Restaurant Review: Tom’s Kitchen, Mailbox, Birmingham. A chic, smart place for veggies.


So once more Ruth and I were let out of the house together, as parenting duties were suspended for the evening. Not only were we let out but we ambled up to the big smoke (City Centre) nosebleeds in tow and wondered how long it may have been since we ate together in the city centre. Awhile in fact is the answer, so bless Tom’s Kitchen for having us and been trusting with our rusty city etiquette.

I’ve known a few Tom’s in my time. Sound as a pound chaps who’ve been reliable and good to hang around with. My son likes the Tank Engine chap and he says he’s cool so that’s ok with me, though that Controller chap I’m not sure of to be fair.

This Tom is Michelin Starred Tom Aitkens. You may remember him from The Great British Menu. Other outposts of the restaurant are in London and Istanbul.

Tom’s Kitchen in The Mailbox is a natty place. It has a Chic feel, step inside to cosy booths, dark wood, a sophisticated feel and a nice warm atmosphere and you have the makings of a good meal. With its dim lighting It has a nice romantic feel too which gives it an edge in an area of more vociferous chains and pale imitation Food. In fact Ruth and I felt relaxed as soon as we entered.

I start with the insanely good Macaroni Cheese with added Truffle. Loveliness in a warming bowl, not made for pretty photos but a depth of rich cheese, with that just perfect hint of truffle running through, An ingredient when overdone can slam bam ruin a dish in one foul swoop, trust me! A dish to devour and then devour it again, a comfort food award winner, though annoyed i didn’t order any bread to mop up the runaway cheese. Humph!

Now, here’s the thing. I’m not one to order a mostly cold salad like dish in the evening. I’m more of a lunch time punter for that accolade. But then I go and do it. Why? Oh why? Because in this instant I fancied been a revolutionary soul in my own skin. Away from my son, anything goes. Well only if it’s veggie or vegan.

The dish in question was the Courgette Dukkah, fennel and Turmeric. A zingy dish of complex flavours that had a lovely Summery taste. The Dukkah, breadcrumbed courgettes that added a warmth to the cooling salad with fennel. A lovely dish that was well worth diverting from the norm for.

Some quality shared chips.

And, afterwards Chocolate and peanut butter Marquise.

Chocolate decadence, sticky, beautiful and rich with the good things in life. Eat it slow as it’s too nice to rush. Taste it and sigh.

Staff were lovely. Though we sat early evening for dinner we didn’t feel rushed or pressurised to order quickly. Enthusiastic, professional service goes a long way.

There were some grumbles. I’d like to see a vegetarian main course dish on the specials, especially with the abundance of fresh veg produce in Autumn and maybe the mains themselves (apart from

The Dukkah) could be a bit more adventurous and vary and not just follow the burger (though I hear it’s seriously good) or risotto route, though I’m not doubting they would be lovely examples of two fine dishes and well worth trying.

Tom’s Kitchen is an excellent and smart restaurant. The use of fresh seasonal produce is done well. The veggie dishes have simple bold flavours which show off the key ingredients well and demonstrate a real skill in the kitchen.

The dishes follow a British staples line and are comfort food made well. I like the fact the portions are generous and the wine list is excellent and offers good choices that compliment the dishes.

The added cocktail menu that included for us a superb Negroni and dry Gin Martini, are good examples of the quality on offer. They were both done well.

I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Tom’s Kitchen for Vegetarians. Especially if you

are with meat eaters it’s a good choice to make everyone happy and with dishes made well and changing seasonally it’s well worth discovering.

We also drank a delicious glass of Trebbiano and Sangiovese. Top notch wines.

Thanks for reading.

Andy 😊

Thanks to the lovely PR company Rewired for the invite, and for their patience with the arrangements. Our food and drinks were complimentary (at the restaurants discretion) and all opinions made are my own.

https://www.tomskitchen.co.uk/en/birmingham/restaurant/

Tom’s Kitchen, 53 The Mailbox, Wharf side street, Birmingham, B1 1RE.

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The Royal Shakespeare Theatre’s Roof Top restaurant introduces Vegan menu and afternoon Tea in Stratford-Upon-Avon.


‘Do you think because you are virtuous, that there shall be no more cakes and ale?’

Food and Shakespeare are intrinsically

linked. His plays are full of references.

Shakespeare used food and drink as metaphors to create accurate impressions of the times he lived in. For example the quote above from the great Othello play Act 2, scene 3 is one of the best. Often meal times were a recipe for drama.

The scene in Macbeth when the new king invites everyone who’s anyone in Scotland to his table to determine who’s with him and who’s against him, is a good example. He fails to be a good host which shows us he’s unfit to be king.

But on hearing this news from the RSC my eyes didn’t smell onions, and I didn’t weep anon, but quite the opposite in fact.

I’ve eaten at The Roof Top restaurant before a few years ago after a play. To be fair the vegetarian options didn’t inspire me greatly and I felt compared to Ruth’s options a bit short changed.

Not now though.

The Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) has introduced a new Vegan pre-theatre and dinner menu alongside a Vegan afternoon tea at their theatre venue in Stratford-upon-Avon.

Visitors to the Company’s Rooftop Restaurant, which boasts fantastic views across the river Avon, can now enjoy a three-course vegan fixed price menu.

Starters include warm marinated vine tomatoes, roasted baby beets, basil puree and rocket, or giant couscous with red quinoa, fig, toasted almond and red onion salad and pomegranate molasses.

Mains range from Turkish aubergine and chick pea stew with freekeh pilaf, herb salsa and pine nuts, or fusilli with butternut squash, red onion, chestnut mushrooms, fried sage and creamy walnut sauce.

The meal can be rounded off with sloe gin poached pear served with blackcurrant sorbet or Autumn fruit compote with Calvados custard.

Diners can also tuck into a traditional afternoon tea vegan style which includes scones, sandwiches and a range of desserts including dipped chocolate fruit, tartlets and chocolate cake.

A range of specially crafted vegan muffins and croissants are also available from Susie’s Café Bar based at the Company’s The Other Place down the road from the Royal Shakespeare Theatre. The Company also offers an array of gluten free dishes.

Executive Chef, Simon Malin, said: “As with our shows – we are always looking to make our food offer as accessible to as many people as possible – which is why I am excited to introduce our brand-new vegan offer to open up more of the RSC to people looking to have a great shared culinary experience.”

For more information on the RSC’s brand new vegan pre-theatre and dinner menu visit – www.rsc.org.uk/rooftop-restaurant/menus/vegan-and-gluten-free-menus/vegan-pre-theatre-menu<http://www.rsc.org.uk/rooftop-restaurant/menus/vegan-and-gluten-free-menus/vegan-pre-theatre-menu>

For information on the RSC’s new vegan afternoon tea check out – www.rsc.org.uk/rooftop-restaurant/menus/vegan-afternoon-teas<https://www.rsc.org.uk/rooftop-restaurant/menus/vegan-afternoon-teas>

Photo caption:

The RSC’s brand new vegan offer which includes Turkish aubergine and chick pea stew with freekeh pilaf, herb salsa and pine nuts and afternoon tea. Photo credit Sara Beaumont, courtesy of the RSC.

The RSC Vegan pre-theatre menu is served Monday to Saturday from 11.30am-3.30pm and 4.30pm-6.15pm. Two courses are available from £21 or three courses for £26.

RSC vegan afternoon teas are available from 11.30am every day except Saturdays where they are available from 1.30pm to 3pm.

www.rsc.org.uk<http://www.rsc.org.uk/>

So ‘call for dates and quinces in the pastry.’

The RSC are set to be good hosts for Vegetarians and vegans!.

Thanks for reading,

Andy 😊

Last quote from Henry IV Part 2: Act 2, scene 4.

The onions quote from Romeo and Juliet: Act 4, scene 2.

Thanks to the RSC press team for the information and images.

Product Review: Riverford Quick and light organic vegetarian recipe box.


Ruth and I love to cook food from scratch. Even after young Hare has gone to sleep we still do, which quite often results in some late suppers eaten as our eyes dip into the land of nod.

So when Riverford contacted me and asked if I’d like to try an organic vegetable box for Organic Week I jumped at it. I’ve never ordered a veg box before. I don’t know why, but after sampling the two recipes we cooked over that week we’ll be certainly ordering again.

Riverford deliver around 47.000 boxes a week to homes around the UK from their local organic farms.

The good thing about the boxes are that there’s no weekly commitment, you just order when you wish.

With Riverford a box of ingredients arrives and in the case of the Vegetarian quick box for two people a promise of getting food out in just 30 minutes is made. Could this be too good to be true. Sometimes in our house it’s over an hour.

The aim of the box is to cook fresh but taking away the stress of the preparation which includes the chopping of veg. All veg for the two meals is clearly labelled and measured for you, chopped and cut, so you can be on the way quickly. All spices and sauces are individually wrapped and a recipe is provided. And away you go.

The thing that strikes both of us is the quality of the ingredients and vegetables. They smell and feel fresh, the colours are vivid and and some had dirt still on them. The recipe cards were on the top of the box and all the ingredients enclosed in the box as portioned out to match the recipes were used, so no wastage.

The recipe cards or booklets were beautifully produced and very comprehensively put together. The clarity of the instructions and lay out assisted greatly in the artificial light and the step by step instructions were spot on.

We decided to make one dish each.

The first evening Ruth made the Miso Mushrooms with Kale, Green Beans and sticky rice. For me this was my favourite. Lovely flavours, healthy and filling at the same time and maybe not something we’d make usually. It packed a punch and made in 30 minutes just as promised. A very healthy dish where the quality of the ingredients shone through and were showcased perfectly.

The second night was my turn. The beautiful sounding Spinach and lentil Mulligatawny with Apple, carrot and ginger salad.

Again this dish was made in thirty minute, and again the instructions were clear and simple to follow. The dish itself was lovely. Good simple but healthy flavours with the quality ingredients giving the dish a lift. I found it easy to make and the addition of the salad gave a contrasting crunch. In fact the two components of the dish could be eaten separately, but together they certainly complimented and gave a filling effect.

One of us had the salad at the side and one on top of the mulligatawny both ways worked well.

I finished some of the mulligatawny off the next day and the flavours had more of a depth from been chilled over night in the fridge. A lovely dish which we both enjoyed.

What did I think?

Ruth and I both enjoyed the recipe box and recipes. The quick and light vegetarian box was a great success. The recipes were well written, presented beautifully and were completed in the time stated.

The ingredients were of the highest quality and the individual packaging kept them fresh and separate from each other.

I’d advise reading the recipe through before starting cooking but once all of the ingredients are laid out in front of you it’s easy to get going. The meals were full of flavour and filling and low in calories at the same time. For people with little time to make fresh food in the evening or who fancy trying different recipes that they may not normally make the vegetable boxes are an ideal way of treating yourself .

As I’ve said there’s no commitment to buy but you can do so when you feel ready. That’s ideal in my opinion.

The recipe box is perfect for two people and for Vegetarians it’s a lovely way to eat and a fun vibrant way to make and explore new dishes as well.

We’ll definitely be ordering again sometime soon.

Thanks for reading,

Andy😊

I was sent the Riverford quick and light organic vegetarian boxes complimentary for the purposes of my blog review. All opinions stressed are my own and Ruth’s. I have not been paid or sponsored for this post.

The Riverford Vegetarian quick box costs £24.95 for two speedy meals for two people. There is also a 3 meal version for £33.95.

Riverford Organic farmers limited is based in Buckfastleigh in Devon.

Known also for its abbey and homemade drinks made on site.

I know it well.

https://www.riverford.co.uk/

<<<
ted up the next day.

Restaurant Review: Raja Monkey, Birmingham.


Birmingham’s current fondness for all things Indian Street Food is in a word becoming interesting though maybe the beginning of its undoing. With two new street food places due to open before Autumn snuggles into Winter, and one recent one Indian Streatery doing well in the centre of Birmingham, you may easily forget the original cafe in Brum that is the funky Raja Monkey.

Owned by the good kids of the Lasan group it strikes one instantly of the organisation and sophistication of its big brother Lasan (though on a smaller more intimate street food scale). Here you find the same high quality ingredients, the same beautiful attentive, polite and obliging service, and the same attention to detail in the cooking, that has heralded lasan as one of best, if not the best Indian palace of gastronomy in Birmingham.

The dishes are simpler here at the roadside Dhaba like Raja Monkey and more authentic.

The dishes show a vibrant complexity of flavours, spicing and cooking that is the sale of the century when you tally it with the price of the dishes.

To say the food is outstanding is in a way to undersell the joy that I experienced. I’ve been before (with Ruth) and salivated over the veggie Thalis and supreme dosas. And yes I’ve eaten so many takeaways from these guys that I’d hate to count up the total bill. Yet compared to some other more recent openings on the Indian Street Food trail Raja Monkey is the Manchester United to the Aston Villa (and I’m a villa fan). One that others should learn from in its effortless simplicity and devotion to the diner having a fine night out.

On this occasion my dining partner wasn’t Ruth, but a guy called Paul (Ruth did know where I was, so I wasn’t dodging fatherly duties, but then I may have been slightly!)

To say Raja Monkey is intimate is an understatement though it’s size doesn’t detract from the comfort of the comfortable long bench seats that recreates the informal rustic street food cafe look well. The walls adorned with retro pictures and artefacts with the faint sound of Indian music in the distance conjures up the road side cafe image it sets out to be.

The food is influenced by the Southern Indian cuisine of the continent.

Set off from the busy Stratford Road in the Hall Green part of Birmingham, Raja Monkey greets and meets that neighbourhood eatery concept well.

The Popodoms or Papads we ate whilst looking at the menu were crisp, served with a deliciously sweet yogurt Raita that had a delicious flavour.

I ate a Samosa Chaat, Chickpeas, potatoes, fried samosa pastry, served cold, piled high, with a soothing spicing that tickled the mouth and danced in the club of classic curry dishes and then somehow betters them making you sigh and dip into your cold beer with joy. An instant satisfying joy.

I also tried the Pau Bhaji, a deeply satisfying Street Food snack of mashed veg Bhaji with roasted pau buns, brioche like with uplifting flavours and spicing made with panache. A very satisfying starter.

We both moved onto a Vegetable Kadai a melange of veggies in a masaledar gravy. Colourful crunchy vegetables with an appetising appearance. Rich with tomatoes, a good chilli heat gave the veg a rich textured flavour that rewarded generously.

Mopped up with an appreciative Roti it was a sensational dish of perfect spicing and immaculate cooking.

A delight of a vegetarian curry.

To finish, a lip smacking soft and spongy Rasmalai was enjoyed. A melt in your mouth texture, and the perfect refreshing pallet cleanser after a spicy curry.

A pudding of pure joy.

Raja Monkey Excels with its Brilliant Vegetarian cooking. They make use of quality ingredients and thoughtful spicing with an artistic touch of sophistication, all without the pomp. It’s self confident and on a Tuesday night the food hit the curry longing spot like a Romalau Lukaku shot on the turn.

Raja Monkey always been good, but to be honest now It excels.

For a sublime, but informal curry with a great value price maybe it can’t be beaten in Birmingham and for Vegetarians if it’s not on your list of places to visit or revisit then I’m afraid you don’t deserve promotion to the Premier league.

A true road side cafe.

Thanks for reading,

Andy 😊

<

Thanks to Paul Fulford for the invite to dine with him at Raja Monkey. My food and drink was complimentary but all views expressed are my own.

Our Food was washed down by a couple of Cobra lagers.

Raja Monkey, 1355 Stratford Road, Hall Green, Birmingham, B28 9HH.

<<<<<<<<<<<<<
commend a take away from Raja Monkey. Menu on website.

http://www.rajamonkey.co.uk/

My previous review is here:

https://www.google.co.uk/amp/s/vegiefoodie.com/2015/01/23/raja-monkey-authentic-indian-street-food-in-birmingham/amp/

#TastyMorsels: Veggie and Vegan happenings.


Mowgli Street Food is opening at Grand Central by the end of September, offering simple Indian street food.

YouTube Vlogger Nisha Katona owns the restaurant which originated in Liverpool.

Mowgli will opening in the centres casual dining area next to Tapas Revolution and Pho. Serving home style fresh food including tiffin boxes.

Mowgli sets itself up as taste of adventure with their famous yogurt chat Bombs at the heart of the menu.

The menu will include many vegan dishes and will now doubt be popular amongst veggies and vegans in Birmingham.

A healthy mix of good food and fun atmosphere awaits.

Watch this space for more news as I know it.

Laghi’s Deli has just opened on Islington Row just off Five Ways island.

Italian delights a plenty, home made breads, cakes, homemade pasta you name it it’s here. They also do Aperativi. The aperitivo period after work in Italy when for the price of a cocktail or wine finger foods can be enjoyed alongside. So try focaccia, olives or cheese maybe. Heaven! Is there a finer time in Italy? From 5-7pm

Oh and good coffee…but of course.

They also stock an impressive range of wine.

The 40 cover restaurant bar is open for brunch, lunch and dinner.

Expect a visit from me, to sample their wares, at some point… could be the Italian gaff I’ve been dreaming of for Brum!

At last.

Laghi’s is open from 8am-11.30pm Mondays to Saturdays.

Vegan Mex it Up are presenting An American Affair on Saturday 30th September at The Pie Shop in Stirchley on the Pershore Road.

The menu is below:

Booking via info@mexitupfoods.com

The Vegan Cakery will be providing the desert.

Mex it up have also been nominated for best vegan caterer. You can vote for them below.

https://london.vegfest.co.uk/awards/vote/

As mentioned in the previous Tasty Morsels, The Indian Streatery is now open for business with a great selection of veggie and Vegan dishes. The menu is below:

Find it on Hill Street just off New Street in Birmingham City Centre.

I Can’t wait to try it out.

Las Iguanas opened on Temple Street in the city centre on the 28th August. The Latin American themed restaurant has many vegetarian dishes and a devoted Vegan menu on offer. Plus 2-4-1 cocktails all day every day. They are also still open in The Arcadian area of Brum.

Tamatanga.

Anther new Indian Street Food eatery is due to open in Birmingham City Centre on Navigation Street this month. Tamatanga is Nottingham based for over ten years and is now opening up a flag ship restaurant in Brum. Authentic Indian dishes will be served all day including breakfast and the restaurant will be completely family friendly.

Open from 7.30am food will include breakfast items and thali’s and small plates, 3 dishes for £15 and five for £23.

Veggie Dishes include Chaat, veg samosas, chilli paneer and a dish called ragda Pattice, crispy potato cakes on masala yellow peas, with homemade chutneys.

Cocktails are also served.

They will have crayons, high chairs and kids menus.

Sounds a brilliant family restaurant.

Can’t wait to try it.

Vegetarian restaurant Bistro 1847 are offering 50% off in Birmingham this month (September). For tables up to 4 people, when booking quote September50 in the comments section online and receive the deal on their a la Carte menu.

Sounds veggie and vegan heaven to me.

Photo AH

And another new kid on the block is Grit -Food and Drink- opening at the space in the Jewellery Quarter vacated later this month by the excellent Two Cats Kitchen.

The former Jewellery workshop on Warstone lane will be serving affordable quality food from an A la Carte menu. More neighbourhood restaurant than fine fine dining a sample menu highlights some lovely sounding veggie dishes such as caramelised cauliflower, scorched salad , truffle, cheddar and sunflower seed. Using some of the old Two Cats team this opening sounds right nip my street and offers the type of food I love.

Can’t wait, Standby for more details when I have them.

Open October 17th.

And finally Brewdog in Birmingham have a showcase and meet the brewer on Friday September 8th with Kings Heath, Vegan Brewery Glasshouse Beer Co.

Showcasing 4 beers, Vermont Pale, IPA, Choccy Milk, and Stout and Raspberry Pale.

A Brewery to keep an eye on, but of course I’m biased.

Oh, and Ben and Jerry’s are now selling Vegan ice Cream across U.K. Supermarket s. Check out the flavours below. Enjoy.

That’s all for now folks.

Thanks for reading,

Andy 😊

All images and photos courtesy of restaurants and breweries apart from where stated.

#TastyMorsels: Veggie and Vegan happenings.


Beginning on the 20th August The Warehouse Cafe is introducing their Vegan Sunday Roast lunch menu. From 12-3pm every Sunday. With gluten free and kids options. The menu is below.

Get booking.

Vegetarian restaurant Bistro 1847 in the Great Western Arcade are offering 50% off in August. This offer is for up to 4 people on the A La Carte menu.

Offer available from Sunday until Friday. Only available when booked via the link and add August 50 in the comments.

http://uk.resdiary.com/go.aspx?id_message=19967&id_prov=5220&id_subscriber=110029387&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.resdiary.com%2FRestaurant%2F1847Birmingham

 

 

Vegan eatery Natural Healthy Foods have a curry, Jazz night on Sunday 27th August. This is a ticketed event. Tickets are £20. £2 of which will go to charity Animal Healing Trust and horse rescue. Jazz will be from the Mish Mash Quartet.

For menu see poster.

For tickets see below link:

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/curry-jazz-night-natural-healthy-foods-eatery-tickets-36774336029

As mentioned in the last tasty morsels The Vegan Grindhouse have a residency at 1000 Trades in the Jewellery Quarter beginning on the 15th August until the 26th August. Every day apart from Sunday’s for your street food Americana.

See the menu Below:

http://1000trades.org.uk/aint-nothing-wrong-little-vegan-grind-2/

Mex It Up have a Kitchen takeover ‘Thai it up’ on Sunday 20th August at The Pie Shop in Stirchley. A set menu of delicious Thai Vegan food. From 17.30-21.00. The menu is £15.00 per person.

Starter : Mixed platter of crispy fried tofu, spring rolls and garlic n soy fried beansprouts with dipping sauces.

Main: Veg Green Curry served with rice noodles

Dessert: Sticky Coconut Rice with Mango Sorbet.

The first of a regular series of pop ups for Mex it up.

The Pie Shop is on the Pershore Road.

Digbeth Dining Club regulars The Indian Rasoi are opening up an eatery and cocktail bar in Birmingham city centre. Called The Indian Streatery it’s due to be open from Saturday 26th August.

Their Chaat is legendary and with a plethora of veggie and vegan options it looks set to be one of the best places for meat Free options in the city centre.

It’s to be based in the original Adams restaurant building just off New Street on Hill Street.

Look out for more details on this blog when I have them on menus and a review in due course.


On 26th August Fletchers Bar in Kings Heath have a tapas tasting day. Free samples a plenty from 1-5pm. Well worth discovering.

And, Nyam Nyam, the Caribbean vegetarian and vegan street food trader will be at the Kings Heath Street Food Market this Saturday, 19th August.

Veggie heaven indeed.

That’s all for now folks.

Thanks for reading,

Andy 😊

San Carlo announces new Fumo venue for Selfridges, Birmingham.



Fumo, St Martin's Lane, Covent Garden, London.

Birmingham's multi-award winning Italian restaurant company, San Carlo Group has announced it’s to further expand operations in the city.
 
The Italian family owned and run group which has 17 leading UK restaurants, including the original and hugely popular San Carlo on Temple Street and the excellent Fumo (open since 2012) on Waterloo Street, is to open a second Fumo restaurant, champagne and cocktail bar at Selfridges in Birmingham this Autumn.  
 
Fumo will be located in Selfridges on the 4th floor with stunning views overlooking the iconic Bullring. With a nod to the popular and critical success of its Fumo restaurants in Birmingham, Manchester and St Martins Lane, London.

Fumo will serve delicious, seasonal Italian small plate dishes known in Venice as cicchetti made to share or eat alone and will incorporate a feature bar which will specialise in cocktails and Laurent Perrier champagne.
 
The £1m restaurant will be the third Selfridges San Carlo Group restaurant – San Carlo Bottega and Gran Café are situated within Selfridges Exchange Square, Manchester.
 
The Group’s success has been built on providing original Italian food using the freshest produce, much of which is flown in from markets in Milan and Sicily. It is this passion for food and attention to detail that has seen Fumo on Waterloo Street scoop several awards since its
launch 5 years ago including Best Italian Restaurant at the BFDH Awards and Les Routiers Restaurant of the Year.
 
A further 16 individually designed venues are located in Manchester, Cheshire, Liverpool, Leeds, Roundhay, Bristol, Leicester and London and further afield diners enjoy San Carlo restaurants in Qatar, Bahrain and Bangkok.
www.sancarlofumo.co.uk
 
Follow Fumo on social media:
Twitter:
@SanCarlo_Fumo
 
Facebook
@SanCarloFumo
 
instagram
@SanCarloGroup

I've visited Fumo numerous times on Waterloo Street and always found it a bustling and lovely restaurant with excellent food, cracking cocktails and with good veggie options the new venue is sure to be popular.

I Look forward to Fumo opening in the Autumn.

Thanks for reading,

Andy 😊

 About San Carlo Group www.sancarlo.co.uk
Winners of 36 industry and consumer awards, San Carlo Group is renowned for great food and a star-studded clientele; from celebrities and sports stars to business leaders and high profile politicians, the multi-award winning San Carlo Group was founded in Birmingham as a family business by Carlo Distefano in 1992.


Courtesy of San Carlo group.
 

Opus leads the way in showcasing Birmingham’s independents.


Opus one of the top fine-dining restaurants in Birmingham is leading the charge for independents, joining forces with some of the best talent in the city.

Billed as a celebration of the bespoke, Opus in Cornwall Street is keen to support local businesses that offer something different from the norm and has so far linked up with artists and an award-winning wine merchant.

Pawel Skrzypinski, general manager at Opus, said: “Birmingham is an exciting, diverse city in which to live and work and if you are willing to meander off the beaten track through our lovely city centre, you will be rewarded with shops and artists showcasing an individuality and tailored approach that makes you feel special and appreciated.

“We think it’s really important for independents – especially those who have a natural synergy – to support one another because we have a unique offering. The beauty of being an independent business is that you have the opportunity to team up with whomever you like and over the past few months alone we have found some real stunners with whom to work.”

Over the summer, it is collaborating with Loki Wine, the award-winning wine merchant and wine bar based in Great Western Arcade, enabling customers at both venues to take advantage of some fantastic offers.

Loki is offering 15% off the Loki Wine Tasting Card for Opus Loyalty Card holders, while Opus is offering all holders of a Loki Wine Tasting Card 25% off all bottles of wine purchased (see T&Cs online)  and £10 off the flight of five wines that accompany their weekend five-course tasting menu.

Phil Innes, of Loki Wines, said: “There’s already a natural crossover between Loki and Opus customers but the opportunity to work with the restaurant, which will benefit all our customers could not be passed up. We’re thrilled to collaborate with Opus.”

Sculptor Viv Astling, OBE, has two pieces of art being displayed at the restaurant over the next few months.

An elected member of the Royal Birmingham Society of Artists (RBSA) and a former student of the renowned sculptor John Tonks, he uses English limestones particularly from quarries in Portland, Dorset, and Ancaster, Lincolnshire. His piece Turning Point is being displayed at Opus’s reception desk, while Ariel is on display in the bar area.

Bar Opus at One Snowhill has joined forces with Jewellery Quarter-based Argentea Gallery to feature a selection of photographs by Birmingham multi-media artist Sophie Hedderwick from her critically acclaimed series Swift As A Shadow.

Argentea is a new gallery in the Jewellery Quarter launched by Jennie Anderson and is dedicated to showing the very best contemporary photography from both British and international artists.

Jennie said “We were thrilled to have Sophie exhibiting her work at the gallery and to collaborate with Bar Opus is another great way to take her work to a wider audience and engage with people who wouldn’t necessarily think of visiting an art gallery.”

Also at Bar Opus are five works by Birmingham-born innovators Key & Tam, known as LOWLFE. The pair take everyday objects, such as phones, plants, coins and dead insects, and introduces them to the world of miniature people in whimsical settings.

The new collaborations follow Opus’s inaugural art exhibition with Mark Howard of independent fashion store Disorder Boutique earlier this year, when the walls become a canvas for his creations.

Pawel added: “The past few months have been exciting as we have expanded our support network of leading independent talents and we’re looking forward to continuing our efforts to introduce other great Birmingham names to our customers. So make sure to watch this space".

Great to see such a fantastic collaboration between two of the cities best independents.

Also note that Opus are offering 50% off select wine in August. It includes a range that covers most tastes. From lighter summery whites to fruity cherry-like reds and rose wines a bargain is to be enjoyed with the new set price menu or tasting menu.

In Bar Opus news become all Italian and try a Rose Aperol Spritz with complimentary nibbles for £5 from 2-5pm. Aperol Spritz is one of the finest drinks and with added nibbles and hopefully sunshine on the Bar Opus terrace one of the must things to do this Summer in Birmingham. Go on try it!

Thanks for reading,

Andy 😊

All photos and information courtesy of Opus, Bar Opus and Clive Reeves PR with thanks.

#TastyMorsels: Veggie and Vegan happenings.


Vegan Vybes are at Two Towers Brewery for a pop up on August  19th. 

They will also be hosting the Kings Heath Vegan Community Market on 29th July from 11am-15.00.

Wolverhampton based company Cakes and Ish will be present.

Karma Collective has announced another vegan business in its collective.

Most people will know Karma Collective through its existing tattoo studio or Purely Vegan Store & deli both located in Kings Heath.

However the latest project is based in Stirchley and is simply named The Pie Shop.

This new venture will bring something new to the ever growing vegan community and hopefully encourage more people to eat cruelty free. 

Stirchley is an up and coming area and Karma Collective hope to bring new interest to the area with a menu full of tasty pies and pizza. The idea is to engage with the local community as well as the established vegan community by opening the first 100% plant based pie shop in the West Midlands and quite possibly the UK.

The menu will offer a growing variety of pies based on everyday favourites to some more unusual combinations. Both savoury and sweet, as well as pizza and differing specials. All served with a choice of vegetables, potatoes or chips.

The Pie Shop aims to provide a basic need for tasty home cooking at affordable prices. The setting is a fusion of olde world meets modern world. 

Eat in or Take away is available and a local delivery service is planned for the future. 

As well as providing tasty food, The Pie Shop will also be raising money for Animal Charities currently supported by Karma Collective by donating profit from certain meals to Wonky Pets Rescue and also The Maggie Fleming Animal Hospice.

The Pie Shop will also host a number of regular evening kitchen take overs with various themes by different caterers. 

You can get all the updates on The Pie Shop by finding them in social media…just search @kcpieshop

The Gunmakers Arms are holding a Vegan cheese night on Thursday 27th July from 7.30pm.

Expect cheese and Two Towers vegan friendly beer.

Sally from the fabulous Vegan in Brum blog will be introducing and talking about the cheeses.

Find her blog here:

https://veganinbirmingham.co.uk/

The event starts at 5.30 with the talk from

Sally at 6.30.

The Beer Yeti blog will also be in attendance matching the beers to the cheese.

http://www.BeerYeti.com

Full details on the Facebook events page:

https://www.facebook.com/events/667550230108218/?ti=cl

This event is part of Birmingham Beer Week 2017.

From the 21-26th August The Vegan Grindhouse are taking over the kitchen of a 1000 Trades in the Jewellery Quarter.

South American food and drinks independents Bodega are opening in Sutton Coldfield.

There menu is full of Vegetarian friendly dishes and has a Vegan menu too. So with cocktails a plenty and a fun filled vibe those summer nights may just go on and on.

Oh, and new Vegan cafe Fressh is due to open in Birmingham at the City Arcade in October.

I’ll have more on that soon.

Thanks for reading,

Andy 😊

All Photos courtesy of restaurants and businesses with thanks.

Brum Vegan Beer fest returns, 20th-22nd July.


The Brum Vegan Beer and food festival returns this week from the 20th until the 22nd July at The Gunmakers Arms in the city centre.

This year it is one of the events of The Birmingham Beer week.

I've never understood the point in not making all beers, ciders etc vegan and Veggie friendly, after all in an economy that's sales driven surely by doing so you'll sell more beer and everyone will be happy. Of course others will disagree, but I'm a vegetarian so this is important to me. After all it makes perfect sense.

There are many vegan and veggie friendly beers on the market. The range gets bigger and bigger and breweries are now seeing the sense in this.

The Gunmakers Arms will host the festival. There house beer is brewed by Two Towers Brewery, who provide only vegan friendly beers.

The Gunmakers Arms has its own self contained Brewery-Two Towers Brewery.

For this it's third year it will be free entry.

However they are now offering beer tickets for £11.00 for 4 drinks. That means each pint is £2.75. Paid for in beer tokens.

Each ticket can be used on any of the festival dates.

These tickets can be purchased via Eventbrite: see below link.

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/brum-vegan-beer-fest-ticket-tickets-35862425480

The tickets can be brought on the day from the bar too.

There will be vegan beer in cask, keg, bottle and can formats.

Vegan food will be available on Friday from the superb Real Junk Food Project B'ham, and Saturday from Ubuntu Bakery and foods as well as Some of the food from the Gunmakers Arms.

https://www.facebook.com/TRJFPBrum/

https://www.facebook.com/ubuntubakery/

Brewery's and Beers on offer include are mostly local but include a few from further afield.

You'll find, Two Towers Brewery, Rock N Roll Brewhouse, Birmingham Brewing Company, Art Brewery and Boudicca Brewing Company Amongst others.

The full list of beers are listed below:

https://www.facebook.com/events/435382006794577??ti=ia

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/brum-vegan-beer-fest-ticket-tickets-35862425480

The festival runs from 20th July to 22nd and is from noon until 11.pm.

See below link for full details and events of Birmingham beer week.

https://www.birminghambeerweek.uk/

https://twitter.com/birmbeerweek?lang=en

It should be a fantastic festival.

Thanks for reading,

Andy 😊

The Gunmakers Arms, 93 Bath Street, Birmingham, B4 6HG. (0121-236-8486)

For more information on why some beer isn't vegan and veggie friendly see here:

https://www.google.co.uk/amp/www.bbc.co.uk/news/amp/37350233