We’ve reviewed the food of Chef Nathan Eades before, having eaten at his pop-ups in The Kitchen Garden (review here) and The Pickled Piglet. We’ve been meaning to try his more permanent home, Epi at The Courtyard, for a while and a couple of weeks ago we were invited to try the current lunch menu at his fine dining restaurant. Being greedy we decided to upgrade to the five course taster menu instead, and added on several bottles of wine and a couple of gins. There’s no such think as a free lunch when we’re around and feeling in the mood for a boozy one!
It’s probably a little further out than some of you would normally travel, but all I can say is it’s dead easy on the train to get to Bromsgrove (just 20 minutes from New Street Station and a 2 minute cab) and it’s such good value you’d be a fool to miss it (this is also true of The Bluebell). You’ll find Epi down an alleyway off Bromsgrove High Street; the antique building is pretty and the dining rooms are cosy and inviting.
Professional and friendly staff seated us and we ordered a G&T while we perused the wine list which had a good selection starting from £15 a bottle. As we intended on not getting too tipsy we declined the wine flight and instead ordered first a bottle of Gavi (£22.50) to go with our first couple of courses.
First up was a Pig’s Head Terrine which was both piggy and heady (in both senses of the word), accompanied by a sweet apple puree and slices of apple. Some restaurants spoil great food by serving it with Ikea cutlery and dinnerware, not so here, I think a lot of time goes in to deciding which type of plate should be used for which dish and consequently the finished article looks terrific.
Next up was a “tasting of carrot”, with carrot prepared five ways – sweetly roasted, puréed, as a lightly spiced bhaji, ribboned and pickled, and finally a jus of green carrot over the top. I like dishes that make an accompaniment the centre of attention.
Then to the main event – slow cooked short rib of beef. Two words: de, licious. The tender and strongly beefy ribs were served with a pomme purée and kale, with roasted swede (which is a much underused vegetable in my opinion, I really like it but hardly ever see it on a menu), and a beefy sauce which we had an extra jug of. We had a bottle of red to go with this but I failed to note what it was.
To accompany dessert we decided on a frizzante Moscoto D’Asti Centeve (£22), which had
sweet pineapple and honey notes. It went wonderfully with the first desert of buttery chocolate ganache with caramelised milk, and equally well with the next course of rhubarb, lemon curd, and spiced ginger cake.
While it may not be everyday dining, it’s a lovely place for a treat and excellent value. The five course taster menu costs just £35, and I can’t think of anywhere else you could eat food this good for that amount of money. For the hungry, Chef Nathan offers a seven course taster menu at £40, and for the not so hungry a three course menu at £29. There are wine flights for each menu for those who want wine matched to each course (£20, £25, £30 respectively for three/five/seven courses). They also offer lunch as two or three courses which cost £25 and £30 respectively. They’re open for Valentine’s and I think that’s a perfect opportunity to spoil your loved one.