Opus leads the way in showcasing Birmingham’s independents.


Opus one of the top fine-dining restaurants in Birmingham is leading the charge for independents, joining forces with some of the best talent in the city.

Billed as a celebration of the bespoke, Opus in Cornwall Street is keen to support local businesses that offer something different from the norm and has so far linked up with artists and an award-winning wine merchant.

Pawel Skrzypinski, general manager at Opus, said: “Birmingham is an exciting, diverse city in which to live and work and if you are willing to meander off the beaten track through our lovely city centre, you will be rewarded with shops and artists showcasing an individuality and tailored approach that makes you feel special and appreciated.

“We think it’s really important for independents – especially those who have a natural synergy – to support one another because we have a unique offering. The beauty of being an independent business is that you have the opportunity to team up with whomever you like and over the past few months alone we have found some real stunners with whom to work.”

Over the summer, it is collaborating with Loki Wine, the award-winning wine merchant and wine bar based in Great Western Arcade, enabling customers at both venues to take advantage of some fantastic offers.

Loki is offering 15% off the Loki Wine Tasting Card for Opus Loyalty Card holders, while Opus is offering all holders of a Loki Wine Tasting Card 25% off all bottles of wine purchased (see T&Cs online)  and £10 off the flight of five wines that accompany their weekend five-course tasting menu.

Phil Innes, of Loki Wines, said: “There’s already a natural crossover between Loki and Opus customers but the opportunity to work with the restaurant, which will benefit all our customers could not be passed up. We’re thrilled to collaborate with Opus.”

Sculptor Viv Astling, OBE, has two pieces of art being displayed at the restaurant over the next few months.

An elected member of the Royal Birmingham Society of Artists (RBSA) and a former student of the renowned sculptor John Tonks, he uses English limestones particularly from quarries in Portland, Dorset, and Ancaster, Lincolnshire. His piece Turning Point is being displayed at Opus’s reception desk, while Ariel is on display in the bar area.

Bar Opus at One Snowhill has joined forces with Jewellery Quarter-based Argentea Gallery to feature a selection of photographs by Birmingham multi-media artist Sophie Hedderwick from her critically acclaimed series Swift As A Shadow.

Argentea is a new gallery in the Jewellery Quarter launched by Jennie Anderson and is dedicated to showing the very best contemporary photography from both British and international artists.

Jennie said “We were thrilled to have Sophie exhibiting her work at the gallery and to collaborate with Bar Opus is another great way to take her work to a wider audience and engage with people who wouldn’t necessarily think of visiting an art gallery.”

Also at Bar Opus are five works by Birmingham-born innovators Key & Tam, known as LOWLFE. The pair take everyday objects, such as phones, plants, coins and dead insects, and introduces them to the world of miniature people in whimsical settings.

The new collaborations follow Opus’s inaugural art exhibition with Mark Howard of independent fashion store Disorder Boutique earlier this year, when the walls become a canvas for his creations.

Pawel added: “The past few months have been exciting as we have expanded our support network of leading independent talents and we’re looking forward to continuing our efforts to introduce other great Birmingham names to our customers. So make sure to watch this space".

Great to see such a fantastic collaboration between two of the cities best independents.

Also note that Opus are offering 50% off select wine in August. It includes a range that covers most tastes. From lighter summery whites to fruity cherry-like reds and rose wines a bargain is to be enjoyed with the new set price menu or tasting menu.

In Bar Opus news become all Italian and try a Rose Aperol Spritz with complimentary nibbles for £5 from 2-5pm. Aperol Spritz is one of the finest drinks and with added nibbles and hopefully sunshine on the Bar Opus terrace one of the must things to do this Summer in Birmingham. Go on try it!

Thanks for reading,

Andy 😊

All photos and information courtesy of Opus, Bar Opus and Clive Reeves PR with thanks.

Advertisements

Opus fixes the price not the diners options.


Birmingham restaurant Opus has once again reinvented the wheel with fixing the prices, but not your dining options.

Opus one of the leading fine-dining restaurants in Birmingham, has scrapped the individual prices on its à la carte menu and has instead introduced a fixed price for either two- or three-course dining.

