Bardolino Pizzeria

out-in-brum-bardolino-interiorThe Out In Brum usual roving correspondent was busy so on being invited to Bardolino’s for a pizza making evening we sent a substitute, so thanks to Andrew for popping along.  This was a freebie event – please see our reciprocity promise here.

Bardolino Pizzeria, Bellini, and Espresso Bar opened in The Cube last summer. The latest venture from Marco Pierre White, this ‘ultra-casual’, café-style restaurant focuses on providing authentic Italian food at affordable prices. As the name suggests, there’s a focus on pizza – thin and crispy and almost burnt at the edges, just like Mamma White used to make – but with many other Italian favourites available too. As the restaurant is also attached to the Club and Spa, there is also a range of super-healthy, super-salads to give gym-goers the energy they need to sculpt those bodies.

out-in-brum-bardolino-wineThursday, 9th February, is National Pizza Day and so in honour of this, and to launch their new menu, we were invited to go along and have a go at crafting our own pizzas. Well…with free pizza on offer, on a cold and miserable Monday night, it would have been rude not to!

On walking in to the spacious, open interior we were offered a beer or glass of prosecco. The restaurant was showcasing Peroni’s new Gluten-free Nastro Azzurro so with trepidation we agreed to try a sample bottle. At first I thought they must have given us the wrong bottle as it tasted just like the pleasant, crisp, Italian lager we know and love. It was only when we tasted it side by side with the original that you could notice a difference. It’s slightly drier – but no less enjoyable for it.

out-in-brum-bardolino-foodSuitably refreshed it was on to the business of the day. Aprons and hats were donned and we took our place around a large table where balls of dough had been prepared ready for us. The Head Chef talked us through the ingredients available and then guided us all in stretching our balls out to become thin pizza bases. Cue lots of flying semolina flour, dough-tossing and amazingly no ‘dough-meets-floor’ experiences!

Then we were invited to let our minds go wild and create our perfect pizza. I opted for a layer of salami and bresaola topped with cheese, then chillis, mushrooms and more cheese, finished off with fresh spinach and a drizzle of balsamic, and dubbed it the Brumicelli. Adam started with a layer of Bolognese and topped it with a Birmingham assay anchor fashioned from bresaola, mushroom, and an egg, and dubbed it the 1877 (the year the assay office opened). The OutInBrum logo in out-in-brum-bardolino-pizzapizza form!

After a surprisingly quick few minutes in the oven we got to the best part of the evening – tasting our creations. I may be biased but mine was amongst the very best pizzas I’ve ever
tasted. The base was perfectly thin and crispy and the toppings were a dream. Adam’s 1877 was very enjoyable and, from the sounds around the table, all the others were too.

We had a fantastic evening and it was a much better way of launching a new menu than simply sending out a press release. Given the success of the evening, Bardolino are now considering offering this pizza-making experience more regularly. Watch this space and if we get more details you’ll be the first to know.

All that remains now is to head over to Bardolino on a regular night and sample the food out-in-brum-bardolino-pizza-anchoron the menu – it’ll be interesting to see whether it’s as good as ours!

Bardolino’s new menu is available from 7th February. Prices range from £8.95 to £11.95
for pizza and main courses. Brunch is available 11am-5pm and prices range from £4.75-£8.95. At weekends you can have a ‘bottomless brunch’ – any brunch item plus bottomless bellinis for £18 over a two hour period.

Posted in Area: The Cube, Article, Venue type: Restaurant | 1 Comment

@ 21 Restaurant, Edgbaston

out-in-brum-at-21-restaurant-chickenWe were outraged when Birmingham planning officers decided that the wonderful Comida tapas restaurant on Gordon Road in Harborne was to be denied a permanent licence when its temporary use licence expired.  Much to our relief the resilient proprietors, Jade and Stewart, picked themselves up from the disappointment of losing the much loved venue and found a new home on Highfield Road in Edgbaston.  Thankfully it’s equally as easy for us to access, just opposite Michelin starred Simpsons restaurant, and just seconds from luxe cocktail bar The Edgbaston.

out-in-brum-at-21-restaurant-salt-codeWe ate often at Comida when it was in Harborne, popping in after a long day at work rather than cooking, and having celebration meals there with groups of friends and family, all of whom would remark on the excellent food and friendly welcome.  Whilst it has lost its name in the move to Edgbaston – for it is now known simply as “@21 Restaurant” – it has lost none of the charm, with wait staff striking just the right balance of familiarity and professionalism.

