(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…
Amuse Bouche of golden crumb fried Ox Cheek and Foie Gras
Crispy Cod Cheek, Braised Puy Lentils, Granny Smith Puree, Baby Gem and Bacon Veloute
Served with False Bay Chenin Blanc 2011, South Africa
Beef Faggot, Confit Jersey Royal Potato, Parsley and Lemon Thyme Emulsion
Served with Malbec Nieto Senetiner 2012
White and Green Asparagus, Hen of the Woods, Parmesan and Cardamom Oil
Served with Rustenberg Sauvignon Blanc 2011, South Africa
Crispy Pork Belly & glazed Cheek, Rhubarb, Sweet Potato & Black Garlic
Served with Saddlers Red IPA
Yoghurt Sorbet, Passion Fruit, Coriander & Lime
Served with Araldica Moscato Passito 2005
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.
(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.