Restaurant Review: Zindiya, Moseley. 



Close your eyes And you can well imagine a perfect restaurant. Service tick, ambience tick, food tick, atmosphere tick, drinks tick.

Then tuck into the written word of those in the know, or whom think they do and then you’d feel well what’s the point in visiting it sounds so perfect. 

Me included have waxed lyrical about this place (at the time without trying it, lesson learnt) and from my point of perspective well it’s based entirely on the perceived menu and it’s very veggie friendly leanings. 

The written word, the gospel according to Birmingham is not always entirely accurate. 

It’s not that Zindiya is poor it’s just on the night Ruth and I visited, shall I say underwhelming and disapointing.

The hype suggested get your chops round this, and you’ll be reborn, but then when those chops get chewing and ready to rock and roll we found a game of two halves Saint.  It’s a game of two halves. 

I wanted zip and zing but didn’t find it sadly. 

Specialising in Indian street food dishes the menu is full of Vegetarian options which should make it essential and full of taste explosion and colour. 


Now Imagine you are in India, smell the air, the food, the atmosphere. Now let’s get our hands dirty and snack our lips with the intoxication of flavours. 

Unfortunately we aren’t in India. 

The good bits: Well we had two more than decent Dishes. 

An excellent traditional fast food dish Papri (Papdi) Chaat, which melted in the mouth and was very comforting that warmed the palate and an indulgent Idli Sambar, tifin dish. Idli’s are a traditional breakfast dish a savoury cake (for dipping) which came with a flavoursome Sambar, a touch of hot lentil soup with some nice textures of vegetables running through it. A Very enjoyable dish. 

Plus we ate An ok Hara Bhara Kebab, which was different. A snack like a cutlet that had subtle veg flavours with slightly bland spicing that made it not very binge worthy sadly and a bit dry. The dip alongside was also underwhelming. 

We also ate the Chilli Paneer which was not to my taste, and left me stunned with disappointment to its bland sweetness, and didn’t lift the paneer to any heights.

The masala chips, we ate were sadly disappointing with very little flavour (apart from a resemblance to a McDonalds fry without the salt) and if they were homemade chips then I’ll be Greavsie to the aforementioned Saint and then a unremarkable desert of chocolate balls filled with strawberries, served with chilli ice cream. (Chocolate Gol Gappe). 

Ruth ordered an ok Alphonso Mango Sorbet. 

I also drank a nice Massala Chai. 

As an aside I would have liked some Poppadoms to nibble on with thecmenu and maybe some Pani Puri on the menu. 

Papri Chaat

Hara Bhara Kebab

Idli SambaarChilli paneer 


Maybe we just chose badly on the food front and we missed a jewel from a long menu, but it wasn’t just the food but the whole experience that felt underwhelming and a tad dull, forced and lacking energy which for a street food cafe which promises authenticity and a buzz was surprising. 

The atmosphere felt stilted, more restaurant than cafe, not at all lively and bustling like I imagined an Indian street food gaff to be.

It was a Saturday night so that’s unusual in Moseley, right? 

Staff are friendly and helpful to a degree,  a bit chatty but didn’t inform us about their so called amazing cocktails or beers that I keep reading about or about any beer, cocktail matching with the food. Shame! 

Small bites careering from good to not so. Some a bit dreary (masala chips) some unforgettable (chilli paneer) An evening of what ifs and why nots. 

It’s a most peculiar place. 

When the food’s good my it’s good but then at times the place feels confused, unsure of itself, and it’s concept. But then I suppose  we aren’t in the hot aired and noisy streets of India, but hipster Moseley with its drip fed trendiness and right on smiles and why not there’s a lot to smile about in this part of South Birmingham. Stand up Cheval Blanc, Kababish, Sabai Sabai and Carters. 

So it should be more authentic right? After all Moseley can cope with this can’t it? 

Pluses. There’s lots of veggie choice. Which is fantastic. More than anywhere I know outside a veggie restaurant. Which I guess makes it more disappointing to me. This alone should get me a season ticket and get me dancing Bollywood style. A sight to behold! 

I liked the decor, the outside is bright, cheery, but gives the impression you are entering a lively eatery which sadly wasn’t our experience. Inside touches of Bollywood, bright and airy. 

It’s quite large too which I think doesn’t help the street food vibe, unlike Raja Monkey or Indian Brewery maybe it didn’t feel cool and intimate. 

There are places in Birmingham that do this better with more panache, better cooking, more simplistic style. More authenticity and self confidence, more cafe than restaurant. 

More crafty.

Zindiya didn’t feel anything special and a muddle of ideas served in a muddled way. I feel sad writing this. It’s a shame. I so wanted to love this place. 

It undermined the decent dishes. 

There’s some work needed on pulling the whole thing together, making the experience more seamless, explaining the dishes, exploring the tastes of the diners more, (both food and drinks)  making the whole experience more authentic. Bringing the street element more into focus. 

It felt like a restaurant not street food cafe. 

And yes, please remember to promote your cocktails and craft beer to me. Aren’t they supposed to be special. To be shouted about. 

Or at least as good as the chaat.

Thanks for reading, 

Andy 😊

Disclaimer: We paid for our food and drinks in full. All opinions are my own and an honest reflection of the experience we had on the evening. 

Zindiya, 21 Woodbridge Road, Birmingham, B13 8EJ. 

0121-439-0593.

http://www.zindiya.co.uk/

Veggie Foodie tip: 

Do try Cheval Blanc in Moseley for cocktails and wine before and after a meal. The food is also raved about with veggie options on the menu.

I’m up for a food visit soon.

Also Carters of Moseley is outstanding for a special night of vegetarian seasonal decadence. 

The Kababish for curry. Delightful veggie dishes in nice surroundings. Tarka Daal anyone? 

Visit Sabai Sabai for sumptuous Thai food. 

AH.

Restaurant Review: Wahaca, Oxford Circus, London. 


  
There’s something cosy and comforting about Wahaca that makes you feel relaxed from the moment you walk in. Ruth and I on a recent visit to London decided to feast on some delicious Mexican food, after a full on cultural Royal Academy art visit. 

Neither of us had been before, though it had been on our list for years, since former Masterchef winner Thomasina Myers started the chain in 2007. 

From its bright and cheery outside to its light, airy and cheerful riot of Frida Kahlo colour interior, Wahaca shouted out fun and good times. 

The Mexican style cantina that is Wahaca has sprung up all over London in recent years and then in Liverpool, Manchester, Cardiff, Bristol and Brighton, but sadly no Birmingham yet. Why? So sadly travelling is the name of the game. 

For a lunch time, Wahaca was busy. Through been busy it felt on walking in to be bustling, lively and full of fun. A light filled restaurant comfortable in its own vibrancy. A place to sink your teeth into. 

It’s hard to resist a Margarita when eating Mexican food. The freshness and zingy nature of the cocktail is refreshing and goes well with the spicyness of the food. In fact Wahaca’s Margarita’s were superb, on the rocks, sweet and sour, hitting the spot. 
   Margarita 

    

  

The menu at Wahaca is split into numerous sections. Nibbles, streetfood, tacos, Burritos, sides and then desserts. 

Never be afraid to ask for advice in Wahaca from the staff. They are happy to advice and recommend a dish based on taste and what you fancy. 

We ordered some nibbles to begin with. We ordered Guacamole with Tortilla Chips: The Guacamole freshly made, bursting with lime juice and packing a deep punchy Corriander flavour with the ripe and creamy Hass Avocados. Superb. With crisp Tortilla chips, perfect with the Margarita. 

  

  Guacamole and Tortilla Chips. 

  Fiery chilli sauce 

Deciding not to order from the tapas part of the menu we ordered from the main part of the menu which included Burritos. 

I ordered the seasonal Sweet Potato Burrito. It was a plump, large and savoury burrito. Toasted flour tortillas wrapped around fillings of frijoles, shredded cabbage, green rice, Crema, and avocado salsa. 

The burrito was full of flavour, with lovely sweet potato notes running through. The potato bulking up the filling and with the lovely frijoles (Refried beans) and the green rice made for a substantial and filling bigger plate that hit my hunger perfectly. The salsa was also nice with a good tomato and garlic chunkyness about it with a good chilli kick. 

A delicious burrito, perfectly made and full of subtle spicy flavour. 

We are our bigger plates with some stunning Sweet Potato side. Chunky and dressed with a superb smoky caramelised mojo de ajo. Heavenly and highly addictive. The nicest I’ve had anywhere. 

    

    

I’m not sure that you can visit Wahaca without trying the Churros y Chocolate. Mexican doughnuts with deep chocolate sauce for dipping. 

Because we both ordered the Churros our waiter brought us a rich Salted Caramel dipping sauce too. So we shared the two pots. 

The Churros finished the meal off perfectly. Dusted with cinnamon they had a beautifully light, crisp batter, a dribbly sauce, the chocolate deep and rich, the caramel sweet but salty. 

