The desi pub – those Sikh-run boozers that serve traditional Punjabi food – are undergoing a bit of a transformation.
There are still plenty of places that uphold the noble tradition of retaining the same peeling wallpaper, sticky carpets and jaundiced paintwork that they’ve had for the past three decades.
But now there’s the more salubrious Keg & Grill near the Mailbox and the refurbished Hen & Chickens on the edge of the Jewellery Quarter.
Add to that list the Covered Wagon – a nondescript building in Moseley that for as long as I can remember has been the sort of chain pub that has had the allure of Nigel Farage in drag.
And I use his name pointedly since it’s the sort of place that he’d probably hate since it’s a testament to the richness of multiculturalism.
Here’s a pub that has been taken over by Asian people who have reinvigorated the place.
The front bar still shows sport on TV and welcomes folk who want to enjoy a pint or two.
Beyond that, the smart contemporary restaurant area serves a daytime English menu and desi Indian food throughout the day and evening.
It was packed with white and Asian customers on a midweek early evening visit.
And – according to the charming Lithuanian barmaid who served us – is frequently busy.
Prices are reasonable and portions are generous.
A starter of samosa chaat – vegetable samosas broken up and served with yoghurt, chickpeas, tamarind, mint and coriander – packed a spicy punch and was satisfying.
Paneer tikka was soft and flavoursome.
The mixed grill to which I progressed was absurd value at £8 – chicken tikka, chicken wings, sheesh kebab and a lamb chop nicely spiced and cooked hard so that they were well caramelised.
Much of the meat currently lurks in my fridge ready to be enjoyed as a lunchtime snack.
Even larger grills are available for ravenous carnivores and groups.
The grills arrive sizzling on hot metal platters with onions and, at the side, crisp green salads.
A desi chicken curry was a satisfying bowl of poultry in a rich tomato and onion sauce that was moderately hot.
A roti was perfectly acceptable.
Let’s not exaggerate – this isn’t award-winning cuisine but its solidly good and great value food.
Need to know
We paid £40 for two for wine, food and beer.
There are plenty of veggie options.
The place is child-friendly.
It’s accessible for the disabled.
There’s a big car park.
The Covered Wagon
298 Yardley Wood Road, Moseley, Birmingham B13 9JW. 0121 449 3230.