MANY may question whether Leamington really needs another Indian restaurant. One visit to the newly-opened Eleven Spices will immediately provide an answer in the affirmative.
There are already many good Indian restaurants in the town, so standing out from the crowd is never going to be easy, but experienced restauranter and chef Baabzi Miah has a clear vision for his latest venture, one which is very much rooted in family tradition.
Baabzi is a home educated chef whose father – one of the original Bengali restaurateurs in the Midlands back in the early 70s – and grandfather taught him all about food.
Baabzi said: “Food was used as a way of expressing love, togetherness and family. It wasn’t easy for that generation to verbally express how they felt, so I always noticed their love and gratitude through the food they prepared for me.”
And that knowledge and love of food and family has driven him to open many restaurants and takeaways down the years.
It has also brought him many plaudits and awards, including winner of the Good Food Award for Best Takeaway in 2021, Best Takeaway 2021 in the Curry Life Awards, and also saw him chosen as a finalist in the Best Chef at the inaugural Coventry and Warwickshire Foodie Awards in 2021.
Eleven Spices is something of a coming home for Baabzi, as he worked in the very same building on Spencer Street 26 years ago as a young man when it was then known as the Shalimar restaurant.
Anyone old enough to remember the Shalimar will find a very different looking restaurant today – one which is bright, sleek and contemporary – and with knowledgable and welcoming staff who share Baabzi’s passion, including his younger brother and his best friend.
And they will also discover a menu which is very different to other Indian restaurants in the town today.
Baabzi explained: “Traditional Bengali cuisine is a result of many influences mainly through India, Pakistan and South Asia. Bangladesh is a melting pot of culinary deposits and a vast array of flavours can be experienced wherever you find yourself in the country.
“I have chosen to express this wonderful cuisine and invite our customers into a world that always brings me comfort, peace and much happiness.”
“We have recreated dishes that go back decades and given them a new lease of life.
“In addition, we have created a unique blend of 11 spices that will play a part in each and every dish adding just that something special.”
It takes a certain confidence to literally put your name to a dish – Baabzi’s South Bengali Garlic Chilli Jalfrezi and Baabzi’s Naga Tawa – but that confidence is certainly not misplaced.
Both dishes – which can be served with either chicken or lamb – are beautifully balanced and spiced, bringing out the full flavour of every single ingredient, from the sweet onions to the tenderest perfectly cooked meat.
The menu features an extensive range of starters, mains, rices and breads, but also smaller plates for those who may just fancy eating Indian tapas style by choosing a a few different dishes.
All too often Indian food in the hands of lesser chefs are little more than amorphous curry dishes of varying degrees of spice. Not so at Eleven Spices where the Miah family passion for food is clearly in safe hands for another generation.
Eleven Spices also does a takeaway service.
Visit elevenspices.co.uk/ for full details.