Jade has worked her interior magic on the typically 70’s glass fronted building.  The dining room, on the first floor, is sympathetic to the architecture with light woods and high design furniture lit by candles and warm lighting.  White walls are accented by striking planting and mirrors.  The ground floor offers a covered outdoor area, which will be wonderful for summer al fresco dining, and a bar overlooking the open kitchen in which Stewart works his equally accomplished magic.

out-in-brum-at-21-restaurant-porkWhile Comida started out as a more traditional Spanish Tapas restaurant with lots of small plates, the menu @21 is a less flashy, more homely, but perfectly executed affair.  We started in the bar with a some crisp salty pork scratching straws to go with our pre-dinner Estrella beer, wine, and olives.

Dining with friends we took a large candlelit table in a cosy nook and ordered bottles of spicy and brooding Rioja to share.  We ate family style, sharing dishes as they arrived in the middle of the table, starting with a meat board of earthy bresaola, parma ham, pickled chillis, and salty sour giant capers.  We also took the old Comida favourite of salt cod fritters with pesto, pink onions, and dill, crispy on the outside and soft, hot, and comforting in the middle.

We then tried the pork.  To be precise, twelve hour slow roast pork, deliciously moist, with glass-like crackling, served on matchsticks of apple.  One our diners who is not a big pork fan said it was the best pork he’d ever had.  High praise indeed, and I feel much the same.  out-in-brum-at-21-restaurant-chorizo-potWe also had tender corn fed chicken with chilli, mint, courgette, and feta – a warming and comforting dish of crisp skinned roasted chicken with cool courgette and mint.  Our final “main” meat dish was the bourbon glazed short rib of beef, another triumph of man over meat, soft and sweet.

As sides for our meaty mains we had the chorizo, tomato, and white bean pot, and a pot of white beans with potatoes, parsley, and pesto.  With some bread for dipping these would have worked as a supper dish on their own as they were filling and tasty.

I’m sure a solo diner wanting a dish for supper and a glass of wine after the office would be out-in-brum-at-21-restaurant-beefequally as welcomed here, and feel just as comfortable, as couples out for a romantic dinner, and groups of friends putting the world to rights.

Cesar Chavez said that “the people who give you their food give you their heat”, and that’s really why I like this place so much, there is care and love in every forkful.

@21 Restaurant is a wonderful addition to Edgbaston, and we wish them much luck.

Their website is available here: http://at21.co.uk

Posted in Area: Edgbaston, Area: Harborne, Birmingham Restaurant, birmingham restaurant review, Cuisine: Modern Mixed, Price: Average, Venue type: Restaurant | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Chase The Sun 2017

On 17th June 2017, twenty intrepid amateur Brummy cyclists will be trying to beat the Earth’sLisieux Trust rotation and cycle 200+ miles in just 17 hours in the aid of local charity Lisieux Trust.

16650744_10158257983395436_1760516949_oAs members of local cycling collective Boldmere Bullets, they have all been inspired by the efforts of a solo member (and local blogger Simon Steggles aka https://twitter.com/brumbrekkieclub) to take on this challenge, and to raise some well deserved funds for their chosen charity of the year, Lisieux Trust, as they do it.

“Chase the Sun began in 2008, when three average cyclists set off on an adventure to find out how far they could ride in one day . . . choosing the longest day, and beginning at the first rays of sunrise, Olly & friends departed from the east coast of the UK to ‘Chase the Sun’. . .   Since then, the event continues to grow as more and more people take on the challenge each year” [Link to CTS org].

map
With departure from Minster-on-Sea on the Isle of Sheppey at first rays (around 4:35am) the cyclists have until sunset (around 9:30pm) to make the 209 mile route across the UK to the seafront at Burnham-on-Sea.

Although the ride is taken on as a personal challenge (and apparently for fun!) the logistics of transporting 20+ people, 30+ bikes, and all of the supporting kit, food, and energy gels to the start line, then provide a fleet of support vehicles, first aid kits, spare tyres, and spare parts along the route is a costly exercise.

Lisieux TrustWe are assisting the Bullets team in their charity ride this year by providing a support vehicle as well as asking for any help from businesses, local or national, that may wish to take up sponsorship opportunities, or who may want to donate essentials to this great cause.

If you would like your business’ logo to appear on any of the kit being produced you have the opportunity to sponsor the items for the event. Your logo will not only be seen by the many riders taking part, but also on the media coverage prior to, during, and after the event.

16601826_10158257488790436_1929503108380545497_o

  • £200 gets exclusive sponsorship of the riders caps (Reserved by Disklabs)
  • £600 gets exclusive sponsorship of the riders jerseys (Reserved by Portswigger)
  • £80 gets exclusive sponsorship of the support team t-shirts (Reserved by Disklabs)
  • £700 gets exclusive sponsorship of the riders shorts (Reserved)
  • £210 gets exclusive sponsorship of the riders arm warmers (Reserved by Bar OPUS)

We are also hoping to source some of the essentials required through the day to maximise the charitable donation. The sort of items the team will require include:

  • Gels
  • Energy bars
  • Electrolyte tablets
  • Bananas
  • Flapjack type things
  • Bottles of water
  • Porridge pots
  • Nuts
  • Inner tubes
  • Salt Tablets
  • Chamois cream
  • Water bottles
  • First aid kits

If as a local or national business you would like to sign-up for any of the sponsorship opportunities, or if you could help with donations of any of the above supplies, please contact us ASAP at CTS@outinbrum.com or via the form below to discuss requirements and options as there is a deadline for any kit to be manufactured.

The Lisieux Trust

Lisieux TrustLisieux Trust, established in 1984, is managed by an elected Board of Directors. The aims and objectives of Lisieux Trust are to provide high quality support/information and/or accommodation to disabled people in and around the West Midlands. Services offered by Lisieux Trust include the provision of 24-hour residential accommodation, supported living establishments with full tenancy rights, information and support to disabled people, carers and their families, and significant others. Support can range from promotion of daily life skills, independent travel, access to work, further education, training, leisure activities, information and support regarding personal benefits, advocacy and access to other support services. The ethos of Lisieux Trust is to recognise and value individual rights above anything else; encouraging people to achieve their full potential and take a valued role in society.

The organisation’s name; “Lisieux” Trust is French in origin and derived from a village in Normandy, France. It is pronounced phonetically as “Liss-yer”.

The History of the Boldmere Bullets

Born in the autumn of 2013, the Boldmere Bullets started with two brothers cycling each week in Boldmere (The Founders). Quite quickly a core group of friends were riding on a regular basis and decided to call themselves the “Boldmere Bullets”. The concept was simple – ride our bikes in a friendly and fun environment without any form of elitism or competitiveness that would turn away other cyclists.

Tom Swinbourne was appointed “The Chairman” (he had the “BIG IDEAS” and the most amount of energy!) and his brother Jon Swinbourne was appointed “The Captain” (he was more sensible). Tom decided to run all the things “off the bike” whilst Jon would run all the things “on the bike”. Jag Sarmotta then started to work his magic, bringing together hundreds of people via the power of social media. Meanwhile Lloyd Norton started 16593475_10158257981645436_535429524_oarranging our social events and Raich Carter designed and arranged our first kit order. The Bullets was by now well under way and had started to gain a good reputation in the local area.

Tom realised there was a gap for people who wanted to be part of the Collective but did not want to cycle. So in the late summer of 2014, alongside Pard Bagdi, he started up the Running Collective. They quickly found that our approach to free, voluntary-led experiences for our local community worked just as well outside of cycling.

Since that time the Boldmere Bullets have grown to a network of of friends which continue to expand every day. We now have well over a 1000 people connected in the local area with hundreds of people exercising together free of charge every week.

Jon Swinbourne came up with the concept of a “Charity of the year” and the Bullets are now proud that by the end of 2016 we have raised over £45,000 for local charities including Sutton Coldfield Cancer Centre, Breast Friends and the Lisieux trust.

We have so many stories to tell and so many people to thank – we could go on for ever! However we hope this gives you a sense of what the Collective is all about and what we have achieved in in a very short space of time. If you have any questions, ideas or feedback please talk to a volunteer, member of our Core Team or use the Contact Us form.

Major events

In the summer of 2014 we launched the inaugural ‘Tour de Boldmere’, a series of group and individual rides designed to introduce cyclists to group riding, and help people find new routes and challenges. This helped grow the collective significantly, and, at the same time, we started selling club kit, in our distinctive ‘Bullets Orange’.

In January 2015 our running collective started our popular ‘couch-to-5k’ programme to help people start running.

Summer 2015 brought the first major Bullets charity event – le Tour de North – in which twelve intrepid cyclists set off on a week-long cycling challenge covering over 500 miles, and every hill, in the north of England, along the way raising over £9,000 for the Bullets charity of the year, the Sutton Coldfield Cancer Support Centre.

2016 was an even bigger year for the collective. One summer weekend, another plucky group of cyclists known as Team 300 set out from Barmouth in Wales to cycle to Yarmouth (over 300 miles away), in the space of 24 hours, raising a phenomenal amount for our charity of 2016, Breast Friends. In September, we also held our first chip-timed fun run in Sutton Park, attracting hundreds of runners from the local area, and raising more money for Breast Friends.

We finished 2016 having collectively raised over £34,000 for Breast Friends!

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Rofuto – a revisit

Out In Brum - Rofuto - ScallopsWe first visited Rofuto just after opening in early 2016.  The former 60s carbuncle that was Auchinleck House on Five Ways at the end of Broad Street was well and truly stripped and whipped into shape as the UK’s first and only Park Regis hotel.  The swanky Park Regis brand of course needed a destination restaurant and bar, and Japanese inspired Rofuto is just that.  Situated on the top of the building, which is itself at one of the highest points of Brum, the restaurant and bar offers 360 degree views across the city and out towards the leafy suburbs of Harborne and Edgbaston in the west.  This visit was the result of a competition win – a business card draw at an event they were hosting – no funny business, we all watched them draw my card out of the bowl of 50!

Out In Brum - Rofuto - Sea Bass SashimiThe bar, with its triple-height glazing, is a wonderful place for a Friday evening drink after work, watching the red brake lights of cars rushing home for some peace and quiet, and the white lights of cars rushing in to the city to get the weekend party started.  The interior lighting is subdued and the decoration chic.  The design is more restrained than theatrical, think bamboo and light woods, rather than geisha, with subtle detailing like polished concrete columns imprinted with a water design.

In the restaurant we had a table on the south side of the building, looking out to Edgbaston cricket ground.  The seating was comfortable and the service attentive.  As we were dining Out In Brum - Rofuto - Japanese Fish and Chipswith two people with allergies (one shellfish, one gluten) we were given the allergen guide for the menu which was really helpful as we didn’t have to ask a thousand questions of the waiting staff about each dish.

The menu, which we hear will soon be expanding to include more pan-asian flavours rather than just Japanese, is pretty comprehensive.  They’re going for a ‘izakaya’ feel for the menu at the moment – for the uninitiated that’s sort-of Japanese tapas, lots of things to share.  There’s sushi, maki, sashimi, tempura, noodles, and quite a few “from the land” dishes for those who aren’t a fan of seafood (you weirdos), including the showstopping Wagyu beef steak.

The dishes were all beautifully presented, but the prettiest dish prize must go to the golden buttery scallops, served in shells with seaweed and flowers and black contrasting Out In Brum - Rofuto - Tuna Tartareroe (caviar? I really must make more notes).  Actually, I think it has to share its prize with a sashimi dish of sea bass with passion fruit dressing, petals, and maybe a hint of Yuzu?  We also had some super fresh sushi, and a wonderful tuna tartare with a nose-tingling wasabi dressing, cassava crisps offering visual height and theatre, and a crisp edible spoon to set off the soft cool tuna.

I loved the soft and sticky pork ribs, and the steak was also great, served with lotus root crisps (not for the trypophobics amongst you).  The Japanese fish and chips was both entertaining and tasty.  The fish had a light crisp batter, the “chips” were cassava crisps, Out In Brum - Rofuto - Pork Ribsthe mushy peas had a mild wasabi flavour, and it was served with a passion fruit tartar sauce – a great riff on the British classic.  We tried two of their desserts – a sharp lemon tart and a coconut panna cotta, both were good.

Dinner here is going to set you back £50+ a head depending on what you’re drinking.  The wine list is reasonable starting at about £23 a bottle for a tasty Viognier.  You could easily blow £100 a head if you were up for pre-drinks, sushi platters, mains, and cocktails.  Is it worth it?  The food is great, the place is beautiful, so in my opinion it is.  With recent staff and menu changes I’m sure it will continue to get busier.  Give it a go for that romantic dinner, or birthday lunch.  Kanpai!

