Charity Evening with Belinda Carlisle at The High Field, Edgbaston: Saturday 15th July 2017.

It was 1987 when Belinda’s Carlisle’s album ‘Heaven on Earth’ came out, proceeded by the number one single ‘Heaven is a place on Earth’ which catapulted her into stardom in the U.K and heralded a clutch of successful singles and two majorly successful albums. The follow up ‘Runaway Horses’ even included an icon of mine in George Harrison. If you remember ‘Circle in the Sand,’ Leave a Light on’and ‘Summer Rain’ and one of my favourites ‘World Without You’ like I do then this may be for you? 

On Saturday 15th July 2017, The High Field will be hosting a very special evening in aid of charity when Belinda Carlisle one of the biggest selling female global artists of all time, makes a one-off appearance at the Edgbaston venue.

This exclusive event, which is limited to just 250 guests, will feature a short acoustic set of songs from Belinda as well as drinks and dinner in a glorious garden setting. 

It will raise money for Belinda’s own co-founded charity ’Animal People Alliance:

Tickets for this special event are now on sale and include fizz and canapés on arrival, followed by a three course Vegetarian or Vegan dinner with a menu created for the night by The High Field’s head chef Ian Meek.

After enjoying good food and drink in the stylish surroundings of The High Field, which was named the Best Gastro Pub in Birmingham at the inaugural Birmingham Food Drink & Hospitality Awards, guests will enjoy a short acoustic performance of Belinda’s songs. There will also be a silent auction with some brilliant prizes to be won, special guests and even the opportunity to win breakfast with Belinda herself at a secret location the next morning.

All the proceeds from ticket sales will be given to the two charities close to Belinda’s heart to support the vital work they undertake. 

Animal People Alliance’s mission is to offer high quality care to street animals in need, alongside robust employment opportunities to survivors of human rights abuses and other vulnerable populations in South Asia. 


Her Future UK provides shelter, education and high-wage employment to survivors of human trafficking and extreme abuse so that they may remain forever free; since 2005, the charity has helped thousands of women and children to build a bright and independent future.

Launching the evening, Sarah Robinson, General Manager of The High Field, says, “This is a fantastic opportunity to support these two amazing charities whilst enjoying good food and drink in a unique venue. “We are thrilled to be joined by Belinda Carlisle and to have this unmissable opportunity to listen to her music in such an intimate setting,” says Sarah. “As lead singer of the Go-Go’s, the most successful female band of all time, and one of the world’s biggest selling female artists, she is a true pop icon, and we are honoured that she will be performing here in support of these two great charities.

“It’s going to be a wonderful evening full of excitement and surprises, and we hope that as many existing and new guests will join us to help raise as much money as possible for charity,” she says.

Belinda Carlisle, says, “Animal People Alliance is a charity, based in Kolkata India, I co-founded with Paul Suit in 2014. Whilst still in the early days, we are starting to have a real impact, with our mission to provide quality care for India’s street animals, employment for survivors of human rights abuses and other vulnerable populations. We want to change the future generation’s consciousness towards animals, and raise awareness of the need to treat animals humanely.

“I’ve always dreamed of having an animal sanctuary and I have such a love of India. I had an idea on how great it would be to combine both with the invaluable help of Her Future, of which I’ve seen first-hand the work they do, and I’m humbled even to be in the same room as Sarah Symons (the co-founder of Her Future Coalition and inspiration of Her Future UK), as she does the work of angels.

“I’m absolutely thrilled to be part of the charity evening at The High Field, and grateful to all the generous people and businesses who are making this event happen. I will be performing a short acoustic set of my hits as music is still a big part of my life, as is Animal People Alliance,” she says.

There are just 100 tickets for this special evening costing £150 each, to include fizz and canapés followed by a three-course Vegetarian or Vegan meal, and a further 150 tickets at £75 each for those not wishing to dine, with a silent auction and some amazing raffle prices from sponsors.

To book, please email to request tickets. 

For updates on Animal People Alliance follow them on Facebook @animalpeoplealliance

The charity evening at The High Field with Belinda Carlisle takes place on Saturday 15th July 2017 from 5pm until midnight.

The High Field is at 22 Highfield Road, Edgbaston, B15 3DP. Tel: 0121 227 7068. 

In the UK alone, Belinda Carlisle has had 19 Top 40 Singles, and 7 Top 20 Albums. A lifetime animal rights activist and New York Times List Best Selling Author, Belinda Carlisle has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame as part of the Go-Go’s. 

Thanks for reading. 

Just leave a light on for me! 

Andy 😊

Her Future UK 

All photos courtesy of The High Field and Animal People Alliance, with thanks. 


New menu at The Almanack, kenilworth. 


The Almanack has already got the New Year off to the best possible start by launching an exciting new menu for dining, grazing and sharing, from morning until night. There’s also plenty going on at the bar right now at Kenilworth’s popular gastropub.

 Head chef Jakub Fijak has come up with an all-new menu of great gastropub dishes that you can tuck into any time from 12 noon until 10 at night, each one a delicious plate packed with the good stuff.

He’s also put together a fabulous collection of small pots for mixing and matching so you can make up your own tapas style selection to enjoy with a glass of something chilled at the bar or if you’re in the mood for late night nibbles.
 Think British-style deli pots to have individually or on a board – 

And just because you might need to tighten your purse strings after the festive season, you won’t need to shy away from the pub right now because he’s come up with a cracking choice of daily deal dishes available each lunch time as well. Look out for dishes such as 

The daily deal is two courses for £12.50 every day bar Sunday, when The Almanack’s great roasts are on offer bringing you bottomless roasties and towering Yorkies alongside sweet crumble served at the table.  

On the bar, meanwhile, The Almanack’s branded beer glasses are making a comeback by popular demand, so now you can savour a perfectly poured pint of Peroni, Purity or Estrella in your favourite glass.

 You can also get your weekend off to the best possible start by taking advantage of a very special offer for Friday evenings. Treat yourself to one of the three great Grand Gins on The Almanack’s list including a classic London Dry Beefeater or a distinctive cucumber and rose infused Hendrick’s gin and get another on us.

 “We’re excited to be kicking off the New Year with plenty of good things to eat and drink and plenty of good reasons to visit the pub,” says head chef Jakub Fijak. “I’ve put a lot of thought into the new dishes on my menu; I love serving the good stuff and there’s even more of it on offer right now from breakfast right through to dinner.

 “I’ll be serving my new gastropub dishes all day so you can eat well until 10 o’clock at night, and the new arrivals on our bar menu mean you can order something tasty to go with a good bottle of wine or a beer, or for those moments when the munchies take over. Jon, Ania and the team will be taking good care of you too, whenever you visit.

 “Sometimes a change is all you need and we think we’ve got everything you need for a great time here at The Almanack. Come and see us soon,” he says.

For Vegetarians, there are numerous choices: Try out

Veggie Board- includes; 

Sesame crusted halloumi, Peanuts and crunchy vegetables, Westcombe Cheddar.

Macaroni and cheese

warm crispy Camembert and fig relish. 

Parsnip and cheddar cakes, tomato chutney. 


Herb Pancakes, mushroom and spinach stuffing, Gruyere, cream sauce. 

Superfood Salad: Sesame crusted halloumi, peanuts, crunchy veg and oriental dressing. 


Butternut Squash, Spinach and barley Wellington, Baby Jackets and vegetarian gravy. 

Daily Deal: 

2 courses for £12.30. 

Monday 12-10pm 

Tuesday-Saturday 12-6.30pm


Parsnips and cheddar cakes, tomato chutney

Herb pancakes, mushrooms and spinach stuffing and gruyere. 


Tart of the day and two salads or Butternut squash Wellington. 

Superfood salad

Plus burger option: 

Spicy bean burger, slaw, chive, sour cream, chips and onion rings. 

Sandwiches available daily. 

The new menu is now being served at The Almanack from 12 noon until 10pm every day. To enjoy £15 off when you dine any week day before 10th February, just quote ‘New Year’s Treat’ when you book.

Breakfast is available until noon and Gin O’clock is every Friday from 6pm to 8pm. Roasts are also served all day on Sundays until 9pm including vegetarian. 

The Almanack, Abbey End North, Kenilworth, CV8 1QJ. Tel: 01926 353637

Thanks for reading, 

Andy 😊

All photos courtesy of The Almanack.

Dip into delicious Asparagus at The High Field, Edgbaston, Birmingham.



Asparagus has been my favourite Spring Time indulgence for many years. It heralds the change for me from winter to Spring, through to early Summer. 

With the British asparagus season now in full swing, there’s a delicious and different way to enjoy the pick of this year’s crop at a great local right here in Birmingham. 

From now until the end of the season in late June, The High Field in Edgbaston, Birmingham will be serving Dip Your Own Asparagus – pots of hollandaise sauce, grated free-range egg and Parmesan (which can be omitted or ignored for vegetarians who don’t eat it) for dipping the spears, a new twist on a classic flavour combination. 
 “We are always out there on a never ending quest to find the best of British produce and this is one of my favourites yet,” says Ian Meek, head chef of The High Field. “Asparagus is one of our top spring ingredients and we wanted to make sure we served the best British asparagus we could find, and serve it with a twist.

 “So we headed for Barfoots Farm in Botley on the South Sussex Coast where they use a combination of traditional farming and advanced cropping techniques to produce the best asparagus we’ve ever tasted. 

 “Like us, they believe in doing things properly and don’t take shortcuts which means their produce is of the highest quality. It’s the reason they won British Vegetable Grower of the Year and Most Environmentally Friendly Farm in Hampshire,” he says.

 Barfoots Farm sits in a unique microclimate between the South Downs and the Isle of Wight, where the long, high light levels and warm soils make for perfect asparagus growing conditions. Each tender spear is picked by hand and rushed to the pub where the chefs are serving them as Dip Your Own Asparagus as well as on the pub’s specials boards for as long as the season lasts.

Ruth and I were lucky to try this delicious way of eating Asparagus at The High Field’s sister pub The Star and Garter a few weeks ago. 

To reserve your table and Dip Your Own Asparagus, please check out The High Field, 22 Highfield Road, Edgbaston, B15 3DP. Tel: 0121 227 7068.



Review: Star and Garter: Leamington Spa, Warwickshire.

   Leamington Spa is a place I didn’t know very well, having never been there before our visit to the Star and Garter. Because our reservation was on a Saturday evening we decided to make a weekend of it, and had a lovely stay. Leamington Spa  is a nice town, pretty buildings interspersed with a lovely parks and river with a good independent streak running through its shops, cafes and restaurants. Well worth a visit for the day, or weekend stopover. 

The Star and Garter recently refurbished in a very tasteful way is tucked slightly off the main High Street shopping area, nestled away from the main traffic bustle, but is easy to find. It’s location I think benefits it and also doesn’t hinder its popularity with the locals and visitors, for when we visited it was packed and full of great atmosphere. 

The Star and Garter is part of the independent Peach Group of pubs that also own The Highfield in Birmingham and The Rose and Crown in Warwick, both of which I’ve reviewed on my blog before and The Almanack, in Kenilworth which I haven’t. 

It’s impressive from the outside, lit beautifully in the fading evening light. It’s smart interior provides a Gastro pub kind of feel and is a subtle hybrid of a cosy pub, restaurant and cool bar which makes for a contrasting mix of folk eating, drinking and meeting up before moving on elsewhere. It’s a go anytime kind of place it feels, open all day it felt an important part of the town. 

The food element of the pub is the trump card in the armour. The menus are seasonal, providing a variation for all tastes and diets, with a good choice for Vegetarians. 

With a keen relationship built up with local farmers and producers. Vegetables are from Evesham and when we visited Asparagus was just on the menu with their popular ‘dip your own’ Asparagus dish. Prices are sensible and you feel you are getting good value. 

We sat in a cosy booth like seat near the bar so was able to feel an indulge in the full pub atmosphere which was ideal. 

We ordered two Negroni’s to drink initially. It was dry and zingy, everything a Negroni should be. It packed a punch with the divine bitterness of the Italian spirit Campari but had a mellowness from the Vermouth that was spot on. Perfecto.   

 Negroni: A super-modish choice.


The choice for Vegetarians at The Star and Garter is a good one, but from experience of their previous pub visits the so called, Veggie Board (Well by me) is a delicious choice. Called here Major or minor orders (prefer deli board or tapas maybe) you can choose any 3 dishes off the menu for £9.50. They come in their own pots and the menu is above. It’s a fun way to start the meal and gives a flavour of what they do well. 

The Red Lentil Falafels with spicy yogurt, was a good falafel with the added dipping quality of some gently spiced yogurt which gave them another dimension.

The Stuffed Artichoke Hearts and Pesto Mayo: again with added dipping deliciousness, lovely artichokes full of Spring flavour with again a full flavoured Mayo. 

The Sesame Crusted Halloumi with peanut salad and Oriental Dressing  though was my favourite, and a real complimentary contrast to the other dishes offering a real stir fry like texture and crunch to the softer Halloumi and stuffed artichoke and falafels. A lovely complete dish. I love this kind of eating, and The Star and Garter’s version is a real winner. 

Ruth chose the seasonal special and tempting Dip Your Own Asparagus.  

Fresh seasonal Asparagus with its own pot of Hollandaise and Parmesan, presented beautifully and set up for a dipping frenzy. Ruth loved it. I tried a spear with the hollandaise and could concur to its simplicity and celebration of a beautiful British vegetable. With both starters taken together to share between two you’d have near perfection this Spring.

For veggies that don’t eat Parmesan it can be ignored as it comes seperate in its own pot. 

 Dip your own Asparagus.


For my main course I ordered the delicious sounding Spring Vegetable and Puy Lentil Pie, Quicke’s Mature Chedder mash, Veg gravy. 

In fact it was delicious. Deep flavoured put lentil filling, chedder mash with a really mature kick, soft but firm tenderstalk Broccoli. Indulgent, rich, comforting. It was delicious and full of deep flavour and well seasoned. A tasty Vegetarian option served with hot veggie gravy. 

We ordered a side order of Spring Greens and Peas with a thyme dressing, which complimented and boosted my dish well. 


For dessets Ruth ordered the Treacle Tart, Chantilly cream. Which she said was nice, but didn’t wow and could have done with a zingy lift. 

I ordered The Sticky Toffee Pudding, which was a good pud. Very sticky, a deep toffee flavour and plenty of toffee sauce. Lovely.

Treacle Tart, Chantilly cream.    Sticky toffee pudding.


We also ordered a nice bottle of White Rioja which complimented the food well.

The Star and Garter is a lovely old town centre pub. It’s cosy, quirky, with a good atmosphere that adds to our experience and made for a lovely evening. With its low lighting and modern but old feel it a recommended try when in Leamington Spa. For Vegetarians dining out the food is superb. A good mix of dishes that could possibly do with another main course on it (maybe a special) for added choice or maybe to utilise more of the seasonal veg that is around in different more adventurous ways, but for informal eating with a cosy, Gastro feel it’s a joy and with its genuine welcome and relaxed service its a fab choice to eat, drink and be merry in Leamington Spa.

Thanks for reading, 

Andy 😊

Thanks to General Manager Colin for his time and taking us through the menu and to Sarah for the organisation.

The review was written after a kind invitation from the Star and Garter to review their Spring menu. Our food and drink was complimentary on the night. All opinions are my own, honest and without bias. I was not required to write a positive review.

 Ruth’s Fish main course special which she enjoyed.




The last three photos plus the first two courtesy of The Star and Garter. The rest of the photos are my own. 

Star and Garter, 4-6 Warwick Street, Leamington Spa, CV 32 5LL.

Click to access Star-Garter-Spring-16-MAIN-MENU-Toast-1.pdf

A new star is born: The Star and Garter pub in Leamington, gets new look. 


 The Highfield in Edgbaston has been one of my favourite places to eat and drink in Birmingham since it opened just over a year ago. So I was pleased to hear that over in Leamington Spa in Warwickshire 

its sister pub The Star and Garter has had a refurbishment and re opened with a new menu that has numerous vegetarian options. 

Since being taken over by award-winning independent local pub company Peach, The Star & Garter has earned itself a place on the social scene, building up a reputation for offering good, fresh seasonal food and quality drinks, with friendly service to match, as new pub manager Colin Barber explains.

 “The Star & Garter is a lovely pub in a gorgeous period building in the heart of Leamington Spa. Having moved in three years ago, we’ve been warmly welcomed by the townspeople who’ve quickly made us their own. After getting to know our guests really well and asking what they wanted from their local, we’ve made the pub an even better, more sociable place to be. We’ve also added new seasonal dishes and quality drinks from great suppliers, many local,” he says.

