Is Nomad The Wilderness or just the best Vegetarian food experience in Birmingham. 


   

What’s in a name? Does it matter what a restaurants called? Nomad was or is (until 7th May when it becomes The Wildernes and reopens on the 25th May) the best Vegetarian food experience in Birmingham. 

Ruth and I’s final experience of its current incarnation came a couple of weeks ago. We’ve enjoyed and got immersed in the food on three occasions, twice in Kings Heath and once in its new Birmingham City Centre location. Their is something immersive, something involving about eating here. You feel you become the ingredients, you can smell the earth, feel the sweat of the producers, sense the innovative ideas that come from the kitchen that lead you on your food journey, that’s your own journey, your own personal experience, a connection to the ingredients. 

Spring is abundant with renewal. Blossoming trees signal newness, freshness and fine ingredients, the dawn of asparagus season, Jerusalem artichokes, rhubarb, radish, celeriac, beetroot, the list is a vegetarians friend, a long lingering hug of the senses, the light at the end of a long winter.  

  

Dishes come thick and fast. Beautifully and sublimely presented  echoing the natural world that nourished the ingredients, and inspires the chefs of which Alex Claridge is turning into a master worker of delicate innovation.

There’s a savoury Apple and Chedder morsel of such delicacy and flavour that leaves the mouth tingling with further anticipation. 

Then the simple Baby Radish, crunchy, light paired with Seaweed Hollandaise becomes a thing of beauty within its own simplicity. Like it had just been picked from the ground with its vivid and perky peppery crispness that when dipped into the hollandaise snuggles with proof that good things come in small packages. 
  Apple and Chedder. 

  Baby Radish, seaweed hollandaise.

  

A 64 Degree Yolk, Asparagus is a dose of sunlight, crisp yet tender asparagus, so fresh it hadn’t been named yet is the perfect foil to the yolk that is a masterclass of well…yolk with a luxurious after taste. 
  

Followed by Beetroot, Apple, quail egg: Where earthy beetroot meets sweeter Apple with the delicate and runny quail egg lapping at the sides. Unusual combinations bump up against one another to create a sunny sunlight of spring. An elegant dish. 

Then a Jerusalem artichoke, vinegar gel, cauliflower is a cauliflower lovers dream, coming with the chunky artichoke with masses of flavour. A sweet surprising marriage, of textural contrasts that worked perfectly. 

  Jerusalem Artichoke, vinegar gel, cauliflower

  

A main course of sorts was the best of all Celeriac Three Ways, Dill, white sprouting broccoli: A complex dish of galactic cooking. The ingredients felt elegant and restrained with nutty slightly cheesy overtones from the celeriac presented beautifully with the unusual white sprouting broccoli. It exudes gentle charm and is a culinary garden of attention to detail. 

Then there were desserts. Buttermilk sponge, fennel, meadowsweet: Nostalgically soothing and full of gentle harmonies of flavour, beautifully comforting. 

Followed by Rhubarb, rhubarb, rhubarb, celebrated 3 ways: parfait, meringue and foam. A sharp and light dessert, delicious and full of the love of spring, and in fact food. We chased the last morsel from the plate. (So good I forgot to take a photo).

  Buttermilk Sponge, Fennel, meadowsweet. 

Maybe it’s a sign of even better things to come that Nomad is to be renamed and rebranded as The Widerness. Vegetables are placed at the centre of the dishes, and through the crucible of the imagination a journey of flavours and textures takes place. The cooking is masterful, complex and consistent as dishes flow and twinkle with playful creativity. The food stands up to its own beauty.

Yes Spring is abundant with joys for Vegetarians yet it’s the expectation of the unexpected that makes Nomad a beautifully immersing experience. With added charming and informative service its a game changer and makes you look at Spring ingredients anew.

So whatever the restaurant is called Just try it for its beauty and celebration of vegetables and then when you’ve tried it go again, tell your friends, grow your own and please if the Wilderness is this good, then take me, as I desire to be lost in its immersive culinary garden world. 

    
  

  
    
   

  

Thanks for reading,

Andy 😊

You can find Nomad/The Wilderness on Dudley Street, Birmingham City Centre. (By New Street Station/Grand Central) 

http://foodbynomad.com/

https://m.facebook.com/nomadbirmingham/

https://www.resdiary.com/Restaurant/Nomad

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

We both ate the vegetarian menu. Our food was complimentary, we paid for drinks only on the night. My opinions are honest as always. 

Look out for my future blog post about The Wilderness next month. 

  

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Nomad: version 1 revisited. Kitchen Garden, Kings Heath. 


   
 
If you blink you may miss it. You see Nomad version 1 has only 3 weeks until Chefs Alex Claridge and Brian Smith and their merry band of Nomadic roamers leave fair Kings Heath and set up a permanent home somewhere away from my homestead and barter with a new crowd and venue in the big smoke. 

It’s been good having you in the Heath, and the kitchen Garden Will never be the same again. 

If moving from one place to another is true of the concept Nomad then it’s sure true of the nature of the Vegetarian dishes Ruth and I enjoyed last week. 

When we first visited back in April (see here http://t.co/RjhlejagxY) the food concept was still evolving and the vegetarian dishes though incredible were works in progress rather than the more formed and intricate plates that we now find. As with all concepts it takes time to develop a voice and in this case understand the customer and the nomadic skin you work in. 

So in this case the Seven courses we enjoyed were more complete plates of food, larger in size and scale and more rounded than before. Yes, in fact more adventurous and certainly an advancement in textures and flavours. Now maybe that’s the Summer produce, rather than the April Early spring variety, but I’d like to believe that it’s the added confidence of a kitchen more in tune with the diner and the Nomad concept including the ingredients. 

I’m not going to do a full review of the meal as your dishes may be different from ours, but suffice to say it was an outstanding meal. Indeed I think Alex is cooking the most innovative vegetarian food in Birmingham and certainly some of the best veggie food Birmingham has ever seen. 

So here are my photos of our meal.

   
 
Rowan berry doughnut

  
Globe artichoke, seared lettuce, egg yolk, nasturtium. 

  
Tomato, fennel. 

  
Broad bean, samphire, pea, tree mallow cheese. 

  
Burnt cauliflower, hay infused curds, ash dumplings, sea herbs. 

  
Caramelised white chocolate, strawberries. 

   
 
‘Sea buckthorn meringue pie’

If pushed then I would say my favourite courses were the Globe artichoke, the Broad Bean and the final desert the meringue pie. 

The only course that didn’t deliver so well was the Rowan berry doughnut which could have done with a touch more filling, but still they were delicious as a bread substitute. A nice idea though. 

The deserts in particular were a stunning improvement on our previous visit, much more pudding like and a good size portion. Excellent summery flavours. 

In all the courses the size of the portions were spot on and as a tasting like menu it was excitingly put together like a long journey of the pallet. 

Another nod to an improvement is with the service which is informed, crisp and friendly. A real asset to the Nomad experience. 

If you are able to get a table at Nomad in August at The Kitchen Garden then please do go. There is limited availability. 

For bookings: 

https://www.resdiary.com/Restaurant/Nomad

For Vegetarians it’s essential dining in Birmingham and one that’s improving all the time. 

In fact by time it reaches venue 2 in late September in the City Centre it may be nomadicly moving in another galaxy. It certainly makes the changing seasons and the advancement Of Autumn  quite exciting. 

See you on the other side. 

Thanks for reading. 

Andy 😊

Disclosure: We paid for our meal and drinks in full. My opinions are my own and honest as always. 

Nomad have also introduced their own wine and drinks list which is a positive development and compliments the food well. 

   
    
    
    
   
The night owl at the Kitchen Garden. Part of the Big Hoot Birmingham trail. 


Nomad: Memory, Nature and Place and Vegetarian in Kings Heath Birmingham


    

It is very on trend to make vegetables the central ingredients on the plate. The centre of attention. Non veggie Bruno Loubet is doing it in London at The Grain Store and other top chefs were involved in creating a meat free week menu in London a few weeks ago. Though for Vegetarians our food especially In so called fine dining restaurants has always been about this. Stand up Vanilla Black in London. 

The new venture led by chef Alex Claridge, Nomad offers this concept to meat eaters, where a smaller portion sits amongst fresh seasonal and foraged ingredients. Tit bits that form the centre piece of the dish, the journey, the experience. I’ve proclaimed the joys of the vegetarian long menu for ages,  had the best food of my life at Simon Rogan’s L’Enclume in Cartmel in the Lake District. Jewels on a plate, ingredients that make you think. You get the picture. For many this is a new experience, no huge slabs of meat, no pasta, no risotto, no potatoes (on this occasion) but pure joy in the ingredients and skill in which they were presented and yes tasted. 

For vegetarians this is a vintage time, where chefs are suddenly more interested in ingredients, in foraging, in the produce. 

Anyone who knows Alex’s food from Bistro 1847 and Warehouse cafe in Birmingham will know he can cook, boy can he cook. In this menu there aren’t many carbs, which is refreshing in that some vegetarian menus are heavy on them. Even more exciting is the fact that so many of the ingredients and techniques require to be looked up on the Internet. Love that. I suggest you do. 

Nomad at present is a 3 month pop up from April-June. Based at The Kitchen Garden Cafe in Kings Heath, a quirky venue that fits well I think. Alex is passionate about ingredients, about foraging and making you think when you eat. He aims to explore, memory, place, and nature though cooking, changing the menus weekly, even daily dependent on what’s current, what’s available, the weather. 

The Vegetarian menu that I ate can be taken long 8 courses or short 5 courses. Priced £42 and £32. 

Both Ruth and I chose the long menu, but Ruth the meat variation. 

So to the food. 

   
 

   
 

Moss, vinegar, old Winchester.

Two morsels of moss on a plate, though only one in the picture as Ruth ate it before I took the picture.😄 taken with Old Winchester cheese, on the hand, eaten simultaneously, lively flavoured slightly salty, very creative, lovely flavour and texture. Very exciting start. 

  
Cauliflower three ways:

Aerated, pickled, and dehydrated. A stunning cacophony of flavours, beautifully presented, a cauliflower lovers dream dish. Contrasting techniques, demonstrating great skill. With a texture of Parmesan. 

   
 Fresh Ricotta in Herbs, roast lettuce

An incredible depth of flavour in this dish, loved the roasted lettuce and the ricotta balls were very tender, with a substantial degree of clever cooking. What I call a wowser dish. 

   
 

Broccoli, sea herbs, yolk, dark beer. 

My favourite dish. Pleasing to the eye and to the palette, delicate broccoli, with a heavenly yolk of egg with the herbs sea herbs textures. Mouth-wateringly good. 

   
 

Mushroom, sunflower seed, gorse flowers. 

A full flavour of mushrooms, the sunflower seeds have a back note of flavour that complimented the dish and had its own flavou that lingered in your mouth. The gorse flowers edible with a slightly almond taste and coconut aroma. A Beautiful dish. A close second for me. 

   
 

Manouri in onion ash, beets, Apple, Dittander. 

As a lover of beetroot i couldn’t go far wrong with this dish. The Manouri (Greek semi soft cheese) had a clean subtly nutty flavour, creamier than feta, but covered in this context with edible onion ash, yes ash, which I remember having at L’Enclume a few years ago. Which gave a complex bitter and smokey flavour to the Manouri.  It worked well. 

The Dittander, a damp coastal herb with a subtle mustard flavour lifted the dish and made the flavours and textures very enjoyable,  And I can imagine Noma esque dish. 

  
Lemon verbena, willow catkins, chestnut crumble. 

The first of the two deserts, more pre desert in size, the dish had enjoyable flavours. The ingredients, superbly sourced and very enjoyable. 

   
 

Carrot, cumin, honey, sea buckthorn parfait. 

I wasn’t altogether sure of the carrot in this dish, but the flavours of honey and the cumin came through well. Technically superb, executed well. A mixed last dish, though had good flavours. Looked pretty. 

   
   

Throughout the meal the service was excellent. Well informed, they explained the dishes and ingredients. 

The Kitchen Garden cafe looked lovely, flowers on the table, well lit, and it felt romantic and at the same time relaxed. 

