Restaurant Review: Zindiya, Moseley. 



Close your eyes And you can well imagine a perfect restaurant. Service tick, ambience tick, food tick, atmosphere tick, drinks tick.

Then tuck into the written word of those in the know, or whom think they do and then you’d feel well what’s the point in visiting it sounds so perfect. 

Me included have waxed lyrical about this place (at the time without trying it, lesson learnt) and from my point of perspective well it’s based entirely on the perceived menu and it’s very veggie friendly leanings. 

The written word, the gospel according to Birmingham is not always entirely accurate. 

It’s not that Zindiya is poor it’s just on the night Ruth and I visited, shall I say underwhelming and disapointing.

The hype suggested get your chops round this, and you’ll be reborn, but then when those chops get chewing and ready to rock and roll we found a game of two halves Saint.  It’s a game of two halves. 

I wanted zip and zing but didn’t find it sadly. 

Specialising in Indian street food dishes the menu is full of Vegetarian options which should make it essential and full of taste explosion and colour. 


Now Imagine you are in India, smell the air, the food, the atmosphere. Now let’s get our hands dirty and snack our lips with the intoxication of flavours. 

Unfortunately we aren’t in India. 

The good bits: Well we had two more than decent Dishes. 

An excellent traditional fast food dish Papri (Papdi) Chaat, which melted in the mouth and was very comforting that warmed the palate and an indulgent Idli Sambar, tifin dish. Idli’s are a traditional breakfast dish a savoury cake (for dipping) which came with a flavoursome Sambar, a touch of hot lentil soup with some nice textures of vegetables running through it. A Very enjoyable dish. 

Plus we ate An ok Hara Bhara Kebab, which was different. A snack like a cutlet that had subtle veg flavours with slightly bland spicing that made it not very binge worthy sadly and a bit dry. The dip alongside was also underwhelming. 

We also ate the Chilli Paneer which was not to my taste, and left me stunned with disappointment to its bland sweetness, and didn’t lift the paneer to any heights.

The masala chips, we ate were sadly disappointing with very little flavour (apart from a resemblance to a McDonalds fry without the salt) and if they were homemade chips then I’ll be Greavsie to the aforementioned Saint and then a unremarkable desert of chocolate balls filled with strawberries, served with chilli ice cream. (Chocolate Gol Gappe). 

Ruth ordered an ok Alphonso Mango Sorbet. 

I also drank a nice Massala Chai. 

As an aside I would have liked some Poppadoms to nibble on with thecmenu and maybe some Pani Puri on the menu. 

Papri Chaat

Hara Bhara Kebab

Idli SambaarChilli paneer 


Maybe we just chose badly on the food front and we missed a jewel from a long menu, but it wasn’t just the food but the whole experience that felt underwhelming and a tad dull, forced and lacking energy which for a street food cafe which promises authenticity and a buzz was surprising. 

The atmosphere felt stilted, more restaurant than cafe, not at all lively and bustling like I imagined an Indian street food gaff to be.

It was a Saturday night so that’s unusual in Moseley, right? 

Staff are friendly and helpful to a degree,  a bit chatty but didn’t inform us about their so called amazing cocktails or beers that I keep reading about or about any beer, cocktail matching with the food. Shame! 

Small bites careering from good to not so. Some a bit dreary (masala chips) some unforgettable (chilli paneer) An evening of what ifs and why nots. 

It’s a most peculiar place. 

When the food’s good my it’s good but then at times the place feels confused, unsure of itself, and it’s concept. But then I suppose  we aren’t in the hot aired and noisy streets of India, but hipster Moseley with its drip fed trendiness and right on smiles and why not there’s a lot to smile about in this part of South Birmingham. Stand up Cheval Blanc, Kababish, Sabai Sabai and Carters. 

So it should be more authentic right? After all Moseley can cope with this can’t it? 

Pluses. There’s lots of veggie choice. Which is fantastic. More than anywhere I know outside a veggie restaurant. Which I guess makes it more disappointing to me. This alone should get me a season ticket and get me dancing Bollywood style. A sight to behold! 

I liked the decor, the outside is bright, cheery, but gives the impression you are entering a lively eatery which sadly wasn’t our experience. Inside touches of Bollywood, bright and airy. 

It’s quite large too which I think doesn’t help the street food vibe, unlike Raja Monkey or Indian Brewery maybe it didn’t feel cool and intimate. 

There are places in Birmingham that do this better with more panache, better cooking, more simplistic style. More authenticity and self confidence, more cafe than restaurant. 

More crafty.

Zindiya didn’t feel anything special and a muddle of ideas served in a muddled way. I feel sad writing this. It’s a shame. I so wanted to love this place. 

It undermined the decent dishes. 

There’s some work needed on pulling the whole thing together, making the experience more seamless, explaining the dishes, exploring the tastes of the diners more, (both food and drinks)  making the whole experience more authentic. Bringing the street element more into focus. 

It felt like a restaurant not street food cafe. 

And yes, please remember to promote your cocktails and craft beer to me. Aren’t they supposed to be special. To be shouted about. 

Or at least as good as the chaat.

Thanks for reading, 

Andy 😊

Disclaimer: We paid for our food and drinks in full. All opinions are my own and an honest reflection of the experience we had on the evening. 

Zindiya, 21 Woodbridge Road, Birmingham, B13 8EJ. 

0121-439-0593.

http://www.zindiya.co.uk/

Veggie Foodie tip: 

Do try Cheval Blanc in Moseley for cocktails and wine before and after a meal. The food is also raved about with veggie options on the menu.

I’m up for a food visit soon.

Also Carters of Moseley is outstanding for a special night of vegetarian seasonal decadence. 

The Kababish for curry. Delightful veggie dishes in nice surroundings. Tarka Daal anyone? 

Visit Sabai Sabai for sumptuous Thai food. 

AH.

Charity Evening with Belinda Carlisle at The High Field, Edgbaston: Saturday 15th July 2017.


It was 1987 when Belinda’s Carlisle’s album ‘Heaven on Earth’ came out, proceeded by the number one single ‘Heaven is a place on Earth’ which catapulted her into stardom in the U.K and heralded a clutch of successful singles and two majorly successful albums. The follow up ‘Runaway Horses’ even included an icon of mine in George Harrison. If you remember ‘Circle in the Sand,’ Leave a Light on’and ‘Summer Rain’ and one of my favourites ‘World Without You’ like I do then this may be for you? 

On Saturday 15th July 2017, The High Field will be hosting a very special evening in aid of charity when Belinda Carlisle one of the biggest selling female global artists of all time, makes a one-off appearance at the Edgbaston venue.

This exclusive event, which is limited to just 250 guests, will feature a short acoustic set of songs from Belinda as well as drinks and dinner in a glorious garden setting. 

It will raise money for Belinda’s own co-founded charity ’Animal People Alliance:

http://www.animalpeoplealliance.com/

https://www.herfuturecoalition.org/

Tickets for this special event are now on sale and include fizz and canapés on arrival, followed by a three course Vegetarian or Vegan dinner with a menu created for the night by The High Field’s head chef Ian Meek.

After enjoying good food and drink in the stylish surroundings of The High Field, which was named the Best Gastro Pub in Birmingham at the inaugural Birmingham Food Drink & Hospitality Awards, guests will enjoy a short acoustic performance of Belinda’s songs. There will also be a silent auction with some brilliant prizes to be won, special guests and even the opportunity to win breakfast with Belinda herself at a secret location the next morning.

All the proceeds from ticket sales will be given to the two charities close to Belinda’s heart to support the vital work they undertake. 

Animal People Alliance’s mission is to offer high quality care to street animals in need, alongside robust employment opportunities to survivors of human rights abuses and other vulnerable populations in South Asia. 

 

Her Future UK provides shelter, education and high-wage employment to survivors of human trafficking and extreme abuse so that they may remain forever free; since 2005, the charity has helped thousands of women and children to build a bright and independent future.

Launching the evening, Sarah Robinson, General Manager of The High Field, says, “This is a fantastic opportunity to support these two amazing charities whilst enjoying good food and drink in a unique venue. “We are thrilled to be joined by Belinda Carlisle and to have this unmissable opportunity to listen to her music in such an intimate setting,” says Sarah. “As lead singer of the Go-Go’s, the most successful female band of all time, and one of the world’s biggest selling female artists, she is a true pop icon, and we are honoured that she will be performing here in support of these two great charities.

“It’s going to be a wonderful evening full of excitement and surprises, and we hope that as many existing and new guests will join us to help raise as much money as possible for charity,” she says.

Belinda Carlisle, says, “Animal People Alliance is a charity, based in Kolkata India, I co-founded with Paul Suit in 2014. Whilst still in the early days, we are starting to have a real impact, with our mission to provide quality care for India’s street animals, employment for survivors of human rights abuses and other vulnerable populations. We want to change the future generation’s consciousness towards animals, and raise awareness of the need to treat animals humanely.

“I’ve always dreamed of having an animal sanctuary and I have such a love of India. I had an idea on how great it would be to combine both with the invaluable help of Her Future, of which I’ve seen first-hand the work they do, and I’m humbled even to be in the same room as Sarah Symons (the co-founder of Her Future Coalition and inspiration of Her Future UK), as she does the work of angels.

“I’m absolutely thrilled to be part of the charity evening at The High Field, and grateful to all the generous people and businesses who are making this event happen. I will be performing a short acoustic set of my hits as music is still a big part of my life, as is Animal People Alliance,” she says.

There are just 100 tickets for this special evening costing £150 each, to include fizz and canapés followed by a three-course Vegetarian or Vegan meal, and a further 150 tickets at £75 each for those not wishing to dine, with a silent auction and some amazing raffle prices from sponsors.

To book, please email event@animalpeoplealliance.co.uk to request tickets. 

For updates on Animal People Alliance follow them on Facebook @animalpeoplealliance

The charity evening at The High Field with Belinda Carlisle takes place on Saturday 15th July 2017 from 5pm until midnight.

The High Field is at 22 Highfield Road, Edgbaston, B15 3DP. Tel: 0121 227 7068. 

In the UK alone, Belinda Carlisle has had 19 Top 40 Singles, and 7 Top 20 Albums. A lifetime animal rights activist and New York Times List Best Selling Author, Belinda Carlisle has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame as part of the Go-Go’s. 

Thanks for reading. 

Just leave a light on for me! 

Andy 😊

Her Future UK 

All photos courtesy of The High Field and Animal People Alliance, with thanks. 

#TastyMorsels: New Veggie and Vegan happenings.


Nyam Nyam will be bringing their Caribbean vegetarian and Vegan food to the Moseley Festival on the 1st July. 

http://www.facebook.com/nyam_nyam_brum for updates and details on menus.

The second Vegan Vybes event is set for Saturday 17th June at Kings Heath Community Centre on Heathfield Road. 

They are popping up to share with you the joys of vegan living through urban food. Come and have a great time, meet new people, enjoy a truly lovely community atmosphere and take part in the vegan vybe. 


The Real Junk Food Project have another one of their Vegan pop ups at The Gunmakers Arms on the 17th June from 6-9pm.  Free admission. 

In fact they are at The Gunmakers Arms every month with vegan friendly beer from Two Towers Brewery. 

Pizza Express have announced that From June 20th, they will have a Vegan mozzarella alternative on the menu.

Made in Italy using Italian ingredients, it melts perfectly in the pizza oven and gives a creamy finish to any pizza. To celebrate, they have taken some of their favourite ingredients and created a new pizza recipe that combines artichokes with new season asparagus, red onion, garlic oil, black olives and seasoning all on a classic dough and passata base. Called the Vegan Giardiniera. 
The vegan mozzarella is available across the board on all their pizzas. 

Read more from their Head of Food and Drink, Holly Davies, here: 

https://www.pizzaexpress.com/news/vegan-giardiniera


Moseley craft beer festival is on from the 28th-30th July at The Dark Horse. Expect to find Vegan and Veggie friendly beers and lots of laughs. 


Burrito top dogs Habaneros have begun a kitchen residency at craft beer pub 1000 Trades in the Jewellery Quarter. Expect some lip tastic veggie friendly burritos and tacos on the menu. Otherwise catch them In  city centre near the cathedral in their street food burrito mobile. 

Tipton pie people Mad O’Rourke’s have a Brewery selling pies opening later in the year in Digbeth. Veggie and vegan pies a plenty. Expect opening sometime after August. Watch this space. 

Finally, Veggie Foodie favourites Sabai Sabai will be opening up a fourth venue for their fine Thai food in Birmingham City Centre. Open later this year on Waterloo Street. 

Following on from the original Moseley restaurant, Harborne, and Stratford Upon Avon. 

See you there. 


Here’s my latest review of Sabai Sabai https://t.co/s1aprNIf3g

That’s all folks. 

Thanks for reading, 

Andy 😊

Veggie Foodie guide to the Best places for a vegetarian curry in Birmingham.


Curry in its various guises is for many Vegetarians their go to food. It is for me and often the first meal I have when I come back from a holiday abroad for instance. 

For veggies, it appears to be the cuisine that we have the most options on the menu. 

Birmingham has a number of fine Indian restaurants and cafes. This is my personal selection (though not definitive) which originally appeared in the Birmingham Mail for National Vegetarian Week. 

http://www.birminghammail.co.uk/whats-on/food-drink-news/need-decent-vegetarian-curry-birmingham-11337381

In no particular order:

Lasan:

For a sophisticated and exquisite curry in cool surroundings Lasan in the Jewellery Quarter ticks the box. Try the Tikki Veggie Platter to start, so as to get a flavour of the refinement of the subtle spicing. The Chamon Punjabi main course is easily the best paneer, Spinach combo in the city. The Sweet Potato Kofta is also memorable. Never fails to inspire. 
 Sweet potato Kofta. 

  
Chamon Punjabi

  Tikki vegetarian platter.

Deepalis

A fully Vegetarian indian restaurant, based on Alfred Road, Sparkbrook and in the Jewellery Quarter (currently closed). Try the Chilli Paneer, Aloo Dosa or Papdi Chaat or for dessert the indulgent Gulab Jamun. Deepalis represents skilfully cooked vibrant vegetarian food, modestly priced in informal surroundings. A winner. 
  Chilli Paneer

Ashas:

For Luxurious surroundings and homely but well-crafted food try Ashas in the city centre, with cocktails a flowing Ashas is modern and full of atmosphere. Try the best Papdi Chaat in the city, or the main course Kadhai Paneer an exotic treat, or the divine and succulently spiced Aloo Mattar Gobhi. The Naan’s and Poppadoms are also superb.

For a sophisticated curry in the city centre Ashas is a joy for veggies. 
  
Papdi Chaat

  
Kadhai Paneer

Milans Sweet Centre:

Based on Stoney Lane, near Sparkbrook and the Balti quarter, pure vegetarian Milans is informality and charming personified. Try the Matter Paneer the Daal or the Palak, the Masala Dosa’s also popular as are the indian Sweets. A vast choice for veggies at bargain prices.

  

Jyoti 
One of my favourite places to eat in Birmingham. Based in Hall Green on the Stratford Road,  Jyoti is fully vegetarian and doubles as a restaurant and sweet centre. Taking its inspiration from South India It entices the palette with exotic flavours and a massive choice of 15 starters and 72 main courses. With a homely feel there’s no better choice. Try the set meals which gives a terrific overview of the food, or the Thalis  and Puri and Aloo Curry. The paneer dishes are also incredible. Bring your own alcohol. 

  
Jyoti from the outside.

Itihaas:

Located in the city centre on Fleet Street and in a smaller capacity at Selfridges food hall, Itihaas is one of the best indian restaurants in Birmingham for vegetarians, smart, but traditional. It’s sleek, contemporary and friendly. Try the vegetarian sharing platter to begin or the Chaat and dosas or one of the many Paneer dishes such as the Makhani Paneer with its top notch spicing or maybe for something different the Quorn mince Kofta. Itihaas has Outstanding choice for vegetarians who seek aromatic joy. 
  
Makhani Paneer
  
Itihaas from the outside.

  Paneer at Itihaas

Pushkar:

The glamorous and elegant Pushkar, on Broad Street in the city centre has consistently been winning awards since it opened. For exquisite cocktails and a vibrant atmosphere visit on a weekend and indulge. The phadhari Kofta is superb, as is the saag paneer and appetiser Vermicelli William and For the undecided the Pushkar panorama , a taste of all the veggie appetisers. A classy taste fantastic restaurant, and one of my favourites.

  
Phadari Kofta and Saag Paneer (Left)

  

  
Pushkar from the outside.

Kababish

A Moseley institution, a fine family run restaurant that’s consistent and full of good veggie options. Serving authentic Pakistani dishes try the Paneer Shashlik for a subtle joy or the Tarka Daal, which is stunning and a must have. The Gobhi Mutter is lovely and the Balti’s are some of the best in the area.A rewarding reasonably priced experience, plus there’s cocktails and lovely friendly service. Food made with passion and care.
  
Gobhi Mutter
  
Tarka Daal.

Raja Monkey:

Get closer to the real India with Raja Monkey. A roadside cafe on the Stratford Road in Hall Green serving true classics. Owned by the aforementioned Lasan restaurants its a vibrant space of informality. A must is the veggie Sharkarkand Thal  for that complete and authentic meal experience and to begin their famous Dosas.The Masala Aloo Dosa is perfection made fresh in front of you. I adore the food, the rustic decor, for veggies its a must place to visit. Raja Monkey is also do the best take away and delivery. Restaurant food at home. 
  
Veggie Shakarkand Thali 
  
Masala Aloo Dosa 

  

Kings Indian Dining:

A Kings Heath institution, veggie friendly Kings is comfort curry, but with keen spicing and a large veggie menu. Try one of the Balti’s, Saag Aloo or Mattar Paneer. Also the Onion Bhaji is an appetiser to recommend. Traditional, affordable and Friendly. Delivering excellent choice for vegetarians. It’s also Bring Your Own alcohol and does takeaways. 
  

Al Frash Balti:

  

A addition to my original article Al Frash is Located in Birmingham’s Balti Triangle  (meaning Butterfly) it serves reputable Balti’s on the Ladypool Road. With numerous vegetarian options its a bargain winner with a bring your own policy. One of the best Balti restaurants you could find anywhere.

Thanks for reading, 

Andy 😊

Links to my previous articles with the Birmingham Mail:

http://www.birminghammail.co.uk/whats-on/food-drink-news/very-best-places-vegetarian-food-10157489

http://www.wowbrum.co.uk/food-and-drink/10-best-restaurants-cheese-birmingham-10467564

Some of the photos from The Birmingham Mail. 

Veggie lunch watch: Asha’s restaurant, Birmingham.


Some restaurants will always hold a special place in your heart. The type of place that you go back to because it conjures those memories that make us who we are. 

That is certainly the role that Asha’s in Birmingham City Centre fills. It was here that Ruth and I ate on our first proper date, where we talked and ate for what felt like ages. On that night I can remember talking about singer Nick Drake and the place his music fills in both our lives, laughing and feeling happy that I’d met someone like Ruth who I could talk to at length and who shared my love of food. 

Then on another occasion I remember celebrating our engagement here with friends, of eating there with my brother a few weeks before I got married to Ruth, a little celebration, a toast to the future.

So for my Birthday lunch on this occasion it seemed the right place to go. 

What is it about some places that have this resonance, have this pull? Is it the food, the atmosphere, or does the memory fuel the desire to revisit? In Asha’s case it’s all of those. 

     
  

Asha’s is located on Newhall Street, in what is known as the Colmore Business District of the City Centre. Approximately 5 minutes from the shops, the restaurant offers a large bar area that serves cocktails (recommended) and is a good venue for private parties and celebrations. 

Rated in the Michelin Guide, Asha’s has a stylish, but cosy and warm feel about it with a sophisticated note that stems from the clientele and delicious cocktails that it serves. Decor is exotic (a bit Bollywood) and the menu is extensive with good and varied choices for vegetarians.

  

Asha’s offer an Executive Lunch. 

For £16.95 you get 2 courses, with pulao rice, vegetable raita, Popadoms and a selection of bread. The price also includes either a glass of red or white wine, beer, soft drink or mineral water. There is one Vegetarian choice on the starters and main courses (which may deter some) with four non vegetarian main courses including a fish curry. 

The vegetarian options were a Vegetarian Kebab Platter (Paneer Ka Soola, Aloo Tikka, Papdi Chat) and the main course of Kadhai Paneer. 

  
  Crisp Popadoms with varied dips, some of the best I’ve eaten. 

  
    
  Starter: Comprised of Paneer Ka Soola: A delicious marinated, firm paneer piece, juicy, served with a green pepper that had a nice deep spice flavour. This contrasted the Aloo tikka or spiced potato patties. The perfect Northern indian street food. Asha’s were hot, spicy, with a crisp outside and soft inside with a good savoury flavour. and perfect with the creamy Papdi Chaat. 

For me one of the best dishes in Birmingham. A lovely street food dish. With a Creamy and crunchy texture, a melt in the mouth fusion of chick peas, potatoes and yogurt. Sweet, sour, tangy and spicy flavours. This dish had me in Mumbai. A Delicious and varied vegetarian starter platter.

  Rice and breads with a glass of Red wine.

 

   Kadhai Paneer:

My main course was the Kadhai Paneer and came with the pulao rice, vegetable raita and selection of breads, including Naan and Roti.

A mouthwatering dish, delicious gravy like consistency, paneer  blended with tomatoes onion, with a good spicy lift that served with the Naan made for an exotic taste. Lovely. 

   Nice vegetable raita.

  
  

Kadhai paneer served in a nice bowl.

 

Asha’s is stylish and exotic with a keen eye on the business surroundings outside. The vegetarian options on the Executive Lunch Menu are cooked with aplomb and are plentiful Asha’s is a sophisticated spot, with a warm feel and atmosphere especially on the weekend. 

Birmingham has many curry houses but if you want a superior meal in Birmingham City Centre then you won’t go far wrong with Asha’s. For value and quality the Asha’s Executive Lunch is a steal and a lovely way of spending that hour of the day which is so precious and for a celebration it’s well worth revisiting. 

Thanks for reading, 

Andy 😊

We paid for our lunch in full. All opinions expressed are mine and honest as always. 

Ruth enjoyed a glass of house white with her meaty curry and myself a glass of house red with our lunch. Both went well with the dishes. 

Review: Vegetarian menu at Opus Restaurant, Birmingham. 


   

It seems quite an obvious thing to have. A Vegetarian menu can demonstrate your commitment to vegetarians, but also to the produce you use and to the producers. You’re giving them a helping hand and saying here you go this is your time to showcase your wares. Little things help, not that I’m particular about restaurants of a certain Ilk not having a menu for me to peruse. Some of the best meals I’ve had have come off the cuff or from a limited menu of veggie goodness. 

For Opus Restaurant on Cornwall Street I  guess it makes sense to have a vegetarian menu, it allows their producers Worcester Produce scope to be given a platform to grow and perform and the chefs an opportunity to create menus that reflect seasonality like it should. 

That’s an excellent philosophy from the field to the plate. Its one they own and do if you’ll allow me the indulgence, oh so well. 

The Vegetarian menu was launced in January, initially to be changed every month, this has now been amended to a change every season. There is a market menu that changes more frequently also available. 

  

Ruth and i visited on a Saturday evening, and from experience Opus tends to be busier on a Friday and Saturday evening and had a nice chatty atmosphere throughout the evening. Opus is an excellent choice for a celebration, but is relaxed enough for a chilled lunch or evening out. 

We began in the large bar area at the rear of the restaurant in order to have a cocktail and look through the menus. We ordered an exemplary Dry Gin Martini, classily made by Thomas the bar manager with Hereford Chase Gin, who deserves a special mention for his hospitality and cocktail. 

Dry and soothingly beautiful it was a mighty fine thing. 

We both chose to eat from the Vegetarian menu which offers two Vegan dishes also. 

  

Both Ruth and I chose to order the Roasted Butternut Squash Tortellini, Squash velouté, Toasted Seeds.  Dish Before the velouté was poured over the tortellini. 

  

We both thought the dish was stunning. A real taste of the winter season, where a gentle natural heat came through and demonstrated the versatility of the squash with Perfectly cooked tortellini, a luxurious dish of real quality and elegance. 
    

We also both tried a second starter off the menu, as a pre-main course dish. The Asiette of Beetroot, textures of goats cheese. 

This was a fine starter, that though wasn’t as stunning as the velouté before was full of the earthyness of the beetroot which woked well against the creamy goats cheese. An impressive starter which used the fantastic thinly sliced and striped sweet candy beet (from Worcester Produce) against the creamy soft goats cheese. 

For her main course Ruth chose the wintry sounding Porcini mushroom risotto, crispy hens egg, sherry vinegar reduction.

  

A twist on the traditional Northern Italian dish was certainly a winner with Ruth. She loved the earthy intense nuttyness of the porcini (piglets).

She said it was perfectly executed, the risotto the right texture and the strong depth of flavour showed off the so called king of mushrooms well. The added hens egg on top gave it a creamy addition when broken into. A delicious rich dish, which on trying i concurred with. The ruling class of risottos.

I chose the beautifully sounding Celeriac, red onion and feta pithivier, baby spinach confit tomato and pearl barley sauce.

  
  

A pithivier is a classic French savoury pastry dish (I love pastry dishes) with a distinctive round shape and sunbeam pattern scored on top.

Beautifully presented, the contrasting ingredients worked well  with the feta holding it all together to make a stunning winter pie that though large in size wasn’t heavy but had a light finish.

A real centrepiece dish which showed off the subtle but slightly nutty celeriac and confit tomatoes well.

A special mention to the Pearl barley sauce which gave the dish an extra wow factor.

We also ate some top notch chips as a side extra. Naturally they went perfectly with the pithivier.

  

We chose not to have a desert (but recommended) as we had enjoyed a pre main course, but chose to have two excellent double espressos and petit fours. These were ok, though not the best we’d had and were slightly underwhelming considering they were on the desert menu as a dish to buy. Could be improved. 
  

After visiting Opus last year for their Vegetarian Source dinner with Worcester Produce i noted how much more the kitchen were becoming in creating interestingly different and creative Vegetarian dishes. How by using the great fresh seasonal produce you are able to get the best extracted from the season.

 The chefs now seem more adept and positive in creating a menu that gives a permanent showcase for this produce and vegetarians a better and richer dining experience. The vegetarian menu at Opus is a natural progression from the Source dinner and one that makes Opus one of the best dining experiences in Birmingham for Vegetarians, and with a couple of Vegan options (though could be more) a restaurant for them to visit too. I’m looking forward to seeing what the Spring will bring to the plate and long may we enjoy the fruits of the producers such as Worcester Produce and Caroll’s Heritage Potatoes in Northumberland. 

Opus is indeed a special restaurant in Birmingham and now for vegetarians maybe just essential dining. 

  
    
   

Thanks for reading,

Andy😊

Disclaimer: our meal at Opus was complimentary. This does not affect my honest opinion. All opinions are my own.

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

http://www.opusrestaurant.co.uk/menus/

http://www.opusrestaurant.co.uk/dinner-series/

Opus Restaurant, 54 Cornwall Street, Bitmingham,  B3 2DE.

0121 200 2323

The next Vegetarian Source Dinner is on Friday 19th August 7pm with Worcester Produce. For my previous  review, see the below link:

http://t.co/WkopBcpQ9P

   
 

Previous reviews of Opus from Veggie Foodie: 

http://t.co/WkopBcpQ9P

https://t.co/3tmU7L7Y2V

Opus Restaurant launches new Vegetarian menu. 


   
 
During the last few years I’ve visited Opus Restaurant numerous times and have always been impressed by their passion and belief in the locally sourced produce they obtain from the area surrounding the restaurant. The Source Dinner series held over the course of the year highlights this. In particular for Vegetarians the Vegetarian Source Dinner in July is a real highlight and a must do on my foodie calendar. 

Worcester Produce from Pershore, Worcestershire provide the vegetables, fruit and produce for that dinner and the link is now deepened with the new introduction this month of a seasonally changing Vegetarian menu which uses their produce all year round. 

Opus’ vegetarian dishes have always been stunningly  made, taking seasonal produce and making accessible and tasty dishes that showcase this ethos off to its maximum. 

See below for examples from their last Source vegetarian dinner.

   
 

The new Opus Restaurant vegetarian menu replaces for veggies the A La Carte menu, by offering a dedicated menu that changes monthly to reflect the produce on offer from the farmers. 

There is also a Vegan option on each course.

It is available for lunch and dinner.

The A’La Carte is still available for non vegetarians who can now choose from both menus. 

The winter Vegetarian Menu is listed below. 

 

For the A’La Carte menu and Market Menu which is retained see below:

http://www.opusrestaurant.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/A-LA-CARTE-MARKET.pdf

The Market Menu is also available offering two courses for £20 including a Vegetarian Starter and Main Course (price includes home baked bread and tea or filter- coffee) see above link for details. 

I’m looking forward to trying the new Vegetarian menu soon and for me this cements Opus as one of the best places for vegetarians to visit in Birmingham. 

Review of Vegetarian Source Dinner with Worcester Produce:

http://t.co/WkopBcpQ9P

Opus leads the way on sustainability:

https://t.co/3tmU7L7Y2V

  

   

    
    
 Four photos above courtesy of Opus.

Thanks for reading

Andy 😊

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

Opus Restaurant, 54 Cornwall Street, Birmingham, B3 2DE.

0121-200-2323.

http://www.worcesterproduce.co.uk/

The next vegetarian source dinner with Worcester Produce is on Friday 19th August 7pm costing £65 for five courses. 

   
 

Veggie Dish of the Day: Chinese Green Gai Lan at Henry Wong, Harborne, Birmingham. 


   
For Vegetarians seeking a sophisticated but different kind of meal, with an extensive vegetarian menu Henry Wong in Harborne in South Birmingham is just the ticket. Specialising in Cantonese food Henry Wong presents exquisitely flavoured and classically presented dishes with a golden service. 

Set in a stylish dining room, with a rich woodwork and leather seating lounge bar area (serving cocktails) Henry Wong is a place for all occasions, but is becoming a place for Ruth and I to visit for celebrations as on this occasion to celebrate Ruth’s birthday late last year. 

We had visited Henry Wong before last year and had a fantastic evening. 

See my review:

https://vegiefoodie.com/2015/06/08/review-henry-wong-harborne/ 

    

One of the Vegetarian main courses on the menu is Chinese Green Gai Lan with Ginger and Shaoshing Wine. A dish so simple looking but packing a huge flavour of tongue and senses twisting exoticness that with that taste you begin to believe in the afterlife. 

The thick stemmed tender and crisp Chinese vegetable Gai Lan (also known as Kai Lan) is a bit like broccoli, served simply with the light touch of ginger and Shaoshing wine, it’s a delightfully shiny, and glossy dish, tossed simply with the ginger and Shaoshing wine, the warmth of the ginger balances the pronounced taste of the Gai Lan with an intensified cooling flavour kick lingering long on the palette. 

It’s an aromatic dish of substance and a vegetarian essential not to be missed at luxurious Henry Wong. 

 Chinese Green Gai Lan with Ginger and Shaoshing wine. £9.50.   A beautiful glossy dish eaten best with a couple of shared dishes (or another vegetarian dish) and some sticky rice. 

   Cocktails at Henry Wong.

   

 Last two photos courtesy of Henry Wong.

With thanks to owner Parm Rai, chef Ricky Wu and a special thanks to restaurant manager Marianne Ho and her team for helping us celebrate Ruth’s Birthday with their exemplary service.

We paid for our food and drinks at Henry Wong, but received a 25% discount from Parm as it was a special occasion. My review is honest as always and I was not required to review or write about my experience.

Henry Wong, 283 High Street, Harborne, Birmingham, B17 9QH.

http://henrywongharborne.co.uk/

http://henrywongharborne.co.uk/menus/food-menu/

Review: Byzantium, Kings Heath, Revisited. 


   

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  Negroni at Byzantium.

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

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

  

The vegetarian dishes we chose to share were: 

Homemade Flatbread. 

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

Olives: a selection of marinated green and black olives. 

These were all eaten as a shared starter. 

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

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

The dishes we shared were: 

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

Patatas Alioli: Crisp potatoes served with Garlic Mayonnaise. 

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

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

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

  Tortilla Con Queso. 

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

  

Championes Rellenos. 

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

  Croquetas. 

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

    Halloumi Souviaki. 

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

  Patatas Alioli: 

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

  Tiramisu. 

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

  

Poached Pears soaked in Red wine.

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

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

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

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

  
 

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

She had a good night. 

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

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

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

Thanks for reading. 

Andy 😊

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

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

http://t.co/9wa86cSkdr

   
 

  

Review: Cafe Opus at Ikon: Birmingham 


   
 
Cafe Opus is located in the Brindley Place part of Birmingham City Centre at the acclaimed modern art Ikon Gallery on Delightful Oozells square. 

It’s a stylish, modern British cafe on the ground floor of the Ikon Gallery building with a tempting outdoor terrace that begs for sunny days and nights and is perfect for their informal menu that’s designed to let you eat what you fancy when you fancy it. Serving cafe classics, afternoon tea, fine beers, wines and coffee, at reasonable cafe prices. 

The true taste of Cafe Opus is that they are independent and source their produce locally and ethically, knowing all of their producers, farmers and fishermen. It’s all about utilising fresh produce and allowing the simplest of ingredients to shine through. 

In fact I think the summer months are the best time to visit Cafe Opus. The terrace itself demands it, and the produce, well speaks for itself. 

   
 
Ruth and I have have always loved visiting Cafe Opus on a Summer evening and thus couldn’t resist the recent good weather. We chose a Friday evening partly because Ruth wanted to try out the steak on ‘steak friday’ and because they were running what’s called ‘Come Vinyl With Me’. 

Now, this is where you can bring your own records and be a DJ by serving up three courses of musical delights in 10 minutes. This is strictly vinyl, but is very eclectic music wise and was good fun. At least our dinner was accompanied by a decent soundtrack. 

We didn’t bring any records ourselves on this occasion, but you never know in the future. This is held on the first Friday of the month. 

So there we had it, good music and maybe good food. 

Having visited Cafe Opus before to eat  on many occasions I knew the Vegetarian Dishes were always diverse and thoughtful. So that’s me satisfied too! 

We did sit on the terrace, and ordered a local Langley’s Gin and tonic (1724) for me and a glass of white wine for Ruth. The gin and tonic was lovely, perfect on a summers alfesco night. 

  
   
 It’s the informality of the menu that makes Cafe Opus the ideal Summer venue. The food feels relaxed, continental and I always feel sitting on the terrace whatever time of the day that Birmingham is some far flung city not just home and familiar. 

For that reason I chose The Vegetarian Plate from the all day menu. Comprising of Welsh rarebit, hummus, and toasted pitta, piquillo pepper stuffed with couscous, marinated grilled vegetables. 

   

   
All of the elements were excellent, nothing was out of place. The Piquillo peppers were the stars though, the contrasting flavour of the pepper with the slightly spicy couscous was summer in itself and reminded me of some lovely tapas meals in Spain. The Rarebit, with a good string cheese flavour was excellent too and the marinated vegetables (courgettes, aubergines) delicious. It was a good plate of food, though simple it was a good example of how informal dishes can be uplifting if the ingredients are fresh and well cooked. I also ordered some fat chips which were delightful and went well with the vegetarian plate. 

   
 
Ruth surfice to say loved her steak aged for 28 days to ensure their succulent flavour it appeared to work. She was happy. 

We ordered another 2 glass of wine and a Chapel Down brewery Curious IPA and Lager (from the winery in Kent that makes some delicious wines and some nifty Sparkling brut too). 

The IPA a powerful but hoppy Indian Pale Ale. Very drinkable, very flavourful. Lovely in the sunshine. 

 
  
We were both happy to order puddings too. Ruth ordered a lemon posset, fresh raspberries which was very nice. Fresh, summery and quite light. No picture I’m afraid as she started before I could take one. 

I ordered the Mixed Summer berry pavlova. The combinations of meringue, cream and strawberries and raspberries worked well. Though it was quite creamy in texture it didn’t feel heavy, but was light was a subtle meringue crunch. A well made and enjoyable pudding. 
 

  
Cafe Opus is a lovely spot for a light summery dinner or lunch or afternoon tea. If the weather is fine, the terrace is a super spot to people watch and to take in those sunny Rays. 

The food, been seasonal is of the highest quality, fresh, well made. 

Cafe Opus do the simple things delightfully well. 

The dishes are well cooked, the Vegetarian dishes are thoughtful, not just an add on ( though could do with a few more, maybe specials?) and with the seasonal aspect feels modern and interesting. 

They are more cafe orientated than fine dining, but that simple nature works well. 

 The menus are affordable and the service was good throughout. 

Cafe Opus is well worth a visit for an ethical slice of artistic Birmingham whether after, before or separate from a gallery visit. There’s a lot to like about Cafe Opus. It’s got so much right. 

Now when’s my next visit? 

http://www.cafeopus.co.uk/menus/

http://www.cafeopus.co.uk/

   
   
  
Cafe Opus at Ikon, 1 Oozells Square, Brindley Place, Birmingham, B1 2HS. 

0121-248-3226

Meat Free Monday: every Monday at Cafe Opus, daily vegetarian specials. Day time only. 

   

 Afternoon tea 
  
Come Vinyl with me at Cafe Opus. 

You can also receive 2-1 on all breakfast menu items until 12pm (Monday-Friday) or 10% off the bill (all day all week) with the Independent Birmingham card. See link to purchase the IB card. 

http://independent-birmingham.co.uk/

Thanks for reading. 

Andy 😊

We received our food at Cafe Opus complimentary, but paid for our drinks. All of my opinions are my own and my review is honest and without bias as always. I was not required to write a positive review.