1 Michelin Star Chefs: Aktar Islam, chef owner, Opheem

The  Staff Canteen

Aktar Islam is the chef owner of Opheem in Birmingham. 

Aktar's rise to fame far predates the Michelin Guide's recognition - starting when his restaurant, Karma, won the title of Best Local Restaurant on Gordon Ramsay's 'The F word' series, followed by his GBM victory in 2011.

Opheem

Opheem

65 Summer Row, Birmingham B3 1JJ

Telephone: 0121 201 3377

Website and reservations: opheem.com

Opening hours:

Monday Closed

Tuesday 12–2pm, 5:30–9:30pm

Wednesday 12–2pm, 5:30–9:30pm

Thursday 12–2pm, 5:30–9:30pm

Friday 12–2pm, 5:30–9:30pm

Saturday 12–2pm, 5:30–9:30pm

Sunday Closed

Twitter: @opheemtweets

Instagram: @opheemrestaurant

Facebook: @OpheemRestaurant

Biography

The son of a Bangladeshi political scientist turned restaurant owner, Aston-born Aktar Islam's career in hospitality began from a very young age, working on the potwash at his father's restaurant when he was 13. 

He founded his first restaurant, Karma, aged 20, then co-founded Lasan two years later. The restaurant won the title of Best Local Restaurant on the F word in 2010.

The following year, the chef took his fish course to the GBM banquet, leading him to make numerous television appearances as he pressed on at Lasan Group.

During his time at Lasan he helped launch Lasan Eatery - now known as Raja Monkey - Nosh and Quaff, and Argentinian restaurant Fiesta Del Asado. 

In 2017, the chef left Lasan Group to focus on opening Opheem, which he did in May 2018, followed by his Italian restaurant, Legna, in December of the same year.

The chef plans on opening his next venture, Pulperia, a modern Argentinian restaurant just a short walk from Opheem in late 2019.

Opheem 

Located at the heart of Birmingham's city centre, the boldly decorated experimental restaurant is a testament to Moderm Indian food in the city where it is renowned. 

Spices are ground and ingredients are pickled and fermented in house to create dishes inspired by a collection of 15th century recipes called The Ni'matnama and by the chef's mother's recipes.

According to the guide, the tasting menu "is the best way to experience the kitchen's full repertoire." 

What the guides say

Michelin:

Michelin star

European techniques are applied to traditional Indian flavours, resulting in dishes like poached cod with sea kale and pakora, smoked hogget with kashmiri chilli, soft shell crab with caraway seed tempura and crab shami, Herdwick lamb pavé with confit shoulder, charred broccoli and bone marrow sauce and passion fruit with Manjari chocolate. 

A statement by the chef on the restaurant's website says that a visit to Opheem consitutes "an insight into the inner workings of my mind. 

"We’re striving to push the boundaries with Indian flavours, but with cooking techniques from all over the world, some traditional, and some very modern. At Opheem, I’ll be using the same paints as I’ve always done, to create a very different picture, on a very, very different canvas. Why? Because to evolve and adapt is what makes us human, and cooking is what sets us apart from the animals."

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The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 22nd October 2019

1 Michelin Star Chefs: Aktar Islam, chef owner, Opheem