The concept of Nomad is unique to Birmingham with the skill and high technique of the cooking leaving you satisfied and usurping many more high end establishments in the city for bravery and culinary flavours. For me it felt like going on a weird and wonderful vegetarian journey, with new ingredients to discover, and new tastes to experience around every corner. I learnt such a lot. 

The foraged additions blended well with the veg, from ingredient to ingredient, not settled, or established, always searching, but ever encompassing and trusting. 

That’s the ethos of Nomad. 

And let’s be grateful for that. 

   
     

A  Gin martini at Fletchers

   
 

The Kitchen Garden Cafe

Ruth and I were  invited to Nomad by Alex our meal was complimentary,  but we paid for our wine. All opinions are honest and my own.

Thanks for reading. 

Andy 😊

http://foodbynomad.com/# 

For bookings use the above lInk.

  

Nomad pop up: Nature, memory, place in Kings Heath Birmingham. Vegetarian Menu preview. 




  

  

I want to cook food that excites me. Nomad is a collection of ideas, focusing on memory, place and nature. I want to explore these things through cooking’ 

So says  chef Alex Claridge formally of Vegetarian Bistro 1847 and The Warehouse Cafe and from experience of Alex’s cooking and dishes it promises to be a superb residency for vegetarian food lovers. 

Alex Claridge Chef Owner   

 

Head Chef Brian Smith

Nomad is the name of the new pop up restaurant that is opening on April 3rd at The Kitchen Garden Cafe on York Road in Kings Heath, Birmingham. 

Alex brings his innovative take on food, offering innovative, creative and foraged ingredients and food for a 3 Month residency begining in April. 

Nomad will be open on Friday and Saturday evenings and some Thursday’s at the Same venue that has housed pop ups previously from Epi Restaurant and Blue Rabbit. 

Nomad is expected to move to other locations around Birmingham with a City Centre residency planned for June. 

With Nomad he is expected to ‘explore ideas and thoughts about nature, place, memory  and British Cuisine. 

Alex is an innovative chef who creates dishes that explore ingredients that are foraged, seasonal and unique in the UK. This with a view to create a sensory and progressive veggie foodie menu that is a challenge to the palate and mind. 

Diners can initially experience two fixed tasting menus of 5 courses and 9 courses for £32 and £45 respectively. Short and long. 

The Vegetarian menu is: 

April £45 long: 

Reindeer Moss, egg, mushroom, coffee,

Cauliflower and Pine cream, fermented watercress, seared hearts, 

Pickled Mushrooms, Japanese, rose, aged kelp, 

Cox Apple, 

Fresh ricotta in ashes

Grilled Broccoli, duck egg, hay, milk

Hogs weed, grilled carrot cake, purple carrot, Manouri, buttermilk, wild carrot. 

Ewes milk, pickled bilberries, 

White chocolate, caramel, seaweed popcorn

April: £32: Short

moss, egg,  coffee. 

Pickled mushroom, dulse, sunflower seed, Japanese Rose

Fresh ricotta, in ashes, wild garlic

carrot cake, purple carrot, Manouri, buttermilk, wild carrot. 

Goats milk, pickled billberries. 

Cauliflower, Pine, Sorrel, Wild Watercress (three photos)  

           

Dishes above: 

Fresh Ricotta in Ashes, Wild Garlic (first two) and Reindeer Moss, egg yolk, mushrooms (Second two). 

On booking mention that you are a vegetarian to guarantee the menu and ingredients. Please note due to the creative process of Nomad and the seasonality of ingredients the menu you have may not be the same as above. 

Reindeer Moss, egg yolk, mushrooms   

 

Other menus will include meat and fish options and menus are available via the website. 

 Nomad is now taking bookings for April, and May. 

Please visit the website for bookings. 

http://t.co/CFUtHjePuF

http://www.foodbynomad.com/

@nomadbirmingham 

Nomad should offer a delightful evening of indulgence, ideas and exploration of the senses. 

Thanks for reading 

Andy 😊





Kitchen Garden Cafe Kings Heath 

All photos given to me by Alex to use on this post, apart from the ones of Kitchen Garden Cafe which are my own and not so good. 😊

Thanks Alex. 

Nomad, Kitchen Garden Cafe, york road, Kings Heath, Birmingham B14.