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Lasan Birmingham ~ Winner of ‘Best Local Restaurant’ The ‘F’ Word ~ Exclusive Interview

Aktar Islam of Lasan Congratulated by James Day of ETM
Aktar Islam of Lasan Congratulated by James Day of ETM

Lasan Winners of Best Local Restaurant as Voted their customers, and judged by Gordon Ramsey’s ‘F’ Word (and yours truly) on Channel Fours ‘F’ Word Finals.

Congratulations Lasan & Team!


We were granted the exclusive final lunch interview with Executive Chef Aktar before his busy afternoon of preparing for the media circus that was to bestow him.

Lasan is Located just of picturesque St Paul’s Square in Birmingham, arguably the Mecca for Midlands foodies and night owls with The relaxed Rectory Bar & Restaurant, the fun and  a little more vibrant The Jam House (owned by Jools Holland) and then an array of cafes and bars overlooking the picturesque square and church.

Just up the (today icy) hill opposite on James St. Lasan is quite unassuming both on the exterior, and inside. Minimalistic in decor, with a simple leather sofa mirrored reception, open plan, well stocked bar, and a natural flow into the restaurant – equally minimalistic, but not visually cold – or actually on this day when outside was still minus 3 degrees at lunchtime!

We sat with what still appeared to be a still shell shocked Aktar Islam – The fiery Executive Chef who we have all grown to love for his passions, focus, and a touch of arrogance, with the odd spat with Gordon on this series of the ‘F’ Word.

Firstly, congratulations on Winning ‘Britain’s BEST Local Restaurant’ as voted for by your customers, and chosen by Gordon Ramsey, and the F Word Team (and yours truly in the close finals) How does it feel?

We are all a bit numb – it has been a real rollercoaster of a ride from the point we were nominated early last year through to the finals when we met you, and now today. Tonight there is going to be a big party – but not too big as i am in the kitchen first thing in the morning for what promises to be a big day – not to mention the press

How have things been since you were in the F Word leading to the Finals?

It has been non stop – we have had an incredible experience. The restaurant has been busy as it is normally but with lots of new faces asking even more challenging questions  – this cold icy weather has given us a bit of a breather this week.
What do you think prompted such a high volume of votes which led to you being nominated ?
We have lots of very loyal customers who have been coming for years, and they began to nominate us in droves, it just went on from there – we were amazed. I would like to thank all our Lasan customers for nominating us – and the diners of Birmingham – and readers of  eat-the-midlands.co.uk

How was the process from nomination through to the finals?

There have been so many tests by the ‘F’ Word team, including the mystery diners that you saw, and then the big group visiting all at once, we had no idea when these were being carried out – though a surprise, I think we coped well, and have learnt a great deal from the experience.

How was the final for you guys in the kitchen?

You guys were tough! {laughing} We had had a long day, prepping since 7am, and Gordon was very strict with the two restaurants, and you critics were even stricter – there was no let up, and the scores were tough – The Pheasant were a formidable opponent.

How do you think winning The ‘F’ Word Finals will change you, and the restaurant?
Personally I have learnt a great deal – it was a real privilege working with Chef Gordon and his Team, and being able to chef in Gordon’s kitchen at his 3 Michelin Starred Hospital Road Restaurant was also a real privilege, something I never thought I would do – hence my emotion on the night as you saw in this weeks’ episode, it was all quiet over-whelming. The restaurant itself will not change – we will maintain our focus and passions for the finest ingredients from India, sourced to create dishes of flavour and depth.
Aktar led us through into his restaurant. Still chatting he showed us to our table by the window and talked us through what he had prepared for us to sample.

Read our EXCLUSIVE Eat-the-midlands lunchtime review & continued interview with Aktar  Read Review HERE

James Day Editor ETM

James Day Editor ETM

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