Review: Marmalade: Bistro at The Birmingham Rep Theatre


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I’m not prone to visit a new restaurant within its early days of opening, due to
the potential to either be vastly disappointed or underwhelmed by the package presented.

So it was with some trepidation that Ruth and I visited Bitters N’ Twisted’s Marmalade’s in its first week ( its first proper night after a soft launch) seduced by the much trumpeted vegetarian dishes and a bargain 50% off opening week deal. Based at the Birmingham Rep Theatre near the ICC building/Symphony Hall and on Broad Street.

On entering we were quietly relieved to see that the old style of theatre dining had disappeared. A Nondescript, dull, quietness had been replaced by a modern, funky, wooden, quite cosy feeling space, that had all the hallmarks of other Bitters N Twisted venues. (Bodega, Jekyll and Hyde, Rose Villa Tavern to name just three).

I liked the room, long tables, small tables, good lighting, large windows, a bit like Bodega, but unique too the brand too. It had potential to be buzzy when busy.

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The Bistro was quite busy when we got there, though the pre theatre guests would be engrossed in their play and the night was quite cold.

We were seated in a cosy corner and perished the menu. Service initially was quite slow, but generally improved as the night went on. Though it felt decidedly chilly and without a personable touch, more functional with little enthusiasm compared with say Bodega. Not fitting for a restaurant in its opening days, where you may expect that touch.

One must not grumble though, it’s early days, and this is something to work on.

We ordered a couple of drinks. Ruth a white wine me a Mojito. My cocktail was good, a good touch of rum, refreshing, sweet, what you would expect.

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So onto the food.

We decided to order one of Marmalade’s small plate options to share along with some bread.

We ordered the stone bread basket, homemade butters (Balsamic and Thyme, Fig and Rosemary, and sun dried tomato) plus the Charred Kale, caramelised swede, coconut, cranberries, walnuts.

The bread we felt wasn’t as fresh as it could have been. It was ok. The butters didn’t taste of any ingredients in the description and were disappointing as we were looking foreword to trying them. Great idea though.

The Kale dish looked impressive, pretty on the plate. It was delicious, the crunch of the kale against the soft swede and blended into a coconut sauce felt quite Thai or Malaysian, subtly spiced and a good plate of food, and with the bread for dipping into the creamy coconut a good mix. For £7.25 good value shared with another sharing plate dish as a taster.

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To follow I ordered the tasty sounding
Roast Aubergine, lentil, feta, Basil
Leaves, chick peas, croutons, curry oil, raisins, shiitake mushrooms salad. (A long title).

Which when it arrived didn’t look anything like the press release photographs, but was covered in rocket/salad which his the beautiful bright colours of the chick peas, lentils and aubergine, as if it was embarrassed by them. Shame. It was that presentation that grabbed me.

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The official photo.

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How it was presented.

On the whole though the taste of the dish was very good. Lovely flavours running through it, it felt healthy, warming, the chick peas, lentils, mushrooms and aubergine gave it a bite and vitality and with the toasted croutons made for a filling warm salad. I enjoyed it.

It would make a good starter (and is available as such) promising and with two other vegetarian main dishes plenty to return to, including a lovely sounding vegetable crumble with tofu.

We also ordered a good side portion of chips which were good.

Ruth ordered cod fish and chips which was she said ok, cooked well but a bit bland and unseasoned, and served with a small portion of chips, hence the extra portion ordered.

For desert we decided to share the brilliant sounding Repertory Mess- almond meringue, coffee sponge, whipped cream, raspberries, and blue berries.

It was ok, good in fact until we came across (about half way down) the cloying and overpowering coffee soaked sponge, and then a good mess became a tiramisu, a bit confused, we liked half of the pudding, but was left with an after taste of coffee not fruit and meringue. A shame.

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So on the whole Marmalade was a good experience. It has massive potential. Credit is deserved and due for the varied and from what I tasted good vegetarian dishes. A lot of work has been put into them and thinking of us veggies as an important diner. They show a progression and trend for a varied tastes, textures, and ingredients. Yet, maybe a curates egg on the day I visited.

The service was only ok, no one checked whether we enjoyed the food, no one checked how the veggie dishes were, no market research, not a great deal of enthusiasm but always polite.

I liked the space though, the decor, lighting and potential and I did return to enjoy a fine flat white the next day in the bar, and service there was much better.

So maybe a return visit in a few months, once things have settled down. Those veggie dishes deserve to be discovered. Theirs lots to like about Marmalade, the cocktails, the varied and imaginative menu, the pre theatre deal, and there’s some things to work on.

That’s normal at this stage, so perhaps I should have waited a little longer? But then I’ve always loved Marmalade…

See you again.

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Marmalade Bistro Bar
Birmingham Rep Theatre
Broad Street
Birmingham
B1 2EP

0121 245 2080

http://www.marmaladebirmingham..co.uk

@marmaladebirmingham

Facebook/ marmaladebham

Has anyone visited Marmalade yet? What did you think? Let me know your thoughts via the comments below and in Twitter @andydhare

Thanks for reading.

Andy 😊

We ate at Marmalade with 50% off the bill. The other 50% we paid for. My opinions are my own, honest as always.

I also drunk a delicious Brew Dog Punk IPA. Part of a good selection of craft beers on offer at Marmalade.

Three official photos courtesy of Marmalade and Bitters N’ Twisted

Thanks.

#CoffeeTime: Cherry Reds-Kings Heath &Birmingham City Centre


Cherry Reds have two independent cafe bars in Birmingham. One in Kings Heath near my house on York Road just off the high street and one in Birmingham City Centre on John Bright Street near New Street Station and opposite Brew Dog craft beer bar.

Both branches are intimate and quirky, with friendly staff, good alternative music and lots of charm. Try vintage furniture, comfy sofas, mismatched of course, vintage signage and a keen and developing craft beer range at the bar.

Cherry Reds are fantastic for vegetarians and vegans, they do gluten free cakes and all their food is made on the premises. From breakfasts, both veggie and vegan. Veg sausage sandwiches, Halloumi and mushroom sandwiches, jackets, salads, falafel burgers, and a falafel, Halloumi, and roast veg burger that I haven’t yet tried Cherry Reds has a bounty of veggie snacks and bites. They do pop ups, both Pika Pika (Japanese) on the second Monday of the month in Kings Heath and Taco Tuesday’s (soon to be relaunched) are fantastic nights, and great for veggies.

In the last few weeks I’ve been to both for coffee. I’ve eaten in Cherry Reds in Kings Heath before, both for Pika Pika Pop up (back in February) and Taco Tuesday, as well as lunch with Ruth.

During the course of the day in Kings Heath as on John Bright Street, Cherry Reds caters for differing food needs from all day breakfasts to burgers and craft beer.

The Kings Heath cafe bar is smaller, more homely, more intimate. This can be good and bad depending on how busy the bar is. Tables are rarer to find at busy times, but in the day it’s quieter especially in the afternoon after lunch the time that I enjoyed a Flat White and lovely chocolate brownie.

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The Flat white was well made, creamy and very enjoyable, but the brownie which I’ve eaten before is gorgeous, soft, rich, home made. A lovely chocolate flavour and a lovely balance to the flat white coffee and chocolate. Can’t go wrong.

I’ve also eaten lunch at Cherry Reds on York Road and shared a lovely and generous vegetarian sharer platter with falafel, olives, Humous, salsa, red pepper, and Halloumi, crudités, bread and delicious home made chips.

I recommend this dish for a lovely relaxing lunch or evening out with a couple of craft beers, ideal for sharing in a very chilled cafe bar.

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The Cherry Reds on John Bright Street is the larger and younger brother of the Kings Heath cafe bar. Set over two floors it sits on the corner proud and welcoming.

Exposed brickwork, mismatched vintage furniture, the themes and tones are the same but it’s less intimate, more spacious with more tables and room for an evening food and drinks fest. It has the same menu,

I enjoyed a delicious cappuccino creamy, warming, with chocolate on the top, no cake on this occasion but I do recommend their cupcakes. Veggie and vegan friendly. A delight.

Every last Monday of the month John Bright Street house a different food pop up, sometimes street food.

Delize Italian gave just completed a night with good veggie options and hopefully will do more in the future.

Both Cherry Reds do cocktails, again recommended, and wine. Look out on their website for cocktail nights, blues nights and food pop ups.

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Cherry Reds are independent and their aim is to provide great food and drink in a relaxed and cosy space. The atmosphere is laid back, snug, with friendly genuine service.

From 4-7pm Cherry Reds offer 2 4 1 cocktails every day, draught Beers, ciders, lagers, all very eclectic, all in a laid back way. Both are popular for different reasons, my local Kings Heath cafe bar almost feels like my long lost back room.

Cherry Reds also offer Independent Birmingham Membership card holders a free pint of ale, lager, cider or draught soft drink with every main meal ordered. (Including burgers and breakfasts)

Try them, they are brilliant for vegetarians and vegans, some of the best range of food in Birmingham.

All food and drink consumed at Cherry Reds has been paid for by me, enjoyed by me and thus my opinions are honest, and by me as always.

Cherry Reds
16 York Road,
Kings Heath,
Birmingham,
B14 7RZ

0121 441 3155

Facebook: CherryReds

Twitter: @Ilovecherryreds

Cherry Reds cafe bar
92 John Bright Street
Birmingham,
01216435716

Thanks for reading

@andydhare

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Vegetarian sharing platter and Pika Pika Pop up.

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#VeggieSundayLunch: The Plough Harborne


The Plough in Harborne, in South Birmingham has a village feel and is filled with quirky independent details. It has a buzzy atmosphere and is well known by people in the know for its fresh homemade food, its Sunday Lunch and its coffee.

In fact it’s Sunday lunch has won the Times newspaper award for best Sunday Lunch in the region.

On a Sunday The Plough serves a Hearty brunch from 9am-12.30. Including a lovely looking vegetarian breakfast and numerous other veggie delights. The Sunday lunch is served from 1pm until they are gone. It is advisable to book as the restaurant was busy throughout our visit.

So it was for Sunday Lunch that Ruth and I ventured to The Plough.

For me-to try the the holy grail of vegetarian dishes-the vegetarian roast dinner.

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The Plough has a homely industrial feel about it. The design adds character and a modern distressed look to the wooden furniture that has a rustic cared for look. I liked the decor, the quirky vintage, potted plants and funky signs.

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The Plough has been praised for its Sunday lunch menu, it’s popular judging by how busy the restaurant and bar was and also for its coffee in its own right. A destination for #Coffeetime itself.

For me the vegetarian Sunday roast contours up images of home cooked food, Christmases, and family gatherings. That Cosy feel, tempting aroma and warming taste.

Vegetarians often get bypassed on a Sunday. Restaurants and pubs, prefer wrongly to provide soggy pasta, or a bland mushroom risotto into veggie punters. An irritation not a discerning foodie in their own right. They don’t take the time to create and test a dish that will bring vegetarians in and send them home happy. Satisfied.

Not the Plough-no not The Plough.

Ruth and I were seated near to the coffee action centre as I call it. The coffee station, on going entertainment for me. An area of action.

We both chose the veggie starter.

The Spicy Watercress Soup.

It arrived Served on a wooden board, in a lovely sunny blue bowl, the green of the watercress on the blue. The flavours of the soup were spot on, the gentle peppery bite of the watercress packed a punch and made for a warming soup and a lovely starter, served with good homemade crusty bread.

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For her roast Ruth chose the Beef. Which she loved. A generous plate of food, that was a class above the average.

I chose the veggie Apricot Stuffing roast.

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The roast looked stunning on arrival. A plate full of food. The Roast was delicious. The Apricot stuffing inside the outer crust of the roast, moist, subtle flavours, well seasoned and an element of harmony in the construction.

So many veggie roasts are overdone, overworked, and over flavoured. The Plough’s veggie roast was perfectly cooked, with the apricots adding a glamorous flavour that made the dish more exotic, enticing.

The best I’d had outside of my family home.

It was served with a creamy swede mash, and a delicious pea filled Yorkshire pudding and a braised red cabbage that was lovely, always a winner with me.

We both agreed to have a pudding, well it was Sunday.

Ruth chose the ice cream cone. Which we both thought was a cool vintage idea. She enjoyed her cone.

I ordered the fresh lemon and meringue cheesecake which though looked lovely was a disappointment when tasted. In part because their was too much biscuit and not enough lemon and meringue. The biscuit seemed unhappy being there, too cloying and not in proportion to the lemon which had a good flavour. A shame.

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We both felt we should order some coffee as we were being enticed by the coffee station. Try some it kept saying.

We both ordered a double espresso. They packed a punch, both superbly made. I will be back to try more.

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The Plough has recently introduced a new whisky list of rare and international Whiskies to compliment the large Scottish list they have already. It’s a stunningly large list. Very impressive.

I was advised to try the Swedish MackMyra single malt, so we ordered one of those and one of the complex Ardbeg 10 year single malt from the Islay region of Scotland. Which we shared.

The Ardbeg had a complex malty and peaty flavour that was exuberant and in your face, but for Islay lovers like ourselves its s great choice.

I didn’t realise Sweden made whisky so this was a treat. The MackMyra single Malt had a fresh nutty flavour, light in colour, with a lingering finish and slightly lemony. A nice gentle floral whisky and a lovely contrast to the peaty Ardbeg. Well recommended for something different.

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We also drank two glasses of white wine and a pint and half of Purity ale.

The Plough was full of people in the know. The staff and service was charming throughout, young and enthusiastic and happy.

The plough gets pretty busy so booking on a Sunday is advised. The atmosphere was relaxed and friendly, a mixture of families with small children, families without children, couples and friend groups.

For my first Vegetarian Sunday Lunch review the Plough sets the standard and maybe won’t be beaten on quality, touch and care. It’s worth spending a bit more. It’s worthwhile in the Plough’s case.

The king of the veggie Sunday roast.

Kick back and try for yourself and take your meat eating friends and family too.

They will love it.

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The Plough Harborne,
21 High Street,
Harborne,
Birmingham
B17 9NT

0121 427 3678

http://www.theploughharborne.co.uk

Facebook/plough.harborne

@ploughharborne

We were invited by The Plough Harborne as guests to try their Sunday Lunch menu. All food and drink was complimentary but I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are my own and honest as always.

Many thanks to Dan the restaurant manager for looking after us.

Has anyone had a good veggie Sunday lunch anywhere else? If its good then I will try and visit.

Have you tried the Plough Sunday lunch what did you think?

Thanks for reading,

Andy 😊

@andydhare

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Raja Monkey: authentic Indian street food in Birmingham


Raja Monkey is in Hall Green in the south part of Birmingham. It’s the small brother in the Lasan Group which includes award winning Lasan and Argentinian Fiesta Del Asada.

It’s based on the true indian road cafe that is found traditionally providing soul food around the old atmospheric streets of India. It’s rustic, colourful, and vibrant filled with a cosy charm of charming service and delicious harmonious cooking aromas.

It has a relaxed feel, like a cafe with a difference, you can feel the quality of the cooking just by being there and knowing the Lasan reputation.

You notice the open kitchen with chefs making dosas, and content in their craft. It makes for a fun atmosphere, making you feel almost part of the kitchen.

The menu includes traditional street food, Dosa’s, Thali’s and snack like starters, ideal for grazing.

For vegetarians it’s paradise, with so many tempting dishes to choose from.

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The restaurant is on the Stratford Road opposite Waitrose in Hall Green nestled amongst a few shops.

On a midweek night Ruth and I braved the snowy air and the freezing temperatures and walked into Raja Monkey to find a cosy and warm hearted place. We had never eaten inside the restaurant before, but had enjoyed numerous take aways since it opened.

In fact we’ve raved about the quality of Raja Monkey’s take aways to anyone that would listen, it’s our go to take away in South Birmingham.

In order to test the quality we both ordered Papads (poppudums) to nibble on.

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They were crisp and fresh. The chutney and pickles that accompanied them were excellent, a good selection including a cool yoghurt dip all presented in tiny silver pots with lids on- very sweet.

After much deliberation on what dishes to choose Ruth decided to have as a way of a starter the
vegetarian Masala Aloo Dosa:

A Dosa is a popular Southern Indian savoury street food fermented crepe created from rice, butter, and lentils stuffed with a filling of choice meat or veg and served with coconut chutney.

The Masala Aloo Dosa was filled with crushed potatoes fragranced with turmeric, mustard seeds with curry leaves and wrapped in a delicious crepe. Ruth loved her Dosa, hot off the griddle, made in front of your eyes, it had a good balance of flavours, crispy, nutty, and was well recommended.

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I chose the Samosa Chaat.

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A pickling savoury snack of a vegetable samosa, chick peas, tomato, onion relish, coated with yoghurt, tamarind and green chutney and finished with chaat masala and Papdi.

The flavours and textures of this dish were lovely. The layers of samosa deconstructed almost and lightly meshed into the chick peas, yoghurt and chutney felt so like Indian street food that the sounds and atmosphere of India filled this tiny corner of Hall Green and warmed the cockles of my heart. I can’t praise the Samosa Chaat enough. So very very good.

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For our next course we both chose to order the house speciality The Thali.

A Thali meaning plate, comprised of a selection of various dishes served on a silver platter compartmentalised so that you can either eat them as you see them in turn or you can tip the small platters into the larger platter and eat them as a normal curry. The choice is yours. We did both.

Ruth chose the Rajosthali mutton thali. She loved it, I can tell as she went quiet-as she was eating.

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Rajosthali

I chose the vegetarian thali called the Shakarkand thali.

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Comprising of sweet potato and cashew nut kofta, in a melon and poppy seed curry served with rice, dhal, bread and a vegetable selection (salad and a veg curry)

In total 6 components.

The centrepiece was the potato and cashew nut kofta. Heavenly succulent balls of sweet, potato, against the spice of the poppy seed and melon curry , lovely, a divine marriage of sweet and hot flavours. A warming curry for a cold night.

Alongside there was a deliciously soothing Dhal, a fenugreek and coriander Paratha (a flatbread) from South Asia which when cooked is layered. Lovely, a stunningly flavoured bread.

Then a veggie curry that was spicy, and an excellent accompaniment.

I loved this way of eating food.

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We both had room for pudding, well who can’t resist a creamy home made Indian pudding.

We both love Rasmalai and we were pleased it was on the menu.

As a definition Ras means ‘juice’ and Malai means ‘cream’

You can almost describe it as a cheese cake without the biscuit layer or cottage cheese or soft paneer cheese balls. It was lovely, cooling, fresh, the kind of pud you can fall in love with. The soft cheese immersed in chilled sweet creamy milk.

A lip smacking pudding.

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Raja Monkey shares with Lasan a commitment to quality ingredients and soulful cooking, less fancy, more street, but for good value, comfort Indian soul food it can’t be beat.

For vegetarians it’s a must.

So many dishes to choose.

From experience of Raja Monkey’s takeaways and from this meal all veggie dishes are recommended.

The service was attentive, informal, but with a keenness to explain the dishes and served with a passion and pride that is genuine.

Raja Monkey provided Ruth and I with a highly enjoyable meal, Central heating on a cold night.

Raja Monkey is one to return to again and again, without hesitation. Bravo.

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We also ordered 2 bottles of Cobra beer and 2 glasses of Sauvignon Blanc and two delicious espressos.

Raja Monkey,
1355 Stratford Road
Birmingham
B28 9HW

0121 777 9090

http://www.rajamonkey.co.uk

Twitter: @rajamonkeycafe

Facebook: rajamonkey

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We dined as guests of Raja Monkey and the Lasan Group. All food and drinks were complimentary, but I was not obliged to write a good review, but a fair one. All my opinions are honest and my own (and Ruth’s of course)

Thanks for reading.

@andydhare

Facebook: Andy Hare
and Veggie Foodie

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Hotel La Tour and La Tour Grill. A modern twist on the classic


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Late last year Ruth and I booked a staycation in Birmingham at Hotel La Tour via the Secret Escapes website. Worth checking on for good deals.

Hotel La Tour is in Birmingham City Centre, on the Digbeth side and is an excellent spot to stay if in the city to shop or take in Brums sights.

Hotel La Tour is a modern designed hotel that has a chic and quite sophisticated bar called Alvar which is brilliant for cocktails and a brasserie style restaurant called La Tour Grill which leans towards seasonal produce and is a steak specialist and serves a menu of classic British dishes. Presented with a modern twist.

La Tour Grill is also excellent for vegetarians as I surprisingly found out.

The Hotel has 174 stylish bedrooms which are modern in style and facilities, and on the whole are all you would require for a night away in the city or short break. Though our rooms was more basic than some it was comfortable and had all we required.

We had ordered dinner at Grill La Tour. I didn’t expect much to be honest, as a veggie, but I’m a bit cynical sometimes.

We began our evening as we do in a bar. The spacious and sophisticated area know as Alvar is a very relaxing and cool space. We ordered Gin Martinis. A check of quality, perfectly made, classy. It hit the spot.

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The bar area is comfortable with sofas and though quiet for a Friday evening still had a lovely atmosphere and is a must when staying at the hotel. In fact it’s lovely when in Birmingham full stop, with a huge cocktail, wine and drinks list including many many Whiskies 😊

We had booked dinner at La Tour Grill. A lovely space, with perfect lighting, and though large it felt more intimate than on first impressions. A real grower.

La Tour Grill uses seasonal ingredients. Sourced locally with some produce grown on their roof top garden allotment, Jardin La Tour, supported by
Edible Eastside in nearby Digbeth that I’ve championed before on this blog.

The Brasserie caters well for vegetarians with some options on the menu but on discussion with the waitress they had many more unseen and un menued veggie jewels that can be made upon request.

The waitress brought some excellent assorted breads to the table to eat whilst looking at the menu. These were varied, crisp and presented well. Always a good sign if the bread is of high standard.

I decided to order off the main menu.

I began with The Heritage Tomato and Burrata cheese salad. A lovely starter.

The tomatoes were fresh, grown on the roof, had a beautiful flavour and were both yellow an red in colour. Against the Burrata cheese you could imagine you were in Italy it tasted so fresh. The dish was also impressively presented. A simple dish, done well. Sounds easy, but rest assured i’ve had some rotters in my time.

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For my main course I ordered the delicious sounding
Asparagus, Pea, Courgette and Ricotta Risotto
.

This dish surprised me with its gentle flavours and perfectly creamy texture. Throughout the dish the flavours of the fresh peas against the slightly charred courgette felt warming and surprisingly indulgent. A lovely risotto, one of the best I’ve had for years anywhere. I was pleasantly surprised. I also ordered some lovely hand cut chips because I have to Im afraid. I love chips. Beatutiful.

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So far so good.

For pudding I chose a dish that I had heard rave reviews about, the pudding to have, the signature dish.

The Jaffa Cake Pudding, candied orange.

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It wasn’t a cake at all, but was the elements that make up one.

The pudding was a joy. The orange served as a little mound of sponge with a candied orange on top and a pot of melted hot chocolate to pour over the top (as much or as little as you like) that was served with pistachio ice cream.

A winning pud. At a winning restaurant, which if I’m honest surprised me. Grills are usually not great for veggies.
La Tour Grill bucked the trend for simple well made dishes using well sourced ingredients, some home produced in their edible garden and a smart, relaxed dining room.

The quality of the ingredients did show through. I think this element made the real difference to the vegetarian dishes which at face value seemed simple but on taste much more complex.

I expected La Tour Grill to be a bit pretentious, but found the service friendly, professional and relaxed. All served as I’ve said in a lovely dining room.

The eating was the pleasure, and though the Brasserie wasn’t anywhere near full, it felt intimate and romantic.

The hotel and restaurant are ideal for dates, a night away, or a romantic drink in an excellent hotel bar. A sophisticated treat. Try it.

We headed back to the bar to sample the Whisky’s and brandy’s. A long list but someone had to do it. We sat next to the piano, no one was playing, but we could hear the gentle music swish through our minds like soothing harmonies.

I’ve also heard rave reviews from fellow bloggers about the afternoon tea. Bring it on.

La Tour Grill has also a chefs table near the kitchen. We had a view of the kitchen without the chefs table service. The table there seemed to be enjoying their experience.

Next morning we took breakfast in the Brasserie- a hot and cold buffet, of numerous breakfast items. The veggie breakfast items were good, though no veggie sausage. Very pleasant, without been overwhelming.

We enjoyed once again lovely service and it was a good way to end our short but very sweet stay.

Hotel La Tour
Albert Street
Birmingham
B5 5JE

A short walk from new street and Moor Street Stations.

0121 718 8000

http://www.hotel-latour.co.uk

Facebook: Hotel/la-tour

Twitter: @hotel_latour

We paid for our stay and meal in full all opinions are my own and honest.

We thank the hotel staff and restaurant staff for helping us to have a lovely one night stay.

@andydhare

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#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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#TastyMorsels: A few New openings 2015


Happy New Year 🙂

2015 is already heralding a number of new openings and re openings in the early months of the year.

Indian Restaurant Pushkar will be launching a sister venue called Praza by Pushkar this month.

The new restaurant will follow on Pushkar’s focus on North Indian cuisine with cocktails aflowing.

However, the food will have a international influence.

The new menu will be created by Pushkar Head Chef Bishal Rasaily.

Praza by Pushkar will be located in the former Rose Muree restaurant on Hagley Road, Edgbaston the venue will feature an Art deco design with Monochrome colourways, glass, and chrome for a ‘chic and luxurious feel’.

Pushkar on Broad Street has recently celebrated in November 14 a five year anniversary.

Pushkar is one of the best restaurants in Birmingham for vegetarians in my opinion so Praza by Pushkar is sure to be equally good and veggie friendly.

keep an eye open on my blog for more opening details and menus.

Praza by Pushkar
94-96 Hagley Road
Birmingham
B16 8LU

Also, due to open is new bakery and independent coffee shop
Sixteen Bakery in Picadilly Arcade off New Street.

Set up by Lucy Lam of Faculty Coffee next door, its sure to be a place for bakes, cakes and coffee.

Be sure to keep an eye on this blog for more information.

@sixteenbakery

Independent Japanese resturant Woktastic has recently closed at The Paradise Forum due to the arrival of the redevelopment in that area.

Thankfully, it is due to re open in a new location as yet unanounced in the Spring in the City Centre.

For further details keep an eye on this blog and http://www.woktastic.co.uk and @woktastic.

I will be mentioning more new openings over the next few weeks.

Thanks for reading.

Andy 🙂

@andydhare

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Good Food Eat Well Show. Olympia London 27th Feb-1st March 2015 and Happy New Year


The brand new BBC Good Food Eat Well Show is coming to London on 27th February-1st March 2015.

Learn how to balance a healthy lifestyle with a love of good food.

See inspirational guests such as Davina McCall and Jenni Falconer, and enjoy live cooking demonstrations from healthy eating experts such as Vegetarian chef Natasha Corrett, and Marcus Bean. Lorraine Pascal, Phil Vickery and Master Chef winner Shelina Permaloo will be also at the show.

You can get involved with in depth foood discussions on food related issues and discover a host of healthy food products to try and to buy, from whole food, super foods, free from products, and natural ingredients.

http://www.bbcgoodfoodeatwellshow.com

For this i’m offering in conjunction with the BBC Good Food Eat Well Show tickets reduced by 30%.

Just quote the code EW30S when booking on advanced standard tickets and over 65’s tickets.

This offer is only up to the 31st December 2014, so hurry.

use the link

http://www.bbcgoodfoodeatwellshow.com/?utm source=andyhare&utm medium=bloggers&utm campaign=30

or http://www.bbcgoodfoodeatwellshow.com

Twitter: @GFEatWellShow

Keep your eyes posted on VeggieFoodie in the new year for more offers and posts regarding the show.

Finally, I would like to extend my Happy New Year wishes to all my readers and followers, and wish you a happy and peaceful and good foodie 2015.

Cheers for reading. See you in 2015.

Andy 🙂

@andydhare

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#TastyMorsels: Cruelty Free Christmas Fair and Digmas @ the Custard factory Saturday 20/12


This Saturday the 20th seems to be the climax of Birmingham’s December Festive seasonal foodie calender.

It’s a bit like buses, you wait around for ages and then three turn up at once.

I’ve mentioned Brum Yum Yum KingshEATh already, but two more events also going on in or near the City Centre.

First off is, The Birmingham Cruelty Free Christmas Fair at Carrs Lane Church Centre B4 7SX in the City Centre.

From 10.30-4pm 30 stalls will be offering a wide variety of animal free products, chocolate, cosmetics, cakes, recipe books, soaps, sweets, and gifts and much more with delicious vegan catering from ChangeKitchen whom I’m big fans of and much more fresh food stalls and nibbles to tempt you.

http://www.changeKitchen.co.uk

@changeKitchen

Also, stbestcaterers, will be bringing top quality food, the best in Caribbean cuisine will be showcasing too.

http://www.stbestcaterers.co.uk
@stbestcaterers

Run by West Midlands Vegan Fest, promoting veganism in the West Midlands including free food fairs and events.

http://www.midlandsveganfestival.org.uk

Supporting local Animal Sanctuaries, campaigning groups and small ethical traders. The fair will be free entry and run from 10.30am-4pm.

The second event is Digmas 12pm-6pm at The Custard Factory in Digbeth, Birmingham.

The Christmas Fair will be an alternative day out and be the best of local traders, Street food, a pop up bar and entertainment.

Digbeth Dining Club will be doing the food and for veggies and vegans the esteeemed Vegan Grindhouse will be there along with The
Bournville Waffle Company.

Alfie Birds another Veggie Foodie Favourite will be provideing the drinks with a pop up bar- including craft beer, Bailey’s Hot Choc, and Christmas Cocktails.

Street food and bar running until 8pm.

Plus, there will be live music, an Urban Village Vintage fair, and a Mockingbird Theatre treats (see website) plus other independent luminaries from The Custard Factory to tempt and loosen your purse strings.

So catch them both if you can, 🙂

Digmas @ the Custard Factory 20th December 12pm-6pm.

http://www.thecustardfactory.co.uk/digmas for full programme.

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Thanks for reading 🙂

@andydhare

#TastyMorsel: New Openings: One Trick Pony Moseley Village


Moseley’s newest bar opened its doors on November 21st. The South Birmingham suburb is awash with newish bars with a healthy leaning to serving good food in revamped buildings.

Hot on the heals of The Dark Horse and The Village
The One Trick Pony Club replaces O’Neils on the Alcester Road, and brings American style diner food to Moseley Village.

It’s owned by small chain Castle Pubs who own the nearby The Fighting cocks Pub and the Junction in Harborne.

The One Trick Pony’s menu is named Ruby Jean’s with an american diner twist and has a very healthy vegetarian list of options including veggie breakfast and burgers and sharing plates. As you would expect in Moseley and nearby Kings Heath, vegetarians are well catered for and along with a varied meat menu looks a brilliant place for groups and couples.

The focus is thus for meat eaters on ribs, hot dogs, and burgers.

For ale enthusiasts their is a keen menu including my favourite Thwaites Wainwright ale, plus local purity brewery beers and Doom Bar. Plus guest ales.

On Tuesday’s every week, they have announced 2 for 1 on Burgers and roasts on Sunday (unsure as yet on veggie option)

From photographs i’ve seen so far the bar looks posher and more sophisticated and modern than O’Neils which was dated and had had its day. Therefore more like The Dark Horse and The Village in design.

The One Trick Pony Club looks food focused and with a chilled decor looks as if it will become a firm favourite in Moseley and the surrounding areas of Birmingham.

The Veggie food options via their menu on their website http://www.onetrickpony.co.uk are:

Snack and Share: A good looking Veggie board for £11.50.

Includes 4 Hippy Sliders, fried halloumi, Tempura vegetables, Nachos, Chipotle Jam, Guacamole and sour cream dips.

Plus Nachos, Chilli Fries, Chips and dips

On the main part of the menu there is:

Veggie Burgers

-Hippy Humous-Spinich, lentil, humous
-A Shroomaloomi- Flat Mushrooms and Halloumi burger
-A Hippy Deluxe- Flat Mushroom and Emmental burger

-A veg Mac and Cheese

-Veggie Sandwich- up to 5pm only

-A veggie Breakfast

Which in my book is a good selection 🙂 Food will be served until 10pm.

I’m Looking forward to reading further reports, and sampling some of the veggie options at Ruby Jean’s Diner.

Look out in the new year for this 🙂

http://www.onetrickpony.co.uk

@1trickponyclub

@rubyjeansdiner
http://www.rubyjeansdiner.com

93a Alcester Road
Moseley
Birmingham
B13 8DD
0121 442 3901

has anyone already tried The One Trick Pony Club? What did you think of the food?

Thanks for reading:)

Follow me on Twitter @andydhare

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