Reaching my dotage has few advantages.
Hangovers last whole days. Knees creak. Missing spectacles are eventually located on the top of my hairless head.
As I hobble towards by status as a National Treasure, I’m reducing my workload.
And, as part of that process, I’ve cut my working links with the Lasan group of restaurants, which I’ve helped with PR over the past three years..
This was hard because they’re an organisation for which I have an enormous amount of respect, admiration and affection.
But there’s an advantage – it means that at last I can review Lasan without suspicions that my views are compromised because I’m on its freelance payroll.
Thus here’s an untainted hymn of praise for the flagship restaurant Lasan’s recently-launched weekend feast menu, which I was invited to try as part of a group of food writers.
Let’s put the feast menu in context.
Lasan is renowned for its high-end Indian food – contemporary and refined but not the sort of fussy fare of chefs who use tweezers to place their egos on plates.
The weekend feast – available on Saturdays and Sundays at a price of £35 a head – is a bit of a departure from that.
It retains Lasan’s sense of luxury and commitment to quality, but is essentially a meal for families and friends to share in a convivial manner.
If you picture a Sunday roast elevated to a new level with lots of subcontinental twists and turns, you’re on the right track.
Centrepiece is a slow-roasted lamb shoulder, the meat so tender it flakes off the bone, its natural sweetness offset by deft spicing.
It arrives on a mound of precisely-cooked rice from which comes the heady fragrance of saffron, used judiciously so this potentially bullying spice doesn’t dominate.
Roasted potatoes are a joy, flavoured with chilli, mustard seeds and curry leaves.
A bowl of daal is perfection – runny, tasty and utterly comforting.
There’s a whole roasted cauliflower, its earthiness complemented by spices.
A rich, deep gravy brings the components of the feast together.
And there is fluffy naan bread to mop up any bits, pieces and puddles on your plate.
This is rich and satisfying food to enjoy in a group, taking time to savour its many strands.
Desserts are available at £6 and, though full, I made short work of crumbly sweet halwa with vanilla ice cream.
The serving was easy on the eye and very good on the palate.
This was an exotic Sunday lunch of fabulous quality.
James Street, St Paul’s Square, Jewellery Quarter, Birmingham B3 1SD. 0121 212 3664.