Out In Brum - Rofuto - Coconut Panna Cotta

 

 

Posted in Area: Broad Street, Area: Hagley Road, Birmingham Restaurant, birmingham restaurant review, birmingham review, Cuisine: Japanese, Price: Get your dad to pay - above average, Price: My eyes are watering - expensive, Venue type: Bar, Venue type: Cocktail Bar, Venue type: Restaurant, Venue type: Wine Bar | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Bar Opus – Hendrick’s Afternoon Tea

In recent years we’ve seen the afternoon tea offerings in Birmingham move from the quaint and traditional at the HyHendrick's Gin Tea Pot at Bar Opusatt, to the uber modern at Hotel La Tour (I still use their Welsh-rarebit-fondue recipe that I knicked off the chef), to the travesty at the Macdonald Burlington hotel. Bar Opus, one of our favourite venues in town, have now started their own afternoon tea, this time with Hendrick’s Gin Cocktails – hic! We took tea with the proprietors for a boozy Saturday afternoon get together complete with live music from Felix from @EQRecordings. They’re planning that live artists will feature more often in their modern bar, located just two minutes from Snow Hill Railway Station.

I enjoy afternoon tea; from the formal napkins, tablecloth, silverware, end of the spectrum, to Opus’s considerably more fun and informal version. Opus’s tea has rushed to Felix from Equilibrium Recordings at Bar Opusthe head of the field in Brum – for their tea-pots can now contain a selection of Hendrick’s Gin cocktails. For the purposes of research, our table tried each of the three concoctions on offer: Flora Dora (gin, lime, raspberry, and ginger); the Martinez (gin, orange bitters, vermouth, and marasschino); and the Chelsea Rose (gin, apple, raspberry, and lemon). My favourite was the Martinez, a herbal mix but not too dry, my partner preferred the sharp but sweeter Flora Dora. You can of course also take normal boring tea, but why would you want to?  January is blue enough without abstaining from booze.

Food arrived on tiered stands. While I enjoyed the finger sandwiches of cucumber & cream cheese, and of egg mayo, I was pleased to see it wasn’t all sandwiches. We also had aSweets and Sandwiches at Bar Opus Afternoon Tea tasty salmon and dill quiche with crumbly pastry, and a pigging great ham hock terrine served with a piquant-tingle-your-nose piccalilli. I often think that afternoon tea can end up too cake heavy, but with the addition of these non-sandwich savouries it really balanced it out.

Not that I dislike a sweet. We moved on to fruit scones and plane scones (homemade, of course) with clotted cream and strawberry jam, with a nice addition of sliced fresh strawberries that lifted the flavour. I was getting quite full by this point, so I stopped for another teacup full of gin, purely as a digestif. Then on to the home strait, I scoffed a macaron, a lemon drizzle cup cake, and finally a slice of moist coffee and walnut cake. Oh. And a buttery, dark, sticky, chocolate brownie. As I believe my gym managing brother would say: it’s all about the gains (seriously though, he’s great, you can find his gym here if you’re looking for one in the DY).

Without the booze it’s £17.50 per person, but obviously you’ll want the gin at £50 for two people.  Given that’s a couple of cup fulls of gin each, plus enough food to floor a racehorse Bar Opus Afternoon Tea Scones(excuse the third horse racing reference, there), it’s an evening out in itself.  They also offer a vegetarian option.

We like Bar Opus for its warm welcome, and we’re sure you’d all love it too. Give it a go, but make sure you go hungry!

 

Posted in Area: Central Shopping, Area: Colmore Business District, Cuisine: English, My Favourite Places, Price: Average | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Made on the Canal – Brill Brum Art

When we were talking with friends about a blog redesign some months ago we were re-Out In Brum - Made On The Canal - Libraryintroduced to the previous designer-in-residence at Birmingham City University, Thomas Parry, perhaps better know as Made On The Canal.  We’ve had such a wonderful response to our new logo and banner that we really want to share this designer’s wonderful work with you – and at the moment you might still get some stocking fillers from him in time for Christmas!

