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

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.