What does Winter mean to you? A cosy fire, warming comfortable food, deep intense flavours, Christmas, Milky sunshine, snow?
In 1847 (the year the vegetarian society which Bistro 1847 takes its name from was formed) Winter was very different, but had for some those comfy elements. For others poverty and cold filled the darkening destitute days with a penniless existence. There was fog in London, Famine in Ireland, times were hard and a Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens had been written four years before.
For me, food is best comforting, warming seasonal and filled with the intensity of deep flavours and cheerfully rich colours that only a Winter time dish deserves. So you’ll find root vegetables, cabbage, red onion gravy, kale and hearty mash on the menu.
Bistro 1847 are in full on expansion mode. Openings recently in Bristol and Brighton supplement the Manchester and Birmingham restaurants. Dishes served with contemporary flair and passion which just happen to be Vegetarian with good Vegan options and menu make 1847 unique in Birmingham. With a neighbourhood feel in the city and cocktail list its charming.
I visited with my parents and brother to try the new Winter menu’s delights, one mild lunchtime.
We enjoyed two courses, a main and a desert.
Merguez and Mash:
Spicy Puy lentil sausage, turnip and sage mash, red onion gravy.
A hearty vegan friendly main course, big flavoured, spicy, a deep intense gravy. It’s comfort food at its best. It’s simple in design, almost traditional, but those hearty slightly exotic flavours pack a punch that creates a harmonious wintry and Christmas memory lane delight of a main.
To accompany it I enjoyed a glass of decent house red that worked, bringingout the deep flavours of the sausage and red onion gravy.
Chocolate and Pear:
Soft ganache, port poached pear, gingerbread, mulled wine gel. (Vegan)
A gem of a pudding, and the best I’ve tasted at 1847. It felt luxurious and with a deep and full flavoured port poached pear which set off the soft, dark chocolatey ganache, it was heavenly, creamy (but no cream) and made me think, can I have some more please?
‘Fish and Chips’
Ginger ale battered Halloumi, triple cooked chips, savoury lemon curd, green pea and Basil.
A Bistro 1847 signature dish that my brother lapped up. A variation on the norm due to the added ginger ale. Cheese heaven!
My parents also had the Merguez and mash. They said it felt like winter on a plate.
A welcome to Winter
My Dad enjoyed his British cheese plate for desert, which he said was a good size with the right amount of varied biscuits. Local to 1847 they come with grapes and homemade chutney. Nice cheeses.
A trip to Bistro 1847 is a refreshing and inventive experience for Vegetarians and Vegans. When the classics are spun into another more modern realm of intricacy, simplicity and beauty then Winter feels more 2015 than 1847. Dishes are more precise, but not less indulgent and comforting for it. With the core elements of familiarity and comfort 1847 have taken the season and made it now, but with a certain doff of the cap to the past. It is on this level where it succeeds and in its discovery where appetites are more than satisfied.
Thanks for reading
Disclosure: We paid for our own meal at Bistro 1847. My views are my own and honest of my experience of the dishes eaten.
Bistro 1847, 26 Great Western Arcade, Birmingham B2 5HU.
Two courses on the winter menu cost £19.50 and three cost £25.