The Wahaca Churros were the best I’ve tried, fresh, soft and fluffy and indulgent. A delicious dessert. 

Alongside the Churos we ordered two Pacifico Clara Beers served with a classic Chelada (freshly squeezed lime and salt). Arriba.

    Churros y chocolate.

  

Eating at Wahaca was an excellent experience. With a wide and varied menu, it has superb options for Vegetarians. Food is the right side of spicy and brilliant for sharing. The service is friendly, informed and able to recommend dishes without hesitation. In fact the service makes the meal feel complete, with its genuinity and efficiency. 

The food feels healthy, fresh and is reasonably priced. It’s commendably good value and is a fantastic place to eat lunch in a genuinely relaxed and vibrantly lively environment that though cannot be booked in advance is a perfect kick back and chill spot after a full on cultural morning. 

Wahaca is hard to beat for tasty, colourful Mexican food and though not groundbreaking is a real winner. It feels independent though isn’t and is highly recommended on any visit to London, Vegetarian or not. 

Muchas Gracias.

  

    Chelada in the base of the glass. 

Thanks for reading, 
Andy😊

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Locations

Oxford Circus

Disclosure: We paid for our meal and drinks in full. All opinions are my own and honest as always. 
 

Wahaca,  Oxford Circus, 26-28 Great Portland Street, London, W1A 8QT. Near Oxford Street. 

 

Restaurant review: Rofuto, Broad Street, Birmingham. 


   
 

‘As the wind does blow

Across the trees, I see the

Buds blooming in May’ 

Japanese. Haiku example (modern) author unknown.

get in lifts quite a lot for work, but the joy of reaching my destination their provides no comparison or fun than getting in a lift at Rofuto. 

There’s something about going up a lift to the sixteenth floor to eat food thats carries more anticipation, more hope, more adventure. I suppose when you have a view from the restaurant then that makes it even more exciting, and we’ve not even eaten yet. 

Rofuto resides in the new Park Regis Hotel at Five Ways/Broad Street. An area that previously so underwhelmed me that that it was unmentionable when it came to visiting. This though has changed. With bells on in fact.

Rofuto is a Japanese restaurant. Japanese food isn’t something I know well and have only just discovered that Vegetarians can eat with gusto. Better late than never. In fact Rofuto ticks many boxes for me. It concentrates on the ethos izakaya or small sharing plates in English. Sharing plates are a revelation and for vegetarians the holy grail of cooking and eating, because it means we have choice. Yay! 

Going Up.

Its not offered on arrival that you get greeted and are shown to the lift   And sent on your way to the 16th floor. Certainly in Birmingham City Council tower blocks that doesn’t happen. A Nice touch. 

Arrived.

Inside Rofuto is an eye catching space. The decor paired down, stylish fittings, fitted with elegance glinting in the late evening sunshine. It’s modern, clean and well lit with a fitted bar in the centre and a 360 degree view. It’s sophisticated city dining. 

Initially we thought it lacked atmosphere and it’s vastness was a hinderance to our enjoyment.Eventually the restaurant filled up and the atmosphere became livlier and much more fun. Though the pop music been played over the speakers was slightly annoying and we felt unnecessary.

Ruth and I were sat at a lovely table, decorated with flowers and with a superb view over the city. Watching the sun set from our vantage we looked at the menu and had a warm relaxed feeling about our evening. Very romantic. 

The menu involves a mixture of sushi (including veggie under Maki) starters, tempura, Robata, mains, and grills. With plenty of Vegetarian options to tempt a return visit.

   Lovely View from our table. 

And bar area below. 

 

Whilst we looked at the menu we ordered two Sake Martini’s (we had to with the view) which was pitch perfect with a nice Japanese twist. Superb. 

    
  Perfect Sake Martini at Rofuto. 

  
   
  Sake Martini, soy, view.  

For our food I ordered a mixture of three dishes to try together. I chose the Asparagus Kushiyaki, Butter Soy, Aubergine Kushiyaki, Nesu Dengaku, and Tempura Vegetables from the Robuta and Tempura sections. 

We also drank some delicious Sake (Japanese rice wine) 

All three dishes together proved to be plentiful in size and complimented each other perfectly. I also chose a large glass of Malbec to have with the dishes. 

The Aubergine Kushiyaki, Nasu Dengaku: A two part dish. A Miso glazed aubergine (Nasu Dengaku), perfectly meaty, fleshy aubergine providing the perfect foil for the intensely flavourful Dengaku sauce. A mixture of sweet and savoury with a potent earthy feel. Lovely. 

