New Indian Streetfood restaurant Zindiya set to bring colour to Moseley. 




There have been a lot of false dawns with restaurant openings recently. The hype doesn’t always result in a place been good for repeat visits. For Vegetarians disappointment when the menu is presented to you, a lack of choice, a lack of thought. I can safely predict that Zindiya doesn’t fall into that category looking at the menu which is on first glance predominantly veggie. 

Zindiya, a new Indian Street food eatery and cocktail  bar opened on the 7th February in Moseley, Birmingham in a building that has been empty for 10 years. Some of you may remember Lukers  the bakery. Others won’t, well it was 10 years ago! Remembering last week is hard enough. 

But, you’ll remember Zindiya. Well that’s the plan from owners Ajay and Shivani Kenth. Moseley born and bred, and back to rock the village with little plated curry stuff. Hurray! 

Derived from the Indian name for life and the name of the owners daughter ‘Diya’. Seating 90 people it’s decor is colourful bustling, Indian street food market. 

Across the road, is one of the best. Kababish a Moseley icon is different so don’t go to Zindiya expecting the same. This is Street Food, tapas like sharing plates and dosas, flatbreads and more sharing dishes than  a family picnic in the summer. 

It’s the Cocktails that are on the tips of people’s tongues though. Created by Rob Wood the man behind so many great cocktails in the city they borrow influences from all over India and can be paired with food, which I’m hoping to be convinced is ok. 

Purity Beers are providing the beers for those that prefer. Lawless lager and Longhorn IPA is the name of the game. Plus delectable bakes from Miss Macaroon and wines from city centre based Connolys. 

Also Birmingham Lager from Indian Brewery Co.

The food menu is reasonably priced and won’t set you back on your mortgage repayments and includes for Vegetarians: 

Chaat street food: £4

Pani puri, papri chaat, Bhel puri, Aloo tiki chaat, Pav Bhaji, samosa chaat, chilli Paneer, and Vada Pav ( potato pasty and bun with chutneys) 

Side Street: £3

Chilli cheese toast (Mumbai cheese and toast) okra fries, Mogo Chips, onion bhajis, Masala chips.

A La Carte: £6.50

Idli Sambaar ( steamed rice and lentil dumpling served with sambaar, a lentil based stew, with coconut chutney, 

Trio of Dosas, (Masala aloo, Paneer)

Grill Street: £7 cooked over charcoal. 

Paneer tika, 

Hara Bhara Kabab(served with yoghurt dip and salad.

Paranthe Wali Gali: Flatbread. 12-4 Saturday and Sunday only. 

Aloo Paratra: potatoes and onions.

Plain Paratra 

Gobi Paratra (cauliflower)

Metri ( fenugeek leaves) 

Deserts include Chocolate Gol Gappe and kulfi and Cin alla Kreer (rice pudding) 

With so many Vegetarian options Zindiya goes straight to the top of the must visit list (for vegans check beforehand). 

Also available will be An Afternoon tea which includes sandwiches, Pakoras, Cardamon scones and chai infused prosecco. 

For the best in good value eat-drink-share It’s sure to do well and bring a spot of Indian colour to Moseley. 

See you there. 

Thanks for reading, 

Andy 😊

Zindiya is at 21 Woodbridge Road, Moseley, Birmingham. B13.

Closed Mondays. 

0121-439-0953 Or hello@zindiya.co.uk for bookings. 

http://m.imgur.com/a/nuOtV 

See the above link for full menu. 


All photos courtesy of Zindiya. 

Christmas at Bar Opus: celebrate with cocktails. 



Bar Opus Winter Cocktail Menu 

Bar Opus’ winter cocktail menu is just what the doctor ordered during this festive season. Featuring a range of sophisticated and elegant drinks. From brunch Martinis to an Opus Manhattan, indulge in classic cocktails made by expert mixologists and with a distinguished Bar Opus twist. Prices start from £6.50.

 CHRISTMAS COCKTAILS

 Bar Opus is getting into the festive spirit with these Cheerful Christmas Cocktails for £6 each

 STOLLEN SOUR

Amaretto, Dry Curacao Orange Liqueur, Madeira, Fresh Lemon.

Sweet and Sophisticated with a hint of Christmas Spice.

 MINCE PIE MARTINI

Gin, Sweet Vermouth, Demerara Rum.

Spiced and Fruity… Santa’s drink of Choice!

 SNOWFLAKE MARTINI

Belgian White Chocolate, Vanilla Vodka, Crème De Cacao.

Naughty or nice, This one’s for you.

 Christmas Party Punch Bowls

 Make Christmas your own bespoke event – FOUR easy steps to your perfect Christmas Party

 STEP 1) Pick your date, and call 0121 200 2323 to book your space at Bar Opus (ask for Irene!)

 STEP 2) Once your date is secured, take a look at our creative list of seasonal cocktails, wines and beers

 STEP 3) Steal the show with our unique Christmas Party Punch Bowls

 Choose one (or more) of our festive concoctions for your event, see below

 FISHBOWL serves 30 glasses (£75) | SUPERBOWL serves 90 glasses (£225)

 St. Clement’s Punch

Gin, Prosecco, Citrus Fruits, Frambois, Sugar Syrup

Peachy Punch

Prosecco, Peach Brandy, Peach Nectar, Orange, Soda

Winter Warmer

Bourbon, Dry Cider, Ginger Ale, Apple Juice, Angostura Bitters, Sugar Syrup

Fruity Punch

(non-alcoholic – 30 glasses £50)

Blood Orange, Cranberries, Mint, Sparkling Apple, Lime


They look full of festive merriment. Enjoy. 

Thanks for reading, 

Andy 😊

Restaurant Review: Sabai Sabai, Moseley, Birmingham. 


Picture the scene. Out with Ruth,  a romantic meal cut off from the main Moseley drag on Woodbridge Road. A window table, private, candlelight, very nice. When suddenly out of no where a group of drunken men walk past and decide to pull faces at the window and shout out things you hear on a Saturday night, breaks the romance and a scene remembered to this day.

Then picture the scene when for Ruth’s Birthday meal we arrive at the same restaurant and see a table for two free in the same window, hearts miss a beat and words I’m not sitting there pass through our mouths.

Fear not there are also free tables inside so we sit comfortably away from the door and aforementioned window. That’s the story of one of our many visits to Sabai Sabai in Moseley. One of three Thai restaurants owned by Torquil and Judee Chiswick. The others in Harborne and Stratford Upon Avon have their own identities, their own regulars. We though love the intimacy and bijou feel of the original, (10 years old) it’s perfect for couples and for a little romance.

The Bohemian ways of Mosley Village dictate that the decor is as rich with colour as the food. There’s a good buzz about Sabai Sabai and it’s popularity desires you book on a weekend.

Having recently won the Best Oriental Establishment at The Food Awards, held in Manchester, Sabai Sabai’s star is ascending. The recent opening in Stratford Upon Avon is the first out of Birmingham and a hit already with the theatre crowd.

And then the food. So often Thai food can be so richly spiced that Fireman Sam needs to be called out to rescue the choking Norman. But here delicate flavours are contrasted and compliment perfectly the booming spice that makes these dishes whisper fire.

Kanam Jeeb Pak starts me off. Steamed mix veg dumplings topped with crispy garlic and served with a delicious sweet dark soy sauce contrasting perfectly the depth of flavour in the dumplings which are perfect for dipping. Balanced flavours, crisp and firm a delight.

Sabai Sabai have a huge choice for Vegetarians from stir frys to a recommended  Phad Thai and a tempting set menu for the undecided. My choice the Gang Ka Ree, yellow curry, was a colourful and vibrant veggie slice of heaven. Golden fried Tofu simmered in coconut milk with potatoes, onion, mixed veg in a mild and sweetly spiced yellow curry sauce. It’s a deeply satisfying main course with just the right amount of sweetness from the coconut milk to pronounce the rich creaminess which though milder than some of the dishes packs a punch on many levels with its vegetables and sophisticated delicacy.

I ate it with Kao Pad Kai (Egg fried Rice) which worked beautifully with the outstanding curry.

We also shared some delicious Pak Choi in garlic sauce, stir fried perfectly. A joy.

I have found desserts are sometimes hit and miss in Thai restaurants. An after thought, an add on that they feel they must put on the menu because we dictate we need a pudding after the meal in the west. Much like some Indian desserts many are underwhelming.

The distinctive green colour of the Pandan leaf makes  a vibrant pancake into a satisfying end to the meal. It offers a wonderful subtle flavour to the gentle coconut. Traditionally a breakfast sweet originating from Bali it proves to make a fantastic dessert and well recommended to quench the spicyness of the previous courses. A winner.

Pandan leaf pancakes with coconut.

Sabai Sabai in Moseley is a lovely restaurant. The food is top notch, and with invigorating flavours and a cosy feel it’s a recommended dining choice in Birmingham for Vegetarians. 

The only critique I can find is that the service can be erratic (not listening, waiting for drinks, a tad rushed) and either very good or a bit noneplused. Though always friendly and at times efficient it’s just best to put up with it as it’s a minor quibble and doesn’t detract from a lovely experience.

The Cosyness and intimacy of the venue is an asset and I was pleased the music volume had been lowered (as once it was so loud it was more club like than romantic restaurant). Sabai Sabai in Moseley is one of the most romantic spots to eat in Birmingham and perfect for a date. Just remember though if you are seated in the window to watch out for interruptions, can it be funny? though with Thai food this good who can fail to miss out on this real taste of Thailand.

