Review: Byzantium, Kings Heath, Revisited. 


   

Byzantium was colonised by Greek colonists from Megara in 657 BC. Not that anyone in Kings Heath was present, or can remember this. Partly because of heavy nights and days in the nearby Hare and Hounds and partly because well, the residents of Kings Heath have been silenced by their fear of more charity shops and the shock that a new ‘Subway’ sandwich shop has opened on the High Street. 
    

But then if the Greeks were around today then I’m sure they’d be impressed by the quaint and intimate hideaway named after their great empire that sits cosily on York Road (almost opposite The Hare and Hounds and next to Fletchers Bar.) 

For me Byzantium is the kind of tapas restaurant a Vegetarian could frequent often and still not get fed up of the same dishes. In fact there are numerous choices and daily specials that makes one scratch your head and shout out ‘if only I had one choice, life would be simpler.’ Yet, I have my favourite dishes, well why not, life’s too short!

Byzantium takes its inspiration from across the Mediterranean to create a tapas menu that’s reflective of the whole area. So you have, Spanish, Italian, Greek, French influences in the dishes which keeps the menu varied. Inside you’ll find religious art on the walls, church like seating, and ornate lamps which help to create a lovely exotic atmosphere. 

I’ve been going with Ruth to Byzantium fairly regularly over the last few years. It’s our go to place. We had a lovely Valentines night meal there earlier in the year. For its elegance, romantic lighting and soothing gothic shadows lend itself perfectly to the occasion. In fact my very first restaurant review for Veggie Foodie was Byzantium back in April 2014. 

This occasion too was a celebration for it was Ruth’s Birthday and her Mum was with us to celebrate. In fact Ruth’s Mum loves the restaurant.

I began with an aperitif. The Negroni. The classic Italian cocktail. 

  Negroni at Byzantium.

The Negroni was a well made aperitif, one part gin, one part Vermouth, one part Campari. Italy in a drink. Delicious. 

We also shared an excellent bottle of Prosecco with our food. Well we were celebrating. 

  

The vegetarian dishes we chose to share were: 

Homemade Flatbread. 

Zaalouk: pan fried Aubergine dip with cumin, Tomatoes, and Corriander. 

Olives: a selection of marinated green and black olives. 

These were all eaten as a shared starter. 

The flatbread was a beautiful unleavened bread, very large, served with a jalapeños chilli on top. Ideal for sharing it was a joyous thing, and probably due to its flavour and size the best plain flatbread in Birmingham. Taken with the punchy tomato and aubergine based Zaalouk its a perfect sharing starter. The pan fried aubergines perfect in a dip and the ideal accompaniment to the flattened doughy bread. A beautiful zingy flavour with a touch of cumin. 
  

To follow Ruth and her Mum ordered a couple of meat tapas to share and I ordered the Halloumi Souviaki for myself and four veggie tapas to share between the three of us. 

The dishes we shared were: 

Croquetas: Cheese and spinach croquetas served with alioi and red onion jam. 

Patatas Alioli: Crisp potatoes served with Garlic Mayonnaise. 

Tortilla Con Queso: Spanish omelette with potato, spinach, cheese, caramelised onions. 

Championes Rellenos: mushrooms stuffed with tomatoes, roasted red peppers and cheese. 

Halloumi Souviaki: skewers of Halloumi cheese, Mediterranean vegetables, served with Tzatiki (creamy yogurt, cucumber and garlic).

  Tortilla Con Queso. 

A classic Spanish Tortilla, an indulgent blend of potatoes, spinach and cheese, topped off with the golden tinged caramelised onions to make s very satisfying tapas dish. One of the best. A Perfectly made tortilla. 

  

Championes Rellenos. 

A tasty tomato based stuffed mushroom dish which had a delicious lingering flavour and complimented the tortilla well especially. The cheese didn’t overwhelm the rich tomato sauce. I liked the bulky mushrooms as a contrast to the Patatas Alioli too. 

  Croquetas. 

Nice Croquetas with a good creamy filling. Served with the red onion marmalade gave it another dimension in flavour that elevated it. A recommended dish. 

    Halloumi Souviaki. 

The star dish on the night. Who doesn’t like skewers of Halloumi? Served with Mediterranean vegetables, the peppers in particular offer a juicy accompany ment as does the side salad and the garlicky Tzatiki. Halloumi heaven on a plate. 

  Patatas Alioli: 

crisp potatoes served with a garlic mayo. A classic tapas dish though not as fine as the Patatas Bravas which is also on the menu. Any potato dish whether Alioli or Bravas is essential for Vegetarians at Byzantium.

  Tiramisu. 

The most disappointing dish of the night. Both Ruth and I chose the Tiramisu. I’m in love with tiramisu and it’s often my first choice when in any menu. Yet in the UK it can be underwhelming, as this unfortunately was. The cream was over whipped and it didn’t ‘pick me up’ at all. Quite the opposite in fact. A disappointing pud. I can’t find anything positive to say about it at all. 

