"OPHEEM IS JUST ME. UNLEASHED."

AKTAR ISLAM

When you come to Opheem, you get 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.

“TO EVOLVE AND ADAPT IS WHAT MAKES US HUMAN, AND COOKING IS WHAT SETS US APART FROM THE ANIMALS”

“THEY CLING ON TO THE FOOD AND CULTURE OF YESTERDAY FOR FAMILIARITY AND COMFORT. THE FOOD THAT WE COOK AT OPHEEM, IS DEFINITELY NOT THAT” 

I think that India is home to the most incredible food on the planet. From a culinary point of view, it’s managed to take invaders, and keep the best from their cuisine. Indian food has truly evolved, and I think it’s time to bring a little slice of that to the UK.

When people originally left India, Pakistan and Bangladesh to come and live in the UK, it was (on the whole) to work. There was always the promise that they would go back home. In my parent’s words, “it was always going to be temporary.” That dream, for lots of families, is dying now. They’re British, they just don’t realise it, and they cling on to the food and culture of yesterday for familiarity and comfort. The food we cook at Opheem, is definitely not that.

I grew up in Aston, North Birmingham. My parents were humble, hard-working immigrants from Bangladesh. I remember working for my Dad in his restaurant, aged 16, and being proudly introduced to a regular customer with “This is my Son. It is his duty and pleasure to serve you.” Somewhere deep in my subconscious, I always felt a little bit like an outsider (at worst), or a second-class citizen (at best). I knew that my culture and heritage had way more to give, so my mission from a young age, was to cook the food of Kings and Emperors. And that’s how we ended up here.

“MY PARENTS WERE HUMBLE, HARD-WORKING IMMIGRANTS FROM BANGLADESH.”

“WE ALL HAVE THE RIGHT TO CREATIVE FREEDOM.”

Over the years, I’ve learned that there is no such thing as a second-class citizen. I believe we all have the right to creative freedom, and that the only person that decides who you are, is you. I also learned that the one thing that binds us together, embeds our identity through good times and bad, is food.

The kitchen was the only place that I experienced ultimate freedom. With my knives, pans, meat, fish, vegetables, herbs, spices and creativity, I felt free from constraints. The more I learned, the more I realised there was to discover, and the more I cooked, the more barriers I broke, both personal and culinary. And that’s where you’ll find me. No duty. All pleasure.

“THE KITCHEN IS WHERE YOU’LL FIND ME. NO DUTY. ALL PLEASURE.” 

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ADDRESS

Opheem, 48 Summer Row, Birmingham, B3 1JJ

TEL

0121 201 3377

ENQUIRIES

info@opheem.com

RESERVATIONS

reservations@opheem.com

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