Opus believes it is the only restaurant to have this standout offering. It will enable diners to choose any dish from its full à la carte menu, with a two-course lunch or dinner costing £27.50 or a three-course meal £32.50. 

The vegetarian menu costs £25 for two courses and £30 for three. 

The concept has been spearheaded by award-winning executive head chef Ben Ternent. He said: “Typically you find that the cheaper, fixe prix menus in restaurants offer limited options for diners, but we were keen to do something a little different from the norm.

“We decided that our diners deserved to enjoy our full à la carte options for a fixed price. It’s not something many restaurants do and I’m thrilled to introduce it here at Opus.”

Ben joined Opus, on Cornwall Street, as commis chef shortly after the restaurant launched in 2005 and worked in almost every section of its kitchen before being promoted to executive head chef in 2015, when it celebrated its tenth anniversary.
During his time at the restaurant, Ben has achieved a number of prestigious awards, including being crowned the British Culinary Federation’s Young Chef of the Year in 2006 and achieving his Royal Academy of Culinary Arts Award of Excellence in 2009.

Ann Tonks, managing director at Opus, said: “We’re renowned for doing things a little differently here and because we are independent, we are always looking for new and innovative initiatives that benefit our clientele. Ben’s idea to remove the individual à la carte prices and instead have a fixed price across the whole menu is a great idea and I’m sure our diners will agree, too.

Vegetarians can enjoy dishes such as creamy goats cheese mousse, roasted English tomato and red pepper soup plus Leicestershire wild mushroom and truffle Wellington, Evesham beetroot risotto and tian of Pershore vegetables followed by a warm dark chocolate fondant or raspberry and blueberry iced parfait and a strawberry pudding, the choice is truly yours. 

Diners can, of course, choose one course only if they prefer and those dishes are individually priced.”

The menu is available for lunch Monday to Friday and dinner Monday to Saturday.

http://www.opusrestaurant.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/Vegetarian-Menu.pdf

For full menu information, visit: 

http://www.opusrestaurant.co.uk/

Goats cheese tart 

Beetroot risotto

Strawberry pudding

Ben Ternent.


Opus Restaurant Vegetarian Source Dinner with Worcester Produce is also on Friday July 16th at 7pm.

The Source Dinner series includes this Veggie extravaganza. Enjoy 5 courses with wine pairing in conjunction with Worcester Produce. The fruit, vegetables and salad are grown in their nurseries and farms in the Vale of Evesham, picked on day one and are in the Opus kitchen on day two. It’s always an evening to savour.

Look out for my review soon. 

 Price £65 pp. 

Call 0121-200-2323 for booking. 

Thanks for reading, 

Andy 😊

Thanks to Opus and Clive Reeves PR for the photos. 

#SupportLocal!:Vegetables in a league of their own at Opus Restaurant. 


Spring brings delight. You know Spring has sprung when the first British early season Asparagus is viewed in markets and on supermarket shelves. When I’ve  eaten one bunch I’m ready for the next.  In restaurants I feel it’s compulsory to devour Asparagus hungrily if it’s on the menu. 

That’s why Opus restaurant source theirs from Local Worcestershire farms, the heart of Asparagus country and the beginning of the delicious season of celebrating vegetables in the U.K which stretches to the end of the year. 

Opus Restaurants new Spring Vegetarian Menu demonstrates that vegetables are much more than side dishes. 

Try dishes such as British early season Asparagus with Hollandaise Sauce and poached egg, light goats cheese mousse in a crispy filo basket 

Plus mains like rich Wild Mushroon Wellington, white onion purée and seasonal vegetables. 

All using the freshest homegrown local produce from local farms in Worcestershire, Leicestershire and surrounding areas. 

Sample menu: 

http://www.opusrestaurant.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/Vegetarian-Menu.pdf

#SupportLocal!

Two courses for £25 and 3 courses for £30.

Opus Restaurant have also introduced a tasting menu.  This is priced at £45 per person. Menu below. 