Birmingham born Thomas grew up in Northern Ireland but then returned to Brum where he studied at BCU from 2007, graduating some years later with an MA in Product Design.  While his first love was ceramics (“I like to get Out In Brum - Made On The Canal - TC Workingmucky!”) he’s finding success now, alongside his full-time non-design job, in working on commission design pieces, and selling his iconic line drawings of Birmingham’s landmarks, in a  similar style to our logo, under the moniker Made on the Canal.  Why that name?  Because, of course, he lives and designs on his narrow boat – The Menace – that travels the Grand Union Canal network.

His drawings are instantly recognisable as the sites of Birmingham, even though only drawn with black lines on white.  He said: “I spend as long as is necessary to discern the defining features, lines and patterning that fix that particular building/landmark in our minds.  Dimension, sense of scale and proportion are all significant. How this plays with space once it is free from the overall skyline on a single piece of paper can only be worked through once I begin stripping away the everyday to lift the form of the structure from the page”.Out In Brum - Made On The Canal - Logo

If you’re after a Christmas gift for someone then check out his website, http://madeonthecanal.co.uk, for brilliant value hand finished prints (and there’s 20% off until 14/12/16).  Thomas can bespoke them if you wish, adding or removing detail and colour as required.  A particular favourite of mine is his A1 Birmingham City Centre Map which is interesting art for any office or modern room.  He’s created the map by drawing 2D line images of the city’s landmarks then connecting them with roads so that from each point on the map you can see the buildings that are there.  The irregular skyline is great too.

We can highly recommend him for commission pieces.  We explained vaguely what we wanted for logos, banners, and business cards and he worked with us to hone and tweak them until we were happy (and we’re very difficult customers).  It’s great to be able to support a truly local and independent talent in Brum, and hope you enjoy his work too.

 

 

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Harborne Kitchen

Out In Brum - Harborne Kitchen - The TeamAfter almost a year of mourning the closure of The Butchers’ Social on Harborne High Street, Wednesday night we were able to celebrate the opening of its replacement – Harborne Kitchen.  Co-creator of The Butchers’ Social, Jamie Desogus, is now Executive Chef Proprietor of his very own restaurant, an elegant and friendly place that is going to tickle the taste buds of most of Brum’s foodie set over the coming weeks.

Those of you who knew The Butchers’ won’t recognise the place, for it has quite literally been rebuilt.  The only things that remain are the party walls and the roof.  A palette of Out In Brum - Harborne Kitchen - The Passdeep blues and beech woods offer a warm Scandi vibe, with a massive hand painted bull alluding to its decades as a high street butcher’s shop.  Entering from the street you’ll find yourself in a cosy bar inviting you to take a seat and have a coffee from local roastery Quarter Horse, or indulge in a beer, a wine, or a well-made cocktail from Josh.  As an aperitif we had an excellent espresso martini, combining the wonderful Quarter Horse coffee with Josh’s skills with a cocktail shaker.

It’s often said that the British hospitality industry is run by the most inhospitable people, but it’s not so here.  Like many of the HK team, bar manager Josh is full of boundless Out In Brum - Harborne Kitchen - Barenergy for his profession, and the service from him, the general manager Kinglsey, and restaurant manager Ben was remarkably good.  All of the staff are proud of the transformation of the building, and of the fine product that they’re offering.  The kitchen team, entirely on display in what must be the most open of kitchens in Birmingham, are equally buoyant to be dishing out top quality food, and there is some established young talent on display alongside seasoned Chef Jamie who’s worked for some of the UK’s finest chef’s such as Gordon Ramsay and Mark Askew.

Full disclosure: we went to a soft launch night so food was half price, if you think that’s swayed my point of view, it’s because you haven’t tried for yourself the roasted yeast butter, the cod skin “quavers”, nor the pork doughnut.  I have no doubt you’ll be as big a fan as I am.

We booked seats on one of the two chef’s tables, sat on high stools against a generous bar overlooking the completely open kitchen.  I find it fascinating to watch an expert at work Out In Brum - Harborne Kitchen - Bull Wall and Seating Planand was not disappointed as we had a great view of all the kitchen stations.  HK offers an à la carte menu (two courses £26.50, three courses £32.50), but as it was a special occasion – a miserable and wet Wednesday in November – we thought the seven course tasting menu (£55), with matching wine flight (£40), was in order.

First up, chef’s snack.  A golden golf-ball sized doughnut filled with pork collar and topped with sharp apple sauce, hot from the fryer, was a perfectly piggy antidote to the winter gloom.  The cod skin ‘quavers’ were feather light and delicate, and with a spray of rosemary vinegar gave a big flavour punch and a taste of the sea.  The accompanying bread, baked on the premises of course, was served with an Out In Brum - Harborne Kitchen - Pre Starterunusual roasted yeast butter, adding a strong sesame flavour with a hint of malt.  I finished the lot.  This was served with an English sparking wine that I’d not had before from Bolney in Sussex, a light and simple wine, quite fizzy, cut through the richness of the doughnut; it’s always nice to start with some fizz.

The first starter course was Jerusalem artichoke, girolle, spinach, camembert, and hazlenut.  The artichoke was burnished gold in butter and married beautifully with the creamy camembert foam.  Artichoke crisps added another texture, with hazelnut brittle as a Out In Brum - Harborne Kitchen - Salmon Skin Quaversseasoning.  This was served with a Navaherros Blanco de Bernableva which was minerally with a  creamy mouthfeel.

The next starter course was lamb sweetbread, pink peppercorn, coriander, masala shrimp, and cauliflower.  This small dish packed a mighty fine taste profile.  Some hung yoghurt was slightly sharp against the soft sweetbreads, while the masala shrimp brought in a more exotic warmth and strands of sour apple cut through the butteryness.  This was served with the cold hopped house lager, closer to an ale than a continental lager, this has the hops thrown in at the last minute for a floral hoppy flavour, but without the extreme bitterness favoured by many craft brewers, a lovely well balanced brew.

Then on to a fish course.  Monkfish, leek, pig’s ear, rosemary, and almond.  The shredded Out In Brum - Harborne Kitchen - Monk Fishfried ear was salty and crisp, great contrasted with the firm white monk fish and soft leeks.  Unusually this was served with a red wine, a Lagrimas de Garnacha.  I was quite ready to dislike this pairing but found I couldn’t, the wine was light and the dish was rich with the meaty monk fish and the salty piggy ear, and the match worked well.

Next up the main.  Fallow deer haunch, hispi cabbage, celeriac, coffee and chocolate.  The celeriac puree was sweet against the slightly bitter cabbage, and pink venison.  I love how chocolate and coffee are being incorporated in to more savoury dishes, and the team here shows perfect restraint in their use.  There Out In Brum - Harborne Kitchen - Venisonwas just a mere suggestion of them both, adding a wonderful depth to the venison flavours.  The wine with this course was my favourite, a gorgeous jammy St Emillion Grand Cru Bordeaux, full of autumnal blackberry.

On to a pre-dessert of sharp yoghurt, sweet dehydrated Clementine, and star anise.  I enjoyed the punchy aniseed against the cool yoghurt and, and the aniseedy fennel fronds.  This was served with a Niizawa Earl Grey Sake, sweet and bergamot perfumed.  Finally, on to the final dessert: mango, ginger, buttermilk, and macadamia.  The ginger sponge was delicately spiced to work with the sunny mango.  The sugared macadamia was pretty and provided Out In Brum - Harborne Kitchen - Ginger Cakesome required crunch; I had earlier enjoyed watching the burly pastry chef make these dainty shining jewels from molten sugar.  The final pairing was a Royal Tokaji, a familiar delicious dessert wine.

As a digestif Josh produced for me a great rendition of an Old Fashioned, which I enjoyed with the mignardises of blackberry pastilles.

Definitely a marathon and not a sprint, we were dining for around four hours, with service being spot-on, neither slow nor impatient.

I suspect that this place will be packed pretty soon, the service and food is simply too good to pass up, and it promises to offer a lot of possibilities – pints, cocktails, bar food, celebratory dinners, romantic meals, coffee, and everything in between.

Congratulations Jamie and the rest of the team in opening a top class local restaurant, and good luck over the coming months while you become an established part of Brum’s exploding dining scene.

Check out this time lapse of the kitchen and some more snaps below:

 

Posted in Area: Harborne, Birmingham Restaurant, birmingham restaurant review, birmingham review, Cuisine: English, Cuisine: Fine Dining, Cuisine: Modern Mixed, Price: Get your dad to pay - above average, restaurant review, Venue type: Bar, Venue type: Cocktail Bar, Venue type: Restaurant, Venue type: Wine Bar | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments