, served with mango jus.
Accompaniments and sides are also on offer to diners and range from butter naan and pulao rice to chutney trays and the always popular Poppadoms. Meanwhile, deserts include Kheer; spiced apple; and Crown of Varanasi are a far too tempting treat made from crushed honeycomb, mango infused ice cream on a bed of chocolate sauce and served with dried mango powder, gold dust, mango jus and 24carot gold leaf.
Although Varanasi is ticking all the right boxes (and then some), plans are already in place to develop the restaurant.
“We’re very pleased with Varanasi, but we have plans to take it even further. Our mezzanine floor – located on level two – will change as we introduce more private dining areas and we also want to introduce another cocktail lounge.
“We’re always looking at ways to improve, even the menu, and our continual aim is to take Varanasi to another level.”
For more information about Varanasi, to make a reservation or to take a look at the menu, please visit: www.varanasi.uk.