Veggie Brunch/Lunch watch: Bloom, Kings Heath, Birmingham.


I could live here.

That could well be the end of my review but alas that would insult my indulgence and yes your intelligence and would beg the question why? Well the plate of food I tried here at Bloom in Kings Heath is easily the best plate of food I’ve eaten anywhere this year. It could quite possibly be edging towards bern the best brunch dish I’ve ever tasted. It’s mind bogglingly good. Harmonious flavours, interesting ingredients, originality in its essence and cost, the bargain of the century. It’s informal dining at its best, though there’s nothing casual about the dishes coming out of the kitchen.

So Let me introduce you to the Vegan friendly Carrot Gnocchi, Red beets, sherry radishes, gingered swede, caraway pickled walnuts, and orange hemp seed dressing. £7.5

Complex flavours, a melt in the mouth texture. When a dish is this good it’s hard to find fault and dwelling on the superlatives is the same only rational response. The use of carrots to make gnocchi is new to me, but works in a way that is beyond words. The Sherry radishes, a delightful crunch with subtle sherry overtones, and the majestic red beets, an exotic touch. Autumn on a plate, a beautiful hug me all over and hug me again moment. I’m speechless even now. A divine treat on a plate.

Ruth was also happy (well it was her Birthday lunch) with her Bubble and Squeak, Boston Baked Beans, Poached hens egg, pea shoots, with Grilled Haloumi or streaky bacon £8. She ate it with bacon but for veggies haloumi is an option. Beautifully presented (as my dish was too) it had a good flavour, with the homemade beans hitting the spot. She felt she should have had the haloumi though instead of the bacon which she felt would have worked better to make a fuller more well rounded dish.

Our food was washed down by two excellent liquid Cuddle Beers Which Complimented the two dishes well.

Bubble and Squeak dish.

To follow we ordered two cakes from the selection which were of high standard and lovely with the coffee. Well worth having on their own.

pumpkins, pumpkins pumpkins.

The flat white (£2.50) we ordered was excellent. The perfect execution. Possibly the best in the area.

Inside this cosy buzzy place plants hang deliciously against clean white/grey walls and the wood interior makes for a Scandinavian vibe that is homely and inviting. The service is charming, friendly and informative of the food and enthusiastic for the menu. It’s refreshing and a reason to return alone.

If you want traditional brunch fare then it’s not for you. If you desire to be challenged and try top end food for a bargain price (though not cheap) then this is the place for you where innovative exciting Vegetarian dishes (there were five on the short menu.) are amended frequently and the chef cares enough to bravely mesmerise the diner.

Bloom stands out like a (good) sore thumb amongst the average curry houses in Kings Heath. A place for every occasion. It can only be good for the area. It’s what it needs.

It’s a Kitchen with ambition and it’s mine to work my way through its menu. Sharpish. Blooming lovely.

Thanks for reading,

Andy 😊

We paid in full.

Thanks to Alasdair for the hospitality.

You can find Bloom at 32 Poplar Road, Kings Heath, Birmingham. B14 7AD.

No reservations taken.

Served 9.30-2.30pm

Open Wednesday through to Sunday. Day times only.

< img src=”https://vegiefoodie.files.wordpress.com/2017/11/img_0189-2.jpg&#8221; height=”2448″ class=”wp-image-7582″ width=”3264″>

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Bottomless brunch comes to The One Elm, Stratford Upon Avon.


  

One of the hippest food trends has hit Stratford-Upon-Avon. Bottomless Brunch has arrived at The One Elm in Stratford, as the perfect antidote to the morning after the night before and a saviour to rumbling tummies everywhere.

From now on, every Saturday morning from 9am until 3pm you can enjoy two hours of delicious bottomless dining plus soft or stiff drinking with plenty of the good stuff to fill you up and set you on your way. It’s all available at the busy town gastropub that’s just a stone’s throw from Shakespeare’s Birthplace, as Mat Faulkner, general manager of The One Elm explains.

 “We’ve all been there – a Friday night out with a few beers too many and a heavy head and rumbling stomach the next morning,” he says. “Now it doesn’t matter if you’ve slept in and missed breakfast as well because if you can find your way to the pub, you can make it all good again by tucking into bottomless brunch at The One Elm. Our brunch menu is packed with bottomless good stuff, with something for everyone whether you fancy a healthier kick-start, a cracking full English or anything in between.

Free-range local eggs and bread come from the Brown Sugar Bakery. Wash it all down with a cup or two of single origin Rwandan filter coffee or tea of the Yorkshire, fresh mint or green variety. And if there’s nothing for it but hair of the dog, go for Bloody Marys, Brunch Punch and Mimosas.

 “We’ve created Bottomless Brunch as the saviour not just to Friday nights out but also for anyone in search of food satisfaction,” continues Mat. “So if you’re in town with friends and family and want to refuel or are starting a day’s sight-seeing in Shakespeare country, come along and do brunch with us first to get your day off to the best possible start. Hangovers are optional of course!” he says

   
    
 

For us veggies there’s plenty of choice. 

Try out: 

Breads:

Toasted Bloomer & Preserves 3.00
Eggy Bread, Strawberries, Natural Yogurt 4.50
 
Granola:

Summer Berries & Natural Yogurt 4.50
Superfruit, Honey Yogurt, Chia Seeds 4.50
Almond Milk 4.50
 
Pancakes or Waffles:

Blueberry & Ricotta 5.75
Superfruit, Natural Yogurt & Honey 5.75
****************************************
 
Bagels:

Roasted Red Pepper & Tomato Hummus 5.50
 
Muffins:

Veggie Haggis Muffin 4.00
 
Free-range Eggs Benedict With Spinach 7.75
Smashed Avocado & Poached Eggs on Sourdough 6.50
****************************************
Full Cooked:

Veggie Haggis, Spinach, Eggs, Tomato, Mushroom & Beans 9.00.

Bottomless Brunch is served every Saturday from 9am to 3pm at The One Elm in Stratford. A two hour Soft Bottom slot costs £15, and a two hour Stiff Bottom costs £20. 

 To view the menu please go to 

http://www.oneelmstratford.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/sites/9/2016/07/bottomless-brunch-menu.pdf

To bag a table for brunch, please call 01789 404919 or visit the website. 

The One Elm is at 1 Guild Street, Stratford-Upon-Avon, CV37 6QZ. 

http://www.oneelmstratford.co.uk/

http://www.facebook.com/theoneelm

@theoneelm


Thanks for reading, 

Andy 😊

The One Elm, 1 Guild Street, Stratford Upon Avon, Warwickshire, CV 37 6QZ.

http://www.oneelmstratford.co.uk/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Coffee time @ Vegan and Vegetarian 3 Three’s Coffee Lounge, Birmingham City Centre.


  

3 Three’s Coffee Lounge is a new Vegan and Vegetarian coffee shop in Martineu Place, Birmingham City Centre. 

Recently opened it offers a mixture of hot ( soup, vegan hot dogs)  and cold food (Sandwiches, cakes, ice cream- 12 flavours, 4 vegan friendly) and of course coffee. All cakes are also Vegan friendly and dairy free. 

Most of the menu it seems is suitable for Vegans and offers mock meat style options (sandwiches, wraps) as well non meat style options such as hummus, avocados and roasted peppers and the soup and hot dog (Frankfurter) is dairy free. 

 

3 Three’s has an informal and comfortabl feel with good reliable Wi Fi and sturdy wooden tables, ideal for working on. 

It’s quite a large space with plenty of seating and art work on the walls. 3 Three’s also had a nice atmosphere, with good background music. 

On the two occasions that I’ve been it was busy considering it had only been open a few days and word of mouth seems to be getting round.  

On my first visit I enjoyed  a Chocolate Brownie (£2.20) that had an excellent chocolatey flavour, was nice and gooey in the middle, a good flat shape and had a homemade feel about it. It was a pleasure to eat and very tempting to repeat. 

My Flat White had a good espresso coffee flavour, though lacked the micro foam swirl of others in the city that makes it so distinctive, it was a bit of a disappointment though had a decent full flavour. I’m sure this will improve. 

Mine was made with semi skimmed milk, there are non dairy versions available with Soya or Almond milk. 

  
  Chocolate Brownie. All cakes are vegan friendly. 

  
    
  

On my second visit I tried the Vegan friendly Frankfurter Hot Dog £3.00. 

  

Served in a 8.5 inch white roll, the Frankfurter hot dog made out of tofu? I think, came with a choice of toppings, jalapeños, mustard, ketchup, and onion with salsa to be launched soon. It looked stunning and tasted exceptionally good. The Frankfurter was full of tofu flavour, and set off by the spicy jalapeños and soft silky onions and bright and vividly flavoured mustard was one of the nicest of it’s kind I’ve tasted for ages. 

I also enjoyed a semi skimmed Cappuccino ( £2.50) that had a nice strong coffee flavour and had a lovely arty chocolate 3 Three’s logo on top. A great coffee. 

  
    
  

Before now the brilliant Warehouse Cafe was the only informal veggie and vegan eating place in the city centre, but not a coffee lounge in any form. 3 Three’s is going in a different direction. It’s very much needed and in a decent central location with lots of foot traffic.

As a first look, I was very impressed with 3 Three’s Coffee Lounge. It’s a very friendly shop, wih staff that are enthusiastic and keen to please. The food I’ve eaten is of a high standard and the menu though limited so far, is nice and catering to an informal laid back crowd who want something different and find the indulgence of a Vegan/Veggie or Gluten Free friendly atmosphere to their liking. 

I’d like to see more risks in time with some of the food. I know this is in hand and the menu is constantly under development. A few salads, raw maybe using seasonal vegetables, breakfast items,  a bit more simple hot food, perhaps burrito’s, even a burger. 

These though are only my perceptions of an informal vegan/veggie space, from ones I’ve visited in London for example, not the definitive, but for now 3 Three’s is an improvement and an asset to Birmingham’s developing independent cafe and coffee scene and offers something different with quality for us non meat and fish (and dairy) eaters, (in fact the whole of Birmingham.) it’s a place I’ve warmed to and a place I will frequent often. 

Any new venture of this kind deserves support and is a positive start in creating a more defined informal Vegetarian and Vegan lunch stop in central Birmingham and this is most welcome. 

https://m.facebook.com/3threescoffee/

http://www.3threescoffee.com/

3 Three’s Coffee Lounge, Martineau Place, City Centre, B2 4UW.

Thanks for reading, 

Andy 😊

  
  

I paid for all my food and drink in full, my opinions are my own and honest as always. 

Veggie Breakfast Watch: Good Morning Muffin at Leon, Birmingham.


  

Leon has been in Birmingham Street Station now for a few months since Grand Central opened serving its natural fast food and always seems to have a steady flow of people visiting. It’s range of food it offers is varied and caters well for Vegetarians and Vegans.  

Set in a light and airy cafe, it’s laid back atmosphere is the perfect kill some time place for those getting a train with plenty of floor space for luggage, or a relaxed funky lunch spot for those wanting something a bit different and it’s a decent place to bring children though it may be a bit short of space at busy times. It can be popular. Leon have also added outside tables in the forecourt of the station. 

I previously reviewed them last year and found the Vegetarian Hot Box I ate to be excellent and with many other vegan and veggie dishes on the menu its a good stop off point at lunchtime. See my review below:

https://t.co/PTWPKz2ZEt

Having tried their breakfast Vegetarian Good Morning Muffin a few weeks ago before I got a train I found myself very early one Saturday morning (as it opened at 6.30am) with Ruth in Leon again and had another for good measure. 

The Good Morning Muffin is a Roasted Portabello Mushroom, Free Range Egg, Spinach and Leon made Ketchup served in a lightly toasted English Muffin. Cost £3.75.

  

Take a runny egg, chunky roasted portabello mushrooms, delicate spinach and a tangy, and subtly spiced ketchup and you have a substantial early morning wake me up, or filling sustenance on the train. The Good Morning Muffin, felt light, not oily or fatty but a healthier alternative to some of the other places nearby. The portabello mushrooms were firm and are the meatier of the mushrooms with an earthier texture  and worked well with the tangy ketchup and oozy runny egg which was pitch perfect. Taken with a smooth flat white (even at 6.30am) it proved to be very enjoyable. 

  

 

Leon is well worth a visit and though its a chain, (arriving in London a little later discovered they are taking over our capital, but not the rest of the UK just yet) it’s ethos and menu selection for Vegetarians and Vegans is well worth discovering and for a quick breakfast, it’s recommended. 

     Cookbooks in Leon

Thanks for reading, 

Andy 😊

http://leonrestaurants.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/18.PAPER_MENU_2016_JANUARY_V4.pdf

You can find Leon at Unit 25, New Street Station, B2 4QA.

http://leonrestaurants.co.uk/restaurants/birmingham/

   
   

Restaurant Review: #VeggieMonth, Met Bar & Kitchen, Solihull. 


 

How refreshing is it to find an independent restaurant and bar in Solihull town centre. Amongst the same again chains and cheap and cheerful Broad Street like drink offers sits the Met Bar & Kitchen.

The Met Bar & Kitchen is located in the centre of Solihull close to Mell Square & Touchwood. It’s an independent all day bar and restaurant that offers something different in Solihull Town Centre to the dominant chains that are nearby. 

Inside It has a modern decor with some urban touches, that keeps these thankfully to a minimum and has a cosy and relaxed ambience that has a buzzy touch on the Friday night Ruth and I visited. 

With a well stocked bar of local ales, craft beer, cocktails, bubbly and a good and reasonably priced wine list it appeared a good bet for a relaxed but serious drink on a weekend without the loud music and teeny vibe of other venues locally. 

I was invited to try out the vegetarian dishes at Metro Bar & Kitchen as They had asked me to have input in their Spring menu for Veggie Month. They have introduced some new dishes to their menu and expanded their daily and weekly specials to encourage more customers to try a non meat and fish option as well as attract more vegetarian customers. 

We began in the smart and relaxed bar area with a glass of Prosecco, which is lively but unobtrusive area and we felt was a good place to begin the evening if dining at Met Bar & Kitchen. 

  

Restaurant area.
  

Once seated at the table in a smart booth section of the restaurant we ordered a Couple of cocktails: A Negroni and Margarita. I was impressed with my Negroni, it had a good Campari kick with the complimented vermouth and was an aromatic aperitif of good quality, which would have been even better with less added ice. 

Ruth’s Margarita tasted fine, but disappointed her as as the rubbed salt around the rim of the glass was omitted, could it be classed as a margarita? The flavours were good the tequila, and triple sec gave it a fresh and crisp zingyness. 

  Negroni and Margarita: A nice couple.

Ruth decided she was grazing on meat for the night. Good for her I say as she doesn’t eat it that much at home. 

I chose my starters off the specials menu. It’s with the changing specials that the bulk of the vegetarian dishes find themselves. 

So take my Roast Apple and Parsnip Soup. A soup that was full of good warming flavours, mellow, but zingy, the biggest compliment I could give it was that it reminded me of my Mums version and was a delectable starter of sweet parsnips and tangy apples, creamy and smooth. Lovely.

  Roast Apple and Parsnip Soup.

  

Usually when I find a curry on a menu outside of an Indian restaurant I wouldn’t choose it. Partly because we eat a lot of curries at home and Ruth in particular makes many superb Vegetarian curries. 

So what attracted me to this one? Well partly because it was a Goan Curry from Goa and not often found on general menus, and partly because it has a coconut spiced masala (gravy) base which gives it a unique flavour. I love coconut in curries or stews. 

  

With its gentle spices it was a very flavoursome curry, a lovely glowing but light colour, gave it an attractive depth. Spicy rather than hot, with a nice chilli hit, the curry may have benefited from steamed or basmati rice as an option as the Naan was only ok, and a bit soggy underneath. 

A lovely veggie option that wasn’t oily or fatty, but tasted healthy, comforting and light with the addition of some nice tender squash (always a winner) with the subtle hint of coconut. A taste of coastal scents and sunshine.

  Butternut Squash, Goan Curry. 

  Naan.

The desert menu at Met Bar & Kitchen has some good options so proved to be quite a lengthy process to decide what to choose.

Eventually, I chose the Steamed Orange & Poppy Seed Sponge, Clementine syrup, mascarpone ice cream. The sponge, light, airy, though could have done with more clementine intensity for me, to give it an added luxurious lift, though it did provide a lightly scented aroma, which was nice. The Mascarpone ice cream offered a smooth and grown up, creamy delight to the pudding. Excellent. 

  Stewed Orange & Poppy seed sponge, clementine syrup, mascarpone ice cream.

  
  

We also enjoyed a double espresso and Hennessy Cognac after our deserts plus two glasses of Argentinian full bodied Malbec with our main courses. 

We were both very impressed with the Met Bar & Kitchen in Solihull. The Vegetarian dishes I ate were comforting, warming and very well made. Both good value with good strong punchy flavours it shows how you can make simple vegetarian dishes attractive and Moreish with a good culinary technique. What the Met Bar are not trying to do is divide diners or confuse them by creating food that is seriously complex, but instead creating classics with a twist that can appeal to non vegetarians too. It’s better to make dishes well than overdo bold dishes badly and they do this well on the whole.

Credit is due to them for wanting to increase their Vegetarian options and I’d like to see this as been the begining of a journey not them reaching their destination in Veggie Month. What though sticks out is that the Met Bar & Kitchen is an excellent All day place to eat in Solihull town centre and been independent deserves praise for having the foresight to improve food and drink options in the area. Don’t go there expecting foraged and rare ingredients like at Nomad in Birmingham, but a place instead that delivers good solid food. 

For Vegetarians who like to eat out in Solihull, its surely long overdue.

  
    
  

 
Met Bar & Kitchen have a happy hour from 12-7  every day with  2 for one cocktails.

Met Bar & Kitchen, 680-684 Warwick Road, Solihull town centre, B91 3DX. 0121-705-9495.

http://www.themetbar.com&nbsp;

https://m.facebook.com/MetroBarGrillSolihull/

You can find The Met Bar & Kitchen on the Gastro Card: for details and offer. 

http://www.gastrocard.co.uk/restaurants/met-bar-solihull/

Thanks for reading, 

Andy 😊

Ruth and I were invited to the Met Bar, our food and prosecco were complimentary. Other drinks were paid for. This doesn’t affect my honest opinion as a fair and honest review was required. 

New menu launched at Cafe Opus At Ikon with Vegetarian options. 


Cafe Opus is a lovely light flooded restaurant for a relaxing brunch or lunch. Part of the Opus family, with Well regarded Opus Restaurant and Bar Opus, the cafe sits comfortably and temptingly in the Beautiful building that is the internationally acclaimed contemporary Ikon Gallery, which is surely one of the best places to visit in Birmingham. 

Again like its other siblings, the cafe focuses on local seasonal produce, ethically sourced and informally put together to make a high quality cafe in its own right.

   

Ikon Gallery
  
 

Cafe Opus have now launched a new seasonal menu (See above) that has a number of tempting Vegetarian and Some vegan dishes on it. 

Try Slow Baked Aubergine, rich tomato and Quorn ragu. (Not vegan) 

Penne Pasta tossed in basil pesto, Wilted rocket and sun blushed tomatoes (vegan) see photo below.

Photo courtesy of Cafe Opus/Clive Reeves PR.  

Spaghetti with homemade rich tomato and Quorn bolognaise sauce. (Not vegan) 

Note: for vegans the menu says vegan friendly for a number of dishes, but only certain quorn products are vegan friendly. This after discussion with Opus is under review. 

Plus light bites: 

Buffalo mozzarella, tomatoes, basil pesto salad

Homemade Soup (Vegan soup option available daily).

Goats Cheese, roasted beetroot salad dressed leaves, red onion marmalade. 

Cafe Opus also serve a daily all day Brunch menu that includes mushrooms on toast, and fluffy pancakes- maple syrup and banana. 

And for £10.50 you can enjoy soup and another dish off the menu. 

Cafe open Tuesday-Sunday 10-5. 

Cafe Opus also serve Afternoon Tea every day for £10 per person. This includes finger sandwiches, fancy cakes, scones, clotted cream, fresh fruit conserves and tea. (See photo below) 

Spoil Mum this #MothersDay with their  #AfternoonTea package. Afternoon Tea with prosecco for two, just £30. 

Call 0121 200 2323 for a gift card – the perfect present!
   
 2 Photos above courtesy of Cafe Opus. 

Janet Mendelsohn: Varna Road exhibition: 

At the moment until April 3rd The Ikon Gallery hosts the largest exhibition to date of photographs by American academic and documentary filmmaker Janet Mendelsohn. 

Part of a ‘photo-essay’ Mendelsohn made as a student at the University of Birmingham during 1967–69, the photographs depict everyday life in the inner-city district of Balsall Heath, focusing in particular on a young woman referred to as Kathleen, with whom Mendelsohn formed a close relationship.

Balsall Heath during the 1960’s was Birmingham largest Red light district. A place of work for 200 prostitutes. This included Varna Road which the exhibition is named after. 

Mendelsohn photographs show a working class distinct in flux prior to the so called slum clearance that followed within 2 years. 

This challenging exhibition of photographs is on until the 3rd April 2016.

Thanks for reading, 

Andy 😊

  Summer at Cafe Opus. 

Cafe Opus, 1 Oozells Street, Brindley Place, Birmingham, B1 2HS.

http://www.cafeopus.co.uk/

https://ikon-gallery.org/event/janet-mendelsohn/

https://ikon-gallery.org/


Vegetarian and Vegan ChangeKitchen now serving at refurbished Stirchley Baths, Stirchley, Birmingham. 


   
 

ChangeKitchen CIC cafe at Stirchley Baths is open Tuesday Wednesday Thursday AND Friday 10-3. 

Serving hot drinks & cake, full lunches or snacks . The food is ethical, locally sourced and organic. It is fully vegetarian and vegan (with gluten free options available) 

They do cappuccino & latte (made with organic fairtrade coffee grown by women’s cooperatives) , lots of herbal infusions – and proper tea. 

Their food is home made and fresh, and includes Homity pie, (potato pie with caramelised onions and cheese), mushroom and spinach lasagne, and includes Vegan versions. 

  Photo taken by myself at Vegan Beer Festival last year. 

Run by Birgit Kehrer and her team ChangeKitchen is an award winning event caterer and thriving social enterprise. 

They’ve catered for corporate events, weddings, community gatherings and have run hugely popular pop up cafes since 2010. They have participated at The Vegan Beer festival last year at Two Towers Brewery and at Vegan fairs. As well as the Kings Heath Food Assembly. 

ChangeKitchen Offer innovative vegetarian and vegan menus, all carefully put together using the finest local, organic and seasonal ingredients. 
The ChangeKitchen food philosophy is a simple one. They create and serve delicious, nutritious and ethical dishes that can be shared and enjoyed by all. ”

At Stirchley Baths there is free In-house WIFI too. 

The building at Stirchley Baths has recently been renovated, and is lovely to browse around and look at the beauty the new/old Stirchley Baths is/has become. 

It has taken many months to convert the old baths into the new community centre. They’ve managed to pair modern facilities with the heritage of the building to preserve memories but in a space that enables them and you to also create new ones. 

These baths are a grade ii listed building. Open initially in 1911 (Edwardian) the site has been derelict for three decades and cost £4 million to restore. 

  

   
 There are regular clubs, activities and rooms to hire (see website for details) with plans to develop a community cinema over the next few months. 

On the 20th February Stirchley Baths will be the site for the first Stirchley Vegan Fair. 

And ChangeKitchen will be selling its tasty ware in the cafe and the hall alongside tasty other vegan food. 

  
http://www.changekitchen.co.uk/

https://m.facebook.com/ChangeKitchen/

http://stirchleybaths.org/

https://twitter.com/stirchleybaths?lang=en-gb

http://stirchleybaths.org/heritage-culture-and-arts/heritage-2/the-project/

You can find Stirchley Baths at 

2-4 Bournville Lane, Birmingham B30 2JT. 

0121-464 9072.

  
   
 

Photos courtesy of ChangeKitchen and Stirchley Baths. 

Thanks for reading, 

Andy 😊

A new star is born: The Star and Garter pub in Leamington, gets new look. 


   

  
   
 The Highfield in Edgbaston has been one of my favourite places to eat and drink in Birmingham since it opened just over a year ago. So I was pleased to hear that over in Leamington Spa in Warwickshire 

its sister pub The Star and Garter has had a refurbishment and re opened with a new menu that has numerous vegetarian options. 

Since being taken over by award-winning independent local pub company Peach, The Star & Garter has earned itself a place on the social scene, building up a reputation for offering good, fresh seasonal food and quality drinks, with friendly service to match, as new pub manager Colin Barber explains.

 “The Star & Garter is a lovely pub in a gorgeous period building in the heart of Leamington Spa. Having moved in three years ago, we’ve been warmly welcomed by the townspeople who’ve quickly made us their own. After getting to know our guests really well and asking what they wanted from their local, we’ve made the pub an even better, more sociable place to be. We’ve also added new seasonal dishes and quality drinks from great suppliers, many local,” he says.

 “We’ve updated our style, starting with an eye-catching new sign and a warmer, cosier interior making the pub more intimate. The bar’s been opened up and we’ve added more informal seating throughout. There are comfy booths and sofas in warm fabrics and soft leather, mellow wooden tables and chairs and quirky exposed brick effect wallpaper. The eatery has been completely restyled with spacious booths, creating an informal yet stylish place where you can eat, drink and relax wherever you like,” he says.

 On offer is a new Noon & Night Menu, with traditional pub classics, superfood dishes and seasonal specials from brunch through til late. Head chef Jakub Fijak uses great local and British produce in his dishes that keep the menu fresh and invigorated. 

 There is also a wide range of quality gins, with your choice of tonic, served in a grand coupe with plenty of ice, fruit and juniper berries, alongside local ales and premium long neck lagers, a new cocktail and mocktail list and even beer cocktails.

 “Our new style is all about being sociable, bringing more choice and more good things to eat and drink, whenever you visit. We want you to feel very welcome and right at home, whether you pop into the eatery for a burger, linger a bit longer over a three course dinner or simply join us for a drink,” says Colin.

 The Star & Garter is at 4-6 Warwick Street, Leamington Spa CV32 5LL. Tel: 01926 359 960.

http://www.starandgarterleamington.co.uk/

Twitter: Star_Leamington Facebook: TheStarGarter 

New menu highlights for vegetarians include: 

Major or Minor Orders, small pots for £3.50 or three pots (a board) for £9.50. 

Veggie Options include: 

Red lentil falafels, spicy yogurt, Wooky Hole cheddar and Parsnip Cakes, Tomato Jam, Superfood Salad, Quinoa, Sweet Potato, Broccoli and pomegranate, lemon and honey. 

Brunch is served from 9am to noon and vegetarians can enjoy Smashed avocado on toast with Poached egg, American pancakes, maple syrup, ricotta and banana. All eggs are local and free-range.

Mains include Superfood Salad, Quinoa, Sweet Potato, Broccoli & Pomegranate, Lemon & Honey (£6.50 or £12.00), Spicy Bean Burger, served in a Brioche Bun with Chips, Onion Rings & Coleslaw and Roast Squash and  Spinach and Barley Wellington, vegetarian gravy. 

With dishes changing seasonally and with a daily specials board The Star and Garter is one to keep an eye on for vegetarians. 

 

   
 
Thanks for reading, 

Andy 😊

All photos courtesy of The Star and Garter Leamington. 

#Veggiebreakfastwatch: Kitchen Garden Cafe: Kings Heath.


The full veggie as I call it can come in many different forms. Some with veggie sausage, some without, some with fried egg, some with scrambled. Some with beans on the plate, some (my preference) in its own pot. There’s no right or wrong way, but for me generally it’s all in the egg. The egg, and how it’s made, can make or break a breakfast. I always hope it oozes and has a lively bright yellow yolk. But then that’s the thing about eggs, the joy is in the beholder. The choice is yours. At least at The Kitchen Garden Cafe in Kings Heath it’s free range and in this case organic. 

  
  
The Kitchen Garden Cafe on York Road In Kings Heath is a funky kind of place. It’s wooden rustic tables look like they’ve seen a lot of the years. It’s their ethos of organic produce and veggie friendly menu that makes this place a jewel in Kings Heath. With a garden centre, deli and live music and events programme attached to it, it’s a place for all occasions and has a real community feel. 

There are numerous vegetarian breakfast options, that also include the veggie hash potato with onions with a choice of grilled Mediterranean vegetables and a free range egg, (see review below)  pancakes and eggs florentine. 

http://t.co/aFE5Y6AVLD

The Kitchen Garden Full Vegetarian includes veggie sausages, mushrooms, baked beans, free range egg (fried or poached) grilled tomato, fries slice and toast (Brown or white) for a bargain £6.95. 

  
It’s a delicious breakfast, in fact almost perfect. Good veggie sausages, a perfect runny fried egg. Only where it falls down is with the mushrooms, which are a bit hard I this occasion, but I’ve had it before when they’ve been perfectly cooked. The beans are on the plate (not to everyone’s taste, but ok for me.) I like the fried bread slice. Always welcome, and not greasy or oily but just enough to make it fried bread, so not too unhealthy. 

I like the Kitchen Garden Full veggie. It’s a good size, good value and with a coffee or tea a nice way to begin the day in a funky ethical and free range kind of place. Again service is friendly, relaxed and staff are happy to adapt the dish for dietary or other requirements (such as the beans) yes you Ruth!

My parents also enjoyed their veggie breakfasts and have become big fans of The Kitchen Garden Cafes home cooked food. 

It’s a lovely place for any time of day. Though breakfasts are only served until 12. 

      

     For pudding. 

  Cappucino 

  For afters Homemade Fruit Cake. 

   

          
   
 

Thanks for reading

Andy 😊

I paid for my breakfast. All opinions are my own. 

You can find The Kitchen Garden Cafe on York Road, Kings Heath, Birmingham. 

Review: Leon, Natural Fast Food in New Street Station, Birmingham. 


  

Now just imagine this..healthy fast food..now that’s a discovery..imagine all fast food was healthy. How many Marmite crisps would you eat? Now that’s probably just me, I think I’m the only sane person in the world that likes them, hey what do you mean, insane? No seriously healthy fast food, that’s the domain of Leon, yes even their chips which are baked. 

I love much of vegetarian style fast food, a veggie pie, a good veggie burger, a slice of pizza, sweet potato fries, and eating chips on Aldeburgh beach in Suffolk, yum..no surprise to anyone who follows my blog. Yet, healthy fast food, is a new one on me. In fact it’s a new one for Birmingham to, if the rise of Five Guys burger chain is anything to go by..big anti vegetarian Yuk! (Oh dear sorry) (must remember to not get so cross!) 

Leon has recently opened its first store in Birmingham temptingly close to the main atrium of the New Street Station / Grand Central complex. With branches famously in London for 11 years and an expansion plan in place, Leon will become more familiar outside of the capital in due course. Serving food from breakfast until evening. The menu includes burgers, wraps and superfood salads as well as breakfast baps, breakfast muffins, smoothies, and coffee. Fast Naturally Food with an excellent vegetarian and vegan choice. 

Wow, The Leon menu covers every moment. 

As its in New Street Station just below the shiny new Grand Central it will naturally be a top choice for the commuter and those on the move. It’s also a very good choice for families with lots of choice for children, with the smaller pots ideal for the younger foodie. (See children’s menu at foot of my review) 

Though quite small inside the turnover of tables appears quite quick which is helpful. The decor is industrial feeling, but is light and feels bigger with tables not on top of each other. Plenty of space for cases, bags and buggies. It has a friendly feel and staff are happy to advise on dietary needs and ingredients in the dishes. Service is also prompt and the restaurant tables are kept tidy and clean. 

All food and drink on the menu is made fresh daily. Their coffee is fair trade and organic, as are their eggs, milk and porridge oats. Leon are also a founding member of the Sustainable restaurant association. 

   
   
Leon was founded in 2004 and only employ people who are “full of sun”, (not full of chips). The award-winning, London-based company is as I’ve said the healthy side of fast food with a notable leaning towards Vegetarian and Vegan dishes. 

Take the Roasted Cauliflower Salad with Chinichurri: In my case onion, courgettes, pomegranate, roasted with turmeric and cumin with alioli and baked fries. (Side extra). £5.10 plus £2.50 for the fries. 

Packaged in a nice box, the inner cauliflower Salad packed plenty of flavour, cauliflower has always been a personal favourite and though I asked for a recommendation I knew I wanted to try this dish. The dish full of fresh flavours, crunchy textures with a good turmeric and cumin finish, was delicious. It felt healthy and nutritious,  it felt warming and filling and good value for the price. 

The Baked fries on this occasion I hasten to add were not so good, though packing plenty of potato flavour they were not to hot and felt disappointing in the end. I like the sprinkled seasoning and the curly look though and would order them again, as i’m sure they could be done better. Nice alioli though. 

With my food I ordered a Flat White. Though their were delicious juices and smoothies and coconut water on the menu an opportunity to try a coffee never escapes me, and it was a very good flat white, great for a take away. 

(My Recommendation was the Halloumi wrap by the way,which I’m looking forward to trying along with the supper food salads.)

  
   
  Baked Fries 

 
  
  
Roasted Cauliflower salad 

Leon is a chain, and though I’m not usually a massive fan of chains I’m a big fan of what I’ve seen and experienced thus far. It’s because they do care about Vegetarians and Vegans, about the food we eat and about the ethics of it all. Yes, Birmingham has another chain, and yes I wish somebody independent could offer this kind of food, this kind of experience, but until that happens Leon will be a place I’ll call back to any time of day. It’s ethos should be applauded and the food on offer with its high nutritious leaning eaten. Food should taste good, and if it can do you good as well even better and for this Leon is a vegetarian friend. 

  

  

Leon cookbooks available at all good booksellers.   

  
http://leonrestaurants.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/16.PAPER_MENU_2015_AUTUMN.pdf

http://leonrestaurants.co.uk/restaurants/birmingham/

http://leonrestaurants.co.uk/menu/children/

http://leonrestaurants.co.uk/vision/sourcingsustainability/

You can find Leon in Birmingham at Unit 25, New Street Station B2 4QA. 

0121-643-5925. 

Open from 6.30am-10pm every day apart from Sunday which is 8am-10pm. 

I paid for my meal in full at Leon. My views are my own, honest as always. 

Thanks for reading, 

Andy 😊