St. George’s, Edgbaston, is fast becoming the gastronomic hub of the western side of the city. While Simpsons has been presenting pretty plates for years there are many new, and not so new, great offerings around here; El Boraccho de Oro, Blue Piano, Laghi’s, The Physician, and The Highfield are all just a few minutes walk, and other interesting things are on the way too. If you’ve managed to tick all of those off, you’ll be pleased to know another restaurant opened some months ago to almost no publicity.
It’s not your usual venue, granted, but we thought it was worth a punt. You see, Three Church Road restaurant is actually part of the new retirement village at Audley St. George’s Place. If this brings to mind soggy vegetables with grey mince then think again, the restaurant is pitched at the well heeled owner occupiers of the ninety-five apartments and cottages at this complex which boasts a library, pool, gym, sauna, landscaped grounds, and bar in beautifully converted Georgian mansions and new builds. If I should be so lucky to have a few million quid knocking about in my pension pot in a few decades time I might consider it myself.
Decoration and styling is sympathetic to the Grade II listed Georgian Regency mansion. Originally opened in 1814 as the Royal School for the Deaf, it continued to serve the hearing impaired until the 1980s. Thankfully the Audley group have rid the large site of the hideous 80’s builds, carbuncles, that were thrown up around this gem of a building, and have brought back some of the regal to the regency style. Keen attention has been paid to the interior, carpets and curtains quieting the comfortable dining room for an intimate dinner with friends.
While the pink bar looked very comfortable we decided to take an aperitif at the table, a couple of well-made Aperol ‘Negroni’, cocktails, a prosecco, and a gin & tonic. To start I ate the Chicken parfait (£7.50). Acidic pickled veg cut through smooth, rich parfait, an attractively presented dish. We also had a creamy mushroom soup.
For my main I had slow braised pork belly. Juicy meat with the right amount of rendered fat was dressed with a sweet gravy and set off by bright green and orange of broccoli and carrot (£14.50). I enjoyed the pork but it could’ve done with some potato on the side, and to my horror, it was missing its crackling. I know it said “braised” but with pork belly I’d still expect chef to go to the effort with the crackling.
The Welsh lamb rump served with barley (£19) was a larger dish than the pork. I’m never sure if I really like barley, and there was certainly too much of it. The lamb didn’t do it for me either, I like lamb rump cooked long and slow to melt the fat away in to the meat, and this effect had not been achieved, leaving inedible un-rendered fat. I loved the floral crystalised violet served with my pudding, a deconstructed sticky toffee affair, with apple and ice-cream.
Despite my mixed review of the food, the service was really good, and the place is lovely. We had a nice evening together putting the world to rights drinking reasonable reasonably priced wine (then we finished the night getting squiffy with wonderful Spanish wine at El Borracho around the corner). I guess Three Church Road is high-end of middle in terms of price, and for that they do need to sort out the food offering, it wasn’t quite there when we visited. I suspect given it is so quiet (we were the only Saturday evening diners), that might be taking its toll on the kitchen. I hope that Audley start getting the advertising out on this, it could be a charming addition to the Edgbaston menu if they can make it busy and sort out the hiccups. Good luck to them, we’ll no doubt give it another go to see how they’re getting on next year.