Nathan Eades, formally of Bromsgrove’s eponymous restaurant Epi at the Courtyard and various pop-ups across Birmingham, has joined as Head Chef at St Andrews Town Hotel in Droitwich Spa.

pictureNathan will oversee all aspects of the food offering at the 31 bedroom property; including the re-launch of the hotel’s restaurant, which is due to re-open 1st September 2015.

Drawing on experience from working with industry high profile names, Nathan will look to bring a similar dining experience to his much enjoyed menus at Epi; great food, without the fuss of fine dining. On his appointment Nathan commented ‘”I am delighted to join such a well reputable and established hotel such as St Andrews. With such fantastic produce on our doorstep, creating a ‘modern British’ menu in such idyllic surroundings will be an absolute delight. Our goal is to create not only a fantastic Hotel/Restaurant within Droitwich, but one within the Midlands and the UK.”

Dishes include ‘Tasting of Celeriac, Golden Raisin and Madeira,’ ‘Roast Fillet of StoneBass, Violet Potatoes, Cauliflower and Morels’ and ‘Gateaux Opera with Espresso Ice Cream’. The St Andrew’s Town Hotel was built in the 1820’s as the home of the Town Out In Brum - Epi at The Courtyard - Pig's Head TerrineClerk of Droitwich Spa. The elegant Georgian building, which has been sympathetically extended and refurbished, and tranquil garden make you feel you’re in a country house retreat, yet only minutes away from the town centre and motorway network. The hotel also has choice of function rooms for both business and leisure customers; including a new Orangery which seats up to 150 guests.

You can follow the exploits of Nathan and his kitchen team on their dedicated twitter feed @st_kitchen

We will be visiting once the new menu is up and running and will of course let you know our thoughts.

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Opus hosts special Argentinian wine dinner

Birmingham wine enthusiasts will be able to experience the spectacular vineyards of Mendoza, Argentina, at a unique dinner at Opus at Cornwall on Wednesday 10th June.

Vista_de_Viedo2The restaurant will be serving a range of wines from producer Eduardo Pulenta’s prestigious estate alongside five specially-prepared courses by Opus’ chefs as part of its ‘Source Dinner Series’, where diners are given a rare opportunity to meet the restaurant’s suppliers and learn about their produce. Eduardo will educate diners about the wines that they will be drinking and share stories from his family vineyard in the shadow of the Andes Mountains.

Ann Tonks, managing director at Opus, said: “It’s a pleasure to have Eduardo in the restaurant and showcasing his beautiful wines. The Pulenta family have been growing grapes since 1912 and Eduardo’s passion shines through when he’s telling customers about their award-winning wine.

“Winters in Mendoza are bitterly cold and and the spring frosts are heavy, and the family relies on the melt water from the Andes Mountains to irrigate the vines, giving the grapes a taste incomparable to other wines.”


Vista_del_viedoThe dinner costs £75 per person and includes five courses, an aperitif, wine with each course and service. For more information call 0121 200 2323.

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Harborne Kitchen – Pop-Up

Out In Brum - Harborne Kitchen -  Chef Jamie Desogus

(left) Chef Jamie Desogus

If you haven’t heard of Chefs Mike Bullard and Jamie Desogus then you’re not paying enough attention to the goings-on of the Brummy food scene.  As well as bringing you fine dining Pop-Up restaurant The Harborne Kitchen, which is intended as a launch pad for their own full time fine dining restaurant and to develop their menus, the pair have also given you the too cool for school Butcher’s Social in Harborne High Street, a temporary bar and restaurant which they plan to keep open until later in the year.  They’ve got lots of clandestine plans in hand so follow them on twitter to stay abreast of developments.  We attended their Harborne Kitchen pop-up at 6/8 Cafe at Millennium Point on 29th May to sample their widely applauded menus.

The format for the evening was a fixed seven course menu (£45) with a matching wine flight (£25).  Seated canteen style (i.e. sharing large tables with other diners) we kicked off with a Langley’s gin and tonic with pomegranate.  I was seated by kickboxing Brian from Ireland, and we were both wearing the exact same distinctive shirt (it could have been awkward but we both thought it was hilarious that we shared such good taste).

