Hen and Chickens, Birmingham

The best thing about food blogger friends is the excellent excuse to go out and order a truly excessive amount of food. Laura, Fay, Emma and I took ourselves for an enormous dinner at Hen and Chickens in the Jewellery Quarter, all in the name of foodie research, of course.

Hen and Chickens

The Desi pub has had a recent makeover, expanding their dining space. The new interior is cosy and inviting, with pretty stained glass, exposed brick and plenty of tables. It was already packed when we arrived, but the friendly barman helped us find a table and we settled to gaze adoringly at the menu.

Gin and Tonic

A round of Gin and Tonics kept us company as we decided, and we were all delighted by the classy glassware. I wish this glass would have fitted in my handbag…


We began with a pile of Poppodomms (£1.50 each), accompanied by a cool mint yogurt, a tangy marinade of chopped onions, and a rich, spicy chutney. The poppadomms were huge, and not at all greasy. We had a bit of a wait before the rest of our order arrived, but boy was it worth it. Being four hungry bloggers, we ordered a lot and our table was groaning with food.

Desi food

Fay doesn’t eat meat, so we focussed on the meat free options and opted to order lots of dishes to share tapas style, an approach I’d recommend. Portions are ideal sharing size, and it works out as lots of food for a good price.

Paneer and Samosas

The Lamb Dhansak (£8.50) was full of tender chunks of slow cooked lamb, studded with pineapple, and was perfect for dunking pieces of Garlic Nan (£1.80). The Chicken Rogan Josh (£7.25) had gently spice and had also clearly been cooked slowly, as the chicken was melt in the mouth, soaked in the thick sauce. The Fish Curry (£7) was the least interesting, with a tasty sauce, but the fish was fairly bland and none of us could identify what kind of fish it actually was. The texture was slightly odd and all fish flavour was hidden by the sauce.

The Paneer dishes were major stand-outs. Saag Paneer (£6) was full of the cheese, and was a beautiful creamy dish, packed full of spinach. Paneer Tikka (£7.50) is a drier dish, but the paneer had a light crispy edge to it and was well spiced in the tikka mix. Absolutely delicious. We all loved the thick smokiness of the Tharka Dhal (£4.50) too.

The Samosas (£2 each) had a tasty spicy filling, but the pastry was a little greasy, which was a shame.

Despite a few small niggles, we all went home extremely full and very, very happy. How full, you ask? Well…

I’ll be back to feast on more paneer very soon, I’m sure. It was so good, and the staff were super friendly too. Go, order half the menu and you’ll be very happy.

We paid in full. All prices correct at the time of writing. We didn’t tell them we were bloggers but they probably guessed when we all stood up and started taking pictures of the very full table. All words, images and opinions are my own.