The Aubergine Kushiyaki (skewered grilled veg) was delicious. Again well grilled aubergine, not greasy, but firm and juicy. Delicious. Together a perfect demonstration of fresh aubergines. 

  Aubergine Kushiyaki, Nasu Dengaku

The Tempura Vegetables were set in perfecly fried batter, a light, crisp coating that hadn’t absorbed the oil when fried. The veg maintaining a freshness of flavour. A healthy sin of delight. 

  Tempura Vegetables The Asparagus Kushiyaki , Butter Soy was exceptional. As a massive English asparagus fan, the fresh vivid green indulgence were perfectly cooked morsels of delight. Perky, firm and full of flavour. The jewel been the Butter Soy which Raised the dish to new heights and gave an elegant, warm and luxurious rich savouriness to a perfect dish. As a threesome a pleasurable combination of top drawer Japanese cooking. 

  

    
    
  Soy and Sake (Left) Interior

  
    
   

For dessert we chose to share the Matcha Green Tea Tiramisu.  

Now this Dessert intrigued me.asca person who loves tiramisu, this Japanese version was worth trying. It was lovely. Different, but still. creamy, airy and soft. Very light and with a lovely green tea underbelly from the sponge below been soaked in the matcha green tea. A clever and delicious pud. It also looked pretty and was very distinct. 

    Matcha Green Tea Tiramisu.

We were also given to share some  White Chocolate Martini with homemade marshmallows which was the perfect after dinner drink. 

A delicate and light martini. Not creamy or full of chocolate sweetness, but vodka based, and very easy drinking, but potent cocktail. Vodka heaven. 

Ruth said the marshmallows were sticky with subtle indulgent flavours and well presented. A perfect end to the meal. 

    White chocolate Martini with marshmallows.

 
 Espresso 

Afterwards we spent awhile in the comfort of the adjacent Kurabu Bar (Sy Bar) which has giant windows with a panoramic outlook. It has a relaxed vibe and worthy of been a destination for drinking and socialising in its own right. It also plans to serve bar like food.

Here we were given samples of the Japanese Whiskies on offer. We tried shot portions of in particular The Hakushu single malt, The Yamazaki single malt 12year old, Hibiki 17 years. All outstanding and worthy of further drinking. In fact Japanese whisky has a reputation now of been award winning and Rofuto are rightly proud of their whisky range.

Rofuto is a class act. Proving to be one of the best meals I’ve had in Birmingham in recent years. From the attentive and informed service which never wavered and was filled with charm and helpfulness around the menu To the delightful Vegetarian dishes, that were superbly made and presented beautifully. 

Rofuto has the power to be a game changer in Birmingham, it has a special vibe about it and with its cocktails, whisky, views and varied menu it’s a quality experience. 

Sometimes you pay for the view in restaurants and findcthecfood lacking somewhat. Not at Rofuto

It ticks a lot of boxes and is one of the best places for Vegetarians in Birmingham, no mistake with food to be repeated especially keen on the veggie sushi. 

Power of five to Rofuto.

Going Up!

  
    
 Rofuto interior. Courtesy of Rofuto. X4 photos.

  

  Kurabu bar (Skybar) AH

  
  View from Kurabu bar AH

  
  The whisky challenge.

 

Thanks for reading,

Andy 😊

Our food and drinks were complimentary. This doesn’t affect my opinion of my experience and the honesty of my review.

Thanks to Neil Reading PR for the invite and four photos of the interior of the restaurant. All other photos are my own.

Rofuto Restaurant, 160 Broad Street, Birmingham, B15 1DT.

http://www.rofuto.co.uk/

Rofuto Restaurant

https://m.facebook.com/Rofuto-1693857547503031/

https://twitter.com/rofutotweets

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.

http://www.starandgarterleamington.co.uk/

http://www.starandgarterleamington.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/sites/16/2016/03/Star-Garter-Spring-16-MAIN-MENU-Toast-1.pdf

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

https://m.facebook.com/TheStarGarter

The Warehouse Cafe, now with added Vegan friendly beer and wine. 


  

  
The Warehouse Cafe has always had a special place in my heart. For many years not long after I first became Vegetarian (27 years ago) I used to frequent it often with veggie friends. The veggie burger was a huge favourite as was the potato wedges and desserts which were back then vegan friendly. There weren’t many places to go, in the city centre it was the one and only! Over the years it’s changed hands a few times but has always stayed similar and offered deliciosly good value vegetarian and vegan food. Now things have changed, but for the better. 

Vegan friendly beers and wine are now more popular than ever. Look in the supermarket or good wine shop and you’ll see more available than ever before. 

This summer marks three years since The Warehouse Cafe reopened the doors to Birmingham’s original Vegetarian restaurant and cafe. 

After a successful application for an alcohol license a new drinks menu will be introduced over the next few weeks. 

In order to stick to a completely Vegan friendly range and keep the environmental impact to a minimum the real ale and craft beer will be supplied by local Birmingham brewers Two Towers

The beers on offer at The Warehouse are Complete Muppetry, Electric Ale, Hockley Gold, Bhacker Adams, and a special craft beer Come on Feel the Noize- in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Birmingham band Slade. 

The wines will be supplied from independent merchants Underwood Wines who are based in nearby Stratford-upon-Avon. 

Try the drinks with dishes such as Digbeth Daal, The Warehouse Burger, Refried Bean Quesadilla, Halloumi Fish and Chips or ancient grain risotto. 

I’m looking forward to giving the beers a run for their money and walking down memory lane again as i always do when I visit. 

   
   
   
    
    
   
 http://www.thewarehousecafe.com

http://www.underwoodwines.co.uk

http://twotowersbrewery.co.uk/

Thanks for reading, 

Andy😊

Thanks to Darren at Two Towers for the beer images and info re beers. 

What is Vegan Friendly? 

It is during the filtering process of wine or beer that the non-vegan and vegetarian part usually occurs. For beer this part of the process is usually only reserved for cask ales, where Brewers use finings to clear away excess yeast suspended in the beer. Finings are also used in the production of wine. Animal derived products include most commonly islinglass. A form of collagen obtained from raw fish bladders. Finings don’t remain in the finished product, but by using finings that are not animal derived, such as Irish miss it adheres to the core principles of veganism and vegetarianism. 

Veggie Breakfast Watch: Good Morning Muffin at Leon, Birmingham.


  

Leon has been in Birmingham Street Station now for a few months since Grand Central opened serving its natural fast food and always seems to have a steady flow of people visiting. It’s range of food it offers is varied and caters well for Vegetarians and Vegans.  

Set in a light and airy cafe, it’s laid back atmosphere is the perfect kill some time place for those getting a train with plenty of floor space for luggage, or a relaxed funky lunch spot for those wanting something a bit different and it’s a decent place to bring children though it may be a bit short of space at busy times. It can be popular. Leon have also added outside tables in the forecourt of the station. 

I previously reviewed them last year and found the Vegetarian Hot Box I ate to be excellent and with many other vegan and veggie dishes on the menu its a good stop off point at lunchtime. See my review below:

https://t.co/PTWPKz2ZEt

Having tried their breakfast Vegetarian Good Morning Muffin a few weeks ago before I got a train I found myself very early one Saturday morning (as it opened at 6.30am) with Ruth in Leon again and had another for good measure. 

The Good Morning Muffin is a Roasted Portabello Mushroom, Free Range Egg, Spinach and Leon made Ketchup served in a lightly toasted English Muffin. Cost £3.75.

  

Take a runny egg, chunky roasted portabello mushrooms, delicate spinach and a tangy, and subtly spiced ketchup and you have a substantial early morning wake me up, or filling sustenance on the train. The Good Morning Muffin, felt light, not oily or fatty but a healthier alternative to some of the other places nearby. The portabello mushrooms were firm and are the meatier of the mushrooms with an earthier texture  and worked well with the tangy ketchup and oozy runny egg which was pitch perfect. Taken with a smooth flat white (even at 6.30am) it proved to be very enjoyable. 

  

 

Leon is well worth a visit and though its a chain, (arriving in London a little later discovered they are taking over our capital, but not the rest of the UK just yet) it’s ethos and menu selection for Vegetarians and Vegans is well worth discovering and for a quick breakfast, it’s recommended. 

     Cookbooks in Leon

Thanks for reading, 

Andy 😊

http://leonrestaurants.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/18.PAPER_MENU_2016_JANUARY_V4.pdf

You can find Leon at Unit 25, New Street Station, B2 4QA.

http://leonrestaurants.co.uk/restaurants/birmingham/

   
   

Restaurant review: Purnells Bistro, Birmingham.


  
If the way to get to a good restaurant is to go through a good bar, then Purnells Bistro is quite probably top of the hit parade. 

Ginger’s Bar embraces the relaxed vibes of Manhattan, inspired by Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire, the decor and ambience is cool and collected with smart re-mastered classic cocktails. Ruth and I have visited numerous times, The Negroni is superb, the Old fashioned glitters. The Gin Martini possibly the best in Birmingham. 

Purnells Bistro offers a menu inspired by rustic British fare. It is very much ‘rustic home cooking with an eclectic twist’ where dainty traditional food meets more exotic ingredients. Founded by Michelin Starred chef Glynn Purnell (his wonderful restaurant Purnells restaurant is around the corner) it shows his passion to good food in slick and chilled surroundings. 

The Bistro decor has a relaxed and pleasant feel with soft moody lighting which felt quite chilled and modern on a quiet Monday lunchtime. It’s semi fine dining, nice pared down tables, smart cutlery, it felt like a place to celebrate in, which was a good thing as it was Ruth’s Birthday in the lovely company of her Mum. 

On this occasion we went straight to the table rather than have a drink in the bar.    

    Old fashioned.

  Cocktails at Gingers.

  
  Purnells Bistro

  Ginger’s Bar

 

We ate off the Extended Weekend menu. Which is on offer only on a Monday where all items on the menu (including bar food menu) have discounts up to 50% off, which I think is a great deal.    Having settled in the Bistro, which wasn’t surprisingly quiet for a Monday lunch time, we were given some pleasant rather than spectacular bread to have as we looked at the menu. 

 
The starter I ordered Potato and Gruyere terrine, poached egg, Autumn Purée, potato crisp, bursting with flavour of the assertive Gruyere cheese, into an earthy noted and Moreish terrine, with a runny egg to give the depth of luxury into what mounted to a lovely brunch like dish. The purée adding a seasonal harmony or just simply shouting I am lunch. A real starter of note. 

    Potato and Gruyere terrine, poached egg, Autumn Green purée, potato crisp.  £3.00

Pumpkin Risotto, Goats Cheese, Watercress. £7.25.  

So onto the main course. Risotto’s fall into three camps for me. The not good at all, bland, grainy, why? The ok, (so many Italian restaurants in Birmingham do it this way) and the wow risotto, I’ve had two in my life. One in Florence (of course) deep earthy mushrooms, in season, outside in the evening sun. Then the best of all at Raymond Blanc’s gastranomic temple that is Le Manoir Aux Saison another Wild mushroom and Alba Truffle concoction (again in season) that blew me away and remains to this day the best I’ll probably ever eat. I vowed to not eat another risotto again, this lasted for only six months until the Asparagus season began, but still I feel Risotto desire when I think about it.

So began the journey to another temptress the (Pumpkin, goats cheese and watercress Risotto.)

The discovery pleased me, as it proved to be the second most enjoyable Risotto I’ve ever had in the UK. 

The best Risottos  are the simple ones, less is more. Pumpkins slap bang in the Autumn/Winter season, with harmonious gentle goats cheese. Soothing, comforting, satisfying, with plenty of deep seasonal flavour . A well executed risotto that surprised me. A triumph of simple things done simply well and with the confidence to lavish love on a plate. A stylish plate of food.

We also ordered some excellent seasonal vegetables that were a welcome addition. 

  Pumpkin Risotto, goats cheese, watercress. A bargain.

  Seasonal vegetables. £1.37.

By this time I was glowing like a glow worm on a sunny day, and felt impassioned to dive into a gooey pudding. So I ordered the most gooey and chocolatey pudding on the menu, the Dark Chocolate cheesecake, ‘Cafe Liegeois’, Amaretti crumble. An elegant and refined desert without been fussy. Deep, dark chocolate, with a swish of coffee flavour from the cafe Liegeois, beautifully presented on a black slate, the amaretti crumble deconstructed and adding the desired crunch against the soft cheesecake. 

A lovely elegant desert, again like my starter, rustic refined. 

Suffice to say Ruth had a good Birthday lunch. She had the meaty type of food. Enough said. 

    Dark Chocolate Cheesecake ‘Cafe Liegeois’ amaretti crumble. £4.86 Warm Ginger Sponge-rum and raisin ice cream. £4.76, went down well also, with plenty of ginger flavour. 

We also enjoyed a bottle of Chardonnay, Blue Ridge wine from Bulgaria. 

   

Purnells Bistro serve the bistro classics well. In fact on this occasion with excellence. The food is simpler more rustic than Purnells Restaurant, less experimental, but it’s joy to eat such flavoursome and hearty Vegetarian dishes where ingredients are seasonal and treated the right way and presented beautifully. Made by a kitchen that takes pride in their dishes.

Maybe it’s the pedantic and greedy veggie nature in me, but it would be nice to have more options across the menu, (maybe specials) as vegetarian cooking this good shouldn’t be hid under a bushell, but should be delivered with aplomb, ambition, enthusiasm, and dare I say a bit more added variation to the standard (but well made) vegetarian  pasta and risotto model. 

Though this is only an opinion, I add that Purnells Bistro is a lovely restaurant, where service is excellent and a classy bar meets a clever bistro that shows talent and a sure touch, excellent for celebrations or an informal meal, but i can’t help thinking it could do much more with those seasonal simple (vegetable) ingredients. 

Now that would be a Bistro that’s not feeding only the darkness of the  Vegetarian past, but the authentic magic of new bistro vegetarian dining. But, that risotto…Mmm, was a joy to behold.

Thanks for reading, 

Andy😊

We paid for our meal and drinks in full. All thoughts and opinions are my honest opinion as always. 

Purnells Bistro and Gingers Bar, 11 Newhall Street, Birmingham B3 3NY.

0121-200-1588.

http://purnellsbistro-gingers.com/

https://m.facebook.com/PurnellsBistroAndGingersBar/

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

New Purnell’s Bistro Spring Menu.   

New Spring menu at Purnells Bistro With a lovely sounding Aubergine Rotolo and an interesting cream of onion Risotto. Two solid and nice looking options. 

  

The Gastro Card: Buy yours at a discount price here. 


Recently I’ve teamed up with The Gastro Card to be their Vegetarian blogger/reviewer. You’ll see on my blog a few reviews of their restaurants from time to time that they’ll share with their members, their website and on social media. 

  
Via this blog post I’ve got a Discount Offer on The Gastro Card, so read on to the end of the post. 

I’ve already written a review for Marco’s New York Italian at The Holiday inn, see here: 

https://t.co/AMwyOyzFwL

If like me you like to eat out and feel sometimes that it’s too expensive to do on a regular basis, then maybe just maybe The Gastro Card is for you. 
What is The Gastro Card? 

The Gastro Card is the Midlands leading independent dining card. It provides Gastro Card members with 12 months unlimited access to exclusive dining offers at more than 200+ hand picked restaurants. 

These offers are not available to the general public and the offers range from 10% to 50% off the food bill to a free glass of wine or champagne for each diner to complimentary bottles of wine, 50% off wine when dining A La Carte etc. Gastro Card members can save up to £500 a year if they use their card once a week. 

http://www.gastrocard.co.uk/

Where can I eat? 

The Gastro Card has partner restaurants in Birmingham, Black Country, Warwickshire, Gloucestershire, Cotswolds, Leicestershire, Herefordshire, Solihull, Rutland, Stratford Upon Avon, Henley in Arden, Worstershire, Coventry, Leamington. 

   Bistro 1847

Henry Wong   Asha’s

Some of my favourites are on the list, including Vegetarian Bistro 1847 in Birmingham where you can get 50% off Monday- Thursday and 25% off on Friday’s and Saturdays.

Plus Henry Wong, Adams, Purnells Bistro, Peels restaurant at Hampton Manor, Ashas, Itihaas, Edmunds, Jyoti’s vegetarian, Kababish-Moseley, Hotel Du Vin, Chung Ying Central, Gas Street Social, Opus, Amantia, And many more. 

http://www.gastrocard.co.uk/restaurants/

What’s the deal? 

To buy a Gastro Card it will usually cost you £30 a year. 

For Veggie Foodie readers I have a special code that will get you £5 off a full 12 month card. 

That’s £25 for a full year of restaurant discounts. 

Just click on the link below to take you to the Gastro Card website and put the code VeggieFoodie in the promo code box for a 12 month Gastro Card it will deduct £5 from the total.

http://www.gastrocard.co.uk/buy-the-gastro-card/

Disclosure: The code gives you £5 off the standard price of the Gastro Card . By using the code I make a few pence too at no extra cost to yourselves. 

Enjoy the card and foodie treats.

Thanks for reading, 

Andy 😊
 Marco’s New York Italian at Birmingham Airport.

   Marco’s New York Italian.

  Opus Reataurant 

  Bistro 1847.

   Amantia Restaurant

 Purnells Bistro
   Asha’s 

 Peels Restaurant at Hampton Manor. 

  Met Bar and Kitchen, Solihull.

Veggie Burger Watch: One Trick Pony Club, Moseley, Birmingham. 


  
  

One Trick Pony Club opened in 2014 in Moseley, replacing the tired and quite frankly dull O’Neil’s on the Alcester Road. Though it’s a chain owned by the same parent company as its predecessor, Mitchells and Butlers ( it’s part of the Castle Pubs Group) its revamp resulted in a rustically lit, richer and a more hipster cool venue that’s introduced an American diner-style food menu for the Moseley (or London) wanna be’s. 

Though I’m not one to shout out too loud about chains, the One Trick Pony Club offers a cosy warm feeling space with a mixture of bar stool seating set around tall tables, brown leather booth style seating and a keen real ale list that includes Doom Bar, a Wychwood Beer and local Purity UBU as well as Thwaites Wainright. 

   
 
  
On a Tuesday 2-1 burgers are served and this is the deal that Ruth and I enjoyed, when we visited. 

The vegetarian burger is a Spicy chickpea, cous cous,and coriander burger with crispy onion and sweet potato fries costing £8.95. 

  
Spicy chick pea, couscous and Corriander burger with sweet potato fries. 

The element of spicy chickpea gave the burger a nice flavour, and with a good texture worked well with the cous cous to provide a veggie burger that didn’t fall away when bit into, (always a good sign) and with the addition of the crispy onion it was a satisfying eat. 

The sweet potato fries I enjoyed. They were good looking fries with a good flavour and bite to them. Nice. 

I’d recommend the veggie burger at One Trick Pony Club, especially on burger nights  2-1 deal. Though not the best in town by any means it was a cut above many and was good value even without the deal. For a drink it’s spacious and offers varied wine and beer options with some good real ales on tap. Though not offering a great and original choice of food for vegetarians, it’s satisfactory with a group of mates who may eat meat or with your partner for a relaxed evening. 

I liked the One Trick Pony Club’s cool funk feel it’s a nice place to chill and be fed and watered but, disappointingly not a horse in sight. 

Well not on the night we went. They were all in the Prince of Wales. Probably. 

  

  
 Sweet potato fries. 

One Trick Pony Club also have a brunch menu on a Saturday and Sunday which includes a vegetarian breakfast but no defined Vegan breakfast. 
They also offer what’s called a shoomhalloumi, (under burger menu) which is a grilled flat mushroom and Halloumi and you can build your own veggie burger with a base of Spinach and lentil, with extra toppings, extra patty and dips if you wish. Each topping is £1, and the basic burger is £6.95. I think this is good particularly for those with particular dietary requirements. 

The Toppings include avocado, crispy onions, Halloumi, flat mushroom, jalapeños, fried egg and Mac and cheese. 

Thanks for reading, 

Andy 😊

We paid for our burgers and drinks in full. My opinions are my own and honest as they can be on a one off visit. 

https://www.onetrickponyclub.co.uk/

https://twitter.com/1trickponyclub?ref_src=twsrc%5Egoogle%7Ctwcamp%5Eserp%7Ctwgr%5Eauthor

One Trick Pony Club, 93a Alcester Road, Moseley, Birmingham, B13 8DD. 

#Tastymorsel: Great deals at vegetarian 1847. 


  
  

Vegetarian restaurant Bistro 1847 has a number of offers that are  perfect for those enjoying Veganuary (try vegan for a month) or cutting back after the festive season. 

In Birmingham you can Enjoy £40 worth of food for just £20 via Dine Birmingham. Full T&C available here.

24 Birmingham Restaurant Deals for January 2016

   
 
For my latest review of the Winter Menu, see here:

https://t.co/p2wLZcZfFg

Veggie Sunday Lunch Watch:

Bistro 1847 are also open every Sunday in Birmingham – new for 2016 from 1200 – 2000 offering a choice of Vegetarian and Vegan roasts with 3 courses for £17 plus kids eat free! 

I’m certainly tempted. 

Book on their website 
http://www.by1847.com/
  

Bistro 1847 also have Valentines menus available on their website for Valentines weekend, February 12-14th. 

Book directly on their website. 

http://by1847.com/

Valentines menu: 

http://by1847.com/menus/ValentinesMenu2016.pdf

Vegan and Gluten Free options will also be available.

  

For details of Veganuary see here:
http://www.veganuary.com/

  
   
   
Bistro 1847 are still doing their classic lunch deal.

  
Thanks for reading 

Andy 😊

Bistro 1847, Great Western Arcade, Birmingham, B2 5HU.

https://m.facebook.com/pages/1847-Birmingham/208341145981255