I don’t usually list out everything we eat but it was all so good I think I have to, so here goes, take a breath…

Out In Brum - Harborne Kitchen - 0 - Amuse Bouche

Amuse Bouche of golden crumb fried Ox Cheek and Foie Gras


Out In Brum - Harborne Kitchen - 1 - Crispy Cod Cheek

Crispy Cod Cheek, Braised Puy Lentils, Granny Smith Puree, Baby Gem and Bacon Veloute
Served with False Bay Chenin Blanc 2011, South Africa


Out In Brum - Harborne Kitchen - 2 - Beef Faggot

Beef Faggot, Confit Jersey Royal Potato, Parsley and Lemon Thyme Emulsion
Served with Malbec Nieto Senetiner 2012


Out In Brum - Harborne Kitchen - 3 - Asparagus

White and Green Asparagus, Hen of the Woods, Parmesan and Cardamom Oil
Served with Rustenberg Sauvignon Blanc 2011, South Africa


Out In Brum - Harborne Kitchen - 4 - Pork Belly

Crispy Pork Belly & glazed Cheek, Rhubarb, Sweet Potato & Black Garlic
Served with Saddlers Red IPA


Out In Brum - Harborne Kitchen - 5 - Yoghurt Sorbet

Yoghurt Sorbet, Passion Fruit, Coriander & Lime
Served with Araldica Moscato Passito 2005


Out In Brum - Harborne Kitchen - 6 - Black Forest Gateaux

Deconstructed Black Forrest Gateaux
Served with Elysium Black Muscat

First a note on the wine (and beer) matching – it was excellent.  I’ve done wine flights with lots of meals and invariably we end up with one or two that I think don’t match, or are cheapies the restaurant wants to get rid of.  Not so with this, matching.  Of particular note for me was the pungent Malbec Nieto Senetiner 2012 which I thought was much too big to match with anything – however it was perfect for the umami hit of the beef faggots, that was my top match of the night I think.  The other stunner was the Elysium Black Muscat, which oozed masses of lychee that added to the dish of deconstructed Black Forest Gateaux.  The matching of Saddlers Red IPA to the pork was also inspired – long dinners with lots of wines can get a bit heavy, and the IPA brought a lightness that complimented the simply roasted and oh so succulent pork belly which was also served with a purée of black garlic.

Out In Brum - Harborne Kitchen - Chef Mike Bullard

(left) Chef Mike Bullard

The white and green asparagus was served with chickeny Hen of the Woods mushroom making the veggie dish actually taste quite meaty and the Rustenberg Sauvignon Blanc 2011 with notes of asparagus and gooseberries was a great pairing.

I’ve mentioned the second pudding, an excellent deconstructed Black Forest Gateaux with tart black fruit sorbet and a perfectly gooey chocolate fondant, but the first pudding of yoghurt sorbet was equally as good with the corriander leaves adding an unusual flavour.

The menu could only be described as accomplished, and the pairings of wine and beer inspired.  Simply, I loved it, and I look forward to seeing what else Mike and Jamie bring to the city’s dining scene – it’s bound to be excellent.

More pop-ups are planned and you can find the details on the website here: Harborne Kitchen Website.
Out In Brum - Harborne Kitchen - Millennium Point

 

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Umami Indian Kitchen and Cocktail Bar

Harborne welcomes another Indian restaurant to the scene this last weekend as Umami Out In Brum - Umami Indian Restaurant and Cocktail Bar - FrontageIndian Kitchen and Cocktail bar has opened next to Boo Boo Coffee at the top of War Lane. There is some competition in Harborne for Indian cuisine – from the Dosa Mania cafe, to Mela, Bangla Lounge, Regards, and others. None of them have really gone after the modern upmarket look that Umami is trying. Low tables greet you in the entrance and the bar is light and bright, perhaps somewhere you’d go just to get a cocktail rather than necessarily going for food.

Out In Brum - Umami Indian Restaurant and Cocktail Bar - BarI will note I didn’t like any of the art on the walls, as it seemed out of context with the food and cocktail offering – we weren’t there as a gallery though and it won’t stop me going back. The building is a bit of a clumsy shape, but they seem to have made the best of it and though it’s not spacious we didn’t feel penned in. The tables were laid with white cloths and sparkling stemware and the napkins neatly presented folded and ribboned.

Out In Brum - Umami Indian Restaurant and Cocktail Bar - PoppadomsUnimaginatively we opted for beer – nice to see Dortmund Pilsner (£4.75 a pint) on draught rather than just Cobra (which obviously they also have at £4.25 a pint).   We had poppadoms with our beer which came as two different sorts, spicy and plain, and with a tray of chutneys which had a particularly lovely onion one.

We also tried a bottle of Viognier which was more thanOut In Brum - Umami Indian Restaurant and Cocktail Bar - Khatti Meethi Dahi Poori
acceptable for under twenty quid a bottle. They do have a large selection of cocktails which we failed to try – we’ll do better next time! Many classics were available like Long Island Iced Tea, Cosmopolitan, Espresso Martini (all at £5.95). They were being enjoyed by other diners though. I’m not sure of the wisdom of Indian flavours mixed with cocktails but we shall see the next time we visit.

Out In Brum - Umami Indian Restaurant and Cocktail Bar - Maglorean Pepper ScallopsOur favourite of our starters was the Maglorean Pepper Scallops (£5.95) which were plump and fresh and cooked in a sauce of mustard, curry leaves, and pepper. We also had the Chilli Paneer Wah Wah (£5.95) which was also very well spiced, and Khatti Meethi Dahi Poori (£5.25), crispy cakes of chick pea with spices and served with a spiced yoghurt and tamarind chutney which was very enjoyable.

For mains I wanted something with some heat so I ordered the Chicken Chettinad (£9.95) Out In Brum - Umami Indian Restaurant and Cocktail Bar - British Railway Curry
which lacked the chilli punch I was expecting – nonetheless I ate every bit, it was a good dish. We tried the Ambala Keema Matter (minced lamb and green peas in a spiced sauce £11.95) which was quite spicy. In fact it was a little too spicy for the person who ordered it and without a second glance the waiter asked whether they could remake for us slightly less hot, which they did very quickly – great service.  Also, we tried the “British Railway Lamb Curry” (£10.95), we’re not talking the West Coast mainline here, this was a dish produced in India during the days of the Raj for British palates which consisted of chunks of lamb on the bone cooked with ginger, caramalised onion, and spices. I’d order that one again too.

Out In Brum - Umami Indian Restaurant and Cocktail Bar - Vegetable SamosaThe service was very friendly though going just three nights after they opened we did find it a little slow – they get a pass on this occasion as we were having such a nice time chatting we didn’t really notice, and new venues always take a couple of weeks to find their feet.  It was overall a very enjoyable evening and I’m sure we’ll be back soon, especially as it’s only a five minute walk from our front door!

http://www.umamiharborne.com/

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Birmingham Pride 2015 – The Photos

Out In Brum - Pride 2015 - Logo

Once again over this May bank holiday weekend Birmingham has played host to 70,000 people each day at the UK’s largest 2 day LGBT Pride Festival.

Despite cuts to funding by Birmingham City Council a parade of floats and walkers kicked off the weekend on Saturday from Victoria Square, winding its way around the city centre to the delight of thousands of tourists, shoppers, and pride revellers.  The streets were packed with people, some of whom got more than they bargained for from a quick trip to town – queue the Go Go Boys, and Samba Band.

The main stage, compèred by the delightful Chris and Steve from Gogglebox, played host to a myriad of performers including headline acts such as Jess Glynne, Jimmy Sommerville, Boney M, Example, Union J, Atomic Kitten and many many more.  Seeing Boney M on the main stage made our day, with confetti cannon a brilliant touch for their closing number – Rivers of Babylon.

The cabaret tent, outrageously compèred by Sandra and Tilly, saw over twenty foul-mouthed and hilarious acts insult the audience and each other, sometimes while spraying pyrotechnics gleefully towards the baying crowds.

A highlight for me was the roar of the crowd in the cabaret tent as the result of the Irish referendum on Equal Marriage was read out.  It reminded me that though this may be an event for celebration of the equality that the LGBT community has in many countries, that there are millions of people worldwide who are still persecuted for being gay, and who are unable to publicly love those whom they want to love.  On a brighter note, another highlight was Sebastian, a member of the audience who seemed to spend as much time on the stage being adored by various cabaret acts, as off it, and at one point literally stole the show by virtue of having possession of the microphone and the drag act’s wig.

A picture can paint a thousand words, so take a look at the below to see the fun we, and everybody, had over the weekend.  There were some pretty impressive costumes on various visitors, including the centurians, and a couple who wore matching outfits on day one and different matching outfits on day two.  Not to mention the elegant ladies in black dresses and pearls à la Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, and an array of drag queens.

Well done Duncan from @brumyumyum getting some wicked street food stalls to the event.  The truffle oil, parmesan, and parsley fries from Fancy Fries were frickin’ amazing, and the beef brisket from White Heat Street Meat was also awesome.  Better than a dirty burger any day!

Next year’s dates are already announced as Saturday 28th May and Sunday 29th May 2016.  Get booking your hotels now!  Thanks to the Pride team who delivered a super, fun, and safe event once again.

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Birmingham waitress achieves prestigious hospitality award

GABRIELLA MUREA1A talented waitress at city-centre restaurant Opus at Cornwall Street, Gabriella Murea, has achieved the celebrated Service Award at this year’s Royal Academy of Culinary Arts Annual Awards of Excellence.

The final, which took place on Saturday 16th May at Le Gavroche, London, saw Gabriella and 15 other finalists from some of the country’s finest restaurants and hotels serve a three course meal to two guests. As part of the service, Gabriella had to set up the table, decant and describe the wine, and fillet a dover sole in front of the diners. The awards, which have a high-profile judging panel, received an unprecedented number of entries and are designed to encourage young people within hospitality to achieve the highest possible standards in their profession.

Gabriella, 26, has worked at Opus for just over six months whilst studying hospitality and events management at University College Birmingham (UCB) and was the only finalist from the Midlands to be shortlisted for the award. Speaking about her achievement, she said: “I’m so happy to have passed and got my award. I prepared as much as I could for each stage of the process and it has really paid off. The standard was very high and I am delighted that the judges saw the quality of work that I can produce and felt it worthy of the award.”

Irene Allan, restaurant director at Opus restaurant, said: “This is such a fantastic achievement for Gabriella. She is an absolute perfectionist and always delivers superb service, so to have this award as recognition of that is a huge accomplishment. Pawel, our restaurant manager, has been an inspiring mentor for Gabriella and has supported all her hard work. We are committed to developing both our front of house and kitchen teams and encourage them to go for awards like this. Everyone at Opus is immensely proud of her and we’re privileged to have her working with us.”

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Pride: Streetfood, Running, Proms, Rubber, Music, Drag etc. – Preview

Birmingham Pride 2015 Main StageThere are just two days to go until one of the biggest party weekends in Brum – no not the Eurovision song contest – we’ve been getting the lowdown on what’s on where at Birmingham Pride 2015.  This year’s LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) celebration is themed on “Freedom – Forever United”, reminding us that though the weekend will be spent in revelry that so many people around the world don’t have the opportunity to be themselves and love who they want to love.

Every year the event gets slightly bigger and slightly better.  The program of acts and entertainment planned for this year is varied and impressive.  The two day event will kick off in flamboyant style with a carnival parade around the city centre streets starting at Victoria Square at midday on Saturday 23rd May.  Once that’s over you can head to the gaybourhood with your wristbands or tickets and catch Jesse Glynne, Heather Small, Ms Dynamite, Boney M, Fuse ODG, Union J and many more on the main stage.  Take a look at this programme of events to see where to be when to catch your favourite acts.

Alternatively if you’re not easily offended you can watch some outrageous cabaret like Rubber Pups Birmingham Pride 2013Sandra and Topping & Butch in the marquee.

If you’re feeling sedate you can sit with a Pimms watching the dog show.  Actual dogs, not the erm, rubberised kind, though the puppy pack will probably be sniffing around the place too, they were last year.

If you’re feeling cultured you can get yourselves to Birmingham Pride 2015 PromsBirmingham Conservatoire on Saturday evening to attend the Birmingham Gay Symphony Orchestra (BGSO) Pride Proms.

Obviously there will be the usual host of streetfood vendors for those who just want to party hard, but we know our readers are in to the finer foods in life, so you may want to check out a Brum Yum Yum event – Streetfood Speakeasy.  They’ll be popping up at Amusement 13 on Kent Street.  Brum Yum Yum founder Duncan Stanley Says: “The launch falls on Birmingham Pride Weekend, the UK’s biggest LGBT weekender. Streetfood Speakeasy will be serving throughout the weekend, 5-10pm on Friday, 12-10pm Saturday and Sunday. So festival goers can escape the mayhem, relax & refresh with real food & ravishing cocktails”.  You can find more info on Streetfood Speakeasy on Facebook here.

If you’re feeling particularly energetic ahead of Pride and want to take a proactive Birmingham Pride 2015 Entertainment Plannerstrike against the alcoholic calories you’re invariably going to imbibe then I’d suggest meeting up for a run on Thursday evening with LGBT running group The Birmingham Swifts (website here and also on twitter here).

All you need to know about Pride is available on their website (http://www.birminghampride.com).  If you’re planning on attending do checkout how and where to get tickets, and note that ticket purchasing will be extremely busy between 10 and 3 on Saturday.

Happy pride!

Birmingham Pride 2015 Dog Show

 

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