#TastyMorsels: Veggie/Vegan friendly Happenings and new openings.


Frais Healthy cafe and juice bar in Shirley on the Solihull, Birmingham border has a Vegan pop up night on the 9th June from 7.30pm.



They are also serving Vegetarian and Vegan breakfasts every weekend from £5.99. Dependent on the size ordered. 

Frais is an excellent spot for veggies and vegans with plenty of options on their menu. 

Well worth checking out. 

https://www.frais.co.uk/

You can find them at Stratford Road Parkgate in Shirley. B90 3GG.

Call 0121-439 1718 to Book for vegan pop up. 

Full Details below. 

https://www.facebook.com/events/1898949673654275??ti=ia 

The extremely talented and dynamic Katy Beskow has a new Vegan cook book out. Called 15 minute vegan it is just this. Recipes for a modern age in super quick time. 

There are 100 recipes in the collection plus tips on preparation, store cupboard ingredients and an introduction to vegan cooking. Recipes include breakfasts, light bites, mains, essentials and sweet stuff. 

Her blog http://littlemissmeatfree.com/ is wonderful. 

You can also catch her at The Foodies Festival in Birmingham on the 24tth June at 12pm, demonstrating dishes from her new book which can be brought from the usual outlets. 

The Birmingham festival is at Canon Hill Park from the 23-25 June. 

http://foodiesfestival.com/birmingham/

http://www.ticketmaster.co.uk/foodiesfestival?_ga=2.5260659.1985093644.1495532625-1125363770.1495532589

The Brum Brewing Company’s Tap Room is open for the first time on Friday 2nd June 4-8pm and Saturday 3rd 12-5pm. All Brum Brewing Co’s beers are unfined and Vegan Friendly. 

Based in Stirchley, Brum Brewing Co is Birmingham’s newest Real Ale and craft beer brewery. 

The tap room will have Bitter Brummie on cask and Pale Brummie on cask and keg for starters. 

Wine and soft drinks will also be served. 

Next month you can check out their IPA and experimental brew. 

http://www.birminghambrewingcompany.co.uk/ and sign up for their mailing for updates. 

You can also catch them at Kings Heath Streetfood Market on the second Saturday of every month.

This of course is next Saturday 10th June. Full line up yet to be confirmed. 

Dates for the tap room opening are Friday 30th June and Saturday 1st July,  28th July and 29th July, 25th and 26th August, 22nd and 23rd September. 

Cans of their beer are stocked in Connollys  in the city centre and Stirchley Wines. 



20th-22nd July is The Brum Vegan Beer and Food Festival. Watch this space for more details and full line up.  The festival also coincides with Birmingham Beer Week. 

It’s a great event. 



The Colmore Food Festival returns from the 30th June-1st July. Held in Victoria Square. 

If you haven’t been it’s a fab free admission weekend for veggie foodies with all the top Colmore Business district restaurants and cafes present. 

Plenty of good value Vegetarian dishes from the likes of Asha’s, Chung Ying Central, Opus Restaurant, Jojalapa, and Zen Metro among others. 

Cocktails from Bar Opus, and The Alchemist, Beer from The Wellington and Pure Bar, plus coffee from 200 Degrees. Hotel Du Vin and Purnells Bistro will also be there for the drinks. 

Plus demos from Glyn Purnell, Aktar Islam and others and live music. 

All taster dishes are available for £4 or less. Admission Is free. 

https://www.facebook.com/events/731144610388143??ti=ia

A real celebration of Birmingham. 

See you there. 


This Sunday 4th June is the first Tamworth Vegan Fair at The Castle Hotel in the town. 

It’s Free entry with 30 fab stalls, best vegan caterers and talks. Check out amongst others, The Vegan Pizza Company, The Vegan Cakery, The May Bakery, Sicily to Seattle, and The Ginger Cow UK and Chaat Man. Plus cakes from The Vegan Cakery. 

 It’s from 10.30-4pm. 

Thanks for reading, 

Andy 😊

All Photos courtesy of places mentioned. With thanks. 

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 

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. 

Met Bar & Kitchen, Solihull supports veggie month this month. 


A few weeks ago I was contacted by the Met Bar and Kitchen in Solihull for my input into their new menu. They wanted to explore with me their vegetarian dishes and ways in which they could improve the scope and variation on the menu in order to launch their new dishes and menu during Veggie Month which falls this month (March). 

I have to be honest and say that i’d never eaten at The Met Bar & Kitchen before though I’d seen them on Twitter and walked past numerous times when in Solihull, but knew for vegetarians the menu was limited and felt more of an add on rather than interesting enough to attract vegetarians into the bar, as well as impress meat eaters to try them out. 

The Met Bar Press Release says: 

‘Solihull’s Met Bar & Kitchen is marking Veggie Month by launching a range of daily changing vegetarian specials which will run throughout March. 

Created by Head Chef Zeke Agrios with ideas and input from Midlands-based vegetarian food blogger Andy Hare, the meat free dishes have been developed to tempt both vegetarians and meat eaters, with fresh seasonal and colourful ingredients expertly combined to make flavoursome and satisfying meals. 

Veggie Month specials include Coconut and Sweetcorn Fritters with spicy avocado, cherry tomato and Corriander salsa: Chargrilled Aubergine, sundried tomato and mozzarella wrap with marina a sauce and pine nut crunch and Ricotta and Spinach filo parcel served with puttanesca sauce. 

Met Bar and Kitchen Owner Alistair Tyson said: “We were conscious that vegetarian dishes are very often put together by meat eating chefs so we invited Andy to come up with some opinions he’d like to see on menus when dining out.

“Andy’s suggestions are a refreshing change and, with some chef development, they sit well alongside our new seasonal menu which will also launch in March. 

Andy Hare said: “A vegetarian meal when dining out can often mean a pasta or mushroom based dish. 

“We have some great vegetarian menus in Midlands restaurants and I’m delighted to add Met Bar and Kitchen to that list. My wife is a meat-eater and I know these are dishes she would order and enjoy too.”

The new menu also includes Butternut Squash, new potato and spinach Goan curry with Corriander Naan bread and Mac’ and cheese with forest mushrooms, spinach, blue cheese crumb and truffle oil. 

 Mac’ and cheese with forest mushrooms, spinach, blue cheese crumb and truffle oil.   Coconut and Sweetcorn Fritters with spicy avocado, cherry tomato and Corriander salsa. 

The dishes that I suggested will also be on the menu as specials, over the course of the month. 

Met Bar & Kitchen also have a Delicious Spiced chick pea and roasted pepper burrito with sour cream. Served with mixed leaves and frites For £6.25 Monday-Saturday to 6pm.  

Animal Aid’s Veggie Month provides an opportunity to emphasis the positive benefits of a vegetarian lifestyle and diet. 
It runs from March 1st-31st. 

http://www.animalaid.org.uk/veggiemonth/index.htm

  
The Met Bar & Kitchen is owned by Solihull Businessman and residents Chris Kelly and Alistair Tyson. They are also proprietors of The White Horse at Balsall Common and are involved in The Sun on The Hill in Birmingham. 

Met Bar & Kitchen, 680 Warwick Road, Solihull (town centre) B91 3DX. 

0121-705 9495. 

http://www.themetbar.co.uk

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

@mbksolihull 

Thanks to Lucie Ray-Barrett on behalf of Met Bar and Kichen, Solihull for my involvement. 

Thanks for reading, 

Andy 😊

Restaurant review: Marco’s New York Italian at the Holiday Inn, Birmingham Airport. 


  
Airports, love them or hate them, they are not necessarily the place you go for good food. That arrives when you get to your destination, that far flung land of foodie decadence and if like me over indulgence. 

Though Marco’s New York Italian isn’t in the forecourt like some other ‘foodie faves’, it sits quite perfectly in the Holiday Inn that is within a short distance of the terminals and forms part of Birmingham Airports hotels. In fact a shuttle link takes you to the dreaded check in (my thoughts!) and that far flung land. 

I have to say, honestly that eating in a Holiday inn wasn’t my idea of a fun Friday night, but I’d seen photos of the restaurant and felt reassured that it is a place in its own right to visit. Sitting on the Coventry Road not far from Solihull town centre it has a nice comfortable inviting feel about it, and is spacious with booth seating (which we liked) and tables for couples and fours etc. 

The last time Ruth and I ate at a hotel restaurant at an airport it was I recollect a dodgy Beefeater type place that had a a la cardboard as its main course for vegetarians, made exotic by serving it with new potatoes. So on walking into Marco’s We were pleasantly surprised to find a smart modern decor and more upscale feel. 

The restaurant felt intimate and good for couples with its plush monochrome design. 

   

Marco’s New York Italian at Birmingham Airport is open all day and blends American and Italian dining, think pastas, steaks, burgers, pizzas, cocktails and salads. 

It has numerous vegetarian dishes on the menu so I was well covered. 
    

Ruth and I jumped straight in and ordered a couple of cocktails whilst we looked at the menu. Ruth ordered a Gin Martini and myself a Negroni, a classic of Italian cocktails, (aperitif) which shouted Italy as soon as started drinking it. Mmm Florence!

Ruth enjoyed her Martini which she said had a nice gin kick to it. 

    Olives, grissini sticks, croccante with warm baked sourdough bread, olive oil and balsamic. (Below) 

  

We grazed on the above table sharing plates. The olives, garlicky, salty, were good and along with the breadsticks and croccante crackers a highlight and plentiful for 2 or even 4. Though the sourdough?Mmm, not so good, and certainly not the sourdough I’m used to from Maison Mayci in Kings Heath. Not very airy or light, very disappointing. 

  Salad of beetroot, goats cheese and walnuts.

  

For a Vegetarian starter (though the sharer was like one) I chose the salad of beetroot and goats cheese with walnut dressing. I really enjoyed this dish. It looked pretty, the beetroot thinly sliced but not overpowering the salad and with the right quantity of goats cheese and walnuts ( scattered over) was the right type of starter (with hindsight) to enjoy at Marco’s New York Italian. Not too large and lights a feather. A lovely Vegetarian dish. 

Ruth chose the Caeser Salad, with avocado and though this was came with anchovies they said it could be made without. 

For my main course I ordered Macaroni di funghi, wild mushrooms with a poached egg and we shared a side dishes of Onion Rings and Sweet Potato fries (though I think I ate greedily most of the fries).  

Surprisingly, I am pleased to admit this was a lovely dish. The mushrooms, deeply flavoured with a runny poached egg providing a lovely rich and deep flavour to the well cooked and lightly coated macaroni and a contrast to the earthy delicate mushrooms interspersed within the pasta. 

The egg making the dish feel more substantial and though a decent and generous sized plate of food it didn’t feel heavy or repetitive. The flavours held well together to make another excellent vegetarian dish which you can have as a starter also (smaller portion). 

The sweet potato fries were very good though the Onion Rings were not so and became soggy at the bottom of the dish they came in. 

Ruth ordered a 10oz ribeye steak (which I knew she would) with garlic and rosemary, fries and tomatoes and said it was good and I believe her! Well what else can I do. 

  
  Side dishes: Sweet Potato Fries and Onion Rings. 

  Macaroni di Funghi with poached egg.

  

For desert we were persuaded to sample a number of dishes, a trio in fact. I insisted on trying the Hot Italian Donuts with Chocolate sauce and Ruth chose the Classic Affogato with Amaretti biscuits, vanilla ice cream with espresso. (Forgot to take a photo)

We also chose the temptingly sounding and recommended by the restaurant Sicilian lemon sorbet with Frozen Limoncello. 
  

    

The Italian Donuts were very impressive. Hot rich Gooey Chocolate for dunking the lightest donuts I’ve tasted for a long time. A perfect desert with a coffee and an outstanding choice when at Marco’s.

The Sicilian lemon sorbet was a total contrast. Zingy, refreshing, with a good limoncello liquor flavour coming through. They both  worked well together, lovely. 

The Classic Affogato, was also to be recommended. A full espresso flavour, made well. Good flavours with a whopping three scoops of vanilla ice cream. 

We also ordered two large glasses of wine with our main courses both recommended by our server Jason.

Ruth ordered a deep and recommended red wine, a Shiraz (Short mile bay) from Australia with her steak and I ordered a white wine, A Sauvignon Blanc from Marlborough, New Zealand. 

A so called ‘Marco Recommends’ wine, right? Written as MR on the menu. Got it! They were both good. A nice recommendation. Thanks Jason! Not Marco. 

I was very impressed by Marco’s New York Italian at Birmingham Airport. Not once did it feel like a second rate restaurant in a hotel. It had a quality feel, felt relaxed, modern and in our case romantic. The service was attentive and friendly throughout, helpful when asked for recommendations which were frequently made during the evening. The food we ate was very good, tasty, substantial and had the balance between New York and Italy just right with a good range of dishes. The Vegetarian side of the menu has numerous choices, and for that it is a recommended place to dine for veggies. 

In fact what the restaurant does is provide those living in the area a nice venue for special occasions that is affordable and doesn’t involve a curry or sitting in a pub. 

It’s a hub for the community as well as guests to the hotel and for those guests it’s not A La Cardboard but A la LA (or New York) good, tasty food and good service that ticks many boxes. 

You can feel refreshed taking off (or getting up at home) the next morning, full and satisfied and that can’t be a bad thing. Now that for me is a recommendation, Marco! 

 

Thanks for reading, 

Andy 😊

I’ve teamed up with the Gastro Card  who Invited me to try out the new vegetarian dishes and menu at Marco’s New York Italian at Birmingham Airport. Our food and drinks were complimentary, but a positive review wasn’t required, just an honest one of our experience which I’ve duly delivered by aeroplane. 

Marco’s, Holiday Inn Birmingham Airport, Coventry Road, B26 3QW.

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

For details on the Gastro Card see

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

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

Thanks in particular to Jason and his team for the service on the night and recommendations. 

Also note that if you drive to the restaurant/hotel then you can claim back your car parking fee.

   
 The last two photos courtesy of Marco’s New York Italian and Holiday Inn Birmingham Airport.