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 😊

Review: Tapas Revolution, Grand Central, Birmingham. 


 Birmingham’s ramp that leads from New Street into the new shiny Grand Central is a ramp of legend. How many Brummie kids have met friends, dates or family on or at the foot of the ramp. The ramp as I’ll call it leads into a world of food and shopping, oh and yes something to do with trains. (New Street Station)

The first restaurant you see when you enter from New Street is Tapas Revolution the shiny small group of Spanish Tapas cafe, bars and restaurants owned by Omar Allibhoy. Inspired by the tapas bars of his native Madrid Tapas Revolution is open from breakfast until bedtime, for food or drinks, at the bar or at a table, the choice is yours. 

With four restaurants in London, Grand Central is the first outside of London to open and much is expected of the restaurant in the revamped shiny new Birmingham shopping paradise. 

 
   

The Restaurant as you enter is open plan with half walls seperating  it from the shopping centre.  You can sit as we did overlooking the station below or around the busier kitchen. The station view seats are more private for couples or smaller groups or families. 

We visited on a Monday evening so the station and the restaurant were quite quiet but still had a nice atmosphere. I was impressed though that you didn’t notice the station noise below. It felt private. 

   

 The menu at Tapas Revolution is split equally into Meat, Fish and Veg tapas with a section also for nibbles (Picoteo). 

As Ruth and I were here to sample the tapas that’s what we did. You can enjoy Spanish burgers of which one is vegetarian (Tortilla burger) and of course breakfast (again there is a vegetarian option).

Having eaten some of the best veggie tapas In San Sebastián, in North Spain I’ve ever eaten (called Pinxtos) at bars with such an array of food that it looks quite daunting but isn’t at all, I have a little idea of authenticity which Omar is trying to replicate in the UK. 

 Sweet cutlery holder. 

  

We began with drinks. I ordered the Spanish gin based “Pomada” Xoriguer Gin and Fever Tree Lemonade. A refreshing gin tonic from Menorca with grapefruit and lime. Very nice, though quite sweet. Ruth ordered a glass of white wine (Vino Blanco). 

We decided to order a couple of nibbles (Picoteo) to share.

So ordered Almendras de Mallorca: (slow roasted almonds) and the beautiful Pan Con Tomate (toasted bread, garlic, tomato and olive oil) which was deliciously tomatoey and with a good but balanced garlic flavour. Lovely. 

  

Almendras de Mallorca. 

  Pan Con Tomate

I advise if ordering for two to order six tapas to share or 3 for one. 

The Vegetarian Dishes from the Tapas menu I ordered were: 

Piquillos Rellenos de setas: piquillo peppers stuffed with mushrooms.

An ok dish. piquillo are hand picked and slightly sweet and worked well with the mushrooms. Not bad. Needed more seasoning maybe. 

Tortilla de Patatas: Spanish omelette made with potato and onion. 

The star dish of the evening for me. Reminiscent of San Sebastián with delucious comfort food par excellence, transforming a couple of humble ingredients with a soufflé like effect. A well made tortilla. 

Pisto: Aubergine, courgette, pepper, and herb stew. 

A lovely ratatouille type dish typically from the region of Murcia and La Mancha. Served warm  it was comforting and Warming with the flavours of finely chopped aubergine and courgette providing a healthy backdrop to the pepper and tomato base. Really enjoyable. 

Patatas Bravos: Deep fried potatoes with spicy tomato sauce and alioli. (To share with Ruth) 

What’s not to like about potatoes and tomato sauce. Nothing in this case. As  Tapas Revolution’s Potatas Bravas was the best I’d had outside of San Sebastián. Utterly beautiful. 

  

Piquillos Rellenos de setas: 
  

  Tortilla de Patatas

  

Croquetas de bacalao: Cod croquettes which Ruth Ordered and enjoyed. 

  
  

Patatas Bravas. 

  
    

Torreznos con mojo dulce: Ruths pork belly dish. She lapped it up. 
    Pisto: 

We were initially disappointed that the Churros weren’t on the menu tonight, but vowed to return to enjoy them. 

We decided to order the crema Catalana (Traditional Spanish  custard made with vanilla, Cinnamon and lemon. Also known as burnt cream and the Torrija: (caramelised brioche bun soaked in custard) 

The Crema Catalana: 

A lovely Catalan cream desert. Delicious flavoured custard with the flavours of  vanilla and lemon coming through. A lovely caramelised top. 

  Crema Catalana.

  

Torrija: A very tasty soaked brioche bun with a fried and batter consistency. Sticky, yummy, a crispy outside and smoother inside. A Recommended desert. 

Tapas Revolution is a fun Tapas restaurant that is an excellent addition to Birmingham’s food scene. It’s ideal for an informal sharing meal either at lunch time, breakfast time or during a shopping trip. It also works well in the evening. The service was friendly, quite swift but always polite, though it did move swiftly into a ‘chainy’ style a few times which was a bit grating. It’s maybe not an intimate romantic venue but is Ideal for people watching. 

The tapas we tried was good, some wonderful and among the best we had tried outside of Spain. I really liked it’s informality, it’s pop in at any time concept, which in Birmingham is welcome. 

The emphasis is on quality and freshness of ingredients and dishes to the plate. It’s in a Good location and accessible for commuters. 

Tapas Revolution is much better than many new openings recently in Birmingham and for this reason is welcome. I wouldn’t hesitate to return any time of day for its good value tapas.

The Revolution has arrived. 



 Estella Galicia lager.   

Zuma de Naranja: freshly squeezed orange juice. Refreshing and thirst quenching.    

Bar at Tapas Revolution. 

  

  View of Grand Central from Tapas Revolution. 

    View of Tapas Revolution from below. 

   

Thanks for reading.

Andy 😊

Disclaimer: we were invited by Tapas Revolutions PR company to eat free and sample their dishes for a fair review. My opinions and thoughts are honest of my experience as always. 
https://www.tapasrevolution.com/files/tapas-revolution-grand-central.pdf

   
 Grand Central and John Lewis. 

You can find Tapas Revolution at Grand Central Birmingham. 

  
Tapas Revolution cookbook. 

Review: Amantia Spanish and Mediterranean 


  
Amantia is a new family run (and family friendly!) independent, Spanish and Mediterranean restaurant right off New Street in Birmingham City centre, taking the ground floor and basement of the iconic Sun House.
This building on Bennetts Hill was the house of the Sun Insurance offices, which were founded in 1710. The name Amantia is the name of some ruins near chef and owner Andrea’s birthplace and also includes the initial of him and Marta’s (owner and front of house’s) children. 

Amantia is a smart place. Inside the space is large, bordering on vast, with a sweet bar area to the right of the entrance as you walk in. Serving pinxos  or Pincho (Basque country small snacks from Northen Spain). Oh the memories of San Sebastián are returning. It is in itself a good spot for after work downtime. 

I digress though. The decor of Amantia, contemporary- purple, grey with black and white prints on the wall, smart, and cooling. 

   
   
Though it could feel impersonal it doesn’t. The atmosphere is good,  quite busy too on a Friday evening and the warmth of the service from Marta and her team is a joy. Marta twinkles with charm and enthusiasm for the food and the adventure she and her husband are on with Amantia. 

Ruth and I were invited by Marta and her sister Silvia (also from Amantia) to taste and review some of the Vegetarian dishes on the menu and some new ones not yet on the menu. For that reason the food came out of the kitchen like tapas (discussed on arrival with Marta) and thus this review will reflect that. I like small plates though, tapas is one of life’s pleasures whether italian in nature, or Spanish (tapas) or pintxos for that matter. 

It is fun to have an element of surprise and not order from a menu. It’s very informal and thus more interesting. 

Ruth and I ordered some Olives and two glasses of Manzanilla Sherry whilst waiting for the tapas. The sherry a refreshing fino from Andalusia, served chilled it’s a perfect aperitif and goes well with tapas like dishes. 

   
 
The dishes we shared ( Ruth was a Vegetarian for the evening) were a selection of  croquetas Amantia, (blue cheese and creamy mushroom)  a Rustica mushroom Crepe, a Greek Salad, Roasted Vegetables and Vegetable Moussaka. 

   

 
Having tried the Blue Cheese Croquetas before I was looking forward to eating them again. They held a lovely creamy blue cheese flavour, a recommended vegetarian tapas. A star dish. 

On the other hand, the Mushroom croquetas were disappointing. Quite bland in flavour, with not a lot of mushroom filling,  the croquetas lacked an intensity of flavour that maybe a porcini mushroom filling could have brought. A shame. 

