Thursday, 17 August 2017

Food - Marmalade at The REP, Birmingham

Marmalade is the restaurant at Birmingham REP theatre. The REP is probably my favourite theatre in the city. The seating plan is cleverly designed, the shows are always creative and unique, it's ten minutes walk from my flat and it has a great restaurant in the shape of Marmalade.

I've visited a few times and always enjoyed the tasty, interesting food on offer, with plenty of veggie and pescetarian options.

If you didn't know, Marmalade is part of the Bitters and Twisted group, who also own the ever popular Bodega and Island Bar.

I joined the other bloggers and was given a Kafir Lime and Tonic. This is a twist on a G&T, made with a Kafir Lime spirit. Very zesty; it certainly split opinions.

Onto the food. The food at Marmalade is fresh, homemade and seasonal. We were treated to some delicious seafood thanks to the Fish Sharing Platter (£14) and Potted Hot Smoked Mackerel with gin preserved shallots (£6.50). I loved these fresh seafood options, especially the rollmops and tequila cured salmon. Everything tasted like summer.

These were served alongside the Paloma Faith cocktail (£7)- tequila, vermouth and grapefruit.

Other starters include Rabbit and Ham terrine (£5.95) and Heritage Tomato and Goats cