Cheval Blanc

Out In Brum - Cheval Blanc - FrontageWhen Keith Marsden joined forces with the daughter of one of Birmingham’s other stalwart hospitality families there were high hopes that they would produce a knockout venue, and they have not disappointed.  Keith Marsden, owner of the British Oak in Stirchley, and The Prince of Wales and Dark Horse in Moseley, has teamed up with Abby Connolley, of  Connolleys, a go-to city wine merchant who’ve been selling wine to hotels and restaurants for four decades, and who have had seven generations in the wine slurping and sipping business.  Some months ago the Marsdens Out In Brum - Cheval Blanc - Cellaropened Cheval Blanc, a wine bar with food, next door to the Dark Horse – can you see what they’ve done with the name there?

Like other suburbs of Brum over recent years Moseley has up and come.  It has always been perhaps a bit alternative, and the locals’ fierce opposition to chains and their support of independents means they’ve ended up with many interesting family run venues that are hard to beat.  Keith’s other venues serve up all sorts of fun from smokehouse food, cocktails, and cigar bars, to garden hoedowns (and a drenching in beer sometimes, eh, Mr. L?).  Add to those Carters – a Michelin starred restaurant, a tapas restaurant or two, a Cuban, and now a new Out In Brum - Cheval Blanc - BarIndian street food joint Xindiya which we’re yet to try, and you’re sure to find something to suit your fancy.

Cheval Blanc is an upmarket affair.  Inside you’ll find velvet clad seating and bright walls and woodwork.  Plus, there’s a wonderful Spiral Cellar.  To the uninitiated, that’s a hole around six foot across bored through the floor some fifteen feet in to the earth, and then lined with wine shelving and topped with sexy glass.  There are few material things in this world that I covet, but one of these cellars is on the list.

The bar is fronted and managed by the affable certified sommelier Abby Connolly who’ll help you choose something from the extensive wine list to suit your tastes.  That could be two glasses of prosecco for £7, or an £800 bottle of Chateau Cheval Blanc St. Emillion ’86.  There are plenty of bottles and glasses in the middle of that price range, and the bulk are in the £21 Out In Brum - Cheval Blanc - Tartto £50 range.  For our lunch with a few friends we drank some wonderful Pinot Noir.  Quite a lot of it as it came to pass…  Hic!

It wasn’t only a liquid lunch, thankfully.  The food is all served as either small plates to share or large sharer boards.  Sort of like tapas but broad classic european cookery rather than just Spanish.  Most small dishes are around £6 each and three per person is a good fill.  I loved the girolles & mozzerella arancini (deep fried balls of flavoured risotto rice).  They were crispy on the outside and gooey in the middle, with a heady girolle sauce.  My favourite of the day was the Wild Boar Casserole, very french, and so comforting.  A flat Out In Brum - Cheval Blanc - Salmontart combined sharp cheese with sweet onion on a crispy pastry base.  Mussels were perfectly cooked, smoked salmon home cured, and we also loved the smoked Monkfish with puy lentils.

It would be a wonderful place to come on a romantic night out, for special wine and sharing food, but equally we sat happily as a group of six for two or three hours, eating and drinking, watching the world go by outside.

Tasteful and tasty food and wine with great service.  We will be back.

Out In Brum - Cheval Blanc - Arancini

 

Out In Brum - Cheval Blanc - Salmon

 

Out In Brum - Cheval Blanc - Banquettes

Posted in Area: Moseley, Birmingham Restaurant, birmingham restaurant review, birmingham review, Cuisine: French, Cuisine: Modern Mixed, Cuisine: Tapas, Price: Average, Venue type: Bar, Venue type: Cocktail Bar, Venue type: Restaurant, Venue type: Wine Bar | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

70s and 80s legends Boney M complete Birmingham Pride line-up!

Organisers of Birmingham Pride have announced that 70s amd 80s legends, Boney M, who have notched up millions of record sales and No.1 hits worldwide,  will be performing  at the festival on Sunday 28 May.


Boney M’s hit singles span two decades and include ‘Rivers of Babylon’, ‘Rasputin’, ‘Sunny’‘Ma Baker’, ‘Brown Girl In The Ring‘, and ‘Hooray It’s A Holiday’.
Boney M featuring Maizie Williams will be joining the lineup that features International recording artist Dua Lipa

Dua Lipa’s hit singles in the last 12 months,  including ‘Be The One’, ‘Hotter Than Hell’, and  ‘Blow Ya Mind’, together with collabrations on Sean Paul’s ‘No Lie’, and Martin Garrix’s ‘Scared To Be Lonely’, have collectively notched up over 350 million views on YouTube alone.


The star will be joined by ’90s electronic dance duo Basement Jaxx, ‘Dreams’ star Gabrielle and ‘Superstar’ pop artist Jamelia over the festival weekend, as well as multiple hit-maker Sophie Ellis-Bexter. You can expect the MASSIVE ‘Murder On The Dancefloor’ hit plus ‘Take Me Home’ and of course the 1999 No.1 hit ‘Groovejet (If This Ain’t Love’ (Spiller)).

Other artists appearing at the event, which takes place over the Spring bank holiday weekend on Saturday 27 and Sunday 28 May, include Charlotte Church’s Late Night Pop Dungeon tour, girl group M.O, X Factor stars Saara Aalto and Louisa Johnson, plus DJ and producer Jonas Blue.

Pride’s Festival Director, Lawrence Barton, commented: “There’s such a buzz around already for this year’s Birmingham Pride! Every year we bring some of the biggest and best new and retro artists to the festival, and 2017 is no different. We’re delighted that Dua Lipa will headline the festival, in what is one of our biggest line-ups to date, that also include Basement Jaxx, Gabrielle, Jamelia, Jonas Blue, and M.O. And there’s still more acts to announce.”

He added: “We’re delighted to be adopting the theme ‘Love & Pride’, recognising and commemorating the 50th anniversary of the decriminalisation of homosexuality – a monumental occasion for the LGBT community.”

The Birmingham Pride festival, which is the UK’s largest two-day gay festival, last year attracted more than 50,000 party revellers. The event features a Main Stage Arena, Dance Arena, Cabaret Marquee, Women’s Arena, together with funfair rides and all the city’s gay bars and clubs.

The festival launches with the ‘Love & Pride’ Carnival Parade, which  sets off from Victoria Square in the city centre at midday on Saturday 27 May.

 

Advance Discounted Tickets for the festival, which takes place in Birmingham’s Gay Village, are available online from www.birminghampride.com.
Posted in Area: Arcadian, Area: City Centre, Area: Hurst Street / The Gay Village / South Side, Article, Special Event | Tagged | 1 Comment

No More Lounging at The Loft

Out In Brum - The Loft - BarAs some of you may have spotted, the long established Loft Lounge in Bromsgrove Street has had a bit of a makeover. And by “bit of” we mean very extensive.

They’ve dropped “Lounge” from the name and are now advertising themselves as an all day venue for food, drink, and socialising, and the changes to the interior and menu have brought it bang up to date.

Gone are the velour seats and sparkling lamp shades, having been replaced with stripped wood, random pieces of what look like agricultural machinery, and for the keen eyed, the odd turn-style (let’s see how many find that one). We liked the new style and feel, reminding us as it did of some of our favourite bars around the world like Flaming Saddles in New York’s Hell’s Kitchen – I’m sure The Loft could introduce Coyote Ugly style cowboy line dancers on the bar, right?

 

The menu, which had perhaps turned stale, is refreshed and stripped back, focused on a smaller range of styles of food, done well.

Out In Brum - The Loft - Wrapped BurgerWe have now eaten at The Loft four times over the past few weeks, both as a couple, with friends, and as a large group of friends with all of our mothers before the ballet.  All times have been a great success.

My personal favourite so far has to be the buttermilk fried chicken burger (£8.50) served with bacon jam, ranch mayo, and lettuce, in a seeded bun. A friend at our last meal there commented “It may just be the best buttermilk, or in fact any fried chicken, that I’ve ever had”. Match this with the beef dripping cooked chips (£2.75) and I doubt you’ll be finding much to complain about. Plus with the wonderful Independent Birmingham card you get 25% off all food (we’re not affiliated, but we think it’s great compared to the other cards).

Out In Brum - The Loft - Interior 1We’ve also tried out the beer battered haddock with a green peppercorn sauce (served on the side before you worry about your crispy batter), the tikka spiced seabass fillet with coriander, heritage tomato and onion salad, and the braised pork, celeriac and roasted apple sauce which despite looking very pretty, is the only dish so far that we weren’t keen on.

The Loft also offers a pretty varied breakfast and brunch menu in addition at weekends but we have not tried this yet. That’ll be another return visit with @brumbrekkieclub  http://www.birminghambreakfastclub.co.uk

You can find The Loft website here.

Out In Brum - The Loft - Pork

 

Posted in Area: Hurst Street / The Gay Village / South Side, Birmingham Restaurant, birmingham restaurant review, birmingham review, Cuisine: Modern Mixed, Price: Average, Venue type: Bar, Venue type: Cafe, Venue type: Restaurant | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Edgbaston – Toby Takes Home Ysabel Regina Trophy

Out In Brum - The Edgbaston - SignThe Edgbaston Boutique Hotel & Cocktail Lounge have added yet another award to their ever straining awards cabinet.  Toby Heap, their youngest Bartender competed in The Ysabel Regina Fusion Competition held at Ysabel Regina Bodega in Jerez Spain. There were twelve finalists, three from each of the four countries taking part: the U.K, Portugal, Italy, and Spain. Whilst representing the brand, the competition focused on the fusion of drinks and music. Bartenders were requested to design a drink which came under the following three categories: Jazz Pop, Jazz Rock, and Jazz Blues.

Out In Brum - The Edgbaston - Toby at Ysabel ReginaToby was the winner of the Jazz Pop category creating a long drink, called ‘Love in Vain’ for which he was inspired by the song ‘Layla, Unplugged’ by Eric Clapton.

His winning drink recipe:
45 ml Ysabel Regina
30 ml Sauternes Wine
10 ml of Homemade Apricot Shrub
Rinsed with an infusion of Pedro Ximenez with oak and finished with 1724 Tonic Water.

Out In Brum - The Edgbaston - Rotary Distillation MachineToby is now looking forward to his prize of a trip to New Orleans in July to attend Tales of The Cocktail, a much coveted industry cocktail festival, designed to indulge those who enjoy the culture and history of liqueur and spirits, whilst enjoying a well mixed drink.  Toby said:

“I am truly amazed and proud to have achieved victory at the Ysabel Regina Fusion competition held in Jerez. It could not have been done without the amazing support from family, friends and everyone from The Edgbaston Boutique Hotel & Cocktail Lounge”.

 

The team at The Edgbaston have also recently launched their latest menu with  the aid of Out In Brum - The Edgbaston - Cocktail with Cloche SmokeCindy and Roxanne (their lab quality centrifuge and distillation machines) , which aims to shed some light on the varied and often overlooked history that Birmingham has to offer. Just ask any of the team for a Trifle Bazaar for example and you’ll be amazed what facts you learn as it’s lovingly crafted and presented to you.

 

 

Out In Brum - The Edgbaston - Trifle Bizarre

Out In Brum - The Edgbaston - Cocktail with Hat

Out In Brum - The Edgbaston - Centrifuge

Posted in Area: Edgbaston, Article, Price: Average, Special Event, Venue type: Cocktail Bar | Tagged | Leave a comment

Indian Brewery Company – Breakfast and Dinner

Out In Brum - Indian Brewery Company - Amritsari KulchaBirmingham has for decades had a love of Indian food, from the humble balti you can eat in Sparkbrook for £4, to the extravagant banquets available at our high-end Indian restaurants like Lasan’s and Itihaas. The Indian Brewery Company now compliment these offerings by adding their street food and beer venue, serving food made by mum, and the family’s own brewery’s beers and lager.

We’ve been a few times now. When we’ve been about town and wanted a nibble but not the faff of a full restaurant meal, it has served as a stop off before heading home. The food is inexpensive and tasty, and the lager refreshing. They also offer breakfast, so we’ve had to try that too of course.

Out In Brum - Indian Brewery Company - Breakfast Naan Bacon EggFor a hungover Saturday breakfast we tried their bacon and egg naan – plenty of bacon and egg wrapped in a fresh fluffy naan bread with some light spice to make your tongue tingle. We also had their Bombay Breakfast, their piquant take on a full English – sausage, bacon, eggs, spicy beans, and masala fried bread, with masala fries. Plus, for the vegetarian with us we had an Amritsari Kulcha – a chickpea curry, with a vegetable kulcha (veg stuffed flatbread cooked in the tandoor oven like a naan), with sides of yoghurt and lime and chilli pickles. All washed down with coffee and a full fat coke (I told you, I was proper hungover) it was a great start to a Saturday, I’ll take kulcha over Kellogg’s any day.

The evening food we ate was also spot on, and I think we’ve eaten 95% of the menu over two or three visits.  The spiced paneer roti roll (£4.50) was punchy and filling, I didn’t need the Pakora Pops (£4) I ordered to go with it – crunchy pakora veg – but never known to be someone to let good food go to waste I scoffed the lot.  We’ve also tried the Chaat Out In Brum - Indian Brewery Company - Chicken RunBomb (£4.50), chopped veggie samosas with spiced chickpeas, yoghurt, chutney, topped with crunchy sev (gram flour noodles deep fried and spiced).  The Chicken Run Fat Naan (£7.50) was full of succulent tandoor cooked chicken with accompaniments and was easily enough for dinner.

I need to go back after work on a Friday and try their Indian Fish and Chips – marinated cod in spicy batter with masala fries.  We’ve not braved the £45 eat-the-menu food challenge, because, you know, we’re not red-necks, and it’s a gimmick that this place could do without given the quality of the food and overall experience.  It’s very often packed so go being prepared to share a bench table or to have a beer while you wait.  My only criticism? The benches are an inch or two too tall for me, but I’m taking a saw next time to sort that out.

The beer is worth a mention, it’s called “The Indian Brewery Company” for a reason.  The Out In Brum - Indian Brewery Company - Chaat Bombfamily behind the venue run a successful craft brewery and their beers and lager are showcased well in the venue and match wonderfully with the food on offer.  I enjoy their refreshing Birmingham Lager, and the beer drinkers we’ve taken have loved the Bombay Honey particularly.

The eatery has been opened in the unit previously occupied by Brewsmith’s Coffee shop, in the arches by the rear Snow Hill entrance on Livery Street, just two minutes from St. Paul’s Square in the Jewellery Quarter. They also offer takeaway.

Great food, lovely atmosphere.  Give it a go soon.

Posted in Area: Jewellery Quarter, Birmingham Restaurant, birmingham restaurant review, birmingham review, Cuisine: Indian, Cuisine: Street Food, My Favourite Places, Price: Average, Price: Cheap as Chips - Inexpensive, restaurant review, Venue type: Bar, Venue type: Cafe, Venue type: Pub, Venue type: Restaurant | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Bardolino Pizzeria

out-in-brum-bardolino-interiorThe Out In Brum usual roving correspondent was busy so on being invited to Bardolino’s for a pizza making evening we sent a substitute, so thanks to Andrew for popping along.  This was a freebie event – please see our reciprocity promise here.

Bardolino Pizzeria, Bellini, and Espresso Bar opened in The Cube last summer. The latest venture from Marco Pierre White, this ‘ultra-casual’, café-style restaurant focuses on providing authentic Italian food at affordable prices. As the name suggests, there’s a focus on pizza – thin and crispy and almost burnt at the edges, just like Mamma White used to make – but with many other Italian favourites available too. As the restaurant is also attached to the Club and Spa, there is also a range of super-healthy, super-salads to give gym-goers the energy they need to sculpt those bodies.

out-in-brum-bardolino-wineThursday, 9th February, is National Pizza Day and so in honour of this, and to launch their new menu, we were invited to go along and have a go at crafting our own pizzas. Well…with free pizza on offer, on a cold and miserable Monday night, it would have been rude not to!

On walking in to the spacious, open interior we were offered a beer or glass of prosecco. The restaurant was showcasing Peroni’s new Gluten-free Nastro Azzurro so with trepidation we agreed to try a sample bottle. At first I thought they must have given us the wrong bottle as it tasted just like the pleasant, crisp, Italian lager we know and love. It was only when we tasted it side by side with the original that you could notice a difference. It’s slightly drier – but no less enjoyable for it.

out-in-brum-bardolino-foodSuitably refreshed it was on to the business of the day. Aprons and hats were donned and we took our place around a large table where balls of dough had been prepared ready for us. The Head Chef talked us through the ingredients available and then guided us all in stretching our balls out to become thin pizza bases. Cue lots of flying semolina flour, dough-tossing and amazingly no ‘dough-meets-floor’ experiences!

Then we were invited to let our minds go wild and create our perfect pizza. I opted for a layer of salami and bresaola topped with cheese, then chillis, mushrooms and more cheese, finished off with fresh spinach and a drizzle of balsamic, and dubbed it the Brumicelli. Adam started with a layer of Bolognese and topped it with a Birmingham assay anchor fashioned from bresaola, mushroom, and an egg, and dubbed it the 1877 (the year the assay office opened). The OutInBrum logo in out-in-brum-bardolino-pizzapizza form!

After a surprisingly quick few minutes in the oven we got to the best part of the evening – tasting our creations. I may be biased but mine was amongst the very best pizzas I’ve ever
tasted. The base was perfectly thin and crispy and the toppings were a dream. Adam’s 1877 was very enjoyable and, from the sounds around the table, all the others were too.