Thanks for reading,

Andy 😊

We enjoyed a bottle of Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc with our meal. A good though pricey wine choice at £29.95.

We paid for a food and drinks in full and why not I’m happy too.

Sabai Sabai Moseley, 25 Woodbridge Road, Birmingham B13 8EH.

0121-449-4498.

http://www.sabaisabai-restaurant.co.uk/

Sabai Sabai is part of The Gastro Card and you can receive 10% off food bill Sunday-Wednesday.

To buy a card see link here:

http://www.gastrocard.co.uk/buy/

http://www.gastrocard.co.uk/

Sabai Sabai – Moseley

Veggie Foodie Tip: 

Have a glass of top quality wine at the excellent new independent wine bar Cheval Blanc in Moseley Village before dinner. Cocktails also served.

I enjoyed a glass of Red, Le Gourmand Domaine du Janicer from France.

Ruth a superb Gin Martini.


Restaurant review: Kababish, Moseley, Birmingham.



Many years ago when I was a young fledgling curry eater and ‘Don’t look back in Anger’ was number one, the Kababish was my favourite curry house. Moseley Village was a lot less hipster and more crusty around the edges, pubs were pubs and curry well it was a balti or nothing fancy and washed down with a pint not a cocktail. The good old days, maybe we thought they’d live forever, maybe it was the ‘day we caught the train’ to the future. Maybe I’m just grumping. Maybe it’s the cocktail infestation in the village. 

But less of the Brit Pop references. It’s testament to the hard work and quality of this independent and family run restaurant that now over 30 years since it opened its still going strong on the same site in a village where others have come and gone and food and drink times have changed. 

Ruth and I decided to visit one Saturday evening, finding a bustling restaurant that had a good mix of larger and small groups. 

One of the changes since those bygone days is the introduction by Kababish of a cocktail menu. I’m not a massive fan of cocktails with food generally, don’t get it when there’s beer or wine available (but with snacks/ small plates/ aperitivos its ok).  This is especially a no no with main courses but in saying that I’m happy to slurp away pre or post dinner with the best of them. 

Thus, Ruth and I dipped our palettes into a couple of cocktails before the main event. Myself The Exceptional Gentleman from their Signature cocktail menu and Ruth the Cosmopolitan which she enjoyed. 

My cocktail was lovely, Jack Daniels, shaken with fresh mint, ginger, apple juice and a dash of champagne. An indulgent tipple with a bite that was a fine pre dinner drink. 

For the food, Poppadoms are crisp with some excellent sauces. The mint, zingy and with a nice sharpness which goes well with the cocktails (poppadoms are snacks). 

At most curry houses I have the desire to keep eating. Order too much or overdo my appetite. The Paneer Shashlik starter is lusciously creamy on the inside and just charred perectly round the edges so that the soft and crisp texture can be dusted with the thinnest pasting of the mint sauce a la 1990’s with the chilli sauce zinging up the plain salad like a riot  of splashy artwork in Tate Modern. The starter soothing and reassuring of the standards set by Kababish’s kitchen. 

The Tarka Daal is one of two test dishes for me of a good curry. Here it bristles with spices, a dreamy daal of channa lentils, a creamy must have dish and possibly the best in Birmingham, still the quality dish of a bygone memory in time for me. An accomplished rendition. 

The Gobhi Mutter, fresh cauliflower, with onions, peas and peppers. A classic veggie curry, perfect for a main veggie dish. Subtle spicing, slight tomato flavour that makes for a complimentary dish to the daal.

The Saaag Paneer, the other test dish of cooking credentials is here fresh, with a nice balance of spices and fresh ingredients. The spinach not too much, but complimenting the creamy paneer and herbs. A delightful dish, another for memory lane. 

Accompanied by a well flavoured Garlic Naan that’s fluffy and light and a not grainy but softly cooked Pillau Rice. 

Dishes were washed down by a tremendous Malbec. 

Gobi Mutter Tarka DaalSaaag PaneerGobhi Mutter

Pillau rice

Garlic naan 

The only downer was my pudding the Ras Malai which was shockingly poor as only curry restaurants deserts can be. Maybe I just chose wrong but it was disappointing and not what I remember from Previous Ras Malai offerings in other restaurants. 

Ruth enjoyed her Ghulab Jamon. Oh well!  

We’ll move on. 

The Kababish is not fancy, not flash. It’s a rewarding and reasonably priced restaurant that ticks the boxes of quality, informality, good friendly service and food made with passion and cooked fresh. 

For Vegetarians it offers numerous tempting options and has the slight subtlety in choice that is tempting for repeat performances.

Though I walked through their doors 22 years ago the consistency and core values remain to this day and that’s the key to a good neighbourhood curry (open since 1983) and the essence of what makes The Kababish popular and successful and proof that though times change a good curry at Kababish doesn’t. The buzzy weekend atmosphere is a bonus which in all makes Kababish a ‘Champagne Supernova’ in the bright sky of Moseley.

My friend used to say that The Kababish was the best curry house in Moseley. You can argue that it was and still is the best. 

So Here’s to many more years of this independent stalwart in an ever evolving Moseley. 

Thanks for reading, 

Andy 😊

http://www.kababish.co.uk/

After dinner Tip:

For afters try The Bulls Head (The Cuban Embassy) in Moseley village for a rum fest and after dinner drink. 

Rum at The Bull. 

The Gastro Card offers diners 15% off food from Sunday-Thursday. 

To buy a card see the link below: 

http://www.gastrocard.co.uk/buy/

We paid for our food and drinks in full. My opinions are honest as always. 

Song references from Oasis. 

Welcoming The Physician, a new venue for Edgbaston. 


The growth in restaurants and bars in the Edgbaston village area in recent years is one of the significant success stories of the new found Foodie confidence in Birmingham. From the pioneering Simpsons to El Boracho del Oro, The High field, Blue Piano, the new Comida @ 21 Edgbaston and Cocktail bar The Edgbaston are providing Birmingham with places to eat and drink for the smart diner. Now another new restaurant is due to open soon, welcome to The Physician. 

Brunning and Price restaurant group are currently breathing new life into what was once the Birmingham Medical Institute building on the Calthorpe Estate within Edgbaston Village on the corner of Harbourne and Highfield Road.

The building was taken over in 1957 by the BMI. It once housed the extensive library before it moved to more modern facilities and when the chance came to take on such a wonderfully characterful property, it was an opportunity not to be missed by Brunning and Price.  

Lisa Rogers has recently been appointed as its General Manager and is keen to open the doors in order to get to know everyone and become a full and active member of the local community.

Lisa is new to the area, hailing originally from Southampton, she has worked within pubs since the tender age of 18, spending over 20 something years behind the bar and the last 12 of those in London as a pub manager. She jumped at the chance to run the Physician as it will enable her to live out 3 of her loves, great wine, good food and a love of history, as well as bringing her to her boyfriend Noel’s hometown to be closer to friends and family.

Lisa is joined at the Physician by Rachael Perry and Andy Harris, both will become Deputy Managers and compliment the team with Rachael’s love of wine and Andy’s love of real ale and a shared wealth of local knowledge being born and bred in the area. Our new head chef Ashley Kilroy joins us from Stourbridge and will head the kitchen team whose job it is to create daily menus which will have a core of modern British cooking and where possible use great local suppliers.

Now that the management team is in place they are busily looking for enthusiastic, personable people to make up the rest of the 40 strong team.

‘’We are looking for lots of local ‘crew members’ to work in the bar, or waiting, kitchen and maintenance roles. You don’t need to have experience, just genuinely love working with people and being generally ‘hospitable’, we will happily teach the rest if needed.

 To apply, for any role, please send your CV with a covering letter telling us about you and what makes you tick to Jan@brunningandprice.co.uk, check out our website http://www.brunningandprice.co.uk/physician/ or find us on Facebook’’

‘’I’m really looking forward to creating our menu, finding some great new local suppliers and forming relationships. I love the idea of running beer and gin festivals and evenings where customers can meet local brewers or distillers to find out more and taste what’s on offer locally. We are fortunate to have a wealth of brewers in the area to choose from and I would love to hear from our customers about what they would like us to stock. The pub has a great bar at its heart and I hope that it will be a hub of local life.’’

The pub will have 2 private dining rooms seating around16 people in each. The bar is at the heart of the building with a mixture of rooms that incorporate lots of nooks and crannies to hide in or views out to the newly formed courtyard garden through the new Orangery.

Dogs will be welcomed in the bar area and we are busy mapping suitable circular walks from and to the pub so that customers can take in the many sites in this extremely historical part of town before they settle back with us to dine or quench their thirsts.

They plan to open in early November. We will update the website and Facebook with any notable dates and plans as they are finalised so we encourage anyone who is interested to follow our progress there.


  

BRUNNING AND PRICE INFORMATION

They are a group of 55 pub restaurants that were founded in the North West of England and North Wales, however, through popular demand and with the assistance of an A to Z they have now ventured further afield and have a substantial branch of the family in the South.

Each pub has its own style and flavour, though you’ll find good cask beers, freshly cooked food, decent and affordable wine and a good shelf of malt whiskies throughout. They like to think they run informal places for people who like to meet, eat, drink and talk in a relaxed friendly atmosphere.

Looking forward to The Physician opening in November. 

Thanks for reading, 

Andy 😊

The Physician, Harborne Road, Edgbaston, Birmingham, B15 3DH.

 

 

Italian and New York favourites: Birmingham’s Marcos New York Italian launches new menu 




A few months ago Ruth and I had the pleasure of visiting Marco’s New York Italian near Birmingham Airport and the Genting Arena/NEC.

 We found excellent hospitality and good food and cocktails with a good choice of vegetarian dishes on the menu. 

Now Diners at Marco’s New York Italian in Birmingham can now enjoy a host of exciting new dishes, as the restaurant unveils its brand new mouth-watering menu.

 Located at the Holiday Inn Birmingham Airport, Marco’s New York Italian is a concept that combines quality with comfort, allowing guests to enjoy traditional American Italian cuisine in a modern dining environment.

On the menu you’ll find dishes such as Macaroni di Funghi with poached egg, Spaghetti Napoletana, Penne Arrabbiata, sharing boards, pizzas, bruschetta, American Style nachos, pizza bread, and cool cocktails. 

Inspired by Marco Pierre White’s Italian heritage and love for New York, the new menu, which launched on Monday 12th September, uses Marco’s famous cooking techniques to create a unique dining experience that appeals to guests of all ages.

 Conor O’Sullivan, restaurant manager at Marco’s New York Italian in Birmingham, said: “We are extremely excited to have launched our new menu, which combines guests’ favourite dishes and a host of delicious new dishes, expertly prepared by some of the most talented chefs around.  

 “Our new menu gives our returning guests a selection of exciting new dishes to try, while guaranteeing an enjoyable experience for diners who are visiting Marco’s New York Italian for the first time.”

 Commenting on Marco’s New York Italian, Marco Pierre White said: “If I had to choose only one cuisine to eat for the rest of my life, it would be Italian. My mother was Italian and I spent a lot of time in Italy with her when I was a boy.

 “My New York Italian is all about creating a comfortable environment for friends and family to relax and enjoy some of my favourite Italian and American foods.”

Marco’s New York Italian is part of the Black and White Hospitality’s extensive restaurant portfolio, which also includes Marco Pierre White’s Steakhouse & Bar Grill in Birmingham, Mr. White’s English Chophouse at Hotel La Tour in Birmingham, Bardolino Pizzeria in Birmingham, Bellini & Espresso Bar and Wheeler’s of St James’.

Hopefully I’ll get back soon to try the new dishes out.

Thanks for reading, 

Andy 😊

Marco’s New York Italian, Holiday Inn, Coventry Road, Birmingham, B26 3QW.

tel:0871 20663 209007

http://www.hiairport.co.uk/

http://www.mpwrestaurants.co.uk/restaurants/birmingham-airport

My previous review for The Gastro Card:

https://t.co/AMwyOyzFwL

You can receive a discount of 10% with The Gastro Card. 

To buy see link: 

http://www.gastrocard.co.uk/

All photos courtesy of Holiday inn and Marco’s New York Italian.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Island Bar is 10 years old. 


  
Many years ago when I was much younger (say over 10 years ago) there wasn’t very much choice of bars or quality places to drink a varied and creative choice of drinks. 

The amount of independent bars were few and far between and generally if you wanted to have a night out you would have to go to a predictable chain that had a limited menu and certainly no cocktails. 

  
Island Bar opened in 9th September 2006. Situated on Smallbrook Queensway it offers an alternative option to the Birmingham pub and bar scene with handcrafted cocktails, classic creations and in-house Tiki concoctions as well as an extensive rum collection and a range of bottled beers. The venue’s ethos was and still is, to serve quality products by knowledgeable staff in an unpretentious venue. The bar has had many a makeover in the past ten years as well as seeing the cocktail offering expand and the music profile moving from indie / rock n’ roll to more soul and disco.

  
  

To mark this big birthday, Island Bar’s General Manager Simon Gilligan has created a line-up of events to celebrate including – a quiz night dedicated to the past ten years on Wednesday September 7th with rum based prizes to be won.

Thursday 8th plays host to a special version of “Tiki Thursday” with popular DJs Jam Jah Sounds playing dub and reggae alongside a bespoke menu by Jamaican rum Wray and Nephew. 

   
 Friday 9th and Saturday 10th customers are invited to join in the party atmosphere with DJs past and present taking to the decks to re-live some of the best moments from the Island Bar dancefloor. A one-off menu has been created by Simon for the weekend offering Tiki fans 2 for £10 all weekend on the favourite tipples of the past ten years.

Island Bar’s birthday isn’t just a milestone for the bar, but also a celebration for the independently run family Island Bar is part of. 

