Two of Brum’s Best Team Up for Summer Party

CJ3QEcGWwAA442qIt’s time to get the party started as two of Brum’s favourite’s collaborate again for what promises to be a sun soaked summer party.

The team at Cafe Opus have invited the king of the Texan BBQ Andy Low N Slow to join them in creating a memorable Sunday lunch.

On Sunday 9th August Andy and the Cafe Opus team will be serving up a 3 course meal with a complimentary cocktail or beer on arrival and live music to bring you the summer vibe.lownslow-logo1

The menu on the day will be:

Citrus cured sea trout, heritage tomatoes

Apple wood smoked pork belly, apple and mustardCKdaO0sW8AQWXP_

Oak smoked Black Angus brisket, Sharpes Express potatoes, Worcester sugar snaps and feves, summer coleslaw

Summer berry pavlova

The deal is £40pp including service and tickets can be booked direct on 0121 200 2323

Posted in Area: Brindley Place, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Yakinori – Woktastic’s little sister…

Out In Brum - Yakinori - ExteriorDue to the demolition of the old Birmingham Library at Paradise Forum, one of the city’s favourite venues Woktastic, owned and run by the convivial Ali, had to shut up shop in January.  The restaurant is moving but due to complications with leases etc. it’s taking a little longer than planned. Ali is still remaining tight lipped about where and when the new Woktastic will open but it is going to be in the city centre.  Not one to be idle while Woktastic has been closed, Ali has been setting up a little sister restaurant under a new brand name – Yakinori.  As loyal Woktastic customers we’ve been craving a decent chicken katsu and sushi since the restaurant shut its doors – thank goodness then that with the opening of the first of two Yakinori branches, this one in Selly Oak, we can quell our hunger for our favourite Japanese foods.

Out In Brum - Yakinori - Open KitchenWith around 40 covers over shared bench seating Yakinori Selly Oak serves up à la carte sushi, ramen, katsu, and all the other Woktastic favourites.  The interior is colourful and the walls wrapped with animé graphics floor to ceiling, and an open bustling kitchen.  It feels like a fun and relaxed place to eat and it’s been perfect for us for a chatty dinner with friends, and on another occasion a quick after-work bite to eat when we’d been working late.

To start we tried some mixed plates of sushi.  Firstly, for £12.50, a 13 piece Salmon Sake Geta which included salmon nigiri, salmon sashimi, salmon gunkan, salmon avocado biso, salmon maki, and a salmon avocado hand roll.  The dinnerware the restaurant has chosen Out In Brum - Yakinori - Sushiis beautiful and sets off the sushi wonderfully – it looks more like you would get in one of the fine dining restaurants in town than in a fun friendly restaurant, but it does remind you this place is serious about making great food!  As you can see the Salmon Sake Geta plate looked great, and it all tasted great too.  The salmon was plump and soft and the presentation and seasoning spot on.  We also had a the Salmon and Avocado Heaven platter at £10.95 for 12 pieces including avocado nigiri, salmon nigiri, and salmon and avocado biso.  It was equally as good, with perfectly ripe avocado.

For mains we had to try our favourite, Chicken Katsu Curry (£8.95).  It’s a rich but not Out In Brum - Yakinori - Chicken Katsuhot curry, with sliced breadcrumbed and fried chicken, okra, potato, rice, and pickled ginger.  It was as good as we remembered it at Woktastic!  The main dishes are very large, so you should go with a good appetite.  We’ve also had the Chicken Kokonatsu curry at £8.75.  This was a very spicy curry with coconut, lemongrass, red chilli, shrimp paste, galangal, ginger, veg, and crumbed and grilled chicken.  It was served with sticky rice.  Hot enough to give me a runny nose, it was just what I wanted.

While we await the opening of the new Woktastic (watch this space for imminent news of its announcement) Yakinori is offering a very reliable alternative.  With it being just a 5 minute drive from home, I see a lot of chicken katsu in my future…

Posted in Area: Selly Oak, Cuisine: Japanese, Price: Average | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Nomad: Waiter waiter, there’s an ant in my soup!

Out In Brum - Nomad - Sea Buckthorn ParfaitWaiter waiter, there’s an ant in my soup! …Don’t worry sir, the echidna nibbling your bread will soon get him. <Pause for laughter after monotreme related joke>.

We’ve eaten Chef Alex Claridge’s food around his various locations in Birmingham over the years – first at The Warehouse Cafe, then Bistro 1847, and now at his current temporary residence, Nomad at Kitchen Garden Cafe. He’s currently searching for a forever-home in Birmingham for Nomad restaurant so do get in touch with him if you have somewhere in mind.

Alex is an experimental chef. While not a veggie himself, his last two residencies were at vegetarian restaurants, the menus of which require significantly more imagination than carniverous establishments which invariably Out In Brum - Nomad - Sea Troutoffer obvious steaks, chops, meat pies etc.. Consequently Alex has a brilliant repertoire of inventive ingredients to delve in to.  Many of the ingredients are sourced from his allotment, or foraged locally.

We’ve eaten a couple of times at Nomad and have had some delicious meaty, fishy, and veggie dishes. The format is around a seven course fixed menu for around £40 – the number of courses, the contents, and the prices change dependent on what ingredients Alex has to play with. The menu we’re reviewing here won’t be exactly the same on any subsequent night. I know that some of the dishes have pushed people’s boundaries – but that’s kinda what Nomad is about!

Probably one of the most divisive elements in the dishes we tried were the wood ants. Yes, Out In Brum - Nomad - Tomato Water and Antsreally, actual ants. I was completely prepared to dislike them but they were tasty! Not only do they add visual interest, they add a crunch, and they have a tart citrus flavour, that complimented a dish of heritage tomato and “tomato water” – a clear, slightly syrupy, colourless extract from tomatoes left in a muslin sieve for twenty-four hours to juice themselves by gravity alone. The flavour has great clarity, and it was very summery.

After the opening tomato dish, we had hay smoked rabbit with carrot cake and a carrot coleslaw. The rabbit was heavily smoked, one of us loved the smokiness, but I’m not a big Out In Brum - Nomad - Potted Rabbitfan of smoky food so it was a bit lost on me. If you like smoky food you would have loved it I’m sure.

Next course was globe artichoke, seared lettuce, and baby rocket. Then on to wild sea trout, broad bean, pea, pearl barley, sea blight (a bit like samphire) and pepper dulse. The pea, bean, and barley were made in to a of risotto and its greenness underlined the succulent pink sea trout that had a tasty and crispy skin. The pepper dulse smelled so strongly of the seaside that it took us back to fish and chips on the promenade as children.

The three courses of desserts started with a small dish of rhubarb iced cream with raspberry, a superb and fresh pallet cleanser before the “sea buckthorn meringue pie”: sea buckthorn curd and parfait, cumin roast carrot, meringe, and pea shoots. Then on to theOut In Brum - Nomad - Artichoke final dessert, a sugared perfectly spherical doughnut with a bitter Colombian chocolate soup for dipping.

At the moment Alex plans to continue his pop-up in the rustic Kingsheath Kitchen Garden Cafe until the end of August, so if you want to go and experience Alex’s food there you’ll have to get there soon! You’ll need to book, and you can do so on the website here: http://foodbynomad.com/ .

Nomad is an opportunity to have some great food, that’s a bit different. Go on a date, or take your friends, either way it’s sure to reward you with shrieks of fun, and ooohs of delight. Loved it.

Out In Brum - Nomad - Chocolate DoughnutNote: We booked the restaurant out for my birthday at Nomad and had a really smashing time and an excellent menu, and Alex then asked us to go back and eat on him to review. You probably know we rarely review free food because we don’t think it gives the real measure of the place, but in this case, given we’d dined here already on a night we couldn’t review (because it was my birthday and we were too busy eating and drinking to be taking photos of the food and taking notes), we couldn’t refuse! See our reciprocity promise here.

Out In Brum at 1847 - Alex Claridge

Chef Alex Claridge at Bistro 1847 Restaurant

Posted in Area: Kings Heath, Cuisine: Modern Mixed, Price: Average, Venue type: Restaurant | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Tan Rosie Caribbean Supper Club

Out In Brum - Tan Rosie Supper Club - Monica and LeeMother and daughter team Monica and Lee have been inviting guests in to their Erdington home for several years now to offer them a little ray of Caribbean sunshine inspired by Monica’s home island of Carriacou, a parish of Grenada.  “Tan” is an term of endearment for an “Aunt”, and so Monica’s eponymous grandmother was apparently known as “Tan Rosie” by the family and those beyond it.  Their “supper club” runs regularly, at about £30 a head for three courses, and you can find details of it on their website http://tanrosie.com.  It’s BYO alcohol. The ladies also produce and sell a range of Caribbean food – fudge, sauces, rubs etc.

As we had a large group Monica and Lee arranged a private dinner for our dozen or so diners.  We arrived and were shown to the patio where homemade spicy gingerade awaited us, we were told that adding our own rum (which we did) would give it a kick!  Monica was busying herself with chicken wings on the barbecue when we arrived and they smelled awesome.  The drinks were accompanied by their sweet chilli sauce Out In Brum - Tan Rosie Supper Club - Gingeradeand plantain chips for dipping.

Seated at the dining table we cracked open a bottle of Gewürztraminer, suggested by Loki Wines to pair with the aromatic and spicy food to come.  For starters the meat eaters had succulent and spicy chicken wings.  Can’t go wrong with that!  The vegetarian had crisp and golden sweetcorn fritters.  Instead of bread we were served Caribbean bakes with butter – they were very filling but so delicious that I had to keep eating them until there were none left.  The portions were all certainly generous.

Out In Brum - Tan Rosie Supper Club - Chicken WingsOn to mains, the vegetarians had Ital stew, and the carnivores mutton curry.  Both were served with glistening gold plantains, french beans, carrots, and rice and beans.  The spiced mutton had been cooked slowly so was tender and falling off the bone, though my British pallet still finds meat on chopped bone a bit strange – it is however traditionally Caribbean, with much of the meaty flavour coming from the bone.  Monica came to the UK in the 60s from Carriacou and she says she always tries to include that taste of home in every dish, and the mutton curry did Granada, “the Spice Out In Brum - Tan Rosie Supper Club - Mutton CurryIsle”, proud.  I don’t think I’ve ever had fried and roasted plantain before, and it was really good, a more neutral flavour to match with the heady flavours of the curry.

After a few minutes digesting the rather large dinner, desserts arrived.  It would have been sensible at this point to opt for the fresh fruit salad.  Obviously that wasn’t going to happen and most of us plumped (an operative word I fear) for the rum cake and custard.  To go with dessert Loki Wines had suggested Diplomatico Reserva Exclusiva rum and a neat dram of that was perfect.  It was filled with the flavours of sugar cane which tied brilliantly with the richness of the soft rum cake and creamy custard.Out In Brum - Tan Rosie Supper Club - Table

Monica and Lee were wonderful supper club hosts, and we thanks them for inviting us in to their home and for feeding us a bit of Carriacou.  Delightful.

Posted in Area: Erdington, Cuisine: Caribbean, Price: Average, Special Event, Venue type: Home Supper Club | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Gas Street Social

Gass Street Social LogoI’m never sure whether I like The Mailbox.  Unfortunately the stag and hen parties that were once the fodder of the Broad Street bars seem to have found their way down the canal towpath to The Mailbox now, though I think they’re only really an issue on a Saturday evening.  The venues are largely impersonal and bland, with even past favourites like Epernay and Estillo fading.  It is however nice to see a couple of new clean, modern, and importantly, independent, venues pop up such as Aluna cocktail bar and restaurant, and Gas Street Social.  Located on the middle terrace in the old Bar Room Bar unit, Gas Street Social offers casual dining with friends, and a very competent bar should you fancy a cocktail or pint overlooking the canal.

Out In Brum - Gas Street Social - Food AranciniWe’ve been a few times now, for dinner, and just for drinks with friends (though I confess I couldn’t resist the truffle arancini with a pint of Sharps Cornish Pilsner).  The staff have always been friendly and attentive and the cocktails excellent.  It is a little loud as they’ve adopted the industrial look du jour with no soft furnishing to swallow up the conversations of other tables: if you go on a Friday or Saturday evening be prepared to have a loud conversation with your fellow diners.  It’s a fun place to go, and if you are so inclined you can sit on the terrace overlooking the canal and take in some sun.

For dinner we ate from their “Social Plates” menu.  These are smaller plates, so you can Out In Brum - Gas Street Social - Ox Cheekchoose a few and share.  We had five plates for £26.95 between three of us, and also a side of garlic bread, and a side of huge crispy sticks of crackling with apple sauce.  That was plenty.

Of the five plates we had, the crispy and golden Arancini (deep fried balls of risotto) richly flavoured with truffle wasOut In Brum - Gas Street Social - Fish and Chips the winner for me.  The portion of fish and chips was excellent with succulent flesh and crispy batter and a portion of minted mushy peas.  The ox cheek had a heady meaty flavour though perhaps lacked a couple of more lumps of the delicious moist meat.  I loved the wild mushroom gnocchi, and it was a good carby dish to go with our other choices.  The chicken and mushroom vol au vents were acceptable but nothing to write home about.  The very garlicy garlic bread was super.  Obviously they also have a good selection of main dishes such as Salmon Fillet (£12.95), Sausage & Mash (£9.95), Seared tuna Salad (£12.95), burgers (from £9) etc.

They’re an early till late venue and we’ve heard good things about their brunch menu.  I suggest though if you’re greedy like me you opt for the “Gas Street Works” (£9.95) rather than the “Full English” (£7.95) which is quite small.  You can add bottomless belinis and mimosa for two hours with any brunch item for an extra £15 per person (great if you want a boozy catch up chat with friends over breakfast).

The drinks list is really good here.  Do try the Sharps Cornish Pilsner if you’ve not already. The owners of Gas Street Social have a cocktail background in that they teach other bars, Out In Brum - Gas Street Social - Gnocchiand have cocktail making schools in London, Durban, Cape Town, Antibes, the U.A.E. and other locations globally (if you’re interested then check out Shaker Consultancy), so obviously their drinks offering is special.  We’ve tried quite a few cocktails (hic!) and can thoroughly recommend their twist on a Negroni the Negrogie (though it’s made and sold for 12 people), Brambles, Mojitos, and Espresso Martinis.  Cocktails start from £6.95, with wine starting from £12 for 500ml carafe or £17 a bottle (though you can splash out if you want as they have a good selection such as the Sancerre Les Chailloux Domaine Fouassier at £42).

A perfect place to go with friends for a chat, some grub, and some marvelous cocktails.

Out In Brum - Gas Street Social - Interior

 

Posted in Area: The Cube, Area: The Mailbox, Cuisine: English, Cuisine: Modern Mixed, Price: Average, Venue type: Bar, Venue type: Cocktail Bar, Venue type: Restaurant, Venue type: Wine Bar | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Get Jazzy at the Colmore Food Festival 2015 This Friday and Saturday at Victoria Square

Out In Brum - Colmore Food Festival 2015 Logo
Out In Brum - Bar Opus - CocktailsThis Friday and Saturday Victoria Square in the city centre plays host to the fifth annual Colmore Food Festival 2015, with the event running 11am to 7pm on Friday 3rd and Saturday 4th July.  The Colmore Food Festival marks the opening of the Business District’s week-long partnership with the 31st Birmingham Jazz and Blues Festival and you’ll be able to see performances while you graze. Details of Jazz and Blues Performances can be found here: Birmingham International Jazz and Blues Festival 2015.  The event will be compered by the inimitable Phil Oldershaw.

Twenty-five of the city’s venues, including many that are succesful Brummy independents, are being brought together by the Colmore Business District to offer fine food and drink at lunchtime prices.  There’s Dim Sum from Chung Ying, Kababs ‘tak-a-tak’ from Asha’s, Momo chicken dumplings from Jojolapa, Slow Cooked Beef with Beetroot & Wasabi Crumble from Purnell’s, and a dozen or so more all starting from £3.  Those with a sweet tooth won’t be disappointed either as plenty of venues are purveying puddings such as Afternoon Tea from the Edwardian Tearooms, and Violet Cream, Out In Brum - Chung Ying Central - Spring RollsMeringue & Blueberries from Purnell’s (violet – my favourite).  A full list of the venues attending, their menus, and price lists is available here.

You’ll be able to wash it down with real ale from Purecraft and The Wellington, with cocktails from Bar Opus, Ginger’s Bar, Pimm’s from Edmunds Brewhouse, or with coffees and soft drinks from Urban Coffee. and The Centenary Lounge.

On Friday we’ll be judging some of the main dishes to decide who gets the coveted Golden Spoon award – so check us on twitter to see what dishes are not to be missed.

See you there!

 

Posted in Area: Central Shopping, Area: Colmore Business District, Special Event | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

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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