  

Poached Pears soaked in Red wine.

So to counterbalance the bad, meet the good. The Poached Pears, Just lovely, decadent, the pear fragrant against the deep full bodied reduced wine, a beautiful strikingly simple desert that I’ve eaten before and found an old photo of. 

Along with the Creme Catalan the best pudding on the desert menu. 

Byzantium is a lovely tapas restaurant and one that Kings Heath is rightly proud. Our food on the night was delicious. The dishes were all well made, with the menu demonstrating a varied and sensitivity to vegetarians and meat eaters are well served too. In fact for veggies there’s enough choice for tears of joy and to return with Christmas bells on next week, and have a completely different menu. 

The service was good, attentive, friendly and efficient. In fact everything that a neighbourhood restaurant should be. It has a strong drinks menu, with sherry’s, cocktails and a mixed selection of European wine, plus spirits, vin Santo (which we enjoyed) and a good strong espresso. If only their Tiramisu was up to scratch things would be perfect, but for now it will do, maybe the Greeks didn’t get to Venice or Verona, but thankfully South Birmingham and who can complain at that? 

  
 

We paid for our food in full apart from the complimentary bottle of prosecco, kindly given as it was Ruth’s birthday. My opinions are honest and no review was expected or required. 

She had a good night. 

http://www.byzantiumtapas.co.uk/

http://www.byzantiumtapas.co.uk/menu/

Byzantium,  11 York Road, Kings Heath, Birmingham, B14 7SA. 

Thanks for reading. 

Andy 😊

Byzantium have also recently opened an up stairs function room for parties and large groups to dine and party. 

For details and party menu see their website and my post here: 

http://t.co/9wa86cSkdr

   
 

  

Review: Tapas Revolution, Grand Central, Birmingham. 


 Birmingham’s ramp that leads from New Street into the new shiny Grand Central is a ramp of legend. How many Brummie kids have met friends, dates or family on or at the foot of the ramp. The ramp as I’ll call it leads into a world of food and shopping, oh and yes something to do with trains. (New Street Station)

The first restaurant you see when you enter from New Street is Tapas Revolution the shiny small group of Spanish Tapas cafe, bars and restaurants owned by Omar Allibhoy. Inspired by the tapas bars of his native Madrid Tapas Revolution is open from breakfast until bedtime, for food or drinks, at the bar or at a table, the choice is yours. 

With four restaurants in London, Grand Central is the first outside of London to open and much is expected of the restaurant in the revamped shiny new Birmingham shopping paradise. 

 
   

The Restaurant as you enter is open plan with half walls seperating  it from the shopping centre.  You can sit as we did overlooking the station below or around the busier kitchen. The station view seats are more private for couples or smaller groups or families. 

We visited on a Monday evening so the station and the restaurant were quite quiet but still had a nice atmosphere. I was impressed though that you didn’t notice the station noise below. It felt private. 

   

 The menu at Tapas Revolution is split equally into Meat, Fish and Veg tapas with a section also for nibbles (Picoteo). 

As Ruth and I were here to sample the tapas that’s what we did. You can enjoy Spanish burgers of which one is vegetarian (Tortilla burger) and of course breakfast (again there is a vegetarian option).

Having eaten some of the best veggie tapas In San Sebastián, in North Spain I’ve ever eaten (called Pinxtos) at bars with such an array of food that it looks quite daunting but isn’t at all, I have a little idea of authenticity which Omar is trying to replicate in the UK. 

 Sweet cutlery holder. 

  

We began with drinks. I ordered the Spanish gin based “Pomada” Xoriguer Gin and Fever Tree Lemonade. A refreshing gin tonic from Menorca with grapefruit and lime. Very nice, though quite sweet. Ruth ordered a glass of white wine (Vino Blanco). 

We decided to order a couple of nibbles (Picoteo) to share.

So ordered Almendras de Mallorca: (slow roasted almonds) and the beautiful Pan Con Tomate (toasted bread, garlic, tomato and olive oil) which was deliciously tomatoey and with a good but balanced garlic flavour. Lovely. 

  

Almendras de Mallorca. 

  Pan Con Tomate

I advise if ordering for two to order six tapas to share or 3 for one. 

The Vegetarian Dishes from the Tapas menu I ordered were: 

Piquillos Rellenos de setas: piquillo peppers stuffed with mushrooms.

An ok dish. piquillo are hand picked and slightly sweet and worked well with the mushrooms. Not bad. Needed more seasoning maybe. 

Tortilla de Patatas: Spanish omelette made with potato and onion. 

The star dish of the evening for me. Reminiscent of San Sebastián with delucious comfort food par excellence, transforming a couple of humble ingredients with a soufflé like effect. A well made tortilla. 

Pisto: Aubergine, courgette, pepper, and herb stew. 

A lovely ratatouille type dish typically from the region of Murcia and La Mancha. Served warm  it was comforting and Warming with the flavours of finely chopped aubergine and courgette providing a healthy backdrop to the pepper and tomato base. Really enjoyable. 

Patatas Bravos: Deep fried potatoes with spicy tomato sauce and alioli. (To share with Ruth) 

What’s not to like about potatoes and tomato sauce. Nothing in this case. As  Tapas Revolution’s Potatas Bravas was the best I’d had outside of San Sebastián. Utterly beautiful. 

  

Piquillos Rellenos de setas: 
  

  Tortilla de Patatas

  

Croquetas de bacalao: Cod croquettes which Ruth Ordered and enjoyed. 

  
  

Patatas Bravas. 

  
    

Torreznos con mojo dulce: Ruths pork belly dish. She lapped it up. 
    Pisto: 

We were initially disappointed that the Churros weren’t on the menu tonight, but vowed to return to enjoy them. 

We decided to order the crema Catalana (Traditional Spanish  custard made with vanilla, Cinnamon and lemon. Also known as burnt cream and the Torrija: (caramelised brioche bun soaked in custard) 

The Crema Catalana: 

A lovely Catalan cream desert. Delicious flavoured custard with the flavours of  vanilla and lemon coming through. A lovely caramelised top. 

  Crema Catalana.

  

Torrija: A very tasty soaked brioche bun with a fried and batter consistency. Sticky, yummy, a crispy outside and smoother inside. A Recommended desert. 

Tapas Revolution is a fun Tapas restaurant that is an excellent addition to Birmingham’s food scene. It’s ideal for an informal sharing meal either at lunch time, breakfast time or during a shopping trip. It also works well in the evening. The service was friendly, quite swift but always polite, though it did move swiftly into a ‘chainy’ style a few times which was a bit grating. It’s maybe not an intimate romantic venue but is Ideal for people watching. 

The tapas we tried was good, some wonderful and among the best we had tried outside of Spain. I really liked it’s informality, it’s pop in at any time concept, which in Birmingham is welcome. 

The emphasis is on quality and freshness of ingredients and dishes to the plate. It’s in a Good location and accessible for commuters. 

Tapas Revolution is much better than many new openings recently in Birmingham and for this reason is welcome. I wouldn’t hesitate to return any time of day for its good value tapas.

The Revolution has arrived. 



 Estella Galicia lager.   

Zuma de Naranja: freshly squeezed orange juice. Refreshing and thirst quenching.    

Bar at Tapas Revolution. 

  

  View of Grand Central from Tapas Revolution. 

    View of Tapas Revolution from below. 

   

Thanks for reading.

Andy 😊

Disclaimer: we were invited by Tapas Revolutions PR company to eat free and sample their dishes for a fair review. My opinions and thoughts are honest of my experience as always. 
https://www.tapasrevolution.com/files/tapas-revolution-grand-central.pdf

   
 Grand Central and John Lewis. 

You can find Tapas Revolution at Grand Central Birmingham. 

  
Tapas Revolution cookbook. 

Byzantium in Kings Heath launches its upstairs room. 


  

Byzantium Tapas Restaurant in Kings Heath, is one of the best places for vegetarians in the area and in Birmingham itself. The eclectic mix of Mediterranean tapas has many decent options and with its good and attentive service its a firm favourite for Ruth and myself. We even had a lovely Valentines meal there this year. It is a very romantic restaurant. 

The other night we were pleased to be invited to attend the launch of their new 40 seater Upper Room. 

The Upper Room is perfect for a variety of functions such as parties, business meetings and conferences. When not in use by the above it will be handed over as part of the restaurant, which she enable more people to be able to sample their lovely tapas.

In case you didn’t know Byzantium serves up up a wide variety of Mediterranean-inspired tapas and is a popular restaurant in the Kings Heath community. It’s family run, independent and owners Efua and Antonello Turco Are passionate about their food and the good service they provide. Byzantium is one of the friendliest restaurants I’ve found in Birmingham and its this as well as the food that makes it popular hence their new room. 

It can be set up for Birthday parties and anniversary parties, and with an eclectic array of tapas dishes it’s great for a party. 

I’ve always thought Byzantium was one of the best restaurants for vegetarians in Birmingham, with numerous options plus an array of seasonal specials. Byzantium has a special party menu:

http://www.byzantiumtapas.co.uk/menu/files/18.pdf

Veggie dishes on the party menu include Potatas Bravas, delicious flatbread, Zaalouk (Aubergine Dip) a personal favourite, Championes Rellenos (mushrooms with red peppers and tomatoes) amongst others. 

Tapas is the perfect food for sharing. Which makes it ideal for parties. 

