Veggie Brunch/Lunch watch: Bloom, Kings Heath, Birmingham.


I could live here.

That could well be the end of my review but alas that would insult my indulgence and yes your intelligence and would beg the question why? Well the plate of food I tried here at Bloom in Kings Heath is easily the best plate of food I’ve eaten anywhere this year. It could quite possibly be edging towards bern the best brunch dish I’ve ever tasted. It’s mind bogglingly good. Harmonious flavours, interesting ingredients, originality in its essence and cost, the bargain of the century. It’s informal dining at its best, though there’s nothing casual about the dishes coming out of the kitchen.

So Let me introduce you to the Vegan friendly Carrot Gnocchi, Red beets, sherry radishes, gingered swede, caraway pickled walnuts, and orange hemp seed dressing. £7.5

Complex flavours, a melt in the mouth texture. When a dish is this good it’s hard to find fault and dwelling on the superlatives is the same only rational response. The use of carrots to make gnocchi is new to me, but works in a way that is beyond words. The Sherry radishes, a delightful crunch with subtle sherry overtones, and the majestic red beets, an exotic touch. Autumn on a plate, a beautiful hug me all over and hug me again moment. I’m speechless even now. A divine treat on a plate.

Ruth was also happy (well it was her Birthday lunch) with her Bubble and Squeak, Boston Baked Beans, Poached hens egg, pea shoots, with Grilled Haloumi or streaky bacon £8. She ate it with bacon but for veggies haloumi is an option. Beautifully presented (as my dish was too) it had a good flavour, with the homemade beans hitting the spot. She felt she should have had the haloumi though instead of the bacon which she felt would have worked better to make a fuller more well rounded dish.

Our food was washed down by two excellent liquid Cuddle Beers Which Complimented the two dishes well.

Bubble and Squeak dish.

To follow we ordered two cakes from the selection which were of high standard and lovely with the coffee. Well worth having on their own.

pumpkins, pumpkins pumpkins.

The flat white (£2.50) we ordered was excellent. The perfect execution. Possibly the best in the area.

Inside this cosy buzzy place plants hang deliciously against clean white/grey walls and the wood interior makes for a Scandinavian vibe that is homely and inviting. The service is charming, friendly and informative of the food and enthusiastic for the menu. It’s refreshing and a reason to return alone.

If you want traditional brunch fare then it’s not for you. If you desire to be challenged and try top end food for a bargain price (though not cheap) then this is the place for you where innovative exciting Vegetarian dishes (there were five on the short menu.) are amended frequently and the chef cares enough to bravely mesmerise the diner.

Bloom stands out like a (good) sore thumb amongst the average curry houses in Kings Heath. A place for every occasion. It can only be good for the area. It’s what it needs.

It’s a Kitchen with ambition and it’s mine to work my way through its menu. Sharpish. Blooming lovely.

Thanks for reading,

Andy 😊

We paid in full.

Thanks to Alasdair for the hospitality.

You can find Bloom at 32 Poplar Road, Kings Heath, Birmingham. B14 7AD.

No reservations taken.

Served 9.30-2.30pm

Open Wednesday through to Sunday. Day times only.

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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. 

Free food for workers at Amantia…Muchas gracias!


  

How often do you get offered a free lunch? 

One local Birmingham restaurant looks set to change that this month, with the launch of a new initiative for city centre workers.

Amantia, authentic Spanish restaurant which opened its doors on Bennetts Hill 12 months ago, is launching ‘Free Food Friday’ every third Friday of the month, to offer one team of up to ten Brummie workers a free lunchtime feast.

Aimed at any business operating within reach of its location, the restaurant will provide two tapas dishes per person for the winning team, to either eat in the restaurant or take the dishes away to enjoy at their place of work.

Marta Retenaga, owner of Amantia, said: “Birmingham has given us such a warm welcome in our first year of opening and we wanted to give a little something back. Everyone deserves a treat once in a while and as the third Friday – the week before payday – is often the tightest on our pockets, we thought this would be the ideal time to share a little Spanish spirit.”

With plenty of Vegetarian options on the menu, Veggies are well catered for too, and who can resist the Blue Cheese and Spinach croquetas, probably the best in Birmingham or the Tortilla Patata. 

http://www.amantiarestaurant.co.uk/#!tapas/ccw7

  
  

The first Free Food Friday will take place on Friday 18th March.

Those who wish to try their luck at winning a free lunch for their team can visit Amantia’s website 

http://www.amantiarestaurant.co.uk/  

and enter their contact details on the Free Food Friday page.

Winners will be announced via social media and direct contact on the Thursday before to arrange their free meal.

If you love Spanish food you’ll love Amantia. See my review: 

http://t.co/bTPHI9j2RH



  

Croquetas at Amantia. 

 

  
For more information visit Amantia’s website or social media pages: 

http://www.amantiarestaurant.co.uk/

@RestAmantia: Twitter.

Amantia-Restaurant: Facebook.

http://www.amantiarestaurant.co.uk/#!freefoodfriday/csab

Thanks for reading, 

Andy 😊

#TASTYMORSELS: RICO LIBRE @BARN STREET DIGBETH BREAKFAST AND TAPAS


Another new addition to Birmingham’s Dining scene is Rico Libre @Barn Street Breakfast and Tapas. Stationed in the Digbeth part of the city 5 minutes from the Custard Factory and 4 minutes from Digbeth Coach station on Digbeth High street they sit in what was a diner, but is now a hot new tapas bar that masquerades as a cafe in the early daytime.

Rico Libre serve Breakfast Monday-Friday 8am-2pm which includes a delicious vegetarian Breakfast comprising of veggie sausage, Herby Mushrooms, grilled Tomato, Sauteed Potatoes and toast with tea or coffee for a bargain £4.20.

They also serve the enticing Huevos Rancheros a Mexican Breakfast of Tortillas x2 Fried eggs x2, tomato salsa, cheese, refried beans, and sour cream for a bargain £5.00.

They also serve sandwiches and salad boxes at lunch time and are popular with businesses in the local area.

Also, at lunchtime they serve Tapas-Monday-friday from 12-2.30pm but not evenings in the week as yet.

This has been rolled out to now include Friday and Saturday evenings 5pm-10pm.

The cost is 3 dishes for £10.00 with bring your own alcohol.

On the menu for vegetarians are a number of options:

-Champinones Al Ajillo-Mushrooms sauteed in garlic and parsley
-Grilled Haloumi with Rustic Tomatoes, and Basil.
-Patatas Bravas-Fried Potatoes, with rustic tomato.
-Patatas Alioli-Fried Potatoes with garlic Mayo.
-Grilled aubergine, with red mojo sauce and salsa.

They also serve bread, toasted garlic bread and olives.

Also, desert Creme Catalan is veggie.

Rico Libre has had some good reviews so far on Tripadvisor. Search Rico Libre @Barn street.

Seems a real independent find especially for a good value tapas lunch whilst in the Custard factory or a breakfast before a visit. Looking forward to visiting soon.

Their are some terrific Vegetarian options on the menu.

The Custard Factory and Digbeth has so much to offer and is a thriving community of exciting foodie and vintage shopping places. 🙂

The area maybe unfamiliar and tucked away. They have painted their building bright green so that it can be noticed 🙂 It is on the Corner of Milk Street and Barn Street in Digbeth.

Directions are on their website.

Their is parking near by on the road and around the area.

http://www.rico-libre.co.uk

@rico-libre Twitter

0121 687 8730

Rico Libre @Barn Street
1 Barn Street
Digbeth
Birmingham
B5 5QD

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