Food review: Superb food and great service at Five Spice
If you're looking for a welcoming restaurant, where staff are always smiling and on hand to make your visit extra special, look no further than Five Spice.
Because as well as serving up some really tasty food, the curry house was quite simply one of the friendliest places we had visited in a long time.
While storms were battering the country, my wife, Kelly, five-year-old daughter, Annabelle, and I decided to venture out for some nice food.
We love a curry – who doesn't? – and even Annabelle is becoming a bit of a chicken korma connoisseur, despite her tender age.
We'd looked at the menu a few times but for numerous reasons plans to get there with friends had fallen through, until we took the plunge one Sunday night – and we we're all so glad we did.
The main gist of the restaurant in Stourbridge Road, Belbroughton, is its all-you-can-eat buffet, which is full of different curries, rices and starters.
There was plenty of choice and throughout our stay the waiters and chefs made sure all the dishes were being constantly topped up.
However, I had my heart set on a tandoori mixed grill. It's a dilemma I'm always faced with if we're eating out for a curry.
The mixture of meats, all flavoured beautifully and served with a lovely side salad, are just too difficult to turn down.
The tandoori dish at Five Spice also came with another added extra too, which was a lovely side of curried potatoes and chickpeas, which worked so well with the meats, salad and plenty of extra sauces.
First things first, however, it was time for the traditional starters of poppadoms served with onions, even more salad and some wonderful dips.
It was nice being able to pile on the extras without worrying if any of it was going to run out – and when it's salad and yoghurt, it's all guilt free too.
One of our very helpful waiters even went as far as warning us against having too many poppadoms, as they are bad for your health, apparently. Point noted.
He seemed happy with us having one or two each, I'm not sure how many he thought we were going to put away . . . but, in all seriousness, he was the most very friendly and helpful waiter we had throughout.
The onions were either served raw with a little dressing, while others and been marinated in some nice, slightly-spicy sauces.
After one – yes, just one – it was time look at the menus. We'd pretty much decided what we wanted, which saw me, unsurprisingly, going for the tandoori mixed grill, while Kelly and Annabelle went for the buffet option.
The buffet was perfect for Annabelle. She could help help herself to as much curry as she wanted, and she loved the different versions of rice too, which even surprised me.
Kelly was particularly pleased with the relaxing atmosphere at the restaurant and the extra attention the staff paid to Annabelle.
The buffet also had a nice selection of curries and sides, and both the rice options were very tasty.
Everything was served temperature hot and all the dishes were constantly being topped upped or refreshed.
Nothing seemed to have been sat there for too long – and there was no judgement if you went up a number of times, which Kelly and Annabelle could both vouch for.
Kelly had a bit of everything – the bhuna, tikka and korma, which she was all very tasty – but the the chicken tikka was particularly nice, especially when eaten with some of the pakoras and bargi’s.
The naans were also soft and tasty, and there was another nice selection of salad too.
In Kelly's word, overall it was a lovely buffet but the staff deserved the real praise.
The Sunday buffet runs from 1pm to 8pm, and is really good value for money.
All the tandoori delicacies looked really good too and included supreme fillet of cod infused with a special 'tikka' marinate, flame grilled in the tandoor then tossed with baby spinach, supreme breast of chicken infused with special 'tikka' marinade, flame grilled in tandoori, delicate Scottish salmon, subtly marinated in tantalising spices and tenderly baked in a clay oven, and succulent pieces of finely seasoned chicken, barbecued to perfection and served with roasted onions, peppers and tomatoes.
Any of those would have ticked the boxes but in the end I went for the deluxe mix grill, an an assortment of tandoori delicacies, consisting of tandoori chicken, lamb chop, chicken tikka, sheek kebab and tandoori king prawn.
When it appeared from the kitchen all I could see was a mountain of red-dyed meat. It smelt wonderful and came served exactly as I'd hoped.
The chicken on the bone was crispy on the outside, with that lovely charred taste, while the meat itself just fell off the bone.
There was plenty of meat too and I was especially pleased with how well the prawns had been cooked. Plump and juicy but again chargrilled really nicely.
The lamb chops were was another show stopper. It's a favourite meat of mine and when it's cooked in the tradition tandoor there's nothing quite like it, really.
The accompanying vegetable curry side dish was a great touch too because it gave the tastebuds a break from all the tandooried meats, salads and yoghurt side dishes.
Rich and packed with flavour, it was lapped up with some of the naan bread.
The signature dishes really stood out as well.
Bengali red lamb curry, of lamb marinated overnight in spices, cooked with red chillies, tomato and yoghurt, a favourite from Eastern Bangladesh.
Sizzling duck bhuna, which was marinated strips of tender duck grilled and cooked with diced onions, garlic, ginger and tomatoes in a medium thick sauce, all served on a hot sizzling iron skillet.
Jumbo king prawns with butternut squash saw the fish lightly spiced and cooked in turmeric, jeera, garam masala with the squash, creating a spicy yet sweet taste.
And, finally, the succulent cutlet of Lamb Chops marinated in a tandoori oven and tossed in a lightly spiced sauce, served on a bed of fried mushrooms and onions on an iron skillet.
Again, they all sounded absolutely delicious and when we visit again I'm sure I'll be ordering off the specials board.
Five Spice boosts on its website how it has established a reputation for fabulous fine dining and exemplary service – and they are not lying, either.
The food was great but the staff really did stand out.
After finishing our mains, one of the waiters even made Annabelle an ice cream, with all the sprinkles and little extras you could think of.
It wasn't even on the menu, he'd just gone out of his way to create this special dessert for Annabelle. How nice was that?
Five Spice prides itself on offering Indian and Bangladeshi cuisine, with a fresh twist. Alongside the ever-popular baltis, there 10 speciality starters and between 16 and 20 main course specialities.
Low fat and vegetarian diets are also catered for with Quorn used in several dishes.
Open seven days a week and with space for 100 covers, Five Spice is ideal for special occasions and can host group parties including pre and post-wedding events, birthdays and anniversaries.
Mango paneer chilli: Strips of paneer stirfried with fresh geen chillies, spring onions and peppers in a mango chilli relish, £3.95
Tandoori lamb chops: Lamb chops marinated in tandoori spices, flame grilled in a tandoori oven, £5.95
Sizzling duck bhuna: Marinated srips of tender duck grilled and cooked with diced onions, garlic, ginger and tomatoes on a medium thick sauce, £11.94
Tandoori cod fish with baby spinach. Supreme fillet of cod infused with a special tikka marinade, flamed-grilled in the tandoori then tossed with baby spinach, £13.95
Trio of desserts: Mango cheesecake, cherry Bakewell and vanilla ice cream crumble, £6.95