A week or two ago we picked up our passports, affixed our crampons, made sure we had the right inoculations, and headed out to Carter’s of Moseley. Moseley. Four whole miles away, I almost had a nosebleed. Those I know who use it frequently virtually proselytize about it, so we’ve been meaning to go and see what all the fuss is about for a while.
We headed over to Moseley in a “Car 2 Go” – not the point of this review but do check out the scheme which is essentially London’s Boris Bikes but with cars and in Birmingham! You can see their website here: http://www.car2go.com .
The smart frontage of the restaurant is sandwiched between a pharmacy and a solicitors firm in a parade of shops which includes a launderette. I’d most definitely describe the location as unassuming. It’s about a 40 seater and has very simple styling with bench seating down one side allowing table set ups for even the largest of groups. We four took the single round table at the end of the restaurant next to a window in to the kitchen. I enjoyed watching the chefs taking every care to plate-up at the pass: a dot of sauce here, a move of a sprig there, until perfection.
Holly, the charming Maître d’, convinced us to have a glass of fizz as an aperitif and brought us bread while we were selecting our dishes. The bread was served not only with the obligatory butter, but also with a tasty crab dip.
There’s a good range of wine to choose from with something suitable for all tastes and budgets, by the bottle and by the glass. Holly was on hand to offer advice, and we first went for a Grüner Veltliner – they seem to be in fashion at the moment as I’d not had any GruVe (as the winos call it) until last year and now it’s on every menu I look at. Speaking of culinary fashion, there was a few dishes including Wild Garlic. Last year we couldn’t move for brioche and beetroot, this year it appears to be Wild Garlic that will be gracing our plates.
We had a lovely amuse-bouche of quail scotch-eggs which were crispy on the outside and runny in the middle, perfect, I love a Scotch egg. For starters we went for: Soft Cooked Pheasant Egg, Wild Garlic, with Smoked Breadcrumbs; Flamed Mackerel, Cucumber, Dill, and Horseradish; and the starter pièce de résistance – a whole pigeon served under a smoke filled wooden cloche on a bed of hay and pine needles. No one wants to carve a pigeon at the table and once the visual impact was appreciated it was whipped away to be carved and plated. It was cooked rare and had a good gamey flavour. Although I joked about the current ubiquitousness of wild garlic, the simple dish of poached egg with wild garlic was pretty and flavoursome, and the warm mackerel went down superbly with the GruVe.
Unusually, there was Cornish Ray on the menu, it’s a delicately flavoured fish which was dressed with a burned butter sauce, and served with crispy chicken skin that really packed a poultry punch. A very unusual and successful dish. The menu was fairly short with just two fish dishes and two meat dishes, but I’m happy to have a small choice when the food is this good. We also tried the lamb rump and the monk fish. All lovely.
The dishes are not voluminous, but with two courses I was full enough not to need dessert. We did try some super stinky cheese with a port, and pedro ximinez dessert sherry with a sticky toffee pudding baked and served in a golden syrup tin – which was a nice touch I thought.
With the smiling service combined with the super food, we will definitely be back.
Three courses with wine will set you back about £50 per head.