Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Nosh and Quaff 1st Birthday

Nosh and Quaff opened August 2015. Part of the Lasan group, it is totally different to their other restaurants in that they focus on American-style comfort food, done well. You can find Nosh and Quaff very easily: it's on the edge of Victoria Square, in a beautifully converted Grade 2 listed building.

Last year I went to the launch party where we could order what we fancied from the menu. I went for lobster as lobster and ribs was very much their focus at the time. I enjoyed it but wasn't excited enough to return until a few months later. On that occasion I chose chicken wings and my goodness they were good. Proper crispy skin, juicy meat and a beautiful habanero butter sauce. I haven't come across better wings in Birmingham since.

To celebrate a year of business, Nosh and Quaff held a birthday party with lots and lots of food. We were greeted with a Pornstar Bellini- the flavours of a Pornstar Martini, lengthened with prosecco.

While we were drinking and chatting with fellow foodies, we were able to sample some lovely starters- lobster fritters, chicken poppers with habanero sauce and pork belly.

So look at the feast we were given! I sat at a large table of 8 and they bought four trays of food out to us. The trays were loaded with favourites from the menu- some which weren't on the menu when they first opened.

I didn't try the beef ribs but I recall the smokey, sweet flavour from last time. Pork ribs had plenty of meat to fall off the bone and were beautifully seasoned.  The Cheeky Burger was popular around the table and was topped with cheese, onion rings and truffle mayo. Big Apple Dog was a great quality smoked frankfurter with bacon jam and caramelised onions.

Along with the main elements we had a variety of sides. At Nosh and Quaff, the mains all come with fries but there are other dishes to order- Mac and Cheese, Blooming Onion and Sweet Potato Wedges being the ones we tried.

The Mac and Cheese is fantastic, with a perfect, seasoned, crispy topping. The blooming onion is another of my favourites, though it can be rather filling. The sweet potato wedges were nice enough but didn't stand out.

I've saved my best til last. I was a bit nervous about the wings as I'd enjoyed them so much before. They weren't quite as good this time as they had gone a little cool due to the mass-catering aspect of the evening. If they were as hot as they would be on a normal evening, they would have been perfect. Big, juicy wings, perfectly cooked and seasoned and tossed in a beautiful habanero butter sauce. The sauce is similar to buffalo but less astringent for those of you who aren't into vinegar!

The wings are my favourite item on the menu and so far, the BEST IN BRUM.

Want to disagree? Tell me- where are your best wings in Brum?

But it wasn't quite over as we were treated to another cocktail, an Espresso Martini with just the right kick of sweet coffee.

The evening ended with a Rocky Road bowl of decadent chocolate, marshmallow and honeycomb.

Nosh and Quaff has become a recommendable location for me because of the location, atmosphere and most of all the chicken wings. I'd pop the Rocky Road in there too because it's such a treat.

Prices are around £12 for wings, burgers and hot dogs, £18 for ribs and £25 for lobster.

Nosh and Quaff

Photos by Helen and Edd

Food and drink were complimentary to celebrate one year of Nosh and Quaff. 

Sunday, 23 October 2016

Birmingham on Film:

I try not to start posts by going on a #humblebrag about how #blessed I am as a blogger but sometimes you just have to. Sometimes blogging takes you to things you would never have otherwise done. And that is how I ended up sitting in a deckchair one October evening, fleecy blanket wrapped around me, Original Patty Men burger in hand, watching a Cliff Richard film from 1973.

The film was Take Me High- Cliff's final film, set in Birmingham...! He stars as a slick London banker who is sent to the company's Birmingham offices. He meets a local woman trying to run her own restaurant. They start a posh burger restaurant together called BRUM BURGER. Cliff is living on a barge in Gas St Basin at this point. I'm not making this up.

This screening was part of Flatpack Festival's Birmingham on Film season. They'd teamed up with Regency Wharf, between Broad Street and Gas Street Basin.

There was a huge screen, deck chairs with blankets and food and drink available from Original Patty Men and Rub.

We decided to get ourselves a couple of cocktails from Rub first. These weren't included in the ticket price but were on offer 241. We found them both a little sweet for our tastes, but this may have been because they weren't as chilled as they could be. They certainly woke me up!

Included in the ticket price was a Brum Burger from Original Patty Men. Designed especially for the event, it was a beef patty in a buttermilk bun, with HP onions, red pepper flakes, smoked cheddar and mushy peas. Being an Original Patty Men burger it was going to be good but this was particularly good. Mushy peas on a burger is a genius idea and the red pepper flakes added some surprising heat. Absolutely delicious and it did look somewhat better than the one in the film.

Rub were also supplying maple bacon or marshmallow popcorn, which was sticky and decadent. I do prefer a dry popcorn (see the beef dripping popcorn at Bar and Block) but this was a fun treat.

The film was preceded by a couple of archive films about the King Kong statue which used to be in Birmingham and the opening of Spaghetti Junction. It was fascinating to see such familiar sites as the Rotunda and Spaghetti Junction but with people from such a different time. How could accents, mannerisms and fashions have changed so much in half a century?

The film itself was great fun. Everyone was in good spirits and we all cheered when we saw famous bits of Birmingham. If you want to watch the film yourself, you're going to have to scour ebay as it is no longer available. (SHAME!)

Flatpack Festival will be back in April 2017 but keep an eye open for occasional events in the meantime.


Photos by Helen and Edd.

My admission to the film and the burger were complimentary but I paid for extras myself. 

Thursday, 13 October 2016

New cocktail menu at Bar Opus

Bar Opus is a smart, modern cocktail bar near Snow Hill Station. I've talked about Bar Opus' cocktail masterclass and afternoon tea before and have always been a fan. I went back to try out their new Autumn/Winter cocktail menu.

This was a rather warm evening in September so it was strange to be having all these warming, wintery flavours!

This was a blogger event, so the bar manager demonstrated a variety of the cocktails for us, we took photos of the full cocktail and then had a little sample of each cocktail. This means I got the flavours but didn't necessarily get the texture of each drink. However, from the style of the cocktail and the ingredients, you should be able grasp whether you would like it or not.

So, onto the cocktails. We tried a few from the new menu- a couple of classics, some fruity ones and a few winter warmers.

Hereford Scrambler

A refreshing vodka based rhubarb and blackcurrant drink, made with Chase products. Some found this a little sweet.

Clover Club

One of my top five ever cocktails! A Clover Club is raspberries, gin, lemon and egg white to give it the frothy top. The sample didn't have egg white in it but I tried the full one and it was perfect. Sharp from the raspberries and lemon and perfectly frothy egg white.

Pear and Cardamon Sidecar

I think Sidecars are easing into my top cocktail list too. A sidecar is cognac, orange liquer and lemon juice. Bar Opus had given this a wintery twist with cardamom and pear brandy. My favourite cocktail of the evening and I managed to grab the full size one- even better chilled!

Ginger Bellini

Ginger bits, ginger liqueur, prosecco- what needs to be said? Yum.

Beggar's Banquet

A cocktail made with whiskey and beer- it's a love it or hate it kind of drink.

We then broke for a couple of nibbles- some lovely calamari, spring rolls and a few olives.

Back to the drinking...

Cowboy Hoof Martini

Made with gin, orange bitters and mint, this was a clean, crisp, minty cocktail. I liked it though I suppose some might find it too minty.

Missionary's Downfall

Love the name of this- white rum, peach liqueur and pineapple.

Opus Manhattan

A Manhattan with plum liqueur- I loved this.

English Collins

The classic gin, elderflower and cucumber long drink.

Did you spot something that took your fancy? Of course there are others available- so you'll have to visit and try them out! Cocktails from £6.50.

Bar Opus, Birmingham

Photos by Helen

Food and drink were complimentary for review purposes.