Brummy restaurateurs have found brilliantly innovative ways to continue to keep cash rolling in during lockdown, with many of them conscious that even after lockdown begins to ease that their normal business models won’t work because of requirements for distance between customers and the physical size of their premises. We applaud their innovation and have tried to use them once or twice a week to continue to support them. Where possible we’ve tried to have produce like bread and cheese delivered from some of our favourite independent sellers rather than resort to only the supermarket.
We’re also sparing a thought for businesses which were in the process of being set up, like Bistro 31, whose owner Clint Smith was on the verge of signing for a unit in Longbridge just before lockdown began. While their plans for a bistro serving in-house and takeaway food have been somewhat waylaid they have been running a delivery service (the Bistro Club) for NHS staff and people who were shielding – they’ve recently extended their offering to everyone in a 6 mile radius which covers much of the city and its suburbs.
They offer delivery of meals and desserts twice a week with the menu changing each week. You can order mid-week family meals like beef and sweet potato lasagne and Thai red curry, and desserts such as milky bar doughnuts and Eaton mess. For the weekend there are fun and tasty themed kits (think Mexican, Greek), plus full roasts and fry-ups.
This weekend we’ve had their Saturday night Mexican feast, and a lazy Sunday morning full fry-up which came to a very reasonable £40 for two people. For those of you that haven’t yet ordered any heat-at-home meals we can recommend Bistro @ B31 and a few more which we’ll list in another article.
Basically, with heat-at-home meals, you’re provided with everything you need to recreate (near) restaurant quality meals at home, including pre-prepped food ready for the oven, and instructions on how to reheat and serve. While we can’t wait to get back to seeing our favourites restaurateurs and sharing dining experience with our friends, this is a good alternative. You could even have a shared Zoom dinner party with everyone ordering the same food and prepping and eating together.
We started our Mexican fiesta dinner with charred corn and cheese polenta croquettes with lime and sour cream dressing. The outsides were crisp and the inside soft and cheesy, great with the fresh-tasting sour cream. The Havana potatoes provided an earthy cumin-punch. I particularly liked the blackened chicken enchilada, and beef brisket chilli tacos. The pork tenderloin burrito was very tasty with an interesting barbecue sauce – maybe a hint of cinnamon? I couldn’t quite put my finger on the spice mix.
We accompanied our dinner with the sounds of “The Mariachis” on Spotify, a mariachi cover band – we love a themed cover band! Thankfully we didn’t have any Tequila in the house otherwise Sunday would’ve been a write-off, and we potentially would have not been able to manage the full fry-up brunch we’d also had delivered from them. Bacon, egg, sausage, tomatoes, mushrooms, beans, black pudding hash brown cake, and poached eggs – all prepped and box just requiring an over re-heat. The poached eggs were spot on, albeit requiring an extra 30 seconds reheat in our domestic microwave compared to the instructions.
All in, we thought the delivery a great success, and will definitely use Bistro @ B31 over the coming weeks. You can find details of upcoming menus and instructions (including weekly deadlines) for ordering on their Facebook and Instagram pages and we’ve found them very easy to deal with.
We look forward to dining in Bistro @ B31 over the coming months, as they’re still planning to get the unit refurbished and ready for guests to enjoy it as soon as is possible.