San Carlo announces new Fumo venue for Selfridges, Birmingham.



Fumo, St Martin's Lane, Covent Garden, London.

Birmingham's multi-award winning Italian restaurant company, San Carlo Group has announced it’s to further expand operations in the city.
 
The Italian family owned and run group which has 17 leading UK restaurants, including the original and hugely popular San Carlo on Temple Street and the excellent Fumo (open since 2012) on Waterloo Street, is to open a second Fumo restaurant, champagne and cocktail bar at Selfridges in Birmingham this Autumn.  
 
Fumo will be located in Selfridges on the 4th floor with stunning views overlooking the iconic Bullring. With a nod to the popular and critical success of its Fumo restaurants in Birmingham, Manchester and St Martins Lane, London.

Fumo will serve delicious, seasonal Italian small plate dishes known in Venice as cicchetti made to share or eat alone and will incorporate a feature bar which will specialise in cocktails and Laurent Perrier champagne.
 
The £1m restaurant will be the third Selfridges San Carlo Group restaurant – San Carlo Bottega and Gran Café are situated within Selfridges Exchange Square, Manchester.
 
The Group’s success has been built on providing original Italian food using the freshest produce, much of which is flown in from markets in Milan and Sicily. It is this passion for food and attention to detail that has seen Fumo on Waterloo Street scoop several awards since its
launch 5 years ago including Best Italian Restaurant at the BFDH Awards and Les Routiers Restaurant of the Year.
 
A further 16 individually designed venues are located in Manchester, Cheshire, Liverpool, Leeds, Roundhay, Bristol, Leicester and London and further afield diners enjoy San Carlo restaurants in Qatar, Bahrain and Bangkok.
www.sancarlofumo.co.uk
 
Follow Fumo on social media:
Twitter:
@SanCarlo_Fumo
 
Facebook
@SanCarloFumo
 
instagram
@SanCarloGroup

I've visited Fumo numerous times on Waterloo Street and always found it a bustling and lovely restaurant with excellent food, cracking cocktails and with good veggie options the new venue is sure to be popular.

I Look forward to Fumo opening in the Autumn.

Thanks for reading,

Andy 😊

 About San Carlo Group www.sancarlo.co.uk
Winners of 36 industry and consumer awards, San Carlo Group is renowned for great food and a star-studded clientele; from celebrities and sports stars to business leaders and high profile politicians, the multi-award winning San Carlo Group was founded in Birmingham as a family business by Carlo Distefano in 1992.


Courtesy of San Carlo group.
 

Opus fixes the price not the diners options.


Birmingham restaurant Opus has once again reinvented the wheel with fixing the prices, but not your dining options.

Opus one of the leading fine-dining restaurants in Birmingham, has scrapped the individual prices on its à la carte menu and has instead introduced a fixed price for either two- or three-course dining.

Opus believes it is the only restaurant to have this standout offering. It will enable diners to choose any dish from its full à la carte menu, with a two-course lunch or dinner costing £27.50 or a three-course meal £32.50. 

The vegetarian menu costs £25 for two courses and £30 for three. 

The concept has been spearheaded by award-winning executive head chef Ben Ternent. He said: “Typically you find that the cheaper, fixe prix menus in restaurants offer limited options for diners, but we were keen to do something a little different from the norm.

“We decided that our diners deserved to enjoy our full à la carte options for a fixed price. It’s not something many restaurants do and I’m thrilled to introduce it here at Opus.”

Ben joined Opus, on Cornwall Street, as commis chef shortly after the restaurant launched in 2005 and worked in almost every section of its kitchen before being promoted to executive head chef in 2015, when it celebrated its tenth anniversary.
During his time at the restaurant, Ben has achieved a number of prestigious awards, including being crowned the British Culinary Federation’s Young Chef of the Year in 2006 and achieving his Royal Academy of Culinary Arts Award of Excellence in 2009.

Ann Tonks, managing director at Opus, said: “We’re renowned for doing things a little differently here and because we are independent, we are always looking for new and innovative initiatives that benefit our clientele. Ben’s idea to remove the individual à la carte prices and instead have a fixed price across the whole menu is a great idea and I’m sure our diners will agree, too.

Vegetarians can enjoy dishes such as creamy goats cheese mousse, roasted English tomato and red pepper soup plus Leicestershire wild mushroom and truffle Wellington, Evesham beetroot risotto and tian of Pershore vegetables followed by a warm dark chocolate fondant or raspberry and blueberry iced parfait and a strawberry pudding, the choice is truly yours. 

Diners can, of course, choose one course only if they prefer and those dishes are individually priced.”

The menu is available for lunch Monday to Friday and dinner Monday to Saturday.

http://www.opusrestaurant.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/Vegetarian-Menu.pdf

For full menu information, visit: 

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

Goats cheese tart 

Beetroot risotto

Strawberry pudding

Ben Ternent.


Opus Restaurant Vegetarian Source Dinner with Worcester Produce is also on Friday July 16th at 7pm.

The Source Dinner series includes this Veggie extravaganza. Enjoy 5 courses with wine pairing in conjunction with Worcester Produce. The fruit, vegetables and salad are grown in their nurseries and farms in the Vale of Evesham, picked on day one and are in the Opus kitchen on day two. It’s always an evening to savour.

Look out for my review soon. 

 Price £65 pp. 

Call 0121-200-2323 for booking. 

Thanks for reading, 

Andy 😊

Thanks to Opus and Clive Reeves PR for the photos. 

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 😊

Fancy a veggie pie? Pieminister arrives in Birmingham. 


Pies are an indulgence I think of often, but sadly eat infrequently. Possibly because it’s so hard to find a decent veggie pie, they’re usually an afterthought on menus and have an oh so soggy bottom and boring filings. Until now maybe? 

Open last week small and fun award winning chain Pieminister specialises in the small things of beauty that’s a welcome addition to the Birmingham food scene. Open seven days a week you can grab a coffee, lunch, takeaway or eat from a more extensive evening menu. 

Pieminister is a family business and uses high quality, ethically sourced ingredients. 

With plenty of Vegetarian pies on the menu Pieminister will be a popular haunt for an indulgent and warming feast on those cool summer days. (You know we have them in Birmingham) 

The menu includes four Veggie pies from the Heidi, (also a gluten free option) Saag Pie-Neer ( see what they’ve done there!) and the Wild Shroom. Again clever,  this one with Asparagus. 

There’s also a Summer Pie Special, the Feta Attraction which is Feta, spinach, sun dried tomatoes, pine nuts, and chick peas, served with a Tzatziki dip ( try with a side of sweet potato fries) 

Which is part of the pie for a pie campaign. Which means that every time you buy a pie off the list Pieminister will donate a pie on your behalf to U.KHarvest. Which aims to deliver good food to 10,000 vulnerable people across the U.K. This summer. 

Also Veggie are the Skillets. These tasty sounding dishes are pies without the pastry. 

The Meany Bean is Vegan friendly, with butternut squash, mixed bean chilli and crispy potatoes with Jalapeños. Plus Peas and Love. A pea and paneer concoction with spinach, and cauliflower. A curry in other words served with a Bombay potato top. 

Sides include Mash, Peas and gravy to Summer slaw, salads and fries.

Plus on weekends a Veggie Munch Brunch Pie of smoked cheese, Veg sausage, chestnut mushrooms, poached egg, tomato, halloumi and potato hash on top. Wow! 

They are thankfully working on a Vegan pie which hopefully won’t be long in the making with vegan friendly pastry. Yay! 

Get a move on! 

For full menu see below. 

Inside find a stripped back interior and bare brick walls and a nice view of the cathedral from its Waterloo street location. 

Next to Adams if you want to know. They don’t do pies there so it’s ok! 

Also cocktails (2-1 before 7 and after 9.30) and beers such as Pieministers very own Pie PA are available and coffee and tea to wash them down. 

Plus a kids menu is available and puddings including toffee apple ice cream pie and Glastonbury Mud ice cream pie. 

All Veggie Pies are Vegetarian Society approved, bravo! 

Thanks for reading and see you there for a pie fix! 

The difficulty is in the decision which one to have.

After all they are the stars! 

Thanks for reading, 

Andy 😊

As a footnote Pieminister is the only pie company to use British Free Range meat. Yay! 

Pieminister, 16 Waterloo Street, Birmingham. B2. 0121-285-3743.

http://www.pieminister.co.uk/restaurants/birmingham

https://www.facebook.com/pieministeruk

http://www.pieminister.co.uk/pieforapie/

All photos courtesy of Pieminister with thanks. 

Restaurant review: Mezze at So Mezze and lounge, Birmingham.


  

So Mezze is a reassuring place.  When you look at the menu you are greeted with a long list of Vegetarian dishes that cover All mezze bases and are salavatingly bursting with happiness. 

You cannot underestimate the comfort this brings and though the proof is in the eating its a positive start. The menu offers a mixture of cold and hot mezze, like tapas small dishes to share and ideal for grazing on with a cocktail from the long cocktail list. 

So Mezze serves Lebanese Mezze and is located in Birmingham City Centre in Holloway Head between Broad Street (near the ICC) and the Arcadian provides a lounging experience thats has a calm relaxed Arabesque feel about it and a comfortable cosy arrangement of seating and tables that asks you to linger long into the evening.

 

  
The beautiful thing about Mezze like tapas is its informality. Sharing food is one of my favourite things to do so the long  and varied vegetarian menu was perfect for Ruth and I to share, with plenty to satisfy all tastes.

We began with a couple of cocktail. Ruth the Dry Gin Martini and myself the Old Cuban. Both excellent with the perfect hit of ingredients. The rum and bourbon in mine, deep and velvety, reassuringly complimenting the informality of the dishes. Ruths with the perfect balance of gin and perfectly made. So good we had two more. Superb cocktails. 

  Gin Martini
  Old Cuban 

  

The dishes we ate were: 

Cold Mezze: Humous, Baba Ganoush, Tabouleh, Fatoush, Warak Enab,

Hot Mezze: Batata Harra, Grilled Halloumi, Sambousek cheese, and Falafal, served with flat bread. 

All the dishes were excellent, lovely examples of authenticity and fully enjoyable. 

Take the cold Mezze dish Baba Ganoush, smoky rich, creamy, the distinct aubergine flavour meltingly good on an excellent flatbread.

The Warak Enab, vine leaves stuffed full of rice and spices, morsels of delight and perfect alongside a superbly creamy and silky smooth Humous and light and refreshing Tabouleh with its summery flavours and minty, Parsley soothing hit and the light and breezy Fatoush with its lettuce, tomato, cucumber, mint and onion on flatbread and olive oil dressing. The salads tempered with Middle East herbs are delicious. 

The hot Mezze were equally indulgent and summery. 

The star dish Batata Harra, spiced Lebanese fried potatoes cooked with peppers, chillies, garlic and Corriander. Small morsels if punchy flavours taken alongside the savoury Grilled Halloumi, with its golden brown savoury touch a delight. 

Another dish, the falafel had the perfect weight and flavour. Small balls of chickpeas and onion ( I’m a big fan of chickpeas) deep fried with a tahini sauce. Delicious. 

The only dish that was not such a winner to me was the Sambousek Cheese, which was a light savoury cheese pastry with feta cheese and parsley which was disappointingly bland compared with the deep savoury flavours of the other hot dishes. Shame.

The dishes also came with rice.
  Falafel.  

Batata Harra.

  Fatoush

  Tabouleh.

  Sambousek Cheese

  Humous

  Baba Ganoush  Warak Enab

    
  

Grilled Halloumi  Flatbread

    Rice 

    Veggie menu £20 per person.

Been quite full we decided to share a beautifully sticky and filling Syrup Drizzled Baklava: soaked layers of pastry and chopped nuts, sticky, syrupy. It’s all in the name, delicious especially with the fresh and refreshing mint tea that we enjoyed with it.

    Baklava

  

 Fresh mint tea.

  
  
Our meal at So Mezze was a generous meal. For Vegetarians it’s an excellent choice. With plenty of choice, to fill a number of repeated visits. The set menu allows a full journey and the delight in eating food in a shared informal way is perfect for summer or a group party. It has a confidence in itself, unfussy, and enjoyable in its simple charms. They also cater for vegans and Gluten Free diets with notice when booking and reassuringly  having so much choice is its key to its enjoyment. All the dishes we tried were excellent and we’d have no hesitation to visit again. A hidden, cool and fun gem in the city centre and perfect for us veggies.

Thanks for reading, 

Andy 😊

So Mezze,  89 Holloway Head, Birmingham, B1 1QP.

http://www.so-mezze.co.uk/

https://m.facebook.com/somezze/

You can receive a discount of 25% with The Gastro Card at So Mezze from Sunday-Thursday.
http://www.gastrocard.co.uk/restaurants/so-mezze-lounge/

Our meal and drinks were complimentary at So Mezze because of my work for The Gastro Card. All my opinions are honest and my own as always. 

  

Opus reaches final for hospitality’s most prestigious award. 


  
Opus at Cornwall Street have been selected as semi-finalists for the prestigious Royal Academy of Culinary Arts Annual Awards of Excellence. 

The awards, which are designed to recognise the UK’s most talented young people within hospitality, will see Opus front of house staff Dorenzo Pratt and Iona Adams, as well as chef de partie Martin Baylis, the only kitchen staff in the Midlands to be named as a semi-finalist, complete a series of exams, interviews and technical tasks this month in an attempt to achieve the industry’s most reputable award. 