The extension opens just in time for Christmas parties, either family, friends or work. 

The Christmas menu consists of three courses for £24.95 per person. Bookings on 0121-444 5444.

We sampled on the night some delicious food, in particular the Halloumi skewers and the Camembert below were delicious. 

Many thanks to Greta from Digital Glue for the invites. 

   Camembert crostini. 

  

Halloumi skewers with peppers 

 

3 Photos kindly donated from Sanjeeta Bains of The Birmingham Post and Mail. Thank you. 

   

  Byzantium from the outside. 

 

   

Negroni at Byzantium 
 Tortilla Con Queso. 

  
  

Croquetas at Byzantium. 

 
My photos of the Food and drink at Byzantium from a previous visit. 

http://www.byzantiumtapas.co.uk/

http://www.byzantiumtapas.co.uk/menu/

https://m.facebook.com/Byzantiumtapas

   
 

#Tastymorsel: Bring on the revolution: Tapas Revolution set to open up at Grand Central. 


   
 

   
 
With tapas and small plate sharing dining becoming increasingly popular in Birmingham we welcome another to its growing canon. In this case it’s a small chain with a big reputation in London. 

I love this form of eating, it’s social, and it allows you to sample more dishes and with a hood drink or two it’s s great way to relax after work or on a weekend. For vegetarians in fact it’s usually works well, and allows for seasonal ingredients to be used more vociferously. 

Tapas Revolution, the Spanish-style tapas restaurant group from Omar Allibhoy, is set to open its fourth site in Birmingham this September.

The all-day tapas bar in Grand Central will feature a copper-topped bar, an open kitchen and marble tables, and will serve a changing menu, from breakfast, which will include pastries, Spanish-style coffee and freshly-squeezed Valencia orange juice, to lunch and dinner options such as a paella for £7.95 including a glass of beer, wine or soft drink included. 

For Vegetarians:

Nibbles: pan con alioli, pan con tomate, toasted almonds, olives, 

 Tapas: Try Gazpacho de sandia, Piquillos peppers stuffed moth mushrooms, Paratas Bravas, potato and onion tortilla, red and yellow tomato salad, or fried sweet padron peppers. 

Desserts will include churros (long, thin doughnuts) prepared to order and fried in specialist “churreria” equipment imported from Spain, and then tossed in cinnamon and sugar and served with a hot chocolate dipping sauce.

 The drinks offer will begin with sangria, available between 5pm and 7pm, (on half price) plus Estrella de Galicia beer on tap and a craft beer menu from every corner of Spain, including one brewed with honey and Mediterranean seawater. There will also be a selection of Spanish-brewed gin and wine from all regions of the Iberian peninsula.

There will also be Spanish sandwiches (bocadillos) and coffee available to take away.

First launched in 2010, Tapas Revolution began at Westfield Shopping Centre in White City and now has sites at Bluewater shopping centre in Kent and in London’s Shoreditch.

Allibhoy said: “Tapas is more than food; it’s part of everyday culture. Food and life are always best shared. Tapas Revolution in Grand Central is my version of the lively and bustling tapas bars back home. Birmingham has a great food scene and is increasingly becoming a destination city. I wanted to get involved in the buzz happening here and bring a real taste of Spain to the city centre.”

Life and tapas are best shared. 

You can find Tapas Revolution at Grand Central from Thursday September 24th. 

http://www.tapasrevolution.com/section/45/1/birmingham/557a0749502c604e7953ec5ab02d8693

http://www.tapasrevolution.com/

http://www.grandcentralbirmingham.com/

http://www.tapasrevolution.com/section/8/1/omar-allibhoy-tapas-revolution

@tapasrevbham

tapasrevolutionbirmingham: Facebook

tapasrevolution: Instagram 

   
 
Omar Alibhoy (The Antonio Banderas of cooking according to Gordon Ramsey) riding the bull of Birmingham. 

  
All photos and images courtesy of Tapas Revolution with thanks. 

  
Desert at Tapas Revolution 

  
Photo courtesy of Grand Central. 

   
   

   
   
  
Grand Central Birmingham. 

Review: Bodega Cantina and Bar-Birmingham Latin American cuisine with cocktails. 


  

  

Bodega is a South and Latin American bar/Cantina on Bennetts Hill in Birmingham City Centre just off New Street, and owned by Bitters N’ Twisted. 

It offers a wide selection of tapas style dishes, street food, Burritos, Tacos and a number of larger traditional plates. It also has a completely Vegan menu and excellent vegetarian options. 

Bodega is a fun-time and colourful place, the cocktails flow, the food comes out fast and service is pacy. It’s a brilliant place to indulge with friends,  for parties and for sharing a work or shopping lunch. It’s also open on Sunday for that downtime and Sunday smooch with the city. 

   

 

For Ruth and I it was a Friday night dinner, not the Channel 4 comedy kind, but the cocktail/tapas/Streetfood kind. 

On the Friday we visited Bodega was busy, bustling, and vibrant as I would think it is most Friday evenings, and with a cocktail list that speaks of fun and good times and a wallet full of money Bodga is an education on excellence and high standards with its drinks list. From Tequilas to Rum based drinks the list will cater for everyone. 

Bodega has a small bar area near the entrance by the window, so if you feel the need you don’t even have to eat. The decor is fun too. Iron cast furniture, quirky cactus murals, vibrant colours. Cafe style seating is mingled with funny stools, and with its exposed light bulbs and brightly coloured murals Bodega sells spicy and flavour, with an atmosphere that’s a real contrast from the glum rainy English weather in March outside. 

The food, from Argentina, Mexico, Brazil, Peru, Colombia, Cuba, is freshly made and easy going and full of variety for vegetarians and vegans. 

   

   Find Pips Hot Sauce at Bodega

Ruth and I ordered cocktails to begin. Two Margarita’s. They were excellent, and always a good choice at Bodega. A classic, well made with a good strong tequila flavour, with salt on the rim.  

   I also ordered a Caipirinha, which is Brazil’s national cocktail made with cachaca, sugar and lime. It was very refreshing and had a sweetness that was complimentary to the spicy food. Another top cocktail. Ruth ordered another margarita.

Bodega also offer bottled beers, non alcoholic cocktails and a good wine list. 

Plus a happy hour from. 5-7pm on cocktails. 

  

For the food we chose to stick with the smaller sharing plates, the streetfood as we’ve found them to be the best from previous visits. And sharing is fun and social. 

Ruth ordered for herself a pulled Pork Burrito which she enjoyed. 

I ordered a vegetarian burrito- from the streetfood section of the menu, roasted vegetables, black beans, and cilantro lime rice. The Burrito had a good spicy flavour ( I ordered hot) with the tortilla holding the filling well, and the depth of the veg with the spicy salsa packing a zing which was lovely. 

   

   

The rest of the food we shared. 

We shared small house nachos (vegetarian variety) crisp well seasoned flour tortillas, topped with some lovely mozzarella chedder and sour cream and punchy salsa and guacamole. Very impressive nachos crisp, with good flavours. Recommended.

   

 

To accompany the Burrito We chose from the light bites part of the menu: 

Batatas fritas: delicious sweet potato fries with chipotle mayo, crisp and with a good flavour. 

Frijoles: Black beans cooked until velvety, with a good garlic flavour with roasted cumin seeds and s subtle hint of chilli and sour cream. Though not pretty to look at it was a good complimentary dish to the Burrito. 

Spicy Slaw: a nice fresh homemade slaw with a South American Twist. 

I also recommend the jalopos peppers from previous visits. 

   

     

One of the dishes Ruth and I enjoy the most at Bodega is the Churros desert. We had to order two, we loved the rich caramel sauce  against the warm doughnuts. A Mexican favourite,  and also ours. Perfect for dipping or with coffee. We orders two espressos. 

  

The food we are was plentiful, it had a good spicy flavour and did what it says on the tin. It’s fun, vibrant and good for sharing. 

Where we found Bodega to suffer is with the service which we felt was inconsistent, hurried and though attentive it felt underwhelming and it had a care free nature about it. Some of the servers were friendly others we felt were  not bothered. We felt that they could have explained the menu to us checking we understood the quite complex but good layout. Advising how many sharing dishes you should choose between two. Our waiter who asked for our order was a bit gruff to be honest and unhelpful. 

In saying that the food and the cocktails are the real deal and as a pop in kind of place Bodega can’t be beaten for fun and very decent South American dishes. 

For Vegetarians and Vegans it’s one of the best places to visit in Birmingham and well recommended. 

Bodega Birmingham, 12 Bennett’s Hill, B2 5RS

0121 448 4267

http://bodegacantina.co.uk/

http://bodegacantina.co.uk/food/menus/

@BodegaBirm

You can also get 20% off with the Independent Birmingham card. Offer is on Monday-Thursday 3-6pm and all day on Sunday.

Thanks for reading. 

Andy 😊

We paid for our own meal and all opinions are honest as always. 

It’s advisable to reserve a table at Bodega at busy times to avoid disappointment. 

  

#TastyMorsel: The Botanist: out of the garden into the city of Birmingham 


      

The Botanist, bar, restaurant will open in Birmingham officially on the 6th April and will be a concept like no other. 

Think, whimsical and eccentric design, interior and a garden theme that makes grow your own seem even more attractive than it already is. 

Beyond the wrought iron gates of Chamberlain House On Temple Street The Botanist offers for Vegetarians some good and varied food choices, and then it also has cocktails, Martinis in fact and long cocktails, so many good reasons to visit. 

In fact 45 cocktails and 85 bottled beers are on offer. Plus real ales from Birmingham’s own Two Towers Brewery, and Oakham brewery, 

The Botanist is located on Temple Street in the heart of Birmingham City centre just off New Street and near the cathedral in an area that is becoming foodie central and the place for food or a bar crawl. 

The contemporary garden decor and live entertainment (music every day) should create a buzz, but it’s the food and cocktails I wish to highlight. 

For Vegetarians the starters and nibbles and deli boards part of the menu are enticing, think homemade Humous boards, Turkish flatbreads, salads, garlic mushrooms, cheese, and roasted red peppers. 

For £ 9.75 you can buy 4 items with Turkish Flatbread, and though it seems on first glance a bit salad heavy for vegetarians and vegans should taste good and be a good share. With the cocktails on offer by The Botanist sharing  is for me where it’s at. Though some may prefer a larger plate. 

Also on the menu for veggies is a home comfort cheese and onion pie, a Halloumi kebab with couscous, which is lovely and of course deserts, such as their sticky toffee pudding. 

I was lucky enough to be invited on the   2nd to the media lunch, which was excellent as you will see in my preview post next week. 

Some of the photos from The Botanist lunch below: 

  

   

   

   

   

   

           

   

   

Alongside the botanical cocktails are cask ales, champagnes, a good mocktail list, and ciders. 

Run by Living Ventures (New World Trade Company) who also have bars in Manchester and Newcastle, manager Julian Rose-Gibb ( formally of The Victoria) says it will feel like ‘home from home’ and will be a good living, working venue with a lively atmosphere, and eccentric design. 

Find The Botanist on 14-16 Temple Street, Birmingham B2 8BG. 

0121 600 7430

Thanks for reading 

Andy 😊 

       


Photos courtesy of The Botanist. 

Amantia: New Spanish restaurant, Birmingham


    

The other evening Myself and Ruth had the privilege of been invited to the launch along with other lovely Birmingham food bloggers of new Spanish restaurant Amantia on Bennetts Hill in Birmingham City Centre near New Street. 

Amantia is an independent family run restaurant that showcases well presented Spanish dishes opposite the Briar Rose in Central Birmingham and just up from Bodega. 

Housed in the iconic Sun House offices  (once insurance offices) next door to Burne Jones House. 

  

Run by husband and wife team chef Andrea and front of house Marta Retanaga it has a design of sophistication yet informality and will be a hit with the lunch time crowd in the Colmore Business District. 

Amantia represents the name of some ruins near Andrea’s Birthplace, but also contains the initials of their children. 

The food is a mixture of tapas, pastas and crepes and for veggies has good and interesting options. 

On the night of the launch I tasted a couple of the dishes a lovely authentic and indulgent tortilla da patata (Spanish potato Tortilla) and a lovely cheesy blue cheese and truffle croquettes (croquetas) which was good and a tempting introduction to their tapas dishes, which I love. 

Croquetas    

 

Though the options for veggies were limited on the night, I was impressed with what I ate to feel excited about returning and trying the fuller tapas and food menu. 

Also on the menu for Vegetarians are:

Tapas:

Creamy mushroom croquetas (croquettes) 

Homemade crepes: 

Cremosa: leek and spinach bechamel

Rustica: Roasted aubergine, sundried tomatoes, and mascarpone cheese.

Pasta

Ravioli con berenjena: aubergine and scamorza cheese in a creamy spinach and walnut sauce. 

Greek Salad

Deserts include tiramisu and crepes. 

There are also main course options so a traditional three course meal can be had too. (No veggie main course) 

Amantia also specialise in Gin and have dozens of artisan brands. Plus gin cocktails, good wines and Spanish beer. 

As a venue and style of food Amentia is unique in central Birmingham and offers quality and independence in abundance, and for that it’s very welcome amongst the chains nearby. 

Keep an eye on my blog for a further review soon. 

Amantia Spanish restaurant, 9-10 Bennetts Hill, Birmingham, B2 5RS

0121 643 3647

http://www.amantia.co.uk/

Menu see below link. 

https://attachment.fbsbx.com/file_download.php?id=407589196069551&eid=AStK6r4xxszDt8pE–K2RqKLpJDvbqv5W0ggf879sTo1UMIXtygIHUS-KHTy2EEqjuE&ext=1427109630&hash=ASt7diglUlL_rIqP

I was invited to the launch of Amentia so all food and drink was complimentary. My opinions are my own and no post was required, but I’m so happy to write one. 

Thanks for reading 

Andy 😊


#TastyMorsel: Lounging at The Loungers Cosy Club


Well it would be rude not to 🙂

One of the finds for me since I started my blog is the casual Loungers cafe bars that offer all day casual eating, drinking and community chilled fun, quirky atmosphere, amd a relaxed vibe whatever the day or night or occasion.

