"You Choose" — Ruga Bistro

Each week we walk into a restaurant and ask the staff to order for us

Venue: Ruga Bistro, 10 Pershore Street (Ground Floor), B5 4RU; facebook
Choice: Stewed beef brisket (£10.90) Chooser: Front of house

Ruga (rü-gə), noun: An anatomical fold of the gastric mucous membranes.
Hmmm. Gonna go out on a limb here and say Ruga Bistro, trickily located beneath the ever-popular Asia Asia Foodhall, hasn't knowingly named itself after your stomach flaps. That would have been an error, and from our experience at this bright, polite and refreshingly, well, fresh Chinese, errors are not their MO. Honestly? This place is wonderful. We'd heard good things from people we trust and now we're telling you, there are few Brum Chinese restaurants offering such delicate dishes, free of cloying sweetness and cheek-clamping flavour enhancers. This chef cares. He backs himself. On starters, look no further than the battered prawns with cashew nuts. On paper, shouldn't work. At Ruga? Works its absolute knockers off. Star of the show, although not unanimously agreed upon — we liked it most and we're writing this bloody thing — was stewed beef brisket. Rich, without being heavy (how the hell does chef do that?) this was like a Chinese version of beef massaman, but that description does a disservice to its uniquely warming and homely hit, the meat cosying up to the creamy, flocculent potato. Sizzling sautéed lamb with cumin seeds came highly recommended by the front of house and was a steal at £9.90, while king prawn with garlic (£12.90) featured fleshly, plump, perfectly cooked shellfish wallowing like well-fed Westerners in a warm jacuzzi of garlic. 
Sample menu


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