Foodies Festival comes to Birmingham’s Cannon Hill Park 15-17th May 2015


This May an exciting new food festival arrives in Birmingham. Throughout the weekend of 15-17 May the Uk’s biggest celebration of food and drink will transform Cannon Hill Park into a foodie paradise with Birmingham’s Michelin-Starred, and top chefs, a new tasting theatre, pop up restaurants, and Street Food in the form of Street Food Avenue: Exciting!

Originally set up in Scotland in 2005, it promises to be a superb foodie day out for all the family. 

I’m really looking forward to the Foodies Festival and full details can be found on their website.

http://foodiesfestival.com/



The Aga Rangmaster Chefs Theatre welcomes Michelin Starred chef Glynn Purnell as well as Simpsons  Matt Cheal and Lasan’s Aktar Islam who will cook their favourite summer recipes and share top tips for visitors to take away and impress families and friends with. 

Fans of Masterchef can also see 2014 winner Ping Coombes cook her signature dishes from the series in the Chefs Theatre and try her Malaysian Pop-up on the Street Food Avenue. Ping is also joined by Masterchef 2010 winner Dhruv Baker and finalist Jackie Kearney. 

Also Birmingham can enjoy toasting Foodies’ 10th Anniversary in the New Wine and Champagne Theatre where experts Neil Phillips and Charles Metcalfe will guide visitors through the seasons best British bubbles and beer expert Melissa Cole hosts masterclasses in the New Craft Beer Theatre, matching foods with locally produced alcoholic and non alcoholic craft beers. 

Also on offer on the New Tasting Theatre will be ‘How to sniff chocolate like a Rockstar’ or Chocolate Safari. A group of masterclasses  with Coeur de Xocolat. 

Of interest to veggies and vegans are masterclasses in Raw Food and Vegan blogger Katy B from Little Miss Meat Free will be sharing her recipes, tips and inspiring visitors to create vegan meals and bakes at home. Katy is one of my favourite bloggers and her blog is well worth checking out. 

http://www.littlemissmeatfree.co.uk/?m=1

Facebook.com/littlemissmeatfree

Twitter/lilmissmeatfree

The Cake & Bake Theatre will showcase local cake makers and bakeries sharing their tips for baking delicious Summer Cakes. Their will also be Sugar-craft masterclasses and a Chocolate Cake and Bake Village. Selling bakes, jams, gadgets and baking essentials. 

The part of the festival I’m looking forward to is the so called Street Food Avenue a vibrant and exciting festival hub showcasing the best of street food from around the world, hopefully with some good veggie dishes to enjoy. 

There will also be an Artisan Producers Market of over 200 exhibitors. 

Here visitors can meet the producers and sample and buy award winning produce, cheese, wines, bakes and condiments. 

For children there will be a Children’s Cookery Theatre and learn basic cooking skills with Kiddy Cook. 

Plus live music, a pop up bar and entertainment throughout the day. 

As with all food festivals there should be plenty for veggies and vegans to enjoy,  when I know more about the vendors and traders I will update my post. 

see you there. 

Tickets are available from http://www.foodiesfestival.com or by calling 0844 995 1111.

There are single day passes, and VIP passes, and  weekend passes available And all children aged 12 and under go free to all Foodies Festivals when accompanied by an adult.

At the beginning of May I will be running a ticket giveaway on Twitter and the blog, to get your foodie hands on a pair of tickets for the show. 😊

Disclosure: I’m attending the Foodies Festival as their guest, but have not received any other payment for my post or my promotion of what is a brilliant event for Birmingham. 

Thanks for reading. 



Scoff Food returns for Fab Feb Food extravaganza


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The last weekend of February (this Friday and Saturday) is a street food lovers birthday and Christmas rolled into one. Especially if you live near or in Stratford Upon Avon or Coventry in the Warwickshire.

On Friday 27th February at The Stratford Boat Club overlooking the pretty River Avon and the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) theatre sees an evening Scoffs Food Event.

Featuring The Jabberwocky, Spectacular Goat Pizza, Delize Italian, Canoodle and Bournville Waffle, amongst others. Plus live music and shelter from the elements if need be.

So what’s better than Stratford’ s first street food night and theatrical setting and even Shakespeare himself would be impressed with the atmosphere and stunning river views.

Plus, of course cocktails, and beer from 17.00-23.00 27th February and every week until the 27th March at Stratford Boating Club. CV 37 7LS.

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Saturday 28th is just as good.

Venue is Fargo Village in Coventry
. This Saturday you will find an enlarged foodie extravaganza, a full line up of world-wide street food, and a colourful double decker bus, The Bus Bar to quench your thirst. Plus fantastic independent shopping throughout the village.

The Fargo Street Food Scoff Food thing has excellent nosh, plenty of veggie options at both events.

See Spectacular Goat pizza, yummy. Canoodle, Big Daddies Diner, and more. The food and the atmosphere should warm the cockles of your heart whatever the weather.

http://www.scofffood.co.uk for directions

Venue:

Fargo Village, Far Gosford Street, Coventry, CV 1 5ED.

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The Bus Bar at Brum Yum Yum.

Thanks for reading.

Andy

@andydhare

Facebook: Andy Hare and Veggie Foodie

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Review: Marmalade: Bistro at The Birmingham Rep Theatre


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I’m not prone to visit a new restaurant within its early days of opening, due to
the potential to either be vastly disappointed or underwhelmed by the package presented.

So it was with some trepidation that Ruth and I visited Bitters N’ Twisted’s Marmalade’s in its first week ( its first proper night after a soft launch) seduced by the much trumpeted vegetarian dishes and a bargain 50% off opening week deal. Based at the Birmingham Rep Theatre near the ICC building/Symphony Hall and on Broad Street.

On entering we were quietly relieved to see that the old style of theatre dining had disappeared. A Nondescript, dull, quietness had been replaced by a modern, funky, wooden, quite cosy feeling space, that had all the hallmarks of other Bitters N Twisted venues. (Bodega, Jekyll and Hyde, Rose Villa Tavern to name just three).

I liked the room, long tables, small tables, good lighting, large windows, a bit like Bodega, but unique too the brand too. It had potential to be buzzy when busy.

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The Bistro was quite busy when we got there, though the pre theatre guests would be engrossed in their play and the night was quite cold.

We were seated in a cosy corner and perished the menu. Service initially was quite slow, but generally improved as the night went on. Though it felt decidedly chilly and without a personable touch, more functional with little enthusiasm compared with say Bodega. Not fitting for a restaurant in its opening days, where you may expect that touch.

One must not grumble though, it’s early days, and this is something to work on.

We ordered a couple of drinks. Ruth a white wine me a Mojito. My cocktail was good, a good touch of rum, refreshing, sweet, what you would expect.

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So onto the food.

We decided to order one of Marmalade’s small plate options to share along with some bread.

We ordered the stone bread basket, homemade butters (Balsamic and Thyme, Fig and Rosemary, and sun dried tomato) plus the Charred Kale, caramelised swede, coconut, cranberries, walnuts.

The bread we felt wasn’t as fresh as it could have been. It was ok. The butters didn’t taste of any ingredients in the description and were disappointing as we were looking foreword to trying them. Great idea though.

The Kale dish looked impressive, pretty on the plate. It was delicious, the crunch of the kale against the soft swede and blended into a coconut sauce felt quite Thai or Malaysian, subtly spiced and a good plate of food, and with the bread for dipping into the creamy coconut a good mix. For £7.25 good value shared with another sharing plate dish as a taster.

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To follow I ordered the tasty sounding
Roast Aubergine, lentil, feta, Basil
Leaves, chick peas, croutons, curry oil, raisins, shiitake mushrooms salad. (A long title).

Which when it arrived didn’t look anything like the press release photographs, but was covered in rocket/salad which his the beautiful bright colours of the chick peas, lentils and aubergine, as if it was embarrassed by them. Shame. It was that presentation that grabbed me.

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The official photo.

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How it was presented.

On the whole though the taste of the dish was very good. Lovely flavours running through it, it felt healthy, warming, the chick peas, lentils, mushrooms and aubergine gave it a bite and vitality and with the toasted croutons made for a filling warm salad. I enjoyed it.

It would make a good starter (and is available as such) promising and with two other vegetarian main dishes plenty to return to, including a lovely sounding vegetable crumble with tofu.

We also ordered a good side portion of chips which were good.

Ruth ordered cod fish and chips which was she said ok, cooked well but a bit bland and unseasoned, and served with a small portion of chips, hence the extra portion ordered.

For desert we decided to share the brilliant sounding Repertory Mess- almond meringue, coffee sponge, whipped cream, raspberries, and blue berries.

It was ok, good in fact until we came across (about half way down) the cloying and overpowering coffee soaked sponge, and then a good mess became a tiramisu, a bit confused, we liked half of the pudding, but was left with an after taste of coffee not fruit and meringue. A shame.

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So on the whole Marmalade was a good experience. It has massive potential. Credit is deserved and due for the varied and from what I tasted good vegetarian dishes. A lot of work has been put into them and thinking of us veggies as an important diner. They show a progression and trend for a varied tastes, textures, and ingredients. Yet, maybe a curates egg on the day I visited.

The service was only ok, no one checked whether we enjoyed the food, no one checked how the veggie dishes were, no market research, not a great deal of enthusiasm but always polite.

I liked the space though, the decor, lighting and potential and I did return to enjoy a fine flat white the next day in the bar, and service there was much better.

So maybe a return visit in a few months, once things have settled down. Those veggie dishes deserve to be discovered. Theirs lots to like about Marmalade, the cocktails, the varied and imaginative menu, the pre theatre deal, and there’s some things to work on.

That’s normal at this stage, so perhaps I should have waited a little longer? But then I’ve always loved Marmalade…

See you again.

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Marmalade Bistro Bar
Birmingham Rep Theatre
Broad Street
Birmingham
B1 2EP

0121 245 2080

http://www.marmaladebirmingham..co.uk

@marmaladebirmingham

Facebook/ marmaladebham

Has anyone visited Marmalade yet? What did you think? Let me know your thoughts via the comments below and in Twitter @andydhare

Thanks for reading.

Andy 😊

We ate at Marmalade with 50% off the bill. The other 50% we paid for. My opinions are my own, honest as always.

I also drunk a delicious Brew Dog Punk IPA. Part of a good selection of craft beers on offer at Marmalade.

Three official photos courtesy of Marmalade and Bitters N’ Twisted

Thanks.

Review: Lasan Restaurant: Birmingham


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Lasan’s reputation has often in recent times proceeded it. Offering a fine dining like experience, it’s Indian dishes are refined, and woo the diner with their keen and exquisite seasoning and little touches of street food delights. It feels more like an experience than a general night out.

It’s those touches that have brought it accolades not only from Gordon Ramsey but The Sunday Times newspaper who have named it as one of Britain’s top 100 restaurants, the Good Food Guide and the Michelin Guide. A true list of quality.

Chef Aktar Islam and his team have consistently created on all my numerous visits (and there have been many from whence Lasan opened) Vegetarian dishes that demonstrate those techniques, textures and flavours that are a joy to discover and heavenly to taste.

On our mid week arrival Ruth and I decided to enjoy a Gin and Tonic in the smart bar area with the menus. A good thing to do when visiting Lasan.

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I discovered disappointingly a few weeks previous that Lasan doesn’t serve a vegetarian tasting menu-minus points- but only a non veggie one. Though this is sad, as other fine indian restaurants in London do its not the end of the world, as the menu for vegetarians is excellent, with plenty of choice and from previous experiences delightful.

Having taken our seats at our favourite mezzanine level table, good for people watching, we observed the restaurant filling up with large table bookings and couples. Excellent to see mid week.

I like the decor of Lasan, slightly modern, slightly Eastern influenced, a lovely wall mounted sitar and large ornate mirrors give the space a brightness, though with an intimate feel.

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We began our meal with a complimentary Indian Street Food morsel (not an amuse bouche, that’s French) called Panipuri which originates from the Magadha region of India.

A popular street food snack it consists of a round hollow puri, fried crisp and filled with a mixture of chaat masala, potato, onion and chick peas. To be taken in one mouthful, it was delicious, sweet, savoury, gently spiced. I love Indian street food. I could have quite happily eaten more.

Plus some quality crisp and flavoursome poppadoms and dips.

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For a starter Ruth and I chose to eat the vegetarian shared platter. A dish we’ve ordered before many times. The street food leanings of this dish is the main draw for me.

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It combines an assiette of two each of Caraway Spiced Paneer, Spinach and Potato tiki, onion and spinach palak pakora, South Indian potato cakes and a selection of well made dips.

A dish of differing and contrasting flavours and textures with vibrant touches. The potato cakes an all round taste sensation, the spinach and potato tiki, superb. All round for veggies this starter can’t be beaten and is my favourite. The only catch you have to find someone to share it with. Ruth as a meat eater loves it.

For my main course I ordered the veggie Chamon Punjab (paneer) with two vegetarian sides to share with Ruth-the Gobhi Angara and Ghar ke dhal, with a Garlic and Coriander naan and Pilau Rice accompany.

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The Chanon Punjab was delicious. Spiced with caraway seeds and scented with cloves, with a smooth spicy Kashmiri spinach and fenugreek gravy it was probably the best paneer I’ve tasted in Birmingham and only the one I ate at Michelin starred Benares in Mayfair London beats it. The flavours were deeply spiced and went perfectly with the two side dishes I ordered. A lovely vegetarian main dish.

The Gobhi Angara, is a North Indian delicacy. As lovers of cauliflower in curries both Ruth and had to choose this dish. The nigella scented masala with roasted cauliflower a gentle lighter contrast to the paneer punch of the main dish. More subtle in flavour, but delivering with aplomb.

The Ghar Ke Dhal offered once more a delicious contrast. The blend of lentils, simmered gently and spiced with green Cardamom and cassia bark had finely tempered flavours, with the tomato base and fresh herbs providing subtlety. A lovely dhal.

Ruth didn’t have space for a pudding so ordered some petit fours for her coffee. Disappointingly they proved to be sadly underwhelming which we thought would be homemade but wasn’t. Not great, she felt and for £2.50 very expensive. Why not a plate of traditional Indian sweets or small Indian deserts instead. More authentically Indian please.

For pudding I ordered the superb Gulab Jamun Rabri.

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To describe: the Gulab jamun Rabri is a Holi festival recipe with cardamon. It can be defined as deep fried melt in the mouth dough balls which are coated in sugary rose water and cardamon, slightly warm. Gulab means rose in Hindi and Jamun is a South Asian fruit. An Indian version of doughnuts. Drizzled with rabri a form of sweetened reduced milk flavoured with nuts and spices.

It was a delicious melt in the mouth pudding. Creamy, nutty, lovely. Not heavy to eat, but light and perfect after the spice of the previous dishes.

Lasan do the traditional deserts well, more please.

Throughout the meal the service was impeccable, courteous, charming, they explained every dish enthusiastically and with knowledge but not overwhelming you with attention. The balance was as it should be.

With our food we also ordered two glasses of wine, Ruth had a white-a lovely Gewürztraminer and me a punchy Red Malbec, both complimented the spicy food well.

Plus to follow two brandies to follow our Americano coffee. (Ambre Pierre Ferrand cognac)

Lasan is the real deal for curry in Birmingham. More pricy than some, it’s certainly a splurge kind of place and why wouldn’t you. A treat to enjoy, overwhelm and dive into. The vegetarian dishes (as the non are, according to Ruth) are inspiring, and flavoursome.

There are more than enough vegetarian dishes to return to again and again, their can be no complaints.

The service, hospitality and the food is testament to the hard work that goes into making the Lasan experience whole and nearly complete, (veggie tasting menu, more indian puddings) please😊

one that ‘teases the senses and stirs the soul’.

Lasan
3-4 Dakota Buildings
James Street
St Paul’s Square
Birmingham
B3 1SD

0121 212 3664

http://www.lasan.co.uk

@lasan

@akrarislam

Facebook/Lasan-Restaurant

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We were invited as guests of Lasan Restaurant Group, we received part compensation for the bill the balance we paid ourselves. As always my opinions are honest and my own. No positive review was required though there is no doubt you couldn’t fail to be impressed.

My previous review of Lasan Restaurant last year.

http://vegiefoodie.com/2014/06/03/lasan-restaurant-teasing-the-senses-review/

#CoffeeTime: Marmalade at Birmingham Rep Theatre


Marmalade is the new bar and bistro that opened last week at The Birmingham Rep Theatre on Broad Street near the ICC complex.

It’s bar and bistro received a lot of Social Media action prior to its launch and since, promising murmurings have been given on its food menu especially the much heralded vegetarian dishes.

Last week Ruth and I visited the bistro for dinner and you can read my thoughts on their aforementioned veggie dishes in a few days time.

As if once wasn’t enough to visit Marmalade Last week I decided coincidently to try their coffee, and why not. The Rep space has always had a cafe and on the whole I remember having a decent coffee their before.

Now Marmalade is owned by Bitters N Twisted who own Bodega, The Victoria, and The Jekyll and Hyde amongst others I thought it would be a good independent bet.

Good news is that it is.

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I ordered a flat white, which was well made, creamy with a good sharp coffee under lying flavour, a very good coffee and it looks good in the photos. I was impressed that it came with a glass of water, very European. Excellent.

As a space to work it’s excellent, you are seated in the bar area and the friendly service on this occasion takes over. At £2.50 it is competitively priced. The seating is comfortable with plenty of room if you wish to work seated on a semi circle type seating with a large table.

I thought it was a good space, though small, it felt new, clean and with windows all around was light and airy.

They also serve sandwiches at lunch in the bar/coffee area so if you are peckish then it’s your lucky day. I didn’t see any cake offerings, but that maybe it was hiding, but if not well why not?

As an alternative to the nearby coffee chains of Costa, Starbucks, and Cafe Nero that you find in that Broad Street/ Brindley Place area then the Independent Marmalade is the real deal.

If you are walking through to Brindley Place or just want a small space to sit and take in a pleasant view then this is your place.

And remember it is independent.

I wasn’t disappointed. I hope you won’t be either.

Marmalade bar and bistro
Birmingham Rep Theatre
Broad street
Birmingham
B1 2EP

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#CoffeeTime: Loco Lounge- Kings Heath


I’m making no apologies for mentioning the Loco Lounge on Kings Heath High Street in Birmingham again on my blog.

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The Loco Lounge Is part of the Lounges group of cafe bars that offer an all day space and cater for the whole community and neighbourhood.

They also sell and eclectic mix of cocktails, craft beers and wine.

Loco has a large double fronted shop front which has some outside seating. Inside the the ground floor is open plan with stairs leading to a snug with a covered terrace to the rear of that.

It’s a large space with a loyal customer base and is popular at all times of the day. A real community space. A place for all the family.

The Loco Lounge is near my house, but until this occasion I hadn’t drunk a coffee in its cosy cafe.

As a cafe/bar caters for many different people in many different ways. Since this visit I have visited in the morning a couple of times and this time is popular with parents with children and people working on laptops…and me :)

It is for this reason one Friday afternoon that I visited. To work on my blog and my poetry. Yes I have new work :) x 6!

The Loco Lounge I think is the best space for working in
in Kings Heath, spacious, free wi fi, and with comfy chairs, sofas and cushions, it’s like your front room with a casual buzz and friendly staff.

On the afternoon (a Friday) I visited the cafe was busy.
Some people had eaten lunch others were working with a coffee and some were chilling with a book and a coffee.

You have to order at the bar, and I chose my favourite coffee test a Flat White with a Vegan (yes vegan) chocolate and Ginger torte.

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The Flat White was lovely, creamy, well made, a good coffee with a decorative twist. Presented in a glass mug which was quite retro like. Excellent.

The torte alongside it was a lovely choice. The ginger against the vegan chocolate was delicious. It was well baked, soft, sticky, the vegan chocolate was thick and gooey. It was superb. A real surprise, I don’t mind saying.

A lovely combination.

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The Loco Lounge is a brilliant space to work in. It’s buzzy without been in your face, it’s spacious and cosy. The food and drink is varied, with lunches, evening specials, breakfasts, and a whole vegan menu on offer it covers all basis. In fact if you stay all day you can be well fed.

For coffee and cake it ticks all the boxes and makes for a satisfying stop off whilst in Kings Heath, for locals like me well it’s an extension of our living room, a home from home.

In my case with better coffee and cake.

The Loco Lounge
32/34 High Street
Kings Heath
Birmingham
B14 7JT

0121 444 1296

@loco_lounge

http://www.thelounges.co.uk/loco-lounge

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On Monday Loco do a pub quiz. On Tuesday they offer Tapas Tuesday where you can have three tapas dishes and a large glass of house wine for £9.75.

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Update: A delicious Cappuccino, creamy with a touch of chocolate class.

Brum Yum Yum: Valentine’s Day #KingshEATh street food extravaganza


‘Romeo, Romeo wherefore art though Romeo?’ ‘I can’t find you in Verona?

‘Juliet, I’m in Kings Heath, Birmingham, it’s Valentines Day and I’m at #KingshEATh with Brum Yum Yum.

Wait there for me and I will join you, Italy is no place to be this Valentine’s Day, only Kings Heath will do.

And so it came to pass that Romeo took his Juliet to Kings Heath on Saturday 14th February for a street food extravaganza.

This Saturday is the first Brum Yum Yum of 2015. Where what you see is what you get. #ingredients #technique #perfection. All ingredients are sourced fresh and ready to make in front of your eyes.

Brums favourite street food crews appear alongside guests including grocers, bakers, craft beer, proper
wines, and street performers and live music.

The line up this Saturday has numerous veggie options:

Try

-Sai Buddha Belly-Thai street food
@SaiBuddhaBelly

-Barebones pizza- woodfired pizza @barebonespizza

-Pietanic- pies galore @pietanic

-The Vegan Grindhouse- veggie and vegan handmade burgers, cakes, etc
@vegangrindhouse

-Nosh & Ciao- Italian street food. Arancini and more
That’s Amore @noshandciao

-Big Papas Beautiful South- soul food including veggie @bigpapasuk

-Bombay Tapas- pure veg East African/Indian street food

-Vishaag- indian street food

Churros Susanna- churros and chocolate @churrossusanna

BAKE-bakes and cakes @BAKE_Birmingham

Mrs Mills- cakes, desserts. @mrsmillscakes

-Pips Hot Sauce- spice girl-spices @pipshotsauce

-Vegeteopolis- fruit and veg @vegetropolis

All terrain Caffeine- coffee etc @allterraincoffee

-British Bus Bar- purity ales and beers etc @bar_british

Pimpernel delights -deli @pimpernel_deli

It should be a fun packed and romantic foodie fest.

So. Fall in love…this Valentines Day with KingshEATh street food market😊

See you there.

It begins at 11.30-4pm on Saturday 14th February

#KingshEATh Streetfood market

Kings Heath village square
2 Vicarage Road
Birmingham B14

Facebook.com/BrumYumYum

http://www.brumyumyum.com

Twitter/ brumyumyum

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Marmalade: Bistro, coffee, cocktails, and great for veggies


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Marmalade is the new bar/bistro that is opening on the 6th February at The Birmingham Rep Theatre in Centenary Square near the Symphony Hall and Broad Street.

It’s a joint venture from Birmingham Rep and independent Bitters ‘n’ Twisted who also run the successful Bodega, Rose Villa Tavern, The Victoria, Island Bar and The New Inn in Harborne.

Promising eclectic furnishings, quality wines, ales, craft beer and cocktails galore as well as an innovative food menu that is open all day for coffee, bar snacks, light lunch or pre theatre dining.

There will be a special food offer of two courses for £15.95 or Three courses for £19.95 from a set menu. A Pre theatre menu.

Bitters ‘n’ Twisted are keen for Marmalade to be known for its food menu as well as for the existing theatre, it’s an ideal place for a post theatre drink or just for dinner.

Having spoken to Bitters ‘n’ Twisted a few months ago I knew the menu would be brilliant for vegetarians, as they have considered their menu carefully with numerous innovative dishes on offer. 😊

Having now seen the menu this holds true with nine dishes on the menu and 5 sides plus of course puddings.

The food menu is split into five sections Appetisers, Small plates, Main courses, sides and puddings.

Try, goats curd, black olive tapenade, croutes, watercress, balsamic, or the lovely sounding beetroot, and feta croustade, samphire, bearnaise sauce, orange on the appetisers.

Or, Bosworth’s Ash Goats Cheese and watercress pancakes, Apple chutney or charred kale, caramelised swede, coconut, cranberries, walnuts. Which I have been told is delicious. Thanks Vicky😊

Or Sesame, Coated Halloumi, Seared Honeydew, Melon, Black olive tapenade.

For main courses you could try Mediterranean Vegetable Crumble, tofu, Roast Tomato sauce, Spinach, figs. Sounds lovely.

Or Quinoa, Broccoli, Sweet Potato, Olives, coriander, toasted butter bean, cannelloni, bean salad.

Or Roast Aubergine, Lentil, feta, Basil leaves, chick peas, croutons, curry oil, raisins, shiitake mushroom salad.

For sides try a number of salads, the roasted sweet potato and fig salad sounds delicious, as does the baby spinach salad, dates and walnuts.

Puddings include a Repertory mess, plum orange and apricot crumble and a gingerbread cheese cake. Yummy!

Vegetarian Appetisers are priced between £3.25 and £6.50 vegetarian small plates between £6.75 and £7.25 and veggie mains priced at £10.95. Puddings at £5.75.

I think the menu shows innovation and real thought for vegetarian diners, and many high end restaurants and bistros could take a leaf out of Marmalade’s book. Credit is therefore given to Bitters ‘n’ Twisted. Thank you.

Of course the proof is in the pudding as they say (or in the small plate) so I look forward to trying some of the above dishes soon and feeding back shortly.

The Marmalade Lounge bar is happily affordable, focussing on the creative and intrigue of its food menu. The veggie options certainly show exciting flavour combinations with an independent twist and style that would be expected. Food that is fresh and local where it can be.

For vegetarians Marmalade has the potential to be one of the most exciting new openings in Birmingham City Centre this year.

Remember Marmalade is open today. They are taking bistro bookings online via their website and serve brunch every Saturday and Sunday from 10-12 noon and Sunday lunches hereafter.

I will check on the menu and update my post. Full menus see below.

http://www.marmaladebirmingham.co.uk

http://marmaladebirmingham.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/marmalade-food web.pdf

Also follow them on Face book/Marmalade and Twitter @marmaladeBham

You may even bump into Paddington.

Marmalade Bistro Bar
Birmingham Rep Theatre
Broad Street
Birmingham
B1 2EP

0121-633 9349

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Some of the veggie dishes at Marmalade.

Photos courtesy of Bitter ‘n’ Twisted and Jack Spicer Adams.

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#CoffeeTime: Cherry Reds-Kings Heath &Birmingham City Centre


Cherry Reds have two independent cafe bars in Birmingham. One in Kings Heath near my house on York Road just off the high street and one in Birmingham City Centre on John Bright Street near New Street Station and opposite Brew Dog craft beer bar.

Both branches are intimate and quirky, with friendly staff, good alternative music and lots of charm. Try vintage furniture, comfy sofas, mismatched of course, vintage signage and a keen and developing craft beer range at the bar.

Cherry Reds are fantastic for vegetarians and vegans, they do gluten free cakes and all their food is made on the premises. From breakfasts, both veggie and vegan. Veg sausage sandwiches, Halloumi and mushroom sandwiches, jackets, salads, falafel burgers, and a falafel, Halloumi, and roast veg burger that I haven’t yet tried Cherry Reds has a bounty of veggie snacks and bites. They do pop ups, both Pika Pika (Japanese) on the second Monday of the month in Kings Heath and Taco Tuesday’s (soon to be relaunched) are fantastic nights, and great for veggies.

In the last few weeks I’ve been to both for coffee. I’ve eaten in Cherry Reds in Kings Heath before, both for Pika Pika Pop up (back in February) and Taco Tuesday, as well as lunch with Ruth.

During the course of the day in Kings Heath as on John Bright Street, Cherry Reds caters for differing food needs from all day breakfasts to burgers and craft beer.

The Kings Heath cafe bar is smaller, more homely, more intimate. This can be good and bad depending on how busy the bar is. Tables are rarer to find at busy times, but in the day it’s quieter especially in the afternoon after lunch the time that I enjoyed a Flat White and lovely chocolate brownie.

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The Flat white was well made, creamy and very enjoyable, but the brownie which I’ve eaten before is gorgeous, soft, rich, home made. A lovely chocolate flavour and a lovely balance to the flat white coffee and chocolate. Can’t go wrong.

I’ve also eaten lunch at Cherry Reds on York Road and shared a lovely and generous vegetarian sharer platter with falafel, olives, Humous, salsa, red pepper, and Halloumi, crudités, bread and delicious home made chips.

I recommend this dish for a lovely relaxing lunch or evening out with a couple of craft beers, ideal for sharing in a very chilled cafe bar.

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The Cherry Reds on John Bright Street is the larger and younger brother of the Kings Heath cafe bar. Set over two floors it sits on the corner proud and welcoming.

Exposed brickwork, mismatched vintage furniture, the themes and tones are the same but it’s less intimate, more spacious with more tables and room for an evening food and drinks fest. It has the same menu,

I enjoyed a delicious cappuccino creamy, warming, with chocolate on the top, no cake on this occasion but I do recommend their cupcakes. Veggie and vegan friendly. A delight.

Every last Monday of the month John Bright Street house a different food pop up, sometimes street food.

Delize Italian gave just completed a night with good veggie options and hopefully will do more in the future.

Both Cherry Reds do cocktails, again recommended, and wine. Look out on their website for cocktail nights, blues nights and food pop ups.

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Cherry Reds are independent and their aim is to provide great food and drink in a relaxed and cosy space. The atmosphere is laid back, snug, with friendly genuine service.

From 4-7pm Cherry Reds offer 2 4 1 cocktails every day, draught Beers, ciders, lagers, all very eclectic, all in a laid back way. Both are popular for different reasons, my local Kings Heath cafe bar almost feels like my long lost back room.

Cherry Reds also offer Independent Birmingham Membership card holders a free pint of ale, lager, cider or draught soft drink with every main meal ordered. (Including burgers and breakfasts)

Try them, they are brilliant for vegetarians and vegans, some of the best range of food in Birmingham.

All food and drink consumed at Cherry Reds has been paid for by me, enjoyed by me and thus my opinions are honest, and by me as always.

Cherry Reds
16 York Road,
Kings Heath,
Birmingham,
B14 7RZ

0121 441 3155

Facebook: CherryReds

Twitter: @Ilovecherryreds

Cherry Reds cafe bar
92 John Bright Street
Birmingham,
01216435716

Thanks for reading

@andydhare

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Vegetarian sharing platter and Pika Pika Pop up.

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#VeggieSundayLunch: The Plough Harborne


The Plough in Harborne, in South Birmingham has a village feel and is filled with quirky independent details. It has a buzzy atmosphere and is well known by people in the know for its fresh homemade food, its Sunday Lunch and its coffee.

In fact it’s Sunday lunch has won the Times newspaper award for best Sunday Lunch in the region.

On a Sunday The Plough serves a Hearty brunch from 9am-12.30. Including a lovely looking vegetarian breakfast and numerous other veggie delights. The Sunday lunch is served from 1pm until they are gone. It is advisable to book as the restaurant was busy throughout our visit.

So it was for Sunday Lunch that Ruth and I ventured to The Plough.

For me-to try the the holy grail of vegetarian dishes-the vegetarian roast dinner.

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The Plough has a homely industrial feel about it. The design adds character and a modern distressed look to the wooden furniture that has a rustic cared for look. I liked the decor, the quirky vintage, potted plants and funky signs.

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The Plough has been praised for its Sunday lunch menu, it’s popular judging by how busy the restaurant and bar was and also for its coffee in its own right. A destination for #Coffeetime itself.

For me the vegetarian Sunday roast contours up images of home cooked food, Christmases, and family gatherings. That Cosy feel, tempting aroma and warming taste.

Vegetarians often get bypassed on a Sunday. Restaurants and pubs, prefer wrongly to provide soggy pasta, or a bland mushroom risotto into veggie punters. An irritation not a discerning foodie in their own right. They don’t take the time to create and test a dish that will bring vegetarians in and send them home happy. Satisfied.

Not the Plough-no not The Plough.

Ruth and I were seated near to the coffee action centre as I call it. The coffee station, on going entertainment for me. An area of action.

We both chose the veggie starter.

The Spicy Watercress Soup.

It arrived Served on a wooden board, in a lovely sunny blue bowl, the green of the watercress on the blue. The flavours of the soup were spot on, the gentle peppery bite of the watercress packed a punch and made for a warming soup and a lovely starter, served with good homemade crusty bread.

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For her roast Ruth chose the Beef. Which she loved. A generous plate of food, that was a class above the average.

I chose the veggie Apricot Stuffing roast.

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The roast looked stunning on arrival. A plate full of food. The Roast was delicious. The Apricot stuffing inside the outer crust of the roast, moist, subtle flavours, well seasoned and an element of harmony in the construction.

So many veggie roasts are overdone, overworked, and over flavoured. The Plough’s veggie roast was perfectly cooked, with the apricots adding a glamorous flavour that made the fish more exotic, enticing.

The best I’d had outside of my family home.

It was served with a creamy swede mash, and a delicious pea filled Yorkshire pudding and a braised red cabbage that was lovely, always a winner with me.

We both agreed to have a pudding, well it was Sunday.

Ruth chose the ice cream cone. Which we both thought was a cool vintage idea. She enjoyed her cone.

I ordered the fresh lemon and meringue cheesecake which though looked lovely was a disappointment when tasted. In part because their was too much biscuit and not enough lemon and meringue. The biscuit seemed unhappy being there, too cloying and not in proportion to the lemon which had a good flavour. A shame.

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We both felt we should order some coffee as we were being enticed by the coffee station. Try some it kept saying.

We both ordered a double espresso. They packed a punch, both superbly made. I will be back to try more.

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The Plough has recently introduced a new whisky list of rare and international Whiskies to compliment the large Scottish list they have already. It’s a stunningly large list. Very impressive.

I was advised to try the Swedish MackMyra single malt, so we ordered one of those and one of the complex Ardbeg 10 year single malt from the Islay region of Scotland. Which we shared.

The Ardbeg had a complex malty and peaty flavour that was exuberant and in your face, but for Islay lovers like ourselves its s great choice.

I didn’t realise Sweden made whisky so this was a treat. The MackMyra single Malt had a fresh nutty flavour, light in colour, with a lingering finish and slightly lemony. A nice gentle floral whisky and a lovely contrast to the peaty Ardbeg. Well recommended for something different.

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We also drank two glasses of white wine and a pint and half of Purity ale.

The Plough was full of people in the know. The staff and service was charming throughout, young and enthusiastic and happy.

The plough gets pretty busy so booking on a Sunday is advised. The atmosphere was relaxed and friendly, a mixture of families with small children, families without children, couples and friend groups.

For my first Vegetarian Sunday Lunch review the Plough sets the standard and maybe won’t be beaten on quality, touch and care. It’s worth spending a bit more. It’s worthwhile in the Plough’s case.

The king of the veggie Sunday roast.

Kick back and try for yourself and take your meat eating friends and family too.

They will love it.

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The Plough Harborne,
21 High Street,
Harborne,
Birmingham
B17 9NT

0121 427 3678

http://www.theploughharborne.co.uk

Facebook/plough.harborne

@ploughharborne

We were invited by The Plough Harborne as guests to try their Sunday Lunch menu. All food and drink was complimentary but I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are my own and honest as always.

Many thanks to Dan the restaurant manager for looking after us.

Has anyone had a good veggie Sunday lunch anywhere else? If its good then I will try and visit.

Have you tried the Plough Sunday lunch what did you think?

Thanks for reading,

Andy 😊

@andydhare

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