Oh the contrast The Rustica Crepe with its mushroom centre had a deep intensity of flavour. It wasn’t too cheesy which was a relief and the quantity and quality of the mushroom filling made for a very satisfying and enjoyable crepe and served with a side salad would make a excellent and filling main course offering. Maybe use the intense filling for the mushroom croquetas.  Recommended. 

   
 
The Greek Salad, was also very good and looked very appetising.

  
Lettuce, tomatoes, sliced cucumber, onion, Kalamata Olives, Feta cheese, in Extra Virgin Olive Oil. It was well seasoned, with salt and oregano and the splash of olive oil made for a nice ripe and fresh salad. The feta creamy and the flavours bold. A very refreshing contrast to the hot dishes. Lovely. 

Our Roasted Vegetables were also well presented and looked stunningly appetising. I think roast vegetables get a bad press sometimes from vegetarians and vegans, cited as a bit boring, but when the veg are fresh and carrying a good in season flavour there arn’t  many better summertime dishes. It always makes me think of sunshine and hot sun and alfresco dining. (Appologies I was lost in memories of Italy there). 

   
 
The peppers and courgettes were delicious and looked stunning. I also didn’t mind the presentation on a board. It worked with this dish. 

   
 
The final hot dish we tried was the Vegetable Moussaka. I think of all the dishes We tried on the night this was our favourite, we felt we could have eaten more of it, it was that creamy, hearty and warming. The combination of aubergine, and potatoes, and tomatoes worked well and made for a classic Greek dish with a veggie twist. 

It also went well with the Greek Salad. A complete summer main course. 

We washed down our mains with a delicious Spanish White Wine: a Marques de Luna macebo. Amantia has a good wine list and also serves cocktails and Sangria. 

As Ruth and I border on hungryly greedy (or just nosey or easily tempted)  types when it comes to food and the fact that Tiramisu was on the menu we felt we had to try a desert. 

Ruth chose one of her favourites the Churos Con Chocolate  

 
Which she exclaimed was beautiful and one of the best she’d had. I tried a mouthful and it indeed was decadently a top pudding. 

Of course onto my Tiramisu test. 

One of my test dishes Is the above pudding. I’ve had it all over Italy and one in particular in Verona on our honeymoon I remember with salivating affection ( the restaurant had won the world tiramisu award, yes there is such a thing! ). 

Yes, it true I wasn’t disappointed. 

   
 
It looked stunning for a start and had the right quantity of coffee flavour and certainly ‘picked me up’. It was very cool, dreamy and light. It had a classic image and was nicely layered. Delicious, it passed the test and was one of the best I’d tried in Birmingham. 

We also enjoyed an after dinner Liquor    and two double espressos. 

   
 
The Vegetarian dishes at Amantia are excellent. I highly recommend it for veggies in Birmingham.

 I would like to see more in particular in the tapas section of the menu for Vegetarians (tapas and summer go well together) how about a veggie paella? On talking to Marta I know they are rolling out a Vegan menu at some point and are working on new veggie dishes which will be introduced dependent on seasonality of the ingredients. 

Amantia though has many strengths, it’s in a good location just off New Street and has a warming and cooling (at the same time) kind of atmosphere. 

The service is charming and aims to please. It’s friendly and demonstrates that it cares. 

Amantia is a good Authentic place for a lunch whilst shopping in Brum or for a delicious evening meal With a group or  with a partner. It ticks all the foodie boxes. 

Maybe some live music would be nice, some Spanish guitar or flamenco or a pianist would help fill the space. That’s Always good for atmosphere (Maybe live music nights). 

I liked Amantia, it’s a gem in the city and the type of authentic mid price restaurant that Birmingham needs more of. Good Solid cooking without the gimmicks, independent and with a good heart. 

And as Feargal Sharkey sang in 1985 that’s hard to find. 

Thanks for reading. 

Andy 😊

Thanks to Amantia (Marta and Silvia) for the invite to the restaurant. Our food was complimentary, though we paid for our drinks in full. My review is honest and has my own opinions as always. 

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

Amantia, 9 Bennetts Hill, Birmingham, B2 5RS. 

0121 643 3647. 

  

Amantia do an after work social from 4-7pm with a free Pintxo with your drink and £2 for all cocktails weekdays. 

It also has a children’s menu for £6.25. For a main, desert and a drink. 

  
Facebook: Amantia restaurant

Twitter: @RestAmantia