We had a fantastic evening and it was a much better way of launching a new menu than simply sending out a press release. Given the success of the evening, Bardolino are now considering offering this pizza-making experience more regularly. Watch this space and if we get more details you’ll be the first to know.

All that remains now is to head over to Bardolino on a regular night and sample the food out-in-brum-bardolino-pizza-anchoron the menu – it’ll be interesting to see whether it’s as good as ours!

Bardolino’s new menu is available from 7th February. Prices range from £8.95 to £11.95
for pizza and main courses. Brunch is available 11am-5pm and prices range from £4.75-£8.95. At weekends you can have a ‘bottomless brunch’ – any brunch item plus bottomless bellinis for £18 over a two hour period.

Posted in Area: The Cube, Article, Venue type: Restaurant | 1 Comment

@ 21 Restaurant, Edgbaston

out-in-brum-at-21-restaurant-chickenWe were outraged when Birmingham planning officers decided that the wonderful Comida tapas restaurant on Gordon Road in Harborne was to be denied a permanent licence when its temporary use licence expired.  Much to our relief the resilient proprietors, Jade and Stewart, picked themselves up from the disappointment of losing the much loved venue and found a new home on Highfield Road in Edgbaston.  Thankfully it’s equally as easy for us to access, just opposite Michelin starred Simpsons restaurant, and just seconds from luxe cocktail bar The Edgbaston.

out-in-brum-at-21-restaurant-salt-codeWe ate often at Comida when it was in Harborne, popping in after a long day at work rather than cooking, and having celebration meals there with groups of friends and family, all of whom would remark on the excellent food and friendly welcome.  Whilst it has lost its name in the move to Edgbaston – for it is now known simply as “@21 Restaurant” – it has lost none of the charm, with wait staff striking just the right balance of familiarity and professionalism.

Jade has worked her interior magic on the typically 70’s glass fronted building.  The dining room, on the first floor, is sympathetic to the architecture with light woods and high design furniture lit by candles and warm lighting.  White walls are accented by striking planting and mirrors.  The ground floor offers a covered outdoor area, which will be wonderful for summer al fresco dining, and a bar overlooking the open kitchen in which Stewart works his equally accomplished magic.

out-in-brum-at-21-restaurant-porkWhile Comida started out as a more traditional Spanish Tapas restaurant with lots of small plates, the menu @21 is a less flashy, more homely, but perfectly executed affair.  We started in the bar with a some crisp salty pork scratching straws to go with our pre-dinner Estrella beer, wine, and olives.

Dining with friends we took a large candlelit table in a cosy nook and ordered bottles of spicy and brooding Rioja to share.  We ate family style, sharing dishes as they arrived in the middle of the table, starting with a meat board of earthy bresaola, parma ham, pickled chillis, and salty sour giant capers.  We also took the old Comida favourite of salt cod fritters with pesto, pink onions, and dill, crispy on the outside and soft, hot, and comforting in the middle.

We then tried the pork.  To be precise, twelve hour slow roast pork, deliciously moist, with glass-like crackling, served on matchsticks of apple.  One our diners who is not a big pork fan said it was the best pork he’d ever had.  High praise indeed, and I feel much the same.  out-in-brum-at-21-restaurant-chorizo-potWe also had tender corn fed chicken with chilli, mint, courgette, and feta – a warming and comforting dish of crisp skinned roasted chicken with cool courgette and mint.  Our final “main” meat dish was the bourbon glazed short rib of beef, another triumph of man over meat, soft and sweet.

As sides for our meaty mains we had the chorizo, tomato, and white bean pot, and a pot of white beans with potatoes, parsley, and pesto.  With some bread for dipping these would have worked as a supper dish on their own as they were filling and tasty.

I’m sure a solo diner wanting a dish for supper and a glass of wine after the office would be out-in-brum-at-21-restaurant-beefequally as welcomed here, and feel just as comfortable, as couples out for a romantic dinner, and groups of friends putting the world to rights.

Cesar Chavez said that “the people who give you their food give you their heat”, and that’s really why I like this place so much, there is care and love in every forkful.

@21 Restaurant is a wonderful addition to Edgbaston, and we wish them much luck.

Their website is available here: http://at21.co.uk

Posted in Area: Edgbaston, Area: Harborne, Birmingham Restaurant, birmingham restaurant review, Cuisine: Modern Mixed, Price: Average, Venue type: Restaurant | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment