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

The Staff Canteen

Aktar Islam is the chef owner of two michelin-starred restaurant 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. Aktar gained his second Michelin star in the 2024 Guide.



65 Summer Row, Birmingham B3 1JJ

Telephone: 0121 201 3377

Website and reservations: opheem.com

Opening hours:

Monday Closed

Tuesday Closed

Wednesday 5:30–9:30pm

Thursday 5:30–9:30pm

Friday 12–1pm, 5:30–9:30pm

Saturday 12–1pm, 5:30–9:30pm

Sunday Closed

Twitter: @opheemtweets

Instagram: @opheemrestaurant

Facebook: @OpheemRestaurant


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.


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 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."

In these challenging times…

The Staff Canteen team are taking a different approach to keeping our website independent and delivering content free from commercial influence. Our Editorial team have a critical role to play in informing and supporting our audience in a balanced way. We would never put up a paywall and restrict access – The Staff Canteen is open to all and we want to keep bringing you the content you want; more from younger chefs, more on mental health, more tips and industry knowledge, more recipes and more videos. We need your support right now, more than ever, to keep The Staff Canteen active. Without your financial contributions this would not be possible.

Over the last 12 years, The Staff Canteen has built what has become the go-to platform for chefs and hospitality professionals. As members and visitors, your daily support has made The Staff Canteen what it is today. Our features and videos from the world’s biggest name chefs are something we are proud of. We have over 500,000 followers across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and other social channels, each connecting with chefs across the world. Our editorial and social media team are creating and delivering engaging content every day, to support you and the whole sector - we want to do more for you.

A single coffee is more than £2, a beer is £4.50 and a large glass of wine can be £6 or more.

Support The Staff Canteen from as little as £1 today. Thank you.

The Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 15th February 2024

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