They are extremely popular and what I like about them community driven. My local one in Kings Heath, do fundraising, have book sessions, do charity work, they have a community notice board where people can promote events, local information.

They offer a space for families to dine in a casual way with children’s activities and games, as well as offering an informal drinking and dining scene for evening down time.

Birmingham and Solihull already have four Loungers bars.

<strong>Arco Lounge in Harborne, Loco Lounge in Kings Heath and Desco Lounge in Shirley at the new Park Gate shopping centre. and Verdo Lounge in Wylde Green.

All four offer a similar menu, from Breakfasts, all day brunch, lunches and an evening menu and a changing specials board.

Plus coffee, cocktails, wines, real ale and craft world beers. An all round winner.

They are cosy, quirky, family friendly home from home, and ideal for catching up with friends or an informal date night or as a place to work in or write over a coffee.

The food, i’ve had is excellent, from tapas, to Burgers, to specials, and puds. They are very popular with a cross section of the communities they serve, and are buzzy and lively and always busy, day and night.

For vegetarians and vegans, they offer a comprehensive menu. vegetarian breakfasts, veggie Kedgeree, sandwiches, tapas, veggie burgers, and risotto and Mac and cheese.

They have a full vegan menu which is to be commended and serve vegan wine.

Brunch is served all day, and on Tuesday’s in Kings Heath there is Tapas Tuesday where you can get three tapas and a glass of wine for £9.95.

There is also an extensive gluten free menu, a kids menu and cakes, coffee and puds.

See website for menus: http://www.theloungers.co.uk

For my review of Loco Lounge Kings Heath here

https://vegiefoodie.com/2014/11/26/veggieburgerwatch-loco-lounge-kingsheath/

So it was with a degree of excitement that I read in
The Birmingham Post that the company Loungers are planning to open a cafe bar called The Cosy Club in Birmingham City Centre hopefuuly in the Spring

They have purchased the old historic Midland Bank building on Bennetts Hill opposite The Lost and Found bar and Issacs curry restaurant near the already successful Pure Bar and Fumo.

They plan to offer a similar cosy all day cafe with 30’s sofas, a quirky atmosphere and a similar menu. Expect to see vegan/veggie breakfasts up to 6pm, Mac and cheese with a twist, Veggie Bean Burgers, sharing veggie plates and cheese plates, delicious puds and coffee galore.

Details are still a bit vague, but for Birmingham City Centre it should be a great place to chill with good coffee, and a cocktail and for veggies and vegans it should offer more food choice than many other places in the city do.

What with a new restaurant from Lasan and
The Botanist Bar also to open nearby in the Spring, that part of Birmingham will become even more of a haven for foodies.

It should be retitled the Colmore Foodie district.

Keep an eye on my blog for more details on the all the above over the next few months.

Also, now open is Quinto lounge in Sutton Coldfield which is the 5th lounges bar to open in the West Midlands. This has opened this week on the Birmingham Road.

The Lounges Cafe bars are an excellent all rounder. Give one a try. 😊

Arco Lounge: 147 High Street, Harborne, B17 9NP

Loco Lounge: 32-34 High Street, Kings Heath B14 7ST

Desco Lounge: Park life Shopping centre, Stratford Road, Shirley, B90 3AX

Thanks for reading

Andy 😊

@andydhare

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Veggie Foodie Guide to: The Birmingham Christmas Markets for vegetarians


Navigating the Frankfurt German Market in Birmingham City Centre at this time of year for vegetarians and vegans can be difficult.

The times I’ve been out with Ruth, family and friends and whilst the meat eaters have a array of fleshy delights us veggies are left eating cake and pastries and if we are being greedy Garlic Bread. Good but hey, we like Christmas too 🙂

Then of course it is easier for veggies to drink more at the market than eat some super independent food.

This year it appears their are though some jewels to be sought out and tasted. Yes, you have to search and yes you have to walk a bit, but it is worth it..trust me 😊

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The Birmingham Christmas market that stretches all the way from The Bull Ring up New Street into Victoria Square and onto the area around the Town Hall, and the Art Gallery up to The Hall of memory and up to the New Library of Birmingham and the Big Wheel.

The lower part from the Bull Ring to Victoria Square is the long running and expensive generally German Market which turns Birmingham tourist crazy for a month and makes Brum feel like a European city bathed in Christmas joy. It’s good fun and full of drinking dens, but little hot good veggie food.

The Frankfurt Market leads into the Birmingham Christmas craft markets by the Art Gallery which is much more independent and has a greater amount of food outlets that veggies can enjoy and stretches up to the New Birmingham Library.

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On wandering around the markets last week with my brother Pete (also vegetarian) we found a number of options.

Within the Birmingham craft market (further on from the Frankfurt Market) by the old Central library and Birmingham Art Gallery lie two good options to begin with for veggies.

First is Woktastic which serves noodles and a variety of Japanese dishes some veggie options. A good option. They also have a stand at Paradise Forum and restaurant too.

Then, nestled within the Christmas trees at the top of the steps lies The Mumbai Grill. For curry and a spicy kick it can’t be beaten. They have a vegetarian menu that includes a vegetarian platter, onion bhaji wraps, samosas, channa chaat, and a chana chickpea wrap. They also have balti chips.

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Then, further through the Paradise Forum over bridge past the Hall of Memory you will find local Pips Hot Sauce, a creperie, and a fully veggie and vegan falafel stall.

The falafel stand sells numerous falafel options, a veggie burger, and is the markets only completely 100% veggie option. Prices start from £4.50. It looks brilliant, and I can’t wait to try it. Their are falafel wraps, spicy Jalapeños, grilled Halloumi and other falafel dishes. See menu.

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Next door so to speak is a Creperie stand that sells sweet and savoury crepes and has veggie options on the savoury side. The creperie has outside tables and is popular.

Next door to the Creperie nearest the New Library of Birmingham is Pips Hot Sauce with vegan options.

Trader Pip Bradley from Kings Heath sells dishes such as sweet potato fries, nachos, salsa, jalapeños, guacamole, and vegan friendly sauces. Try a combination of the dishes and a few sauces maybe?

Pips Hot Sauce also sell gift packs of her superb sauces that can be brought as gifts. Well recommended.

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Back to The Frankfurt Market, their is a stand that sells pizza, and Italian sandwiches near the Town Hall and a stand in the centre near the fountain that sells a nice spinach and feta strudel. Plus, sweet ones too. One I’ve not noticed before.

Then last but not least is the aforementioned garlic bread stand, that is a delight. Try it with cheese, always a winner, but this year it seems not the only hot option. Stationed next to the long bar nearest to the Council House on Victoria Square.

As well as those hot food options their are a number of sweet food stands and some are brilliant. I will leave you to discover those 🙂

As always the Frankfurt Market divides opinions in Birmingham, but at least some independent and local food traders are involved in Birmingham’s Christmas Markets, and their is always Digbeth Diner and Brum Yum Yum to satisfy that independent street food demand.

If you get out into Birmingham have a good Market experience and eat, and drink and be merry, but watch those alcohol prices at The German Market that are quite steep compared to elsewhere. Their are a good selection of drinks at the craft market, near the town hall, including mulled cider, mulled wine and Pims.

Their is also a Hogan’s cider tent near the hall of memory with sofas inside. Looks great, very popular.

Have fun and thanks for reading and Happy Christmas. 🙂

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Library of Birmingham

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#TASTYMORSELS: NEW BAR AND RESTAURANT OPENINGS NOVEMBER 2014


There are two new bars/restaurants opening in November 2014. Both of which will be superb for vegetarians and be a classy addition to Birmingham and to Worcester.

The first is Bar Opus from the Opus Team who will be opening their third venue after their Opus Restaurant on Cornwall Street and Cafe Opus in Brindley Place in Birmingham City Centre. Bar Opus will be based in a new Snow Hill complex near the railway station in the Colmore Business District and adjacent to the new Midland Metro line due to open in 2015.

Bar Opus will be open for breakfasts, and lunch, but it is the after 5pm hours where the bar will come into its own. Its inspiration will be Barcelona and Copenhagen, offering shared plates of food created from an open kitchen. There will be good vegetarian options. The ethos will be the same as the other restaurants, well sourced local produce, creatively delivered with a twist. Bar Opus will also have a terrace on the piazza of the new One Snowhill building which should enhance the continental idea, ableit in the Summer months. 🙂 a full wine, cocktail and drinks menu will be available.

It’s a city bar redefined.

Bar Opus is due to open its doors on the 6th November 2014.

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

http://www.baropus.co.uk

The second #TastyMorsel is in nearby Worcester where the fantastic Bodega Cantina will be opening in November. Bodega owned by the Bitter N’ Twisted group already have a very successful and veggie friendly bar/restaurant in Birmingham City Centre which is superb.

Bodega are known for their hand crafted cocktails and delicious food in equal measure, will be offering their authentic South American food-Burritos, nachos, and tacos with a large vegetarian selection. It will be right next door to Foregate Street train Station. They are not taking bookings as yet, but keep an eye on their website, facebook page and twitter page for details, or you can sign up for their mailing list on their website.

Bodega will also be offering their Go Go Burrito take away service.

All being well Bodega will be opening in Worcester at the end of November.

I will keep you posted.

Two great openings:)

@bodegaWorc
@bodegaBirm

http://www.bodegacantina.co.uk/locations/worcester

14 Foregate Street Worcester WR1 1DB (near the train station)
01905 22200

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