Fybin & Loin at Norjske

Norjske Deli Open Evening Large-1373It’s all about Edgbaston at the moment. Specifically Highfield Road, not too far from the top of Broad Street. While Simpsons Restaurant has been a stalwart restaurant of the well heeled in these parts since 2004, the last couple of years have seen some new kids on the block – The Edgbaston Boutique Hotel and Cocktail Lounge, The Highfield Restaurant, and also Norjske. They’re all very different in style: Simpsons, having undergone its refit over the last year now looks a warm Scandinavian cool; The Edgbaston have gone for a rich byzantine art deco; The Highfield are more comfy country pub; and Norjske a bright Nordic look.

Norsjke have just upped their game in terms of a food offering. The chef team Fybin & Loin, aka Gavin and Ade, have taken over the deli where during the day all kinds of gourmet produce and sandwiches can be purchased. They’ve also taken over the bar and seating upstairs as a full service restaurant. We went for a bite to eat on a Friday evening, Out In Brum - Norjske - Interiorabout two days after they opened. The team have big plans and we look forward to seeing the venue develop over the coming few months.

I won’t talk about the wine as they tell us they’re about to completely change the wine list so are running this stock down. I will say that, of course, we had too much. Hic! The food menu is suitably short, but plenty varied, for a small quality venue. It’s kind of a 2.5 courses sort of affair, in that there aren’t many starters nor desserts – I’ll explain…

We started with breads from the fabulous Brummy bakers Peel & Stone, and excellent butter from Nether End Farm, with Muffelata which is a dip of pickled vegetables and olives, and Santorini Fava, a puree of yellow lentils, garlic, thyme, onion, and lemon. The dips were packed full of punchy flavours, a perfect light start to a Friday night supper. Out In Brum - Norjske - LambWell. I say light. I ate about a loaf. I was carbatosed (I’ve just added that to Urban Dictionary) by the end, and slightly traumatised that I still hadn’t managed to eat all of the bread nor all of the Santorini Fava.

After the really tasty dips I had the Jimmy Butler’s Maple Cured Pork Ribeye. This was a really pretty dish to which my photo does not do justice. The ham was cushioned on soufflé-like burnished Comté cheese, which complimented wonderfully. I loved the baby apple that was served with it. Though it had many components it was a very balanced dish, and was paired with truffle and pecorino roasted potatoes.

We also had a dish of Hake a la Plancha, with carrots, and black cabbage. Again a well Out In Brum - Norjske - Porkpresented dish. Though this one had a foam, which I’m never sure about. We tried the the cannon of lamb, which had great flavour and was served with gigandes – enormous butter beans cooked with tomato and herbs. We also enjoyed the ox cheek with wobbly bone marrow.

For dessert we tried the brownie which was very rich, and very excellent Portueguese Pastel de Nata, sort of a light egg custard tart. They’re virtually a religion in their own right in Portugal, but I don’t think anyone could complain at Fybin & Loin’s proffering to the pastry gods – just set sweet custard cream filling rested in almost croissant like buttery pastry cases. I’m rarely bothered by desserts but these were serious patisserie.Out In Brum - Norjske -  Pastel Nata

Excluding drinks dinner will set you back less than £25 a head I reckon. I can’t wait to see what else the team will offer when they’re fully up and running. Give it a go soon.

Some links:

Fybin & Loin Website

Fybin & Loin on Twitter

Norjske Website


Posted in Area: Edgbaston, Cuisine: English, Cuisine: Fine Dining, Price: Average, Price: Get your dad to pay - above average, restaurant review, Venue type: Bar, Venue type: Cafe, Venue type: Gourmet Shop, Venue type: Restaurant, Venue type: Wine Bar | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Independent Birmingham – Online Shop

Independent Birmingham BullIndependent Birmingham was launched in August 2013 as a website designed to bring to the masses the great independent companies that Brum has to offer.  We’re lucky to have a wealth of independent coffee shops, restaurants, bars, arts venues, and shops, but they’re so easily overshadowed by the marketing of McBusinesses.  Now the mass-marketers have realised the appeal of an independent they’re trying to muscle in on the act – there are a few chain places now dressed up like independents that aren’t (Lost & Found is for instance a Marston’s PLC pub).  Independent Birmingham is trying to make sure we know about all the great independents so that we can support them.

You can join Independent Birmingham (link here) to get discounts from dozens of the city’sIndependent Birmingham Card best indes, including Chung Ying Central, Bodega, Itihaas, Cafe Opus, Brewsmiths, The Lord Clifden, Island Bar, The Bureau, Rigs Fitness, Mac Birmingham, Ikon Bookshop, The Electric Cinema and many many more.

Now you can also purchase art, plants, apparel, cards and suchlike from Birmingham artists and designers from the Independent Birmingham Online Shop.  You could find the perfect Christmas gift for that special Brummy in your life, how about an “Alright Bab” necklace?  There’s plenty of items without a direct connection to the city though, other than being produced or designed here.

Creator of Independent Birmingham, Joe Schuppler, said:

“The word independent spans further than food and drink, and we want to show the world just how immensely talented and creative some of Birmingham’s inhabitants are. We want to make it easier than ever before to discover local. We want you to be able to tell people ‘Happy Birthday’ through our shop, to cover that blank wall through our shop, and to have your next coffee through our shop.

“The shop will start off with a cadre of immensely talented local artists, photographers, illustrators and designers and will evolve over time. From posters to mugs and paintings to tote bags, the idea is to bring together local talent and provide them with a huge platform to sell their fantastic work.

“Tens of thousands of people visit the website every single month in search for something different, something unique, just like them – and we want to be able to give people the opportunity to buy distinct and individualistic products, whilst supporting Birmingham’s creative community and celebrating the strength of the city at the same time.”

You can find the Independent Birmingham website here:


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BBC Good Food Show Winter – DISCOUNT

BBC Good Food Show Winter 2015 LogoHave you been to the Winter BBC Good Food Show at the NEC? This year it’s running from Thursday 26th to 29th November 2015. The show is an homage to all things foody – from top producers, unusual independents, famous chefs, publications, brewers and bakers, and french-stick makers. There’s not much going on in food & beverage that won’t be represented.

There will be hundreds of stalls, the wares of many you’ll be able to sample, and once you’ve sampled the award winning cheese and charcuterie, cakes, biscuits, pickles, jams etc. you’ll want to buy some. We always go with the intention of only buying “a couple of bits” – twice we’ve had to buy wheeled trollies whilst there to get our hall of goods home. Partly that’s due to the booze sampling. Craft ales, flavoured vodkas, and small batch booze produced from around the world will be enough to get you in a mood conducive to parting with your cash!

As well as the potential for Christmas gifts and stocking up the larder, a trip to the show is Out In Brum - Smoked Garlicentertaining in itself. There’ll be cookery demonstrations with TV food personalities including Mary Berry, Paul Hollywood, Michel Roux Jr., John Whaite, and another twenty or so, and you’ll also be able to pick up a cook-book and get it signed by your chef idol.

We’ve been sent some freebies from the show (see our Reciprocity Agreement) including some smoked garlic from The Garlic Farm. I’ve used a massive clove of it tonight on some lightly sautéed sugar snap peas, and it was sweet, smokey, and delicious. In fact I’m resisting the urge to go and eat more of it on toast – it’s smoked so though not fully cooked it’s soft and mellow.

If you’re going to get tickets be sure to use the discount code “BL15”, which will save you 15% on standard entry tickets (Terms and Out In Brum - Garlic Sugar Snap PeasConditions apply, see below). Tickets are available from the website here: https://www.bbcgoodfoodshowwinter.com/

Ticket Discount Code Terms and Conditions: 15% off valid on Adult & Over 65s Standard Entry tickets only. Not valid with any other offer. Not valid on VIP or Gold theatre tickets. Offer valid 02/10/15 – 08/11/15. All admin and transactional fees included. 1 Standard Supertheatre seat included with advance tickets, subject to availability. Gold seats available for an extra £2. Not all celebrities appear on all days, see website for details.

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Hogan’s Cider House

Hogans LogoBirmingham has gone craft beer mad over the last few years with the opening of specialist bars like Brew Dog and Purecraft Bar & Kitchen, and other beery venues like the Wellington, The Post Office Vaults, and the Craven Arms, going from strength to strength.  Now we’re in to the autumn, one independent artisan company has decided it’s going to open their own Cider House in Moseley next Saturday 31st October.

Until we bumped in to Mr. & Mrs. Hogan at a friend’s wedding we always thought this delicious brew was made by one of the internationals that make 90% of the ciders you can Hogans Fermented From 100 Perecent Pressed English Applesprobably name.  Don’t be fooled by the marketing of many of the ciders (and cyders) you drink, they may look like craft offerings but they’re produced all year round using concentrates.  Not so Hogan’s which press just once a year for their complete production.  Using apples from only Gloucestershire, Herefordshire, and Worcestershire, Hogan’s press and create their refreshing beverages in Malvern.

As well as cider, they also produce a perry, and an “Apple Spirit”.  The latter is very much like Calvados and indeed compared favourably when we did a side by side comparison, hic!

Their Cider House will open next to the Dark Horse in Moseley and will stock a range of bag-in-box ciders alongside an autumn warming mulled cider and some crafty keg beers (for the weird non cider drinkers).  Hopefully they’ll also have the Apple Spirit on for that one for the road.

You can find more information about Hogan’s on their website and you can also get all their news including details of the Cider House from twitter, and on facebook.

Hogans Bar Apples

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Out In Brum - Meating - InteriorThe last couple of years have been very carnivorous for the city as many meaty venues have opened, from Fiesta Del Asado, Fleet Street Kitchen, lots of pop-ups from Andy Low ‘n’ Slow, and several chain burger joints. There’s another new independent to add to the list – Meating, at the Arcadian centre. Like some of the other meaty joints they’ve chosen a charcoal grill to cook on, but their real selling point is the use of Farmison & Co (http://www.farmison.com/) as their supplier of rare breed beef. We popped in for a Friday night dinner ahead of visiting a Selfridges Live+Loud event.

The staff are very welcoming and really keen to please, it does perhaps feel a little new, it’s Out In Brum - Meating - Exteriornot quite reached slick yet though I’m sure it will come. Do keep an eye on your watch if the affable manager (and erstwhile magician) John should shake your hand, he may replace it with an onion ring before you know it. The venue is cowshed chic, with wood, galvanised zincs, and high ceilings with exposed services.

There’s a cocktail bar here should you want it, but we plumped for a bottle of wine (£17). Out In Brum - Meating - NachosDinner will set you back between about £10 for a burger to up to £29 for half a kilo of T-Bone. Most dishes, are below £15, including chicken and fish kebabs and a couple of veggy dishes if you’re so inclined. All dishes come with house fries, and a trip to the salad bar which is, frankly, an eccentric touch (“have you been to a Harvester Meating before sir?”).

To start we had crisp calamari, and the home fried nachos with smooth guacamole, cheese, and salsa.  The nachos are similar to those served in HaHa’s many years ago, and more recently in Bodega’s – I really like that style so will be back for these again.  We both fancied a burger when we went in so that’s what we went for. I had “The Blue Pill” burger, a Galloway beef patty with caramelised onion, blue cheese, garlic mushrooms, and rocket. The patty was Out In Brum - Meating - Porkies Burgerserver medium-rare which is how I like it – if you’re a heathen who likes your rare breed burger burned they will do it for you. The bun was soft, and the flavours from the blue cheese and garlic mushrooms were punchy and well-balanced. I upgraded to the sweet potato fries which were crunchy. We also tried the “Porkies” burger, another Galloway beef burger but this one comes with bacon, cheddar, crispy delicious string onions, and baconaise (for the uninitiated, that’s bacon flavoured mayo). We had the truffle oil and parmesan fries with this one which were very nice (though I’ve never got over street-food vendor Fancy Fries version which are simply oosh).  We enjoyed every bite.

They’re geared up to be able to put large tables together, as well as booths for smaller groups. Definitely worth a trip with friends for informal cocktails, wine, steak and a chat.

You can find them online here:  http://www.thatmeatingplace.com/ .

Posted in Area: Arcadian, Area: Hurst Street / The Gay Village / South Side, Birmingham Restaurant, birmingham restaurant review, birmingham review, Cuisine: Modern Mixed, Cuisine: Steakhouse, Price: Average, Venue type: Restaurant | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Tapas Revolution

Out In Brum - Tapas Revolution (14)Now Grand Central shopping centre has opened there’s a host of new eating possibilities to try out in the city. The transformation at New Street Station has provided the airy light space for more than a dozen venues, and we’ve tried a couple already. We’ve seen people complaining that there are few independents in the “food court”. Firstly I put it in inverted commas because it’s not your standard food court: if you want McD’s or BK you’ll have to go somewhere else. Secondly, there are a few independents, and some of the smaller nicer chains. Thirdly, the restaurants are separate units – this isn’t someone where one must carry a tray, it’s all about table service.

We visited Tapas Revolution, run by Chef Omar Allibhoy, while it isn’t a one-off independent, the small chain of restaurants was founded and is creatively led by Omar still. Out In Brum - Tapas Revolution - BarThere’s three branches in London, the new Birmingham branch, and another couple in the pipeline. During this opening period he’s often found in the open kitchen checking plates as they leave the pass – he’s easy to spot, Gordon Ramsay dubbed him the Antonio Banderas of cooking, and you may know Omar from one of his many TV and media appearances.

If you’re used to the “tapas” travesties presented to you by the likes of Las Iguanas, then as Miguel de Cervantes wrote “thou hast seen nothing yet”. When Omar came to the UK toOut In Brum - Tapas Revolution (5) learn English and further his career he was surprised at the lack of good Spanish food on offer and set off on a road trip around the UK to promote his native fare, the start of his Tapas Revolution. Omar brings you classic dishes done well, in an environment that’s relaxed – perfect for dinner with friends and la sobramesa.

We’re actually pretty well catered for in Brum for Spanish food, if you like Tapas then you must try Comida in Harborne which is one of my favourite places to be, and if you want a ridiculously cheap meal then Rico Libre offers good food in an unusual location (hint: taxi there if it’s after dark).

Out In Brum - Tapas Revolution - spiced pork bellyWe visited Tapas Revolution on the Friday night of its opening when Grand Central was heaving with commuters and shoppers. After a glass or two at the bar at Frizzenti, which specialises in on-tap Prosecco, we headed to Tapas Revolution. Despite it having a fair amount of seating, the layout makes dining quite cosy.

We ordered pints of Estrella and a few plates of tapas. The Tortilla (why do people still call it “Spanish omelette”?) was good, and tasty with soft earthy potato. Soft and sweet calamares was encased in crisp golden batter and served with lemon and perfect with a punchy aioli. Ham croquettes were good, with oozing cheese and a smokey ham flavour. We also enjoyed the cod croquettes. The best dish for me was the cubes of pork belly that were perfumed with deep spices and herbs, very warming. Averagely the dishes are around £5 Out In Brum - Tapas Revolution - tortillaeach, and a couple of meet dishes and a side each was plenty for us, so with a pint dinner will probably set you back about £20 a head.

I’m relieved that Grand Central haven’t filled the place with McOutlets, and very pleased to find that the places I’ve already tried are good.

Posted in Area: Central Shopping, Area: Grand Central, Area: The Bullring, Cuisine: Spanish, Price: Average, Venue type: Restaurant | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Selfridges LIVE+LOUD 2015 – FREE events Fri/Sat/Sun

Selfridges Live Loud 2015Hot on the heels of Birmingham’s “Super Saturday” which saw the city host the South Africa v Samoa rugby world cup game at Villa Park, the opening weekend of Grand Central shopping centre and John Lewis, Style Birmingham, and the Big Weekender dance project, this weekend sees Selfridges LIVE + LOUD. After probably the busiest weekend in Brum ever, perhaps you thought this weekend the city may take it easy? Think again.

Selfridges are offering a host of free events, both in their Bullring store and offsite in collaboration with London’s Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA), under the banner “ICA off-site”. You can party in store at special beauty, fashion and art events, on the dance floor with live music performances in store, or at their Digbeth ICA Off-Site. Participants include Fergadelic, Tim & Barry/Just Jam, Tyrone Lebon, Ben Sansbury, and Ashley Williams.

Digbeth ICA Off-Site
Tickets are required for some events and you’ll be able to find those, and directions, here:

  • Fri 2 Oct: Tim & Barry present Tom of England: 8-12pmSelfridges Live Loud 2015 DJ Art
  • Sat 3 Oct:Exhibition opening hours: 11am–6pm
    Just Jam present, Barely Legal, Crack Stevens, Scratcher, Tsunga, 8-12pm
  • Sun 4 Oct: Exhibition opening hours: 11am–6pm

In Store
There’s also a whole host of activity in store, from a Michelin starred dinner in The Balcony restaurant (Thursday – you’ve missed it!), to a pop up Bollywood cinema. Some events require you to book, others are free and you can just turn up.

Beauty From Within: Thur 1 October, 5-9pm
“Today beauty is more than skin deep – it goes below the surface and combines with technology, nutrition and inner wellbeing to create real solutions for your lifestyle.
Selfridges Live Loud 2015 Ashley Williams Fluffy Pink Coat on CatwalkJoin us to explore these exciting concepts with pampering treatments, a live DJ set by Yasmin Evans and exclusive treats from your favourite brands during an exceptional evening of extraordinary experiences. Including the opportunity to meet Beauty experts such as Nikki Cooper, founder of Innerme.co.uk and Lauren Armes, founder of Well To Do London.”
Tickets are £10 redeemable against beauty purchases on the night.
To book please call 0121 600 6718

Birmingham City University School Of Art: Thur 1 – Sun 4 October, throughout the day
Discover new and emerging talent from Birmingham’s creative quarter with the Birmingham School Of Art as they present an exciting programme of performances, installations and research projects for the city. Home on Level 1.

Itihaas Bollywood Cinema: Thur 1 – sun 4 October, throughout the day
Itihaas invites you to enjoy a taste of Bollywood, screening 20 minute Bollywood movie highlights and serving Bollywood style Street food creations. Foodhall on Level 1.
The pop up cinema daily film timetable is:
Maine Pyar Kiya – 12.40 until 1pm
Sholay – 1.40pm until 2pm
Mr India – 2.40pm until 3pm
Dilwale Dhulania Le Jayenge – 3.40pm until 4pm
Songs of Bollywood – 4.40pm until 5pm.

Tilbury Taxis: Fri 2 – Sun 4 October, throughout the day
Join Charlotte Tilbury’s backstage make-up artists in her Tilbury Taxis on Rotunda SquareSelfridges Exterior from Clive Reeves PR for a complimentary signature ‘Quick Trick’ makeover.
Rotunda Square, Bullring.
Jimmy Choo Cinderella Shoe: 1 – 4 October, throughout the day
See Jimmy Choo’s exclusive glass slipper design. One of only few pieces in the world! Shoes on Level 4.

Live Music Schedule: Sun 4 October, 12-4pm
Selfridges have teamed up with Punch Records to create a unique showcase of live music featuring the very best in home-grown talent. This locally owned, locally delivered music programme celebrates the next generation of UK artists making waves across the international music scene. Emerging artists include energetic rapper and female MC RoxXxan, eclectic soul/jazz artist Call Me Unique and upcoming artist Namiwa Jazz, all performing live sets throughout the day. Headline act, internationally renowned British soul singer Jacob Banks will be taking part in an exclusive Q&A session before performing an exclusive acoustic set.

The Art Room: Sat 3 – Sun 4 October, 1-5pm
For the first time in Birmingham, The Art Room is delighted to be able to showcase The Art Room practice using art as a therapeutic intervention for children and young people facing difficulties and challenges in their daily lives. The Art Room is hosting a series of interactive workshops, inviting children to experience how art can help them be creative and confident. Drop into a Workshop.

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