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Aktar Islam's perfect weekend

Birmingham | News | Published:

Chef Aktar Islam runs the kitchen at award-winning Birmingham restaurant Lasan. The Jewellery Quarter-based restaurant was over all winner of Gordon Ramsay's F?Word Best Local Restaurant and Aktar has also appeared on the BBC's Great British Menu. He tells us about his ideal weekend.

Chef Aktar Islam runs the kitchen at award-winning Birmingham restaurant Lasan. The Jewellery Quarter-based restaurant was over all winner of Gordon Ramsay's F?Word Best Local Restaurant and Aktar has also appeared on the BBC's Great British Menu. He tells us about his ideal weekend.

It's Friday afternoon. What's on your mind?

On Friday afternoon the team and I tend to spend some time reviewing the weekend ahead, making sure we're prepared to deliver the award-winning experience that Lasan is famous for!

Who normally has the pleasure of your company at the weekend?

I enjoy spending time with my four-year-old son on the weekends as this is the only time he is free from the various activities that he gets involved in – sometimes it seems he has a busier schedule than me! Then later on in the evenings I tend to meet up with friends to catch up over a drink or two.

How do you prepare for a big night out?

We normally have a big lads' night out every few weeks. I just take a casual approach to the night as we're all old friends and tend to be quite sensible as the establishments that we frequent are owned by friends.

What's your favourite party outfit?

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I like the smart casual look, so it's usually a sharp blazer, crisp white fitted shirt, dark jeans and some nice smart shoes – naturally complemented by a matching belt and wrist watch!

You've just arrived at the bar. What's your first drink?

In summer I normally tend to order a G&T to start – Hendrick or Tanquaray No 10 are my gins of choice.

What is your favourite nightspot and why?

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We normally tend to start our nights across the road from my apartment at the Lord Clifden as it's a really cool urban art bar owned by my friend Graham. We tend to move over to Brindleyplace and drink at the Bank restaurant, then we head back to drink with my close friend Mark Jones who owns Mechu in Summer Row. We like these places as they are always a comfortable and friendly environment where you can meet new people and know that you're guaranteed a good night out.

What tune always gets you on the dance floor?

I'm not really a dancer . . . but I like anything that isn't too heavy or hard core!

It's a sunny Saturday. What are you up to?

Saturday afternoons are normally dedicated to my son Alex, we spend time playing with all of his pets (he has three cats, four rabbits and a hamster) and running around the garden.

What's your most memorable weekend ever and why?

My most memorable weekend has to be when a few friends and I were out in Monaco, it was absolutely fantastic in every way. We had such an amazing night out and met some great people. I remember walking back to the hotel through the tunnels where the Formula 1 cars race – their tyre marks were still visible from the Grand Prix the week before!

What's the recipe for a perfect night in?

My recipe for a perfect night in includes good friends, a few beers and something simple to eat that involves everyone sharing and gathering in the kitchen and dining area.

Favourite DVD? And what would you eat while watching it?

I love watching Finding Nemo which is a good thing as my son has it on repeat some weekends! When I''m together with the lads we tend to watch a lot of stand-up comedy DVDs with the likes of Eddie Murphy, Chris Rock and Richard Prior. My business partner Jabbar looks after the snacks which include bombay mix but tossed in lime juice with onions and chilli, as served by the street vendors across India.

Sunday breakfast – cooked or continental?

My Sunday breakfast has always got to be a bacon, sausage and egg sandwich with a little mustard and red sauce. That's the perfect way to start a Sunday!

Sunday lunch – home-cooked or down the pub?

We normally tend to meet at the Lord Clifden for our Sunday roast – Graham makes really good gravy and there's no washing up to worry about!

Where and how do you like to relax?

I'm not really one for relaxing – although I've been told I need to learn! I'm always on the go but I guess all my down time involves spending time with my friends and going out for dinner to some of the city's greatest restaurants – Opus and Simpsons to name a couple.

You've got a whole weekend off and a wad of money in your back pocket – which country or city would you head to?

If I was to head away for a weekend and money was not an issue I would head back over to Monaco – the nightlife is amazing. with great restaurants, bars and all the exclusive parties to enjoy!

* Aktar Islam, chef director at Lasan, will be taking part in Birmingham Food Fest in association with London Midland. Birmingham's new 10-day gastronomic celebration, which is set to descend on the city from 14–23 October 2011. For more information visit www.birminghamfoodfest.com

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