Is Nomad The Wilderness or just the best Vegetarian food experience in Birmingham. 


   

What’s in a name? Does it matter what a restaurants called? Nomad was or is (until 7th May when it becomes The Wildernes and reopens on the 25th May) the best Vegetarian food experience in Birmingham. 

Ruth and I’s final experience of its current incarnation came a couple of weeks ago. We’ve enjoyed and got immersed in the food on three occasions, twice in Kings Heath and once in its new Birmingham City Centre location. Their is something immersive, something involving about eating here. You feel you become the ingredients, you can smell the earth, feel the sweat of the producers, sense the innovative ideas that come from the kitchen that lead you on your food journey, that’s your own journey, your own personal experience, a connection to the ingredients. 

Spring is abundant with renewal. Blossoming trees signal newness, freshness and fine ingredients, the dawn of asparagus season, Jerusalem artichokes, rhubarb, radish, celeriac, beetroot, the list is a vegetarians friend, a long lingering hug of the senses, the light at the end of a long winter.  

  

Dishes come thick and fast. Beautifully and sublimely presented  echoing the natural world that nourished the ingredients, and inspires the chefs of which Alex Claridge is turning into a master worker of delicate innovation.

There’s a savoury Apple and Chedder morsel of such delicacy and flavour that leaves the mouth tingling with further anticipation. 

Then the simple Baby Radish, crunchy, light paired with Seaweed Hollandaise becomes a thing of beauty within its own simplicity. Like it had just been picked from the ground with its vivid and perky peppery crispness that when dipped into the hollandaise snuggles with proof that good things come in small packages. 
  Apple and Chedder. 

  Baby Radish, seaweed hollandaise.

  

A 64 Degree Yolk, Asparagus is a dose of sunlight, crisp yet tender asparagus, so fresh it hadn’t been named yet is the perfect foil to the yolk that is a masterclass of well…yolk with a luxurious after taste. 
  

Followed by Beetroot, Apple, quail egg: Where earthy beetroot meets sweeter Apple with the delicate and runny quail egg lapping at the sides. Unusual combinations bump up against one another to create a sunny sunlight of spring. An elegant dish. 

Then a Jerusalem artichoke, vinegar gel, cauliflower is a cauliflower lovers dream, coming with the chunky artichoke with masses of flavour. A sweet surprising marriage, of textural contrasts that worked perfectly. 

  Jerusalem Artichoke, vinegar gel, cauliflower

  

A main course of sorts was the best of all Celeriac Three Ways, Dill, white sprouting broccoli: A complex dish of galactic cooking. The ingredients felt elegant and restrained with nutty slightly cheesy overtones from the celeriac presented beautifully with the unusual white sprouting broccoli. It exudes gentle charm and is a culinary garden of attention to detail. 

Then there were desserts. Buttermilk sponge, fennel, meadowsweet: Nostalgically soothing and full of gentle harmonies of flavour, beautifully comforting. 

Followed by Rhubarb, rhubarb, rhubarb, celebrated 3 ways: parfait, meringue and foam. A sharp and light dessert, delicious and full of the love of spring, and in fact food. We chased the last morsel from the plate. (So good I forgot to take a photo).

  Buttermilk Sponge, Fennel, meadowsweet. 

Maybe it’s a sign of even better things to come that Nomad is to be renamed and rebranded as The Widerness. Vegetables are placed at the centre of the dishes, and through the crucible of the imagination a journey of flavours and textures takes place. The cooking is masterful, complex and consistent as dishes flow and twinkle with playful creativity. The food stands up to its own beauty.

Yes Spring is abundant with joys for Vegetarians yet it’s the expectation of the unexpected that makes Nomad a beautifully immersing experience. With added charming and informative service its a game changer and makes you look at Spring ingredients anew.

So whatever the restaurant is called Just try it for its beauty and celebration of vegetables and then when you’ve tried it go again, tell your friends, grow your own and please if the Wilderness is this good, then take me, as I desire to be lost in its immersive culinary garden world. 

    
  

  
    
   

  

Thanks for reading,

Andy 😊

You can find Nomad/The Wilderness on Dudley Street, Birmingham City Centre. (By New Street Station/Grand Central) 

http://foodbynomad.com/

https://m.facebook.com/nomadbirmingham/

https://www.resdiary.com/Restaurant/Nomad

https://twitter.com/nomadbirmingham?lang=en-gb

We both ate the vegetarian menu. Our food was complimentary, we paid for drinks only on the night. My opinions are honest as always. 

Look out for my future blog post about The Wilderness next month. 

  

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Nomad: Memory, Nature and Place and Vegetarian in Kings Heath Birmingham


    

It is very on trend to make vegetables the central ingredients on the plate. The centre of attention. Non veggie Bruno Loubet is doing it in London at The Grain Store and other top chefs were involved in creating a meat free week menu in London a few weeks ago. Though for Vegetarians our food especially In so called fine dining restaurants has always been about this. Stand up Vanilla Black in London. 

The new venture led by chef Alex Claridge, Nomad offers this concept to meat eaters, where a smaller portion sits amongst fresh seasonal and foraged ingredients. Tit bits that form the centre piece of the dish, the journey, the experience. I’ve proclaimed the joys of the vegetarian long menu for ages,  had the best food of my life at Simon Rogan’s L’Enclume in Cartmel in the Lake District. Jewels on a plate, ingredients that make you think. You get the picture. For many this is a new experience, no huge slabs of meat, no pasta, no risotto, no potatoes (on this occasion) but pure joy in the ingredients and skill in which they were presented and yes tasted. 

For vegetarians this is a vintage time, where chefs are suddenly more interested in ingredients, in foraging, in the produce. 

Anyone who knows Alex’s food from Bistro 1847 and Warehouse cafe in Birmingham will know he can cook, boy can he cook. In this menu there aren’t many carbs, which is refreshing in that some vegetarian menus are heavy on them. Even more exciting is the fact that so many of the ingredients and techniques require to be looked up on the Internet. Love that. I suggest you do. 

Nomad at present is a 3 month pop up from April-June. Based at The Kitchen Garden Cafe in Kings Heath, a quirky venue that fits well I think. Alex is passionate about ingredients, about foraging and making you think when you eat. He aims to explore, memory, place, and nature though cooking, changing the menus weekly, even daily dependent on what’s current, what’s available, the weather. 

The Vegetarian menu that I ate can be taken long 8 courses or short 5 courses. Priced £42 and £32. 

Both Ruth and I chose the long menu, but Ruth the meat variation. 

So to the food. 

   
 

   
 

Moss, vinegar, old Winchester.

Two morsels of moss on a plate, though only one in the picture as Ruth ate it before I took the picture.😄 taken with Old Winchester cheese, on the hand, eaten simultaneously, lively flavoured slightly salty, very creative, lovely flavour and texture. Very exciting start. 

  
Cauliflower three ways:

Aerated, pickled, and dehydrated. A stunning cacophony of flavours, beautifully presented, a cauliflower lovers dream dish. Contrasting techniques, demonstrating great skill. With a texture of Parmesan. 

   
 Fresh Ricotta in Herbs, roast lettuce

An incredible depth of flavour in this dish, loved the roasted lettuce and the ricotta balls were very tender, with a substantial degree of clever cooking. What I call a wowser dish. 

   
 

Broccoli, sea herbs, yolk, dark beer. 

My favourite dish. Pleasing to the eye and to the palette, delicate broccoli, with a heavenly yolk of egg with the herbs sea herbs textures. Mouth-wateringly good. 

   
 

Mushroom, sunflower seed, gorse flowers. 

A full flavour of mushrooms, the sunflower seeds have a back note of flavour that complimented the dish and had its own flavou that lingered in your mouth. The gorse flowers edible with a slightly almond taste and coconut aroma. A Beautiful dish. A close second for me. 

   
 

Manouri in onion ash, beets, Apple, Dittander. 

As a lover of beetroot i couldn’t go far wrong with this dish. The Manouri (Greek semi soft cheese) had a clean subtly nutty flavour, creamier than feta, but covered in this context with edible onion ash, yes ash, which I remember having at L’Enclume a few years ago. Which gave a complex bitter and smokey flavour to the Manouri.  It worked well. 

The Dittander, a damp coastal herb with a subtle mustard flavour lifted the dish and made the flavours and textures very enjoyable,  And I can imagine Noma esque dish. 

  
Lemon verbena, willow catkins, chestnut crumble. 

The first of the two deserts, more pre desert in size, the dish had enjoyable flavours. The ingredients, superbly sourced and very enjoyable. 

   
 

Carrot, cumin, honey, sea buckthorn parfait. 

I wasn’t altogether sure of the carrot in this dish, but the flavours of honey and the cumin came through well. Technically superb, executed well. A mixed last dish, though had good flavours. Looked pretty. 

   
   

Throughout the meal the service was excellent. Well informed, they explained the dishes and ingredients. 

The Kitchen Garden cafe looked lovely, flowers on the table, well lit, and it felt romantic and at the same time relaxed. 

The concept of Nomad is unique to Birmingham with the skill and high technique of the cooking leaving you satisfied and usurping many more high end establishments in the city for bravery and culinary flavours. For me it felt like going on a weird and wonderful vegetarian journey, with new ingredients to discover, and new tastes to experience around every corner. I learnt such a lot. 

The foraged additions blended well with the veg, from ingredient to ingredient, not settled, or established, always searching, but ever encompassing and trusting. 

That’s the ethos of Nomad. 

And let’s be grateful for that. 

   
     

A  Gin martini at Fletchers

   
 

The Kitchen Garden Cafe

Ruth and I were  invited to Nomad by Alex our meal was complimentary,  but we paid for our wine. All opinions are honest and my own.

Thanks for reading. 

Andy 😊

http://foodbynomad.com/# 

For bookings use the above lInk.