This July sees the return of one of the best Vegetarian nights in Birmingham. The Source Dinner Series of events is well known to showcase homegrown and sourced produce from wine, meat, fish and potatoes amongst other things and the vegetables is rightly given equal billing. 

Growing vegetables is a labour of love, trust me I know. From seed to the fully fledged and edible time can go slowly by. It’s labour intensive and demonstrates love, pride and passion for the earth and the produce itself. 

At The Opus Vegetarian dinner with Worcester Produce you can enjoy the freshest produce over five courses with wines to match for £65 per person. You also get to meet the farmers and producers who grow the veg, fruit and salad which make this event special. 

The produce is grown at Worcester Produce and other local farms across the Vale of Evesham and picked on day one and on the plate in day two.

‘We only supply hand-picked produce that has been nurtured by local farmers, grown with pride and delivered fresh from local fields.’

It’s a lovely night and well worth supporting the producers and Opus and eating some delicious Vegetarian food made from the produce. 

The Vegetarian Source Dinner is on Friday 14th July and Is £65 pp please call 0121-200-2323 for reservations and details. 


Remember #SupportLocal#

Thanks for reading, 

Andy😊

Precious Reviews of Opus Restaurant’s vegetarian menu and Vegetarian Source Dinner:

https://t.co/AIpppfvenl

http://t.co/WkopBcpQ9P


Vegetarian Food at Opus Restaurant. 

The first two photos are courtesy of Opus Restaurant. The other three are my own. 

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. 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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. 

  

Spring has sprung, Bistro 1847 launches new Spring menu. 


   

Birmingham Vegetarian restaurant Bistro 1847 has just launched its new Spring menu. 

Dishes are created around and are inspired by local seasonal ingredients, which means every three months their menus change so the freshest plant-based fare possible can be introduced.  

The newest menu includes dishes that reflect the abundance of produce that’s on offer during Spring in the UK. 

You’ll find starters such as:

Marinated and Chargrilled Aubergine stuffed with Roasted Buckwheat, soya yoghurt, parsley and Sorrel (Vegan) 

and 

Lightly Dusted Goats Cheese with Black Olives, Apples, Celery and Melba Toast.

Mains such as:

Herb Breadcrumb Oyster Mushrooms with Asparagus, Quinoa, and Roasted Garlic Sauce 

and

Aubergine Steak, Seaweed Butter, Kohl Rabi Coleslaw, and Jersey Royal Potatoes. (Vegan)

For Deserts:

1847 Warm Dark Chocolate Brownie, Chilli Brittle, Pistachio Soil and Basil Syrup (Vegan) 

and

Single Malt Scotch Whisky Jelly, Strawberries and Caraway Jam, custard, meringue. 

2 courses are £19.50 and 3 courses are £25.00.

A bargain I feel for the quality of cooking and ingredients. 

For the full menus see link below: 

 http://by1847.com/menus/SummerMenu2016.pdf
http://by1847.com/menus/SummerMenuDesserts2016.pdf

Most dishes can be made Vegan or Gluten Free. 

     

    
 The above 5 photos of the new menu courtesy of Bistro 1847 with thanks. 

A Veggie Spring has certainly sprung.

Welcome to Nature. 

Thanks for reading, 

Andy😊

For my previous review of the Winter menu see link below:

https://t.co/p2wLZcZfFg

Photos from Winter Menu. 
   

  
Bistro 1847 also do a Sunday Lunch menu for £17.00 for 3 courses, plus a Express Lunch from Monday-Friday, which is a main course and drink for £10.00. 

   

 

The new Spring menus are available in 1847 restaurants in Birmingham, Manchester, Brighton and Bristol. 

Opus reaches final for hospitality’s most prestigious award. 


  
Opus at Cornwall Street have been selected as semi-finalists for the prestigious Royal Academy of Culinary Arts Annual Awards of Excellence. 

The awards, which are designed to recognise the UK’s most talented young people within hospitality, will see Opus front of house staff Dorenzo Pratt and Iona Adams, as well as chef de partie Martin Baylis, the only kitchen staff in the Midlands to be named as a semi-finalist, complete a series of exams, interviews and technical tasks this month in an attempt to achieve the industry’s most reputable award. 

The gifted trio reached the semi-finals after demonstrating exceptional knowledge and an enthusiastic attitude through an application process. During the finals, Dorenzo, who has been working at Opus for two years after starting as a part-time student from University College Birmingham, and Iona, who has been at Opus since January 2016, will partake in a written exam and rigorous interview on Opus’ food and wine menus in order to receive the esteemed service award. Martin, who has been working for Opus for one year, will have two hours to prepare squid, salt baked whole sea bass, a rack of lamb and an apple tart, as well as complete a theory test and demonstrate basic kitchen skills to receive the kitchen award.  
Irene Allan, director at Opus at Cornwall Street, said: “We’re very committed to developing our front of house and kitchen teams, so having three members reach the finals for the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts Annual Awards is a tremendous achievement. We’re incredibly proud of Dorenzo, Iona and Martin and are thrilled that their talents and sector knowledge has been recognised. Not only will the award be a huge achievement for our staff personally, but it will also be an achievement for Birmingham’s growing culinary scene. 

“There are only two restaurants locally with staff in the shortlist, ourselves and our neighbours Purnells Restaurant  so we’d also like to wish Bradley Pace from there the best of luck too.” 

The Royal Academy of Culinary Arts Annual Awards of Excellence is an examination and not a competition. All or none of those that reach the final can achieve the award depending on their ability to attain the standard of excellence set by the judges. 

Dorenzo and Iona took part in the service finals on Saturday 19th March at The Ritz in London. Martin will take part in the kitchen finals on Wednesday 30th March at University College Birmingham. 

For more information on Opus at Cornwall Street, please see: 

http://www.opusrestaurant.co.uk/

I wish them all good luck with this prestigious award.

   
    
 Vegetarian dishes at Opus.
See below for my review of Opus’ vegetarian menu: 

https://t.co/AIpppfvenl

Thanks for reading, 

Andy 😊

Restaurant review: Purnells Bistro, Birmingham.


  
If the way to get to a good restaurant is to go through a good bar, then Purnells Bistro is quite probably top of the hit parade. 

Ginger’s Bar embraces the relaxed vibes of Manhattan, inspired by Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire, the decor and ambience is cool and collected with smart re-mastered classic cocktails. Ruth and I have visited numerous times, The Negroni is superb, the Old fashioned glitters. The Gin Martini possibly the best in Birmingham. 

Purnells Bistro offers a menu inspired by rustic British fare. It is very much ‘rustic home cooking with an eclectic twist’ where dainty traditional food meets more exotic ingredients. Founded by Michelin Starred chef Glynn Purnell (his wonderful restaurant Purnells restaurant is around the corner) it shows his passion to good food in slick and chilled surroundings. 

The Bistro decor has a relaxed and pleasant feel with soft moody lighting which felt quite chilled and modern on a quiet Monday lunchtime. It’s semi fine dining, nice pared down tables, smart cutlery, it felt like a place to celebrate in, which was a good thing as it was Ruth’s Birthday in the lovely company of her Mum. 

On this occasion we went straight to the table rather than have a drink in the bar.    

    Old fashioned.

  Cocktails at Gingers.

  
  Purnells Bistro

  Ginger’s Bar

 

We ate off the Extended Weekend menu. Which is on offer only on a Monday where all items on the menu (including bar food menu) have discounts up to 50% off, which I think is a great deal.    Having settled in the Bistro, which wasn’t surprisingly quiet for a Monday lunch time, we were given some pleasant rather than spectacular bread to have as we looked at the menu. 

 
The starter I ordered Potato and Gruyere terrine, poached egg, Autumn Purée, potato crisp, bursting with flavour of the assertive Gruyere cheese, into an earthy noted and Moreish terrine, with a runny egg to give the depth of luxury into what mounted to a lovely brunch like dish. The purée adding a seasonal harmony or just simply shouting I am lunch. A real starter of note. 

    Potato and Gruyere terrine, poached egg, Autumn Green purée, potato crisp.  £3.00

Pumpkin Risotto, Goats Cheese, Watercress. £7.25.  

So onto the main course. Risotto’s fall into three camps for me. The not good at all, bland, grainy, why? The ok, (so many Italian restaurants in Birmingham do it this way) and the wow risotto, I’ve had two in my life. One in Florence (of course) deep earthy mushrooms, in season, outside in the evening sun. Then the best of all at Raymond Blanc’s gastranomic temple that is Le Manoir Aux Saison another Wild mushroom and Alba Truffle concoction (again in season) that blew me away and remains to this day the best I’ll probably ever eat. I vowed to not eat another risotto again, this lasted for only six months until the Asparagus season began, but still I feel Risotto desire when I think about it.

So began the journey to another temptress the (Pumpkin, goats cheese and watercress Risotto.)

The discovery pleased me, as it proved to be the second most enjoyable Risotto I’ve ever had in the UK. 

The best Risottos  are the simple ones, less is more. Pumpkins slap bang in the Autumn/Winter season, with harmonious gentle goats cheese. Soothing, comforting, satisfying, with plenty of deep seasonal flavour . A well executed risotto that surprised me. A triumph of simple things done simply well and with the confidence to lavish love on a plate. A stylish plate of food.

We also ordered some excellent seasonal vegetables that were a welcome addition. 

  Pumpkin Risotto, goats cheese, watercress. A bargain.

  Seasonal vegetables. £1.37.

By this time I was glowing like a glow worm on a sunny day, and felt impassioned to dive into a gooey pudding. So I ordered the most gooey and chocolatey pudding on the menu, the Dark Chocolate cheesecake, ‘Cafe Liegeois’, Amaretti crumble. An elegant and refined desert without been fussy. Deep, dark chocolate, with a swish of coffee flavour from the cafe Liegeois, beautifully presented on a black slate, the amaretti crumble deconstructed and adding the desired crunch against the soft cheesecake. 

A lovely elegant desert, again like my starter, rustic refined. 

Suffice to say Ruth had a good Birthday lunch. She had the meaty type of food. Enough said. 

    Dark Chocolate Cheesecake ‘Cafe Liegeois’ amaretti crumble. £4.86 Warm Ginger Sponge-rum and raisin ice cream. £4.76, went down well also, with plenty of ginger flavour. 

We also enjoyed a bottle of Chardonnay, Blue Ridge wine from Bulgaria. 

   

Purnells Bistro serve the bistro classics well. In fact on this occasion with excellence. The food is simpler more rustic than Purnells Restaurant, less experimental, but it’s joy to eat such flavoursome and hearty Vegetarian dishes where ingredients are seasonal and treated the right way and presented beautifully. Made by a kitchen that takes pride in their dishes.

Maybe it’s the pedantic and greedy veggie nature in me, but it would be nice to have more options across the menu, (maybe specials) as vegetarian cooking this good shouldn’t be hid under a bushell, but should be delivered with aplomb, ambition, enthusiasm, and dare I say a bit more added variation to the standard (but well made) vegetarian  pasta and risotto model. 

Though this is only an opinion, I add that Purnells Bistro is a lovely restaurant, where service is excellent and a classy bar meets a clever bistro that shows talent and a sure touch, excellent for celebrations or an informal meal, but i can’t help thinking it could do much more with those seasonal simple (vegetable) ingredients. 

Now that would be a Bistro that’s not feeding only the darkness of the  Vegetarian past, but the authentic magic of new bistro vegetarian dining. But, that risotto…Mmm, was a joy to behold.

Thanks for reading, 

Andy😊

We paid for our meal and drinks in full. All thoughts and opinions are my honest opinion as always. 

Purnells Bistro and Gingers Bar, 11 Newhall Street, Birmingham B3 3NY.

0121-200-1588.

http://purnellsbistro-gingers.com/

https://m.facebook.com/PurnellsBistroAndGingersBar/

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

New Purnell’s Bistro Spring Menu.   

New Spring menu at Purnells Bistro With a lovely sounding Aubergine Rotolo and an interesting cream of onion Risotto. Two solid and nice looking options.