Birmingham’s oldest wine merchant announces expansion plans.


Connolly’s Wine Merchants has announced plans to expand the business with the introduction of a wine bar. A family owned and run business, Connolly’s has a heritage that extends back into the 19th century and the family have been shipping wine into Birmingham since 1906.

The wine bar, ‘Arch 13 at Connolly’s’ will take residence at the front of Connolly’s’ existing address on Livery Street, where it will continue to retail its extensive range of wine, spirits and beers.

Abigail Connolly, daughter of Chris Connolly, who has run the business since 1980, will spearhead the launch of ‘Arch 13’. She said, “Arch 13 will offer a relaxed and informal atmosphere to enjoy wine and well-paired food. This marks a new chapter in the history of our family business and we’re looking forward to welcoming our customers to our first licensed space.”

Arch 13 is due to open in May 2018. The project will create 2 jobs.

Connolly’s has always been many people’s go to place for wine in the city centre so this expansion is a fantastic treat.

Thanks for reading,

Andy 😊

#arch13 @connollyswinejq

Follow Connolly’s here:

Twitter: @connollyswinejq

Facebook: @connollyswinejq

Instagram: @connollyswine

Connollyswine.co.uk

Connolly’s Birmingham

Arch 13,
220 Livery Street,
Birmingham B3 1EU

Phone:

0121 236 3837

Connolly’s Solihull

379 Warwick Road,
Solihull
B91 1BQ,

Phone:

0121 709 3734

Advertisements

Bar Opus joins forces with Brummie artist for exhibition.


Bar Opus, one of Birmingham’s best independent city bars, is exhibiting works by a city-based artist for its fourth art exhibition in support of local talent.

The bar at One Snowhill is showcasing works by Tom Parry, whose art of Birmingham landmarks is sold under the Made On The Canal brand.

Opening on Thursday 22 March, the exhibition will comprise a number of A4 and A3 hand-finished artworks and 3D pictures in different media, including watercolour, paint and ink, that depict landmarks such as the Library of Birmingham, Victoria Law Courts, Alpha Tower and Edgbaston Waterworks.

Tom, a graduate of Birmingham City University, takes up to 20 hours to complete his intricate pieces of 3D art, which involve gradually building up elements of the architecture 1mm at a time and cutting out recesses to create complex layered pieces.

He said: “I pride myself on producing affordable pieces of art and I’m really thrilled that Bar Opus has asked me to submit some pieces for its next art exhibition. It’s an amazing opportunity to have my work in a busy city centre bar and it’s great that the bar continues to support local artists such as me.

”I hope that my art will provoke some conversations about the beautiful architecture that Birmingham has.”

Irene Allen, director, said: “Our customers have loved all our art exhibitions so far and have been very supportive of what we are trying to achieve by showcasing local talent and highlighting truly stunning art. Tom’s works are not only striking to look at, they are also very affordable, which makes them truly accessible.”

Sounds a fantastic opportunity to see some fantastic local affordable art in a fabulous independent bar.

For more information on Bar Opus, visit www.baropus.co.uk

Thanks for reading,

Andy 😊

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. 

An Afternoon of Hendricks G& Tea at Bar Opus. 


If like me you love afternoon tea, then this deal is for you. If like me you love Gin then this deal is the ideal after Christmas treat we all need in January. 

Bar Opus is one of Birmingham’s best city bars, have teamed up with premium gin makers Hendrick’s.

To celebrate everyone’s love of Afternoon Tea, and one of the finest gins in the world, the collaboration has been created to combine two very British lifestyle staples and create an experience for everyone to enjoy.
There will be three choices of delicious Hendrick’s gin based cocktails served in the Hendrick’s ‘Vintage t-Pot’: the Flora Dora, which mixes lime, raspberry and ginger beer; the fruity Chelsea Rose, which infuses apple, raspberry and lemon or the herbal Martinez with its orange bitters, vermouth, maraschino. 
This uniquely British experience also features a delicious assortment of homemade savoury quiches and sandwiches and sweets of scones, macaroons, lemon drizzle cupcakes and a coffee & walnut cake. 

They also have a completely Vegetarian option as well.

This includes: 

Savouries: 

Humous and Red Pepper Pitta.

Free range egg mayonnaise and cress

Cream cheese and cucumber

Tomato and caramelised onion quiche

Homemade scones with British clotted cream and fresh fruit preserves 

Sweets: 

Homemade macaron

Lemon drizzle cupcakes

Coffee and walnut cake

Hendrick’s premium Gin which was described by the New York Times as “the finest gin in the world is distilled and bottled in Girvan, western Scotland and will be served alongside the tasty treats to compliment.
Irene Allen, Director at Opus, said: “We wanted to marry our love of traditional British cuisine with everyone’s love for a stiff drink. Whether you are a gin lover or just a fan of afternoon tea, there is certainly something for everyone.”

The unique experience is £50 for two people and is available every Saturday from Jan 7th at Bar Opus from 2pm to 6pm. 

As well as this, from January, every first and third Saturday, they will be hosting Live Music featuring local talent courtesy of EQ Music from 6pm to 8pm.

For more information on Bar Opus’ Hendrick’s Afternoon Tea Experience, visit http://baropus.co.uk/

Sounds a lovely new year treat. 

Thanks for reading, 

Andy 😊


All images courtesy of Bar Opus and Clive Reeves PR. 

#FoodExhibition at Reuben Colley Fine Art in Birmingham.


   
Food has often been depicted in art, but a new exhibition at Reuben Colley Fine Art on Colmore Row in Birmingham City centre from 27th June until the 30th July takes the ancient tradition of still life and lets it meet the modern phenomenon of pop art. 

Artists turn their hands to food in all its glory from fresh fruit to fondant fancies, fried eggs and Belgian buns to Bowels of spaghetti to make a colourful and light-hearted exhibition.

Artists such as Danny Howes, Horace Panter, Rick Garland, Mark Lippett and Cameron Gait have each brought their own unique talent and style to this engaging subject. 

  ‘Asparagus with tissue paper’ by Rick Garland.

Colmore Business District’s annual two-day Food Festival will take place in Victoria Square, Birmingham on 8 and 9 July 2016. The event attracts tens of thousands of visitors and is an integral part of the city’s cultural and culinary calendars.

‘Food’ has been mounted to coincide with the Colmore Food Festival and looks a stunning and interestingly foodie exhibition. Reuben Colley Fine Arts will have a stall at the festiva in Victoria Square.

During the Festival, they will also be launching a permanent collection of our outstanding signed limited editions at Purnell’s Bistro in Newhall Street.
    Buns and cakes: 

 
  Danny Howes’ classical still life painting.

  Mark Godwin’s egg.

  

Ice cream van at a British sea side captured by Horace Panter.

  Spaghetti in a bowl Renaissance inspired by Cameron Gait.

  

Buns depicted by Mark Godwin.

 

   
Chocolate wrappers by Danny Howes, memories of childhood. 

 Hamburger, Horace Panter.

So when two of my favourite things food and Art merge, what’s not too like. 

Check out the exhibition until the 30th July. 

Thanks for reading, 

Andy😊

Reuben Colley Fine Art, 85-89 Colmore Road, Birmingham, B3 2BB.

For the full catalogue:

http://reubencolleyfineart.us4.list-manage.com/track/click?u=f36b9b2eafdbe41c4de2b7acb&id=9648ddc8b2&e=a2c98c5626

  
  
Colmore Food Festival is from July 8th-9th in Victoria Square.

http://www.colmorefoodfestival.com/#intro

All images from the exhibition. 

Opus launch new 2 course for £25 Market menu every Friday evening with added wine. 


  
  
Friday evenings at Opus is a new concept menu that celebrates local and sustainable produce. 

Now you know what they say. Never look a gift horse in the mouth, or eat 5 a day: Either way, Opus has this sorted. 

Opus is one of the best restaurants if not the best for vegetarians in Birmingham that isn’t purely veggie. So if you have meat eating mates or partner, then this bargain Friday indulgence maybe for you. 

Every Friday you can enjoy two courses from their British market menu including Vegetarian options, home baked bread and half a bottle of house wine for £25.00 per person. The perfect way to kickstart your weekend! 

All dishes reflect produce from their family of farmers and fishermen around the British Isles, including   Worcester Produce, Caroll’s Heritage potatoes, M&J Seafood, Brixham Seafish, and award winning butchers Aubrey Allen.

Available Every Friday from 6pm for £25 per person. 

Join in an celebrate the beauty of British produce. 

Thanks for reading, 

Andy 😊

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

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

http://heritage-potatoes.co.uk/

Opus has recently launched a new vegetarian menu. For my review see here: 

https://t.co/AIpppfvenl

   
    
 Photos from Opus’ recent vegetarian menu.

   
 

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

Bar Opus Christmas cocktail making videos. 


  

  
Bar Opus is one of the best places to drink cocktails in Birmingham. Classic cocktails are served along side some innovative concoctions using the freshest ingredients. 

To countdown to Christmas, and to celebrate the unique Christmas cocktails that Bar Opus will be serving over the festive season, the team have made a series of videos showing how people can make their very own Bar Opus cocktail at home!  Or at the very least enjoy them in the bar over the Christmas period. 

  Sam Cross Photo courtesy of Bar Opus.

To see the videos, please click on this link underneath the cocktail. 

The five cocktails that bar manager Sam Cross, makes in the series of videos, are:

Smoking Monkey Sharer: £25, serves four: Monkey shoulder, smoked ice tea, cherry, citrus fruits.

Half Dozen of Egg Sharer: – £12, serves two: Six warm eggnogs with nutmeg dust

Frozen Candy Cane  Kallipo – £6 for two: Peppermint, Burgal blanco, strawberry, Cranberry.

  Frozen Kallipo Photo courtesy of Bar Opus.

Candy Cane Cocktail – £5, serves one: Brugal blanco, peppermint, strawberry, cranberry

Spiced toffee Apple cocktail – £5, serves one : Stoli salted karamel, gingerbread syrup, apple juice.

The countdown to Christmas begins. 

Have fun. 

Thanks for reading and hopefully I’ll get the chance to try them myself.

Andy 😊

http://baropus.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/BAR-LIST-WINTER-2015-NEW-WINES1.pdf

  

You can purchase cocktail making classes gift cards via the Opus Website. 

http://baropus.co.uk/

Bar Opus is at one SnowHill, Queensway, Birmingham, B4.

Veggie Foodie Lunch watch: Java Lounge, Colmore Row, Birmingham. 


Sometimes you just want a simple lunch. Nothing fancy, nothing glamorous, just something that hits the spot, is warming and non offensive. This is what I found at Indie Coffee shop Java Lounge on Colmore Row in Birmingham City Centre. 

   

Having stumbled in, as you do, though I can assure you I hadn’t had a drink or much worse. I thought let’s give the Toasted Falafel Wrap with tomato and onion a go. It came with 2 dips and a mixed side salad. 

I was impressed, the falafel wrap was a decent size, with the tomato and onion offering a contrast to the firm falafel inside. It had a good flavour and wasn’t in any way falling away in my hands or was tough to cut with a knife and fork.  It was filling and even though I wasn’t sure of the dips which seemed an afterthought, maybe provide a oily chilli or balsamic dressing instead, it proved to be a decent lunch and not a rip off that some places are. For just over a fiver I had a filling vegetarian wrap and a Flat White (what else!). 

The flat white, pitch perfect, looked good. A really fine coffee. 

    
   

As the Java Lounge is only 5 minutes from the Birmingham Getman Market, it’s a lot more tempting for lunch for vegetarians than the overdose of meaty goods you can find there. It’s also inside and a darn site cheaper, unless you are having the cheesy garlic bread of course at the market. (Watch your breath though).

You can find Java Lounge on Colmore Row 5 minutes from Victoria Square. 
Thanks for reading

Andy 😊

I paid for my wrap and coffee myself and left with a bit more of a spring in my step than when I entered. 

For my coffee time review of Java Lounge see here: 

http://t.co/Rxwk0lWAj9