The gifted trio reached the semi-finals after demonstrating exceptional knowledge and an enthusiastic attitude through an application process. During the finals, Dorenzo, who has been working at Opus for two years after starting as a part-time student from University College Birmingham, and Iona, who has been at Opus since January 2016, will partake in a written exam and rigorous interview on Opus’ food and wine menus in order to receive the esteemed service award. Martin, who has been working for Opus for one year, will have two hours to prepare squid, salt baked whole sea bass, a rack of lamb and an apple tart, as well as complete a theory test and demonstrate basic kitchen skills to receive the kitchen award.  
Irene Allan, director at Opus at Cornwall Street, said: “We’re very committed to developing our front of house and kitchen teams, so having three members reach the finals for the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts Annual Awards is a tremendous achievement. We’re incredibly proud of Dorenzo, Iona and Martin and are thrilled that their talents and sector knowledge has been recognised. Not only will the award be a huge achievement for our staff personally, but it will also be an achievement for Birmingham’s growing culinary scene. 

“There are only two restaurants locally with staff in the shortlist, ourselves and our neighbours Purnells Restaurant  so we’d also like to wish Bradley Pace from there the best of luck too.” 

The Royal Academy of Culinary Arts Annual Awards of Excellence is an examination and not a competition. All or none of those that reach the final can achieve the award depending on their ability to attain the standard of excellence set by the judges. 

Dorenzo and Iona took part in the service finals on Saturday 19th March at The Ritz in London. Martin will take part in the kitchen finals on Wednesday 30th March at University College Birmingham. 

For more information on Opus at Cornwall Street, please see: 

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

I wish them all good luck with this prestigious award.

   
    
 Vegetarian dishes at Opus.
See below for my review of Opus’ vegetarian menu: 

https://t.co/AIpppfvenl

Thanks for reading, 

Andy 😊

The Gastro Card: Buy yours at a discount price here. 


Recently I’ve teamed up with The Gastro Card to be their Vegetarian blogger/reviewer. You’ll see on my blog a few reviews of their restaurants from time to time that they’ll share with their members, their website and on social media. 

  
Via this blog post I’ve got a Discount Offer on The Gastro Card, so read on to the end of the post. 

I’ve already written a review for Marco’s New York Italian at The Holiday inn, see here: 

https://t.co/AMwyOyzFwL

If like me you like to eat out and feel sometimes that it’s too expensive to do on a regular basis, then maybe just maybe The Gastro Card is for you. 
What is The Gastro Card? 

The Gastro Card is the Midlands leading independent dining card. It provides Gastro Card members with 12 months unlimited access to exclusive dining offers at more than 200+ hand picked restaurants. 

These offers are not available to the general public and the offers range from 10% to 50% off the food bill to a free glass of wine or champagne for each diner to complimentary bottles of wine, 50% off wine when dining A La Carte etc. Gastro Card members can save up to £500 a year if they use their card once a week. 

http://www.gastrocard.co.uk/

Where can I eat? 

The Gastro Card has partner restaurants in Birmingham, Black Country, Warwickshire, Gloucestershire, Cotswolds, Leicestershire, Herefordshire, Solihull, Rutland, Stratford Upon Avon, Henley in Arden, Worstershire, Coventry, Leamington. 

   Bistro 1847

Henry Wong   Asha’s

Some of my favourites are on the list, including Vegetarian Bistro 1847 in Birmingham where you can get 50% off Monday- Thursday and 25% off on Friday’s and Saturdays.

Plus Henry Wong, Adams, Purnells Bistro, Peels restaurant at Hampton Manor, Ashas, Itihaas, Edmunds, Jyoti’s vegetarian, Kababish-Moseley, Hotel Du Vin, Chung Ying Central, Gas Street Social, Opus, Amantia, And many more. 

http://www.gastrocard.co.uk/restaurants/

What’s the deal? 

To buy a Gastro Card it will usually cost you £30 a year. 

For Veggie Foodie readers I have a special code that will get you £5 off a full 12 month card. 

That’s £25 for a full year of restaurant discounts. 

Just click on the link below to take you to the Gastro Card website and put the code VeggieFoodie in the promo code box for a 12 month Gastro Card it will deduct £5 from the total.

http://www.gastrocard.co.uk/buy-the-gastro-card/

Disclosure: The code gives you £5 off the standard price of the Gastro Card . By using the code I make a few pence too at no extra cost to yourselves. 

Enjoy the card and foodie treats.

Thanks for reading, 

Andy 😊
 Marco’s New York Italian at Birmingham Airport.

   Marco’s New York Italian.

  Opus Reataurant 

  Bistro 1847.

   Amantia Restaurant

 Purnells Bistro
   Asha’s 

 Peels Restaurant at Hampton Manor. 

  Met Bar and Kitchen, Solihull.

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