Restaurant Review: Lasan, Jewellery Quarter, Birmingham. A sophisticated experience for Vegetarians.


It was roughly twelve years ago that I first entered Lasan’s doors. I was gobsmacked by the textures and flavours of this exotic place and of then head chefs Aktar Islam’s touch in creating such beauty on a plate. There was nothing like it in Birmingham.

Two years later i met Ruth and it soon became our go to place for great food, celebrations and an all round good night out ( who can forget one New Years Eve and scarf gate).

We took Ruth’s parents, friends, my Mum enjoyed a few meals there with me and anyone who cared to listen we insisted it was the best place to get s curry in birmingham.

Roll on a few more years and chef Aktar has now left to follow other exciting dreams. We are both a little older, with less money and less time to eat out, but hey, Lasan is still here. But wait, now with its refurbishment things have changed.

Launched In 2002, Lasan, based on James Street just off St Paul’s Square, has now experienced a £500.000 re dawn. Lighter, brighter, glistening in its re birth. The decor in the dining room is beautiful and comfortable. It’s A triumph and so much better than the dark and slightly dull, tired look of before. The bar area is also light with tables, bar stools and a cocktail menu. A place for a pre or post meal drink that makes a loud statement of intent when you walk into it on arrival.

The food has always been the thing with Lasan, but to me it had sadly dipped in its importance and felt as if it was trading on past awards and praise. Ruth and I hadn’t been for awhile, says it all really.

Now, in its reincarnation the vigour feels like its back. I feel an excitement return like the days of old. Hopes have stirred.

The Popadoms have always been some of the best in the city, but often the sauces have let them down. Not now, the pineapple one is one of the nicest small bowls of food you can taste anywhere, the mint sauce was superb. Popadoms, Crisp. They come with three Pani Puri, tiny morsels of chickpeas and tamarind to be eaten in one go. They are lovely.

My starter of Ananas Paneer, Pineapple infused Paneer, garlic and onion seeds, textures of beetroot highlighted the point to me where majestic cooking can make a simple sounding dish sing, lovely flavours, the Paneer perfectly cooked so that it soaked the delectable gentle pineapple, not sweet but holding a well balanced flavour. A stunning dish perfectly presented.

My main course Shakarkand Kofta, followed the same line, roasted sweet potato kofta roundels were gently simmered in a yoghurt and turmeric sauce. Again the execution of the dish showed the simple art (for some) of presenting simple ingredients and spices to perfection. The kofta roundels sparkled in their gently spiced sauce with overlapping flavours punching the taste buds with a soft delicacy that was quite enrapturing.

Two sides were chosen to have with the kofta, both complimented the main course perfectly. The Gobi Angara, tandoori roasted cauliflower sautéed with Nigella scented onion masala. A knock out side with a stunning complex earthy flavour.

The Nigiri Paneer, soft Paneer, slow cooked spinach and fenugreek nilgiri korma sauce which was also beautifully cooked and both sides made perfect additions to the kofta main course.

I’m overexcited by desert. The Beetroot Halwa, a clean precise plate of refreshment that engulfs and rewards with every slither. Caramelised nuts apples, pistachio ice cream create a delicious combination of flavours with the earthy Beets. Gentle notes of harmony with lovely contrasting textures, A charming pudding of classy and sophisticated pleasure.

Lasan’s food is ambitious, made to a higher standard than the norm, harmonious flavours, quality ingredients, perfectly cooked and spiced, in a polished, relaxing dining room that has a touch of luxury about it.

The attentive, well informed service simmers gently and is relaxed.

The vegetarian dishes sing, refined spiced perfectly each ingredient can be deciphered from the next.

For lovers of fine food and a dapper and quietly amazing food experience it’s comforting in my world that when all else in my life has changed in the last year beyond comprehension Lasan is now truly back in pole position of Birmingham’s Indian food scene and the world is better for it.

Thanks for reading,

Andy 😊

The beautiful recommended bottle of red wine enjoyed on the night. Sadly not on the menu.

<<<<<<<<<<<<<
Fulford and Lasan for the invite and Paul and fellow Brummie blogger Laura from Bite Our Brum for the company. All food and drink was complimentary.

All opinions and photos of the food are my own. The photos of the restaurant and bar are courtesy of Lasan with thanks.

For Laura's blog

https://t.co/ztvfni9Pvk

Lasan, 3-4 Dakota Buildings, James Street, off St Paul's Square, Birmingham B3 1SD.

https://lasan.co.uk/

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Hotel Chocolat opens new store on Birmingham New Street with chocolate cafe and Vegan chocolate Christmas range.


’Tis the season to be jolly and it ‘Tis the season for chocolate. Well maybe. Though it’s certainly the season to over indulge on the good things in life and that includes Vegans too.

Luxury British chocolatier and cocoa grower, Hotel Chocolat, has announced the opening of a brand new store in Birmingham New Street, This latest addition, which opened on the 8th November forms part of the company’s boutique portfolio that boasts locations across the UK, Channel Islands and Europe.

Located slap bang outside the Frankfurt German Market its certainly has the location for a top break from the shopping place to unwind.

This latest opening continues the company’s strong design ethos that successfully marries the dual personalities of Hotel Chocolat – namely the sophisticated, fashion-led side of its stylish products and the earthy, authentic aspects of a hands-on cocoa grower. CEO, Angus Thirlwell explains, “Each and every one of our stores is designed to be a real sanctuary for our guests, which connects with the escapism of Hotel Chocolat – so we go to great lengths to ensure they are restful, elegant places that are easy to navigate. But we also want them to reflect that we are one of the world’s few cocoa growing chocolatiers, which is why you’ll find weathered wooden cabinets going hand in hand with sleek, polished surfaces.”

At Hotel Chocolat you’ll find everything from elegant gift boxes of chocolate to your everyday chocolate fix, all made according to our mantra – More Cocoa, Less Sugar – for a satisfying cocoa hit. Our house white chocolate contains 36% cocoa – more than you’ll find in many milk chocolates – while our house milks are 40% and 50% and our house dark is 70%.

That’s not to mention our range of rare and vintage chocolate bars, which includes single-origin chocolates made with premium cocoa from around the world, and even single-côte chocolate – made with beans from a specific terroir, or growing environment – the cocoa content of which can be up to 100%.

Looking for something unusual? For fans of a particular drink there are our cocoa-infused interpretations such as Cocoa Gin and Cocoa Beer, or our new teaolat: a light, all-natural infusion that blends herbs, spices and cacao shells for a refreshing cuppa that’s tailored to your mood.

Meanwhile, foodies will love experimenting with the range of sweet and savoury condiments, including Spiced Cocoa Nib Ketchup, Cocoa Balsamic and Chocolate Orange Marmalade.

You can also set down your Christmas shopping bags and take a weight off at the café, over a range of drinks such as hot chocolat’s, Coffee Chocolat Lattes and teaolat, as well as snacks including an irresistible seven types of brownies.

With ten types of hot chocolate including the divine sounding salted caramel, there’s plenty of choice.

The Birmingham New Street café is also featuring their NEW cocoa nib Ice Cream of the Gods, which is exclusive to select stores only. Infused with St Lucian Theobroma cocoa nibs, direct translation ‘cacao, food of the gods’.

Their will also be fifteen Vegan items in stock in the build up to Christmas. Hotel Chocolat are building up their range.

You can also have Vegan friendly chocolate in your drinks (darker percentages) with coconut milk been the alternative milk served.

Birmingham New Street café opened on 8th November and there will be a customer shopping day on 17th November. Visitors to the store on customer shopping day will be treated to free chocolate samples, as well as café samples and 15% off throughout the store. That’s as well as being able to discover the range of new season chocolates.

www.hotelchocolat.com

Thanks for reading,

Andy😊

Thanks to Hotel Chocolat for the details and all photos are theirs apart from the external shots of the cafe which are my own.

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


I could live here.

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

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

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

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

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

Bubble and Squeak dish.

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

pumpkins, pumpkins pumpkins.

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks for reading,

Andy 😊

We paid in full.

Thanks to Alasdair for the hospitality.

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

No reservations taken.

Served 9.30-2.30pm

Open Wednesday through to Sunday. Day times only.

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

Restaurant Review: Tom’s Kitchen, Mailbox, Birmingham. A chic, smart place for veggies.


So once more Ruth and I were let out of the house together, as parenting duties were suspended for the evening. Not only were we let out but we ambled up to the big smoke (City Centre) nosebleeds in tow and wondered how long it may have been since we ate together in the city centre. Awhile in fact is the answer, so bless Tom’s Kitchen for having us and been trusting with our rusty city etiquette.

I’ve known a few Tom’s in my time. Sound as a pound chaps who’ve been reliable and good to hang around with. My son likes the Tank Engine chap and he says he’s cool so that’s ok with me, though that Controller chap I’m not sure of to be fair.

This Tom is Michelin Starred Tom Aitkens. You may remember him from The Great British Menu. Other outposts of the restaurant are in London and Istanbul.

Tom’s Kitchen in The Mailbox is a natty place. It has a Chic feel, step inside to cosy booths, dark wood, a sophisticated feel and a nice warm atmosphere and you have the makings of a good meal. With its dim lighting It has a nice romantic feel too which gives it an edge in an area of more vociferous chains and pale imitation Food. In fact Ruth and I felt relaxed as soon as we entered.

I start with the insanely good Macaroni Cheese with added Truffle. Loveliness in a warming bowl, not made for pretty photos but a depth of rich cheese, with that just perfect hint of truffle running through, An ingredient when overdone can slam bam ruin a dish in one foul swoop, trust me! A dish to devour and then devour it again, a comfort food award winner, though annoyed i didn’t order any bread to mop up the runaway cheese. Humph!

Now, here’s the thing. I’m not one to order a mostly cold salad like dish in the evening. I’m more of a lunch time punter for that accolade. But then I go and do it. Why? Oh why? Because in this instant I fancied been a revolutionary soul in my own skin. Away from my son, anything goes. Well only if it’s veggie or vegan.

The dish in question was the Courgette Dukkah, fennel and Turmeric. A zingy dish of complex flavours that had a lovely Summery taste. The Dukkah, breadcrumbed courgettes that added a warmth to the cooling salad with fennel. A lovely dish that was well worth diverting from the norm for.

Some quality shared chips.

And, afterwards Chocolate and peanut butter Marquise.

Chocolate decadence, sticky, beautiful and rich with the good things in life. Eat it slow as it’s too nice to rush. Taste it and sigh.

Staff were lovely. Though we sat early evening for dinner we didn’t feel rushed or pressurised to order quickly. Enthusiastic, professional service goes a long way.

There were some grumbles. I’d like to see a vegetarian main course dish on the specials, especially with the abundance of fresh veg produce in Autumn and maybe the mains themselves (apart from

The Dukkah) could be a bit more adventurous and vary and not just follow the burger (though I hear it’s seriously good) or risotto route, though I’m not doubting they would be lovely examples of two fine dishes and well worth trying.

Tom’s Kitchen is an excellent and smart restaurant. The use of fresh seasonal produce is done well. The veggie dishes have simple bold flavours which show off the key ingredients well and demonstrate a real skill in the kitchen.

The dishes follow a British staples line and are comfort food made well. I like the fact the portions are generous and the wine list is excellent and offers good choices that compliment the dishes.

The added cocktail menu that included for us a superb Negroni and dry Gin Martini, are good examples of the quality on offer. They were both done well.

I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Tom’s Kitchen for Vegetarians. Especially if you

are with meat eaters it’s a good choice to make everyone happy and with dishes made well and changing seasonally it’s well worth discovering.

We also drank a delicious glass of Trebbiano and Sangiovese. Top notch wines.

Thanks for reading.

Andy 😊

Thanks to the lovely PR company Rewired for the invite, and for their patience with the arrangements. Our food and drinks were complimentary (at the restaurants discretion) and all opinions made are my own.

https://www.tomskitchen.co.uk/en/birmingham/restaurant/

Tom’s Kitchen, 53 The Mailbox, Wharf side street, Birmingham, B1 1RE.

In Praise of: Hampton Manor in Hampton in Arden. 


If awards are given for hard work and patience then Peels Restaurant at Hampton Manor in Hampton in Arden, just outside of Birmingham deserve their Michelin Star awarded in 2016 (and retained in 2017) more than anyone. This exquisite hotel is a beautiful place to stay and eat in as Ruth and I found in late 2015.

At that time we believed the food was worthy of a star but it was only a year later that the award was bestowed upon them.

Peels Restaurant at Hampton Manor uses ingredients well, provenance to ingredients, well constructed dishes, thoughtful menu that demonstrated a kitchen in The groove.

Sumptuous rooms, comfortable and beautifully presented, with a thoughtful design to the past but highlighting modern touches and character of the building.

Hampton manor is a lovely and beautiful independent hotel with some of the best food in The Midlands and beyond.

It’s clever with fresh produce, local and home grown and has a modern refinement that is more contemporary than classical.

The dining room is sumptuously lit which gives a romantic delight to the meal. Dark wood and contemporary wallpaper make it feel grand but relaxed.

Start the evening in the lounge with a glass of champagne or cocktail.

For Vegetarians the food at Peels restaurant is a delight.

Very High standards are presented in the dishes.

The dishes are exciting, intriguing, and innovative, with balanced seasonal

ingredients which showcase the polished and modern ideas. It’s a special place to dine with exceptional service. An essential place for Vegetarians to dine and stay.

Now, there are slight changes afoot, but made for the best in order to take the hotel forward. James and Fjona Hill have ideas to make Hampton Manor more luxurious and inviting.

James says:

‘We’ve come a long way since Mum and Dad opened the doors of our first English pub in 1986. Many years later they let us loose on developing the Manor. Fjona and I were just 26 and it was a daunting task to take on. We have made so many wonderful friends through the business and grown as a family in our vision to steward Hampton Manor for generations to come.

Our conviction is that the house really sparks into life when people gather around the table. Meaningful moments need memorable places. With this in mind, we have taken the decision to make your time around the table our singular focus. Whether you’re coming to enjoy a foodie experience with friends, a landmark celebration, or bringing your innovative company to plan for the future, we’re making some changes to ensure that we deliver the very best hospitality.

Over the last year we have been quietly refurbishing the bedrooms, developing the in-room experience and refining our food and drink offering. Last month we brought together the finishing touches by reimagining the dining room and lobby spaces of the house.  At last it feels like home and the relaxed, creative space that we’ve been working towards.

To make the most of this next chapter our family has reflected on how we can best redesign the business. Our goal has been to give our team the time needed to prepare well and ensure that everything we do enriches your time around the table.  The changes we’re sharing below are the small steps we’re taking to do that.

My Vegetarian four courses menu.

Blueberries

Textures of cauliflower.

Petit fours at Hampton Manor

Cocktails: Gin Martini

Extra cheese course.

The A La Carte menu is being replaced with a choice of two 4 Course menus or the 7 course tasting menu.  

Head chef Rob Palmer has been busy creating new dishes. With the determination to raise the quality even further.

Veggie menus available.

Dinner Available Tuesday to Sunday on a reservation only basis.

From Wednesday 11th October the Parlour doors will swing open and beckon guests into a new afternoon tea experience.

Guests will be invited in at 3pm for a garden-led cocktail, followed by a procession of savoury and sweet creations. Whilst there will be a nod to the traditions – this is an afternoon tea for the foodie. The delicious warm scones will still make an appearance and perhaps even occasionally a very good finger sandwich.

Veggie and vegan options available.

£40 per person. Tuesday – Saturday at 3pm. Reservations only.

Delicious Vegetarian Breakfast at Hampton Manor.

Our Bedroom at Hampton Manor.

The first to stay in it.

Hampton Manor from outside.

The grounds are also stunning with a wildness and sophistication that makes for a cool escape. It’s hard to believe it’s so close to the built up city and provides a home from home that lacks nothing in splendour and relaxation. It’s an outstanding place to stay with joyous food and service to match.

I can’t wait to return.

Thanks for reading,

Andy 😊

Congratulations to Hampton Manor for achieving a Michelin Star in 2017, for a second year running.

Hampton Manor

Shadowbrook lane,

Hampton-in-arden, West Mids B92 0DQ.

United Kingdom.

https://hamptonmanor.com/

All photos taken by myself.

We paid for our stay and food/drinks in full.

The Royal Shakespeare Theatre’s Roof Top restaurant introduces Vegan menu and afternoon Tea in Stratford-Upon-Avon.


‘Do you think because you are virtuous, that there shall be no more cakes and ale?’

Food and Shakespeare are intrinsically

linked. His plays are full of references.

Shakespeare used food and drink as metaphors to create accurate impressions of the times he lived in. For example the quote above from the great Othello play Act 2, scene 3 is one of the best. Often meal times were a recipe for drama.

The scene in Macbeth when the new king invites everyone who’s anyone in Scotland to his table to determine who’s with him and who’s against him, is a good example. He fails to be a good host which shows us he’s unfit to be king.

But on hearing this news from the RSC my eyes didn’t smell onions, and I didn’t weep anon, but quite the opposite in fact.

I’ve eaten at The Roof Top restaurant before a few years ago after a play. To be fair the vegetarian options didn’t inspire me greatly and I felt compared to Ruth’s options a bit short changed.

Not now though.

The Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) has introduced a new Vegan pre-theatre and dinner menu alongside a Vegan afternoon tea at their theatre venue in Stratford-upon-Avon.

Visitors to the Company’s Rooftop Restaurant, which boasts fantastic views across the river Avon, can now enjoy a three-course vegan fixed price menu.

Starters include warm marinated vine tomatoes, roasted baby beets, basil puree and rocket, or giant couscous with red quinoa, fig, toasted almond and red onion salad and pomegranate molasses.

Mains range from Turkish aubergine and chick pea stew with freekeh pilaf, herb salsa and pine nuts, or fusilli with butternut squash, red onion, chestnut mushrooms, fried sage and creamy walnut sauce.

The meal can be rounded off with sloe gin poached pear served with blackcurrant sorbet or Autumn fruit compote with Calvados custard.

Diners can also tuck into a traditional afternoon tea vegan style which includes scones, sandwiches and a range of desserts including dipped chocolate fruit, tartlets and chocolate cake.

A range of specially crafted vegan muffins and croissants are also available from Susie’s Café Bar based at the Company’s The Other Place down the road from the Royal Shakespeare Theatre. The Company also offers an array of gluten free dishes.

Executive Chef, Simon Malin, said: “As with our shows – we are always looking to make our food offer as accessible to as many people as possible – which is why I am excited to introduce our brand-new vegan offer to open up more of the RSC to people looking to have a great shared culinary experience.”

For more information on the RSC’s brand new vegan pre-theatre and dinner menu visit – www.rsc.org.uk/rooftop-restaurant/menus/vegan-and-gluten-free-menus/vegan-pre-theatre-menu<http://www.rsc.org.uk/rooftop-restaurant/menus/vegan-and-gluten-free-menus/vegan-pre-theatre-menu>

For information on the RSC’s new vegan afternoon tea check out – www.rsc.org.uk/rooftop-restaurant/menus/vegan-afternoon-teas<https://www.rsc.org.uk/rooftop-restaurant/menus/vegan-afternoon-teas>

Photo caption:

The RSC’s brand new vegan offer which includes Turkish aubergine and chick pea stew with freekeh pilaf, herb salsa and pine nuts and afternoon tea. Photo credit Sara Beaumont, courtesy of the RSC.

The RSC Vegan pre-theatre menu is served Monday to Saturday from 11.30am-3.30pm and 4.30pm-6.15pm. Two courses are available from £21 or three courses for £26.

RSC vegan afternoon teas are available from 11.30am every day except Saturdays where they are available from 1.30pm to 3pm.

www.rsc.org.uk<http://www.rsc.org.uk/>

So ‘call for dates and quinces in the pastry.’

The RSC are set to be good hosts for Vegetarians and vegans!.

Thanks for reading,

Andy 😊

Last quote from Henry IV Part 2: Act 2, scene 4.

The onions quote from Romeo and Juliet: Act 4, scene 2.

Thanks to the RSC press team for the information and images.

Product Review: Riverford Quick and light organic vegetarian recipe box.


Ruth and I love to cook food from scratch. Even after young Hare has gone to sleep we still do, which quite often results in some late suppers eaten as our eyes dip into the land of nod.

So when Riverford contacted me and asked if I’d like to try an organic vegetable box for Organic Week I jumped at it. I’ve never ordered a veg box before. I don’t know why, but after sampling the two recipes we cooked over that week we’ll be certainly ordering again.

Riverford deliver around 47.000 boxes a week to homes around the UK from their local organic farms.

The good thing about the boxes are that there’s no weekly commitment, you just order when you wish.

With Riverford a box of ingredients arrives and in the case of the Vegetarian quick box for two people a promise of getting food out in just 30 minutes is made. Could this be too good to be true. Sometimes in our house it’s over an hour.

The aim of the box is to cook fresh but taking away the stress of the preparation which includes the chopping of veg. All veg for the two meals is clearly labelled and measured for you, chopped and cut, so you can be on the way quickly. All spices and sauces are individually wrapped and a recipe is provided. And away you go.

The thing that strikes both of us is the quality of the ingredients and vegetables. They smell and feel fresh, the colours are vivid and and some had dirt still on them. The recipe cards were on the top of the box and all the ingredients enclosed in the box as portioned out to match the recipes were used, so no wastage.

The recipe cards or booklets were beautifully produced and very comprehensively put together. The clarity of the instructions and lay out assisted greatly in the artificial light and the step by step instructions were spot on.

We decided to make one dish each.

The first evening Ruth made the Miso Mushrooms with Kale, Green Beans and sticky rice. For me this was my favourite. Lovely flavours, healthy and filling at the same time and maybe not something we’d make usually. It packed a punch and made in 30 minutes just as promised. A very healthy dish where the quality of the ingredients shone through and were showcased perfectly.

The second night was my turn. The beautiful sounding Spinach and lentil Mulligatawny with Apple, carrot and ginger salad.

Again this dish was made in thirty minute, and again the instructions were clear and simple to follow. The dish itself was lovely. Good simple but healthy flavours with the quality ingredients giving the dish a lift. I found it easy to make and the addition of the salad gave a contrasting crunch. In fact the two components of the dish could be eaten separately, but together they certainly complimented and gave a filling effect.

One of us had the salad at the side and one on top of the mulligatawny both ways worked well.

I finished some of the mulligatawny off the next day and the flavours had more of a depth from been chilled over night in the fridge. A lovely dish which we both enjoyed.

What did I think?

Ruth and I both enjoyed the recipe box and recipes. The quick and light vegetarian box was a great success. The recipes were well written, presented beautifully and were completed in the time stated.

The ingredients were of the highest quality and the individual packaging kept them fresh and separate from each other.

I’d advise reading the recipe through before starting cooking but once all of the ingredients are laid out in front of you it’s easy to get going. The meals were full of flavour and filling and low in calories at the same time. For people with little time to make fresh food in the evening or who fancy trying different recipes that they may not normally make the vegetable boxes are an ideal way of treating yourself .

As I’ve said there’s no commitment to buy but you can do so when you feel ready. That’s ideal in my opinion.

The recipe box is perfect for two people and for Vegetarians it’s a lovely way to eat and a fun vibrant way to make and explore new dishes as well.

We’ll definitely be ordering again sometime soon.

Thanks for reading,

Andy😊

I was sent the Riverford quick and light organic vegetarian boxes complimentary for the purposes of my blog review. All opinions stressed are my own and Ruth’s. I have not been paid or sponsored for this post.

The Riverford Vegetarian quick box costs £24.95 for two speedy meals for two people. There is also a 3 meal version for £33.95.

Riverford Organic farmers limited is based in Buckfastleigh in Devon.

Known also for its abbey and homemade drinks made on site.

I know it well.

https://www.riverford.co.uk/

<<<
ted up the next day.

Architect-turned photographer to stage first exhibition at Bar Opus.


Bar Opus this year has demonstrated its support to promoting local artists in its bar through events and exhibitions. They are due to launch their final one of the year this month.

The man who helped to drive city centre redevelopment in Birmingham has joined forces with Bar Opus the leading independent city bar, to stage an exhibition of his

photographs.

Philip Singleton’s Pause Project, which features 12 images of buildings that are in a state of transition, is the third art exhibition that the bar at One Snowshill

has showcased this year in support of local talent.

Philip, the former CEO of Millennium Point and assistant director of city centre development at Birmingham City Council, is studying for a Masters in photography at

the Falmouth University Institute of Photography and says he is looking forward to unveiling his atmospheric images on September 20th.

With a background in architecture and urban development, Philip says his interest in photography grew out of considering the architectural metamorphosis across the

city.

“Birmingham has to be one of the most rapidly changing cities in the country and is a master at reinventing itself,” he said. “I wanted to capture and document what

is happening and have been able to gain access to spaces that are private or hidden away. These aren’t architectural studies; instead, I’ve focused on another layer of the empty, melancholic spaces that people leave behind.”

The photographs include an empty cell in Steelhouse Lane police station; the safe deposit boxes in the former Municipal Bank in Broad Street; the industrial units

at Icknield Port Loop; and the BCU Conservatoire, which has been demolished to make way for the new Paradise development.

To further cement the exhibition’s connection to the city, Philip used Digbeth-based photographic developers Palm Laboratories and framers Harris Moore to create the exhibition.

“Bar Opus has given me a tremendous opportunity to exhibit my work and it has been incredibly generous in its support,” said Philip. “It’s great that a high-quality

independent business in the city is helping emerging local artists and I’m excited to have my works exhibited there in the Colmore BID.”

Irene Allen, Opus director, said: “2017 has been a transformational year for us as we’ve sought to bring the work of local artists into Bar Opus. We’ve enjoyed giving a platform to some incredible artists and our last exhibition of the year is another fascinating study, documenting spaces that we don’t normally see. We’ve no doubt that they’ll be a real talking point for our customers.”

Since the beginning of the year, Bar Opus has showcased the work of internationally renowned artist Sophie Hedderwick, art from Birmingham-born innovators Key & Tam, the creative duo behind LOWLFE, and Birmingham artist and owner of Disorder Boutique Mark Howard.

For more information on Bar Opus, visit

www.baropus.co.ukThe work that both Opus Restaurant and Bar Opus do to support and promote local individuals and issues should be commended and I hope this exhibition is very successful. Take a look next time your around the city centre. And enjoy lunch or a drink too.

Thanks for reading,

Andy 😊

Restaurant Review: Raja Monkey, Birmingham.


Birmingham’s current fondness for all things Indian Street Food is in a word becoming interesting though maybe the beginning of its undoing. With two new street food places due to open before Autumn snuggles into Winter, and one recent one Indian Streatery doing well in the centre of Birmingham, you may easily forget the original cafe in Brum that is the funky Raja Monkey.

Owned by the good kids of the Lasan group it strikes one instantly of the organisation and sophistication of its big brother Lasan (though on a smaller more intimate street food scale). Here you find the same high quality ingredients, the same beautiful attentive, polite and obliging service, and the same attention to detail in the cooking, that has heralded lasan as one of best, if not the best Indian palace of gastronomy in Birmingham.

The dishes are simpler here at the roadside Dhaba like Raja Monkey and more authentic.

The dishes show a vibrant complexity of flavours, spicing and cooking that is the sale of the century when you tally it with the price of the dishes.

To say the food is outstanding is in a way to undersell the joy that I experienced. I’ve been before (with Ruth) and salivated over the veggie Thalis and supreme dosas. And yes I’ve eaten so many takeaways from these guys that I’d hate to count up the total bill. Yet compared to some other more recent openings on the Indian Street Food trail Raja Monkey is the Manchester United to the Aston Villa (and I’m a villa fan). One that others should learn from in its effortless simplicity and devotion to the diner having a fine night out.

On this occasion my dining partner wasn’t Ruth, but a guy called Paul (Ruth did know where I was, so I wasn’t dodging fatherly duties, but then I may have been slightly!)

To say Raja Monkey is intimate is an understatement though it’s size doesn’t detract from the comfort of the comfortable long bench seats that recreates the informal rustic street food cafe look well. The walls adorned with retro pictures and artefacts with the faint sound of Indian music in the distance conjures up the road side cafe image it sets out to be.

The food is influenced by the Southern Indian cuisine of the continent.

Set off from the busy Stratford Road in the Hall Green part of Birmingham, Raja Monkey greets and meets that neighbourhood eatery concept well.

The Popodoms or Papads we ate whilst looking at the menu were crisp, served with a deliciously sweet yogurt Raita that had a delicious flavour.

I ate a Samosa Chaat, Chickpeas, potatoes, fried samosa pastry, served cold, piled high, with a soothing spicing that tickled the mouth and danced in the club of classic curry dishes and then somehow betters them making you sigh and dip into your cold beer with joy. An instant satisfying joy.

I also tried the Pau Bhaji, a deeply satisfying Street Food snack of mashed veg Bhaji with roasted pau buns, brioche like with uplifting flavours and spicing made with panache. A very satisfying starter.

We both moved onto a Vegetable Kadai a melange of veggies in a masaledar gravy. Colourful crunchy vegetables with an appetising appearance. Rich with tomatoes, a good chilli heat gave the veg a rich textured flavour that rewarded generously.

Mopped up with an appreciative Roti it was a sensational dish of perfect spicing and immaculate cooking.

A delight of a vegetarian curry.

To finish, a lip smacking soft and spongy Rasmalai was enjoyed. A melt in your mouth texture, and the perfect refreshing pallet cleanser after a spicy curry.

A pudding of pure joy.

Raja Monkey Excels with its Brilliant Vegetarian cooking. They make use of quality ingredients and thoughtful spicing with an artistic touch of sophistication, all without the pomp. It’s self confident and on a Tuesday night the food hit the curry longing spot like a Romalau Lukaku shot on the turn.

Raja Monkey always been good, but to be honest now It excels.

For a sublime, but informal curry with a great value price maybe it can’t be beaten in Birmingham and for Vegetarians if it’s not on your list of places to visit or revisit then I’m afraid you don’t deserve promotion to the Premier league.

A true road side cafe.

Thanks for reading,

Andy 😊

<

Thanks to Paul Fulford for the invite to dine with him at Raja Monkey. My food and drink was complimentary but all views expressed are my own.

Our Food was washed down by a couple of Cobra lagers.

Raja Monkey, 1355 Stratford Road, Hall Green, Birmingham, B28 9HH.

<<<<<<<<<<<<<
commend a take away from Raja Monkey. Menu on website.

http://www.rajamonkey.co.uk/

My previous review is here:

https://www.google.co.uk/amp/s/vegiefoodie.com/2015/01/23/raja-monkey-authentic-indian-street-food-in-birmingham/amp/

#TastyMorsels: Veggie and Vegan happenings.


Mowgli Street Food is opening at Grand Central by the end of September, offering simple Indian street food.

YouTube Vlogger Nisha Katona owns the restaurant which originated in Liverpool.

Mowgli will opening in the centres casual dining area next to Tapas Revolution and Pho. Serving home style fresh food including tiffin boxes.

Mowgli sets itself up as taste of adventure with their famous yogurt chat Bombs at the heart of the menu.

The menu will include many vegan dishes and will now doubt be popular amongst veggies and vegans in Birmingham.

A healthy mix of good food and fun atmosphere awaits.

Watch this space for more news as I know it.

Laghi’s Deli has just opened on Islington Row just off Five Ways island.

Italian delights a plenty, home made breads, cakes, homemade pasta you name it it’s here. They also do Aperativi. The aperitivo period after work in Italy when for the price of a cocktail or wine finger foods can be enjoyed alongside. So try focaccia, olives or cheese maybe. Heaven! Is there a finer time in Italy? From 5-7pm

Oh and good coffee…but of course.

They also stock an impressive range of wine.

The 40 cover restaurant bar is open for brunch, lunch and dinner.

Expect a visit from me, to sample their wares, at some point… could be the Italian gaff I’ve been dreaming of for Brum!

At last.

Laghi’s is open from 8am-11.30pm Mondays to Saturdays.

Vegan Mex it Up are presenting An American Affair on Saturday 30th September at The Pie Shop in Stirchley on the Pershore Road.

The menu is below:

Booking via info@mexitupfoods.com

The Vegan Cakery will be providing the desert.

Mex it up have also been nominated for best vegan caterer. You can vote for them below.

https://london.vegfest.co.uk/awards/vote/

As mentioned in the previous Tasty Morsels, The Indian Streatery is now open for business with a great selection of veggie and Vegan dishes. The menu is below:

Find it on Hill Street just off New Street in Birmingham City Centre.

I Can’t wait to try it out.

Las Iguanas opened on Temple Street in the city centre on the 28th August. The Latin American themed restaurant has many vegetarian dishes and a devoted Vegan menu on offer. Plus 2-4-1 cocktails all day every day. They are also still open in The Arcadian area of Brum.

Tamatanga.

Anther new Indian Street Food eatery is due to open in Birmingham City Centre on Navigation Street this month. Tamatanga is Nottingham based for over ten years and is now opening up a flag ship restaurant in Brum. Authentic Indian dishes will be served all day including breakfast and the restaurant will be completely family friendly.

Open from 7.30am food will include breakfast items and thali’s and small plates, 3 dishes for £15 and five for £23.

Veggie Dishes include Chaat, veg samosas, chilli paneer and a dish called ragda Pattice, crispy potato cakes on masala yellow peas, with homemade chutneys.

Cocktails are also served.

They will have crayons, high chairs and kids menus.

Sounds a brilliant family restaurant.

Can’t wait to try it.

Vegetarian restaurant Bistro 1847 are offering 50% off in Birmingham this month (September). For tables up to 4 people, when booking quote September50 in the comments section online and receive the deal on their a la Carte menu.

Sounds veggie and vegan heaven to me.

Photo AH

And another new kid on the block is Grit -Food and Drink- opening at the space in the Jewellery Quarter vacated later this month by the excellent Two Cats Kitchen.

The former Jewellery workshop on Warstone lane will be serving affordable quality food from an A la Carte menu. More neighbourhood restaurant than fine fine dining a sample menu highlights some lovely sounding veggie dishes such as caramelised cauliflower, scorched salad , truffle, cheddar and sunflower seed. Using some of the old Two Cats team this opening sounds right nip my street and offers the type of food I love.

Can’t wait, Standby for more details when I have them.

Open October 17th.

And finally Brewdog in Birmingham have a showcase and meet the brewer on Friday September 8th with Kings Heath, Vegan Brewery Glasshouse Beer Co.

Showcasing 4 beers, Vermont Pale, IPA, Choccy Milk, and Stout and Raspberry Pale.

A Brewery to keep an eye on, but of course I’m biased.

Oh, and Ben and Jerry’s are now selling Vegan ice Cream across U.K. Supermarket s. Check out the flavours below. Enjoy.

That’s all for now folks.

Thanks for reading,

Andy 😊

All images and photos courtesy of restaurants and breweries apart from where stated.