With the dwindling of the Balti Triangle, we hungry and discerning Brummies need a new place to get authentic and satisfying food at a good price.
Maybe the area around Arcadian fills that criteria, with its small cheap cafes serving dishes from a variety of Chinese regions to largely Chinese customers.
The wider district’s name ‘Chinatown’ takes in great old restaurants such as Chung Ying, of course.
So perhaps we should refer specifically to the smaller establishments as the ‘Noodle Neighbourhood’.
I’ve visited several recently and been delighted… and replete.
The latest was Dezhou Style Braised Chicken – not the catchiest name, but don’t let that put you off.
It’s a tiny space, advertised by largely Chinese signage, tucked away in one of the small ‘streets’ of The Arcadian.
This is a cafe rather than a restaurant. It’s plain is decor and furniture and might benefit from a touch of paint.
But it’s functional.
As its name suggests, it specialises in dezhou-style braised chicken, a dish from the north of China.
The bird is fried, then braised with various flavourings.
It’s served on the bone and traditionally is especially relished if the meat still has a bit of chew.
There are other meats on the menu but it seemed foolish not to stick to that which gives the place its name.
The poultry was gorgeous – its texture pleasing and flavour nicely enhanced by pepper.
It came with noodles made with shredded pancakes and mixed with various other ingredients such as Chinese cabbage, coriander and garlic.
Two side dishes of lightly-pickled cucumber and strings of waxy lightly-cooked potato added fresh notes to the meal.
The result was something deeply savoury and utterly satisfying.
My wife ate a pork and noodle dish and was just as delighted.
The young waitress couldn’t have been more charming, helpful, informative or welcoming.
She took great pride in explaining dishes, telling us how they were freshly made and getting out her mobile phone to show us a video of the chef making various types of noodle.
Need to know
For two main courses, two starters and a pot of Chinese tea, we paid £29.
The place is unlicensed.
Vegetarian options are available.
Bear in mind it’s small, functional place and the food’s served swiftly.
There’s plenty of car parks nearby
Dezhou Style Braised Chicken
B109, Arcadian Centre, 70 Hurst St, Birmingham B5 4ST. 0121 622 3283.