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Birmingham council moves to restrict Balti name to the city

01 July 2009 by
Birmingham council moves to restrict Balti name to the city

Birmingham City Council has launched a campaign to protect the famous Balti name by preventing Indian restaurants outside the city from using it.

The very first Balti dish, which is named after the pot it is cooked in, is believed to have been served by a Pakistani immigrant called Mohammed Ajaib in Birmingham in 1977.

The dish became so popular that the area of Birmingham between Sparkbrook, Balsall Heath, and Moseley became known as the "Balti Triangle" because of the large number of restaurants serving it. Today, the Balti is a staple at Indian restaurants nationwide.

However, Birmingham City Council claims that because the Balti originated in the city, it has the right to protect the name, similar to other protected goods such as the Melton Mowbray Pork Pie or Wensleydale cheese.

If successful, the bid would prevent restaurants outside the "Balti Triangle" from serving the dish.

A spokeswoman for the council said: "The idea that Birmingham should trademark the term Balti is certainly an interesting one, which is not without its merits.

"The city is not only the birthplace of the dish, but also home to the UK's premier community of Balti restaurants and businesses - The Balti Triangle.

"The City Council is always seeking new and imaginative ways to promote the city regionally, nationally and internationally, which, if judged to be feasible and to the benefit of local people or businesses, we would not hesitate in pursuing," she added.

Cyrus Todiwala, founder of Café Spice Namaste, welcomed the move.

"As a die-hard Indian chef, I don't understand the concept of Balti cooking so this is a good thing as it highlights the fact that Balti is a British and not an Indian dish," he told Caterersearch.

"Also, if only restaurants in the Balti Triangle are allowed to serve Balti, it may raise the standard of the quality of the dish."

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By Kerstin Kuhn

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