Bonjour Birmingham – Bistrot Pierre is in town.


  

The French restaurant group, Bistrot Pierre officially opened its fifteenth bistrot on 1st July in one of Birmingham’s oldest buildings – located on Gas Street.

Having opened their first restaurant in Nottingham more than 20 years ago, school friends and business partners Rob Beacham and John Whitehead are delighted to be opening in the UK’s second city.

“This has been a long time coming and we’re really looking forward to welcoming Birmingham’s diners to our newest location,” said Rob.

“The Grade II listed building is steeped in history, having previously been used as the headquarters for the Birmingham Canal Company – playing a vital role in the rich history of the city.”

Bistrot Pierre received a significant investment from private equity firm, Livingbridge, in 2015 to support its expansion plans – and Birmingham’s bistrot is the first of many new openings since this cash injection.

John said: “We believe very strongly in maintaining an individual and unique feel across our bistrots and the interior in each restaurant strongly reflects its location; no two bistrots are the same. Our passion for French food and high levels of service are features which we believe are paramount across the brand. We’re also very pleased to have created almost 50 new jobs in Birmingham.

“We’ve learnt a lot during our time in business and we continue to adapt and evolve to give the loyal diners we’ve built over the years an authentic and enjoyable dining experience. Birmingham is one of our most exciting openings to date and the bistrot itself is certainly something different for us – and for the city.”

Vegetarian main course options include Super Salade, Risotto vegetarien, Tarte aux Legumes, plus apetisers and starters such as Gousse d’ail rotie ( whole roasted garlic bulb with artisan bread) and signature dish Brioche et champignons (toasted brioche with fricasse of mushrooms).

Menus vary from full A’La Carte to Prix fixe Lunch, pre theatre, breakfast and Long Weekend, plus children’s menus. 

  
The launch of the new Birmingham restaurant coincides with an important rebrand for Bistrot Pierre – modernising its livery with a new look logo, menu design and signage incorporating stylised French characters and artwork, which will be rolled out across all of its restaurants in the coming months.

The independent restaurant group has also embraced the current trend in social media video with its Birmingham launch – introducing its arrival in Britain’s second city with three high quality lifestyle films.

Using three of the restaurants’ own waiting staff as the stars under the umbrella title of #bonjourbirmingham, Birmingham based videographer Ergo films has produced the three films using stunning iconic locations around the city as the backdrop. The first film launched on Bistrot Pierre’s social media channels last week.

“Using video to launch a restaurant is a new venture for us,” explained head of marketing Arpita Anstey. 

“Using video to launch a restaurant is a new venture for us,” explained head of marketing Arpita Anstey. 
“It has been incredibly exciting to see the film’s popularity amongst our new Birmingham audience, having received more than 20,000 views in its first week alone. The reaction to the video has given us a lot of encouragement that our new location is the perfect choice for Bistrot Pierre and that we will be a welcome addition to the city’s important and thriving food scene,” she continued.

Bistrot Pierre has locations across the UK in Nottingham, Derby, Leicester, Leamington Spa, Harrogate, Ilkley, Sheffield, Stockton Heath, Stratford-Upon-Avon, Plymouth, Torquay, Cardiff, Bath and Newport.

To see the videos, visit http://www.facebook.com/BistrotPierre or follow @LeBistrotPierre on Twitter.

To book a table at the city’s newest French bistrot please contact 0121 616 0730.

  
Thanks for reading, 

Andy 😊

Photos courtesy of Bistrot Pierre.

Veggie Lunch Watch: Cafe Opus @ Ikon Gallery.


  

  
Lunch is a serious subject. Whether it’s the luxury of eating at Carters of Moseley, Turners of Harborne or Purnells Bistro (I’ve tried all those) or the informality of Bodega and Amantia its a serious subject. One not to be undertaken (unless it’s at your desk) lightly. Cafe Opus takes lunch seriously, not in a fine dining kind of way, but by providing that informality one feels comfortable in right away and one that suits the Ikon Gallery where it resides down to the ground. 

Cafe Opus is the little brother of big Opus, Restaurant that is on Cornwall Street and of the young whippersnapper Bar Opus near Snow Hill Station. What they all have in common is the keen response to seasonal ingredients, sourced locally, market fresh and of a consideration to Vegetarians and Vegans in their menus. 

Ruth and I stopped by to try their all day 2 course for £10.50 menu (available Tuesday to Saturday) after a look around the Ikon Gallery. 

The menu includes a good choice of Vegetarian dishes and some Vegan options. It’s an all day menu that offers brunch dishes, sandwiches and light bites as well as more substantial mains. 

The first thing that you find at Cafe Opus is how light floods the room and how relaxed the restaurant feels. With original art on the walls and a quirky informal seating arrangement that is more cafe than formal dining  the modern dishes on offer perfectly fit the gallery vibe and is ideal for a lunch whilst visiting.

  
    
  

The 2 course menu is ideal for lunch or for an early evening supper. It includes homemade soup of the day to start (always a vegan version) and any dish off the menu for £10.50. 

For our starter we both ordered the Mushroom Soup.

 

The deep mushroom flavours came through, perfectly seasoned with chunky mushrooms adding a rich texture to the creamy warmth. Lovely. A near perfect soup. 

On the other hand the bread was beyond dry and possibly the worst I’ve witnessed in a restaurant/cafe for years. It was fairly inedible and would have been better made into croutons. It’s beyond why it came out of the kitchen to be honest. 

  

For my main course I ordered the Vegan friendly Penne Pasta tossed in Basil Pesto with wilted rocket and sun blushed tomatoes. 

  

Now imagine sitting in an Italian square In the sunshine with a glass of wine. Sun beating down, loads of time, a bowl of pasta in front of you.  This light pasta dish had that same kind of sunny easiness about it. 

Take a good flavoured light coating of basil pesto and mix with wilted rocket and sweet and succulent sun blushed tomatoes, toss with well cooked penne and you have simple dish that spoke to me of sunnier days and not the grey showery one that greeted me outside. An escape to the Med on a drizzly day, with a glass of red wine, happiness. 
 

  
  

Ruth ordered the Brixham Fish Pie for her main course which she said was lovely, with well cooked fish, though this again came with the aforementioned stale bread which was a shame.

We also ordered a couple of large glasses of wine. A good plummy red Pinot Noir for me and a glass of white Sauvignon Blanc for Ruth. 

Cafe Opus is an excellent place for lunch for vegetarians. The dishes on offer are of a high standard, Flavours marry together and the informality of the cafe makes it ideal for a relaxed break after a visit to the gallery or during a wander around Brindley Place. The service is friendly and with smoothies on the menu a healthier juicy option is available on drinks. 

The fact that the menus change seasonally is also good for repeated visits and the terrace on a nice day begs to be lingered over. Hey, if I close my eyes I can even imagine that it’s Italy. After all lunch (and terraces) are a serious subject.

Thanks for reading, 

Andy 😊

Cafe Opus is at the Ikon gallery, 1 Oozells Street, Brindley Place, Birmingham, B1 2HS.

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

https://twitter.com/cafeopus?ref_src=twsrc%5Egoogle%7Ctwcamp%5Eserp%7Ctwgr%5Eauthor

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

  
    
    
  

 

Outside on the sunny terrace. Summer’s almost here. 
Photos courtesy of Cafe Opus  

   Afternoon tea at Cafe Opus available for £10 per person.  Smoothies available at Cafe Opus. 

New menu launched at Cafe Opus At Ikon with Vegetarian options. 


Cafe Opus is a lovely light flooded restaurant for a relaxing brunch or lunch. Part of the Opus family, with Well regarded Opus Restaurant and Bar Opus, the cafe sits comfortably and temptingly in the Beautiful building that is the internationally acclaimed contemporary Ikon Gallery, which is surely one of the best places to visit in Birmingham. 

Again like its other siblings, the cafe focuses on local seasonal produce, ethically sourced and informally put together to make a high quality cafe in its own right.

   

Ikon Gallery
  
 

Cafe Opus have now launched a new seasonal menu (See above) that has a number of tempting Vegetarian and Some vegan dishes on it. 

Try Slow Baked Aubergine, rich tomato and Quorn ragu. (Not vegan) 

Penne Pasta tossed in basil pesto, Wilted rocket and sun blushed tomatoes (vegan) see photo below.

Photo courtesy of Cafe Opus/Clive Reeves PR.  

Spaghetti with homemade rich tomato and Quorn bolognaise sauce. (Not vegan) 

Note: for vegans the menu says vegan friendly for a number of dishes, but only certain quorn products are vegan friendly. This after discussion with Opus is under review. 

Plus light bites: 

Buffalo mozzarella, tomatoes, basil pesto salad

Homemade Soup (Vegan soup option available daily).

Goats Cheese, roasted beetroot salad dressed leaves, red onion marmalade. 

Cafe Opus also serve a daily all day Brunch menu that includes mushrooms on toast, and fluffy pancakes- maple syrup and banana. 

And for £10.50 you can enjoy soup and another dish off the menu. 

Cafe open Tuesday-Sunday 10-5. 

Cafe Opus also serve Afternoon Tea every day for £10 per person. This includes finger sandwiches, fancy cakes, scones, clotted cream, fresh fruit conserves and tea. (See photo below) 

Spoil Mum this #MothersDay with their  #AfternoonTea package. Afternoon Tea with prosecco for two, just £30. 

Call 0121 200 2323 for a gift card – the perfect present!
   
 2 Photos above courtesy of Cafe Opus. 

Janet Mendelsohn: Varna Road exhibition: 

At the moment until April 3rd The Ikon Gallery hosts the largest exhibition to date of photographs by American academic and documentary filmmaker Janet Mendelsohn. 

Part of a ‘photo-essay’ Mendelsohn made as a student at the University of Birmingham during 1967–69, the photographs depict everyday life in the inner-city district of Balsall Heath, focusing in particular on a young woman referred to as Kathleen, with whom Mendelsohn formed a close relationship.

Balsall Heath during the 1960’s was Birmingham largest Red light district. A place of work for 200 prostitutes. This included Varna Road which the exhibition is named after. 

Mendelsohn photographs show a working class distinct in flux prior to the so called slum clearance that followed within 2 years. 

This challenging exhibition of photographs is on until the 3rd April 2016.

Thanks for reading, 

Andy 😊

  Summer at Cafe Opus. 

Cafe Opus, 1 Oozells Street, Brindley Place, Birmingham, B1 2HS.

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

https://ikon-gallery.org/event/janet-mendelsohn/

https://ikon-gallery.org/


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. 


#TastyMorsels: New tea, cake, breakfast & Tapas


These three tit bits on Tasty Morsels include a bit of everything:)

1. Byzantium Meditteranean Tapas on York Road in Kings Heath have relaunched a tapas menu at lunchtime.

For £6.95 you can order three tapas veggie options are strong and include olives, Mini flatbread, Humous, Patatas Bravas, Spanish Omelette with potatoes, spinich and caramelised onions, and greek salad and Patatas Alioli.

They have also introduced an early bird menu special for £25.00 when you sit between 5.30-6.30pm the meal for two is inclusive of drinks and includes 1 Flatbread, 1 dip, 3 tapas, 1 special, and 2 drinks.

I love the food there and recommend it very strongly for veggie and vegans.

See earlier review.

2. The Boston Tea party group of all day cafe’s have just this week opened in Harborne. They already reside in Central Birmingham on Corporation Street. They specialise in Breakfasts, cakes, tea and coffee serving brunch, and all day and evening food.

Boston Tea Party are a small family owned independent cafe group serving ethically sourced feel good food and drink that is home made and fresh.

They are well known for their ethical stance, and awards for sustainability (recently awarded a 3 star rating) Their food is 100% free range and organic, their milk is too:) and they cater for veggies and vegans well.

Amongst other things They serve Veggie Breakfasts, eggs florentine, pancakes, sweet potato couscous, salads, mushroom burgers, cakes, toasted sandwiches, loose leaf tea in teapots, coffee and everything is home made on the premises. See website for full menu.

The cafe seats 100 guests, and caters for 50 outside in a private courtyard walled garden area. It is in New The School Yard site off the High Street in Harborne.
0121 427 8722
http://www.bostonteaparty.co.uk

3. Cafe Opus in Brindley Place is still offering this Summer its Afternoon Tea deal. At £10 per person, this is a wonderful way to relax over three tiesr of sweet and savoury delights.

Finger sandwiches, fancy cakes, scones with clotted cream, and fresh fruit preserve, and a pot of tea.

On top of this is can be taken weather permitting on a beautiful terrace looking out on peaceful Oozell Square.

Afternoon tea is served daily between 2.30pm-5pm at Cafe Opus at The Ikon Gallery, 1 Oozells St, Brindley Place B1 2HS.

Just a note, from my previous review. Cafe Opus is still serving a veggie and vegan supper menu for Meat Free Monday. All produce is market fresh. Every Monday savour all things veggie with a glass of house wine with every main course ordered.

It’s all from local produce as only Opus know how:)

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Tasty Morsels: Le Monde opening Brindley Place


After much talking about and rumours Le Monde Fish Bar and Grill is due to open next week to the public WB 28th July 2014.

Now I hear you ask and shout why are you mentioning a fish bar and grill as a veggie on a veggie food blog. Well, partly because they have excellent vegetarian and vegan options on their menu which is great if you like me know fish loving friends who like to try new places when they open.

Le Monde is located above Cafe Rouge on the corner of Central Square and the Waters Edge at Brindley Place.

Le Monde has been open in Cardiff for thirty years and according to their Cardiff part of the website has 6 starters, 4 Entrees (mains) and many side dishes that a veggie or vegan can enjoy.

Check website http://www.lemonde.co.uk for details or http://www.lemondebirmingham.co.uk for menus.

Starters include:

-Asparagus with hollandaise sauce
-Soup of the Day
-Goats cheese tartlet
-Garlic Mushrooms

Mains include:

-Cassoulet
-Crepe
-Gnocchi au gratin
-Nut Roast

Le Monde will cater for 150 covers, it will have a bar area and private area for events.

Twitter @lemondeBP

Cafe Opus ‘Meat Free Monday’s


Oh how I love Opus Restaurant in the
Colmore Business District part of Birmingham City Centre. I’ve always felt that this superb restaurant is a vegetarian’s friend. They delight in their ingredients and are serious about sourcing their fruit and vegetables locally. Market fresh, the humble vegetable becomes exalted with the respect and balanced flavours they deserve. How lucky we are!

So, to be invited by Opus Restaurant’s little sister Cafe Opus at the Ikon Gallery in Brindley Place to sample their ‘Meat Free Monday weekly changing supper menu was a delight myself and my wife couldn’t turn down.

Now that’s an idea I like, no meat on a Monday, even a Tuesday or a Wednesday, well you get my drift! Meat Free Monday’s are a superb idea (see previous posting) to encourage people to reduce their meat intake for one day a week, a Monday no less, a good start to the week!

Cafe Opus in Brindley Place is on the ground floor of the Ikon Gallery and they seem to creatively meet perfectly. The cafe has a south facing terrace which has a heated terrace and is superbly Mediterranean in the sunshine. The cafe features unfussy dishes sourced from high quality producers throughout the British Isles, local farms and local fruit and vegetables.

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The food we are on the night from the Meat Free Monday supper club menu may not be the same every week as the menu changes weekly.

On the evening we began with the Tomato Soup, which was lovely my wife says, tasty fresh, with a quality robust tomato flavour.

I enjoyed to start the onion bhaji with a lovely mint raita, they were lovely, handmade with a good fresh flavour with a cooling raita.

To follow my wife chose a wild mushroom and leek risotto which she found to be lovely, creamy and well made with a real mushroomy flavour that lifted the dish perfectly. Superb she said.

I loved my main course, the spinach, blue cheese, walnut quiche new potatoes and a spring salad. This dish tasted of spring, with a good blue cheese flavour that complimented the spinach. Beneath I was impressed by a lovely buttery short cyst pastry, lovely.

To follow for desert I chose off the specials board a pineapple upside down cake with pouring cream which was well made and finished the meal off well.

Our meal at Cafe Opus was superb. Each dish was well flavoured simple vegetarian food made with good balanced ingredients and showing a care and respect for the source and the environment.

The service was lovely throughout, efficient and friendly and came over as been passionate about the cafe and its food.

The

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We found the decor to be lovely, the cafe is very relaxed and works well particularly with the sun streaming in a light room. The terrace is a bonus for happy days- whether Monday, Tuesday, happy days, Meat Free Monday's have arrived in Birmingham and its a bonus that its at Cafe Opus.

www.opusrestaurant.co.uk
Cafeopus@outlook.com
0121 248 3226

Disclosure: our meal was complimentary all opinions expressed are my honest and own opinion.

Cafe Opus serves an all day menu from Monday to Saturday and brunch on a Sunday.
It also serves coffee, cake, Teas and carafes of wine.

It also serves afternoon tea and has an extensive children's menu.

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