Bitters ‘n Twisted is one of Birmingham’s hospitality success stories, run by Matt Scriven who’s idea was to offer the flagging bar scene in the Midlands a much needed injection of creativity and fun 10 years ago. Following Island Bar’s opening in 2006 neighbouring boozer, The Victoria and then gin emporium Jekyl & Hyde were set up. Fast forward ten years and Bitters ‘n Twisted Venues owns and runs 10 venues within Birmingham and the Midlands with the most recent being a Bodega Cantina opening in Leicester, July 2016.  

​“Looking back to 10 years ago the hospitality scene in Birmingham has changed beyond recognition. We’ve been honoured and determined to play a large role in this renaissance of Birmingham and we remain passionate about contributing positively to this great city for another 10 years. I can’t believe how quickly the time has gone and what we have achieved and I hope our customers continue to love what we do for many years to come.”

The team at Island Bar are asking customers to join in with them via social media to share their best memories over the years, using the #Island10 to collate a decade of anecdotes and pictures, the best ones will be rewarded with drink based prizes for the weekend.

  
   

Happy Birthday guys, and thanks for all the good nights so far across your venues from Veggie Foodie. 

Thanks for reading, 

Andy 😊

Island Bar, 14-16 Suffolk Street, Queensway, Birmingham, B1 1LT.

https://m.facebook.com/IslandBarBirmingham/

Home

  
All photos courtesy of Bitters ‘n Twisted and Island Bar with thanks.

Restaurant review: Mezze at So Mezze and lounge, Birmingham.


  

So Mezze is a reassuring place.  When you look at the menu you are greeted with a long list of Vegetarian dishes that cover All mezze bases and are salavatingly bursting with happiness. 

You cannot underestimate the comfort this brings and though the proof is in the eating its a positive start. The menu offers a mixture of cold and hot mezze, like tapas small dishes to share and ideal for grazing on with a cocktail from the long cocktail list. 

So Mezze serves Lebanese Mezze and is located in Birmingham City Centre in Holloway Head between Broad Street (near the ICC) and the Arcadian provides a lounging experience thats has a calm relaxed Arabesque feel about it and a comfortable cosy arrangement of seating and tables that asks you to linger long into the evening.

 

  
The beautiful thing about Mezze like tapas is its informality. Sharing food is one of my favourite things to do so the long  and varied vegetarian menu was perfect for Ruth and I to share, with plenty to satisfy all tastes.

We began with a couple of cocktail. Ruth the Dry Gin Martini and myself the Old Cuban. Both excellent with the perfect hit of ingredients. The rum and bourbon in mine, deep and velvety, reassuringly complimenting the informality of the dishes. Ruths with the perfect balance of gin and perfectly made. So good we had two more. Superb cocktails. 

  Gin Martini
  Old Cuban 

  

The dishes we ate were: 

Cold Mezze: Humous, Baba Ganoush, Tabouleh, Fatoush, Warak Enab,

Hot Mezze: Batata Harra, Grilled Halloumi, Sambousek cheese, and Falafal, served with flat bread. 

All the dishes were excellent, lovely examples of authenticity and fully enjoyable. 

Take the cold Mezze dish Baba Ganoush, smoky rich, creamy, the distinct aubergine flavour meltingly good on an excellent flatbread.

The Warak Enab, vine leaves stuffed full of rice and spices, morsels of delight and perfect alongside a superbly creamy and silky smooth Humous and light and refreshing Tabouleh with its summery flavours and minty, Parsley soothing hit and the light and breezy Fatoush with its lettuce, tomato, cucumber, mint and onion on flatbread and olive oil dressing. The salads tempered with Middle East herbs are delicious. 

The hot Mezze were equally indulgent and summery. 

The star dish Batata Harra, spiced Lebanese fried potatoes cooked with peppers, chillies, garlic and Corriander. Small morsels if punchy flavours taken alongside the savoury Grilled Halloumi, with its golden brown savoury touch a delight. 

Another dish, the falafel had the perfect weight and flavour. Small balls of chickpeas and onion ( I’m a big fan of chickpeas) deep fried with a tahini sauce. Delicious. 

The only dish that was not such a winner to me was the Sambousek Cheese, which was a light savoury cheese pastry with feta cheese and parsley which was disappointingly bland compared with the deep savoury flavours of the other hot dishes. Shame.

The dishes also came with rice.
  Falafel.  

Batata Harra.

  Fatoush

  Tabouleh.

  Sambousek Cheese

  Humous

  Baba Ganoush  Warak Enab

    
  

Grilled Halloumi  Flatbread

    Rice 

    Veggie menu £20 per person.

Been quite full we decided to share a beautifully sticky and filling Syrup Drizzled Baklava: soaked layers of pastry and chopped nuts, sticky, syrupy. It’s all in the name, delicious especially with the fresh and refreshing mint tea that we enjoyed with it.

    Baklava

  

 Fresh mint tea.

  
  
Our meal at So Mezze was a generous meal. For Vegetarians it’s an excellent choice. With plenty of choice, to fill a number of repeated visits. The set menu allows a full journey and the delight in eating food in a shared informal way is perfect for summer or a group party. It has a confidence in itself, unfussy, and enjoyable in its simple charms. They also cater for vegans and Gluten Free diets with notice when booking and reassuringly  having so much choice is its key to its enjoyment. All the dishes we tried were excellent and we’d have no hesitation to visit again. A hidden, cool and fun gem in the city centre and perfect for us veggies.

Thanks for reading, 

Andy 😊

So Mezze,  89 Holloway Head, Birmingham, B1 1QP.

http://www.so-mezze.co.uk/

https://m.facebook.com/somezze/

You can receive a discount of 25% with The Gastro Card at So Mezze from Sunday-Thursday.
http://www.gastrocard.co.uk/restaurants/so-mezze-lounge/

Our meal and drinks were complimentary at So Mezze because of my work for The Gastro Card. All my opinions are honest and my own as always. 

  

Veggie dishes of the day: Umami Indian Kitchen, Harborne celebrates its First Birthday. 


  
  
There are many things that make me happy. The first daffodils in Spring, a sunset after a brilliant sunny day, the sight of Autumn leaves turning, there hue spectacular in a cooling wind. Yet, all are casual affairs compared to the happiness I feel when an Indian restaurant knows how to make the basics well. Certain dishes can seem straightforward but are so often uninspiring and leave me cold. 

As a Vegetarian I’ve written frequently about my love for a good curry. Birmingham is blessed with some aces in the pack, but also has the one sauce for all kind of attitude which quite frankly is inexcusable these days. 

I’d never been to Umami in Harborne before Ruth and I were invited to their first Birthday party and new menu launch the other night. I’d read good things, so my anticipation was high. 

Umami Indian Kitchen named after the fifth basic taste is located on Lordswood Road, just off the Harborne High street, it’s split into two areas, a modern bar area and then a step up to the dining room into a modern feelings space with mood lighting and white linen which feels both stylish and relaxed, romantic and good for families. 

The restaurant has been open a year, and has a good regular customer base. The service feels genuine and friendly and holds on tho the core beliefs that the food is what helps to bring people back. Head chef Mandeep Bajwa has worked in some of the finest establishments in the subcontinent and Middle East. 

   
  

On arrival Ruth and I found a busy party atmosphere. We were greeted with drinks, two Sparkling wines to toast their first birthday and then a number of canapés (vegetarian for me included Paneer skewers with peppers and veg samosa made like a Chaat). Both were delicious and appetisingly well made. 

Our main menu in the dining room included a number of curries (meat and fish for Ruth and Vegetarian for me, served with Naan and two types of rice. 

As I’ve already said, how a restaurant makes the basic curries determines the quality of the restaurant to me, been able to extract the unique flavours of the dishes and provide the base for the rest of the meal.  

The two curries I was given (Sadly no more than two, there were 5 in total, including 3 meat options that Ruth ate) to try were lentil Dhal (dal tadka bajrangi) and Potato and Spinach (Aloo Palak) . 

Both different textures and flavours, both unique and comforting, both were made perfectly. The Dhal in particular, creamy yellow lentils, with a tempering of cumin, and garlic flavours offering a punch of flavour, the ultimate comfort dish and perfect with a buttery Naan that I lapped up. 

The Spinach and potato curry (Aloo Palak)  with delicious jersey potatoes and vivid green spinach with a good garlic and ginger flavour running through. 

Both curries were Superb, fully flavoured, perfectly spiced. Very enjoyable. 

Ruth’s meat and fish curries were also well received. 

Our curries were washed down with red and white wine. (Umami also serve cocktails) 

  Lentil Dhal.

   Aloo Palak.

Though the food I ate at Umami Indian Kitchen was only sadly part of a full meal the dishes were so well constructed and flavoured that the full new menu is an enticing prospect for me to try in the future. An experience j look forward to.

As I said by getting the basics right it’s a good benchmark of the rest of the menu and for this reason alone Umami is a worthy ‘new kid on the block’ and certainly amongst Birmingham’s best curry restaurants.

Happy first Birthday. 

Thanks for reading, 

Andy 😊

  
  Rice and Naan.

  

 

   
 
We were invited by Umami to their first birthday party and menu launch, all food and drinks consumed were complimentary. This doesn’t affect my honest review and opinions. 
Umami Indian Kitchen and cocktail bar, 25 Lordswood Road, Birmingham, B17 1RP. 

0121-427 8773.

http://www.umamiharborne.com/

https://m.facebook.com/UmamiHarborne/

  New environment friendly take away boxes and take away menu. A tempting prospect.

  

Restaurant Review: Wahaca, Oxford Circus, London. 


  
There’s something cosy and comforting about Wahaca that makes you feel relaxed from the moment you walk in. Ruth and I on a recent visit to London decided to feast on some delicious Mexican food, after a full on cultural Royal Academy art visit. 

Neither of us had been before, though it had been on our list for years, since former Masterchef winner Thomasina Myers started the chain in 2007. 

From its bright and cheery outside to its light, airy and cheerful riot of Frida Kahlo colour interior, Wahaca shouted out fun and good times. 

The Mexican style cantina that is Wahaca has sprung up all over London in recent years and then in Liverpool, Manchester, Cardiff, Bristol and Brighton, but sadly no Birmingham yet. Why? So sadly travelling is the name of the game. 

For a lunch time, Wahaca was busy. Through been busy it felt on walking in to be bustling, lively and full of fun. A light filled restaurant comfortable in its own vibrancy. A place to sink your teeth into. 

It’s hard to resist a Margarita when eating Mexican food. The freshness and zingy nature of the cocktail is refreshing and goes well with the spicyness of the food. In fact Wahaca’s Margarita’s were superb, on the rocks, sweet and sour, hitting the spot. 
   Margarita 

    

  

The menu at Wahaca is split into numerous sections. Nibbles, streetfood, tacos, Burritos, sides and then desserts. 

Never be afraid to ask for advice in Wahaca from the staff. They are happy to advice and recommend a dish based on taste and what you fancy. 

We ordered some nibbles to begin with. We ordered Guacamole with Tortilla Chips: The Guacamole freshly made, bursting with lime juice and packing a deep punchy Corriander flavour with the ripe and creamy Hass Avocados. Superb. With crisp Tortilla chips, perfect with the Margarita. 

  

  Guacamole and Tortilla Chips. 

  Fiery chilli sauce 

Deciding not to order from the tapas part of the menu we ordered from the main part of the menu which included Burritos. 

I ordered the seasonal Sweet Potato Burrito. It was a plump, large and savoury burrito. Toasted flour tortillas wrapped around fillings of frijoles, shredded cabbage, green rice, Crema, and avocado salsa. 

The burrito was full of flavour, with lovely sweet potato notes running through. The potato bulking up the filling and with the lovely frijoles (Refried beans) and the green rice made for a substantial and filling bigger plate that hit my hunger perfectly. The salsa was also nice with a good tomato and garlic chunkyness about it with a good chilli kick. 

A delicious burrito, perfectly made and full of subtle spicy flavour. 

We are our bigger plates with some stunning Sweet Potato side. Chunky and dressed with a superb smoky caramelised mojo de ajo. Heavenly and highly addictive. The nicest I’ve had anywhere. 

    

    

I’m not sure that you can visit Wahaca without trying the Churros y Chocolate. Mexican doughnuts with deep chocolate sauce for dipping. 

Because we both ordered the Churros our waiter brought us a rich Salted Caramel dipping sauce too. So we shared the two pots. 

The Churros finished the meal off perfectly. Dusted with cinnamon they had a beautifully light, crisp batter, a dribbly sauce, the chocolate deep and rich, the caramel sweet but salty. 

The Wahaca Churros were the best I’ve tried, fresh, soft and fluffy and indulgent. A delicious dessert. 

Alongside the Churos we ordered two Pacifico Clara Beers served with a classic Chelada (freshly squeezed lime and salt). Arriba.

    Churros y chocolate.

  

Eating at Wahaca was an excellent experience. With a wide and varied menu, it has superb options for Vegetarians. Food is the right side of spicy and brilliant for sharing. The service is friendly, informed and able to recommend dishes without hesitation. In fact the service makes the meal feel complete, with its genuinity and efficiency. 

The food feels healthy, fresh and is reasonably priced. It’s commendably good value and is a fantastic place to eat lunch in a genuinely relaxed and vibrantly lively environment that though cannot be booked in advance is a perfect kick back and chill spot after a full on cultural morning. 

Wahaca is hard to beat for tasty, colourful Mexican food and though not groundbreaking is a real winner. It feels independent though isn’t and is highly recommended on any visit to London, Vegetarian or not. 

Muchas Gracias.

  

    Chelada in the base of the glass. 

Thanks for reading, 
Andy😊

Home

Locations

Oxford Circus

Disclosure: We paid for our meal and drinks in full. All opinions are my own and honest as always. 
 

Wahaca,  Oxford Circus, 26-28 Great Portland Street, London, W1A 8QT. Near Oxford Street.