It’s all about Edgbaston at the moment. Specifically Highfield Road, not too far from the top of Broad Street. While Simpsons Restaurant has been a stalwart restaurant of the well heeled in these parts since 2004, the last couple of years have seen some new kids on the block – The Edgbaston Boutique Hotel and Cocktail Lounge, The Highfield Restaurant, and also Norjske. They’re all very different in style: Simpsons, having undergone its refit over the last year now looks a warm Scandinavian cool; The Edgbaston have gone for a rich byzantine art deco; The Highfield are more comfy country pub; and Norjske a bright Nordic look.
Norsjke have just upped their game in terms of a food offering. The chef team Fybin & Loin, aka Gavin and Ade, have taken over the deli where during the day all kinds of gourmet produce and sandwiches can be purchased. They’ve also taken over the bar and seating upstairs as a full service restaurant. We went for a bite to eat on a Friday evening, about two days after they opened. The team have big plans and we look forward to seeing the venue develop over the coming few months.
I won’t talk about the wine as they tell us they’re about to completely change the wine list so are running this stock down. I will say that, of course, we had too much. Hic! The food menu is suitably short, but plenty varied, for a small quality venue. It’s kind of a 2.5 courses sort of affair, in that there aren’t many starters nor desserts – I’ll explain…
We started with breads from the fabulous Brummy bakers Peel & Stone, and excellent butter from Nether End Farm, with Muffelata which is a dip of pickled vegetables and olives, and Santorini Fava, a puree of yellow lentils, garlic, thyme, onion, and lemon. The dips were packed full of punchy flavours, a perfect light start to a Friday night supper. Well. I say light. I ate about a loaf. I was carbatosed (I’ve just added that to Urban Dictionary) by the end, and slightly traumatised that I still hadn’t managed to eat all of the bread nor all of the Santorini Fava.
After the really tasty dips I had the Jimmy Butler’s Maple Cured Pork Ribeye. This was a really pretty dish to which my photo does not do justice. The ham was cushioned on soufflé-like burnished Comté cheese, which complimented wonderfully. I loved the baby apple that was served with it. Though it had many components it was a very balanced dish, and was paired with truffle and pecorino roasted potatoes.
We also had a dish of Hake a la Plancha, with carrots, and black cabbage. Again a well presented dish. Though this one had a foam, which I’m never sure about. We tried the the cannon of lamb, which had great flavour and was served with gigandes – enormous butter beans cooked with tomato and herbs. We also enjoyed the ox cheek with wobbly bone marrow.
For dessert we tried the brownie which was very rich, and very excellent Portueguese Pastel de Nata, sort of a light egg custard tart. They’re virtually a religion in their own right in Portugal, but I don’t think anyone could complain at Fybin & Loin’s proffering to the pastry gods – just set sweet custard cream filling rested in almost croissant like buttery pastry cases. I’m rarely bothered by desserts but these were serious patisserie.
Excluding drinks dinner will set you back less than £25 a head I reckon. I can’t wait to see what else the team will offer when they’re fully up and running. Give it a go soon.