 “We’ve updated our style, starting with an eye-catching new sign and a warmer, cosier interior making the pub more intimate. The bar’s been opened up and we’ve added more informal seating throughout. There are comfy booths and sofas in warm fabrics and soft leather, mellow wooden tables and chairs and quirky exposed brick effect wallpaper. The eatery has been completely restyled with spacious booths, creating an informal yet stylish place where you can eat, drink and relax wherever you like,” he says.

 On offer is a new Noon & Night Menu, with traditional pub classics, superfood dishes and seasonal specials from brunch through til late. Head chef Jakub Fijak uses great local and British produce in his dishes that keep the menu fresh and invigorated. 

 There is also a wide range of quality gins, with your choice of tonic, served in a grand coupe with plenty of ice, fruit and juniper berries, alongside local ales and premium long neck lagers, a new cocktail and mocktail list and even beer cocktails.

 “Our new style is all about being sociable, bringing more choice and more good things to eat and drink, whenever you visit. We want you to feel very welcome and right at home, whether you pop into the eatery for a burger, linger a bit longer over a three course dinner or simply join us for a drink,” says Colin.

 The Star & Garter is at 4-6 Warwick Street, Leamington Spa CV32 5LL. Tel: 01926 359 960.

Twitter: Star_Leamington Facebook: TheStarGarter 

New menu highlights for vegetarians include: 

Major or Minor Orders, small pots for £3.50 or three pots (a board) for £9.50. 

Veggie Options include: 

Red lentil falafels, spicy yogurt, Wooky Hole cheddar and Parsnip Cakes, Tomato Jam, Superfood Salad, Quinoa, Sweet Potato, Broccoli and pomegranate, lemon and honey. 

Brunch is served from 9am to noon and vegetarians can enjoy Smashed avocado on toast with Poached egg, American pancakes, maple syrup, ricotta and banana. All eggs are local and free-range.

Mains include Superfood Salad, Quinoa, Sweet Potato, Broccoli & Pomegranate, Lemon & Honey (£6.50 or £12.00), Spicy Bean Burger, served in a Brioche Bun with Chips, Onion Rings & Coleslaw and Roast Squash and  Spinach and Barley Wellington, vegetarian gravy. 

With dishes changing seasonally and with a daily specials board The Star and Garter is one to keep an eye on for vegetarians. 


Thanks for reading, 

Andy 😊

All photos courtesy of The Star and Garter Leamington. 

Review: The Rose and Crown, Warwick. 


Warwick is a grand old place. It’s castle is one of the most iconic places in the county and its character filled streets have been used for numerous tv shows including Doctor Who, Pride and Prejudice and Dangerfield amongst others. At the centre of the town lies the old square, the market square. The Rose and Crown is a 17 c inn with rooms and sits looking out into a market square, and has shaped its own character within the town, blessed with some modern touches it also has rooms and on the Saturday we visited was holding court to a pop up bar and the popular folk festival. Now I’m no Billy Bragg but I like a drop of folk and enjoy the musical notes of real ale.

Warwick lies 11miles from Coventry and a shortish train journey from Birmingham. It’s a place that Ruth and I have enjoyed before, though our castle visit a couple of years ago was scarred by severe rain and a drenching was had. Warwick has a number of small shops, antiques, cafes, restaurants, and a good independent streak. A nice place to visit at any time of the year. 

We had been invited on this occasion by Peach Pubs  (an independent pub company who also own The Highfield in Birmingham) to try out some of their vegetarian options. Having booked in for a Saturday lunchtime, we realised that our visit coincided with the Warwick Folk Featival which in itself created a nice musical atmosphere, (with live music and Morris dancers) and made Warwick very busy, and yes it was sunny.  

I was pleased to find an outside bar near the doorway of the inn from Church Farm Brewery an independent family run craft micro brewery in Budbrooke, Warwickshire. I  enjoyed their IPA which is brewed with citra and Crystal hops and was a nice easy drinking beer with a good full flavour, ideal for summer. 

Church Farm Brewery IPA at The Rose and Crown.


Certainly on walking inside you don’t get a feeling that The Rose and Crown is part of a small chain, as internally it differs to The Highfield. The inn has recently been refurbished and presents a light, clean lined, but traditional decor which is instantly inviting and relaxing. The inn does have a bar area and outside tables, though on this occasion with the festival, tables were taken. The restaurant part is to the rear. 



So to lunch. 

The Rose and Crown prides itself on its seasonal menu, with the freshest ingredients mixing classic, comfort and contemporary dishes. They have a select few vegetarian dishes which look good on the menu but could benefit from having a few more options. 

To begin I decided to try their ‘Soup of the day’ off their changing specials board, which was pea, mint, creme fraiche and for my main The Veggie Board, which I’ve been meaning to try for awhile. 

Pea, mint and creme fraiche soup with croutons. 

The Pea, Mint and Creme Fraiche soup was a thing of beauty. It had a warming, summery gaze, that with the added croutons was balanced and a happy starter. The seasonal flavour of the peas came through. A Faultless soup. It also looked stunning and indulgent. 


The Veggie Board consisted of stuffed artichoke hearts, and pesto Mayo, Heritage Tomatoes, salad, goats curd, spicy Hummous, and radishes with toasted pitta, and seeded straws. 

It was a simple looking dish, plentiful and packed with good Summery flavours.  I liked the seasonal crunchy radishes, and juicy firm heritage tomatoes. As well as the stuffed artichokes which were good to see on the board, (not often found on menus) and the presentation was inviting. 

The spicy Hummus and pesto Mayo (I didn’t really enjoy the goats curd too much) added a good dipping element with the crunchy and well made seeded straws and toasted pitta. A good board. 
The Veggie Board may not be an exotic or innovative dish but it’s summery and delightful for lunch. Its not too heavy and idle for grazing with a pint, maybe outside. It’s the ingredients that make the board work, I’m not sure it would work so well in the Winter for example  when the produce is not so fine, but it all depends on what’s put on the plate and makes up the board.

For desert I was happy to choose the Dip Your Own Strawberries which is a seasonal special I wrote about a few weeks ago. 

If any menu has strawberries on it in the summer I have to try it. It’s one of life’s foodie pleasures and reminds me of my childhood and strawberry picking. 

See here:

Photo courtesy of Peach Pubs. The Rose and Crown

The locally grown Dip Your Own Strawberries were presented on a board, with details of where they were picked (Staffordshire) and with each of the elements, strawberries, Valrhona  melted chocolate sauce and chantilly  cream I their own pot. With shortbread biscuits on the side for dipping. 

 The idea is that the strawberries and biscuits are dipped into the chocolate and cream, much like a clottedcream tea, maybe. 

The desert wasn’t too heavy. The strawberries, juicy, red, sweet in flavour. The chocolate velvety, thick and rich. The cream unctuous, sweet and thick. What’s not to like.

The shortbread though we’re disappointing. They were soft, not crumbly and a little wet at the base. Though homemade and looking the part they didn’t deliver the contrast the desert required. 

The dish worked in parts. It was fun, the ingredients were good but maybe the dipping could have done with a optional cocktail stick to assist the dipping. Maybe the flag could be used for that purpose. 

An intriguing English garden desert. 

The food at The Rose and Crown was excellent, the dishes I had were varied and fulfilling. The added bonus is the seasonality of the ingredients and the presentation which is thoughtful and well done. The menu is varied though I would like a few more (maybe one or two) additional Vegetarian dishes on there. The service was excellent throughout. Friendly and attentive and  I could tell passionate about the dishes. 

For Vegetarians The Rose and Crown is a good place to eat. The inn has good ales, wines and has a nice relaxed decor that feels authentically a country pub in a busy pretty town. 

It works on many levels. It was a charming and enjoyable lunch experience and as Billy Bragg sang ‘there is power in a union’ of beer and the freshest food. 

Serve the good stuff. 

Thanks for reading. 

Andy 😊

Thanks to Giles and his team for a good lunch and having us. 

Disclosure: Our food and drinks were complimentary. My views are my own and honest as I found the experience on the day. 

Click to access Rose-Crown-Summer-2015-ALLDAY-Menu-NEW.pdf

 He’s not a folk musician? 



The Yard (an indoor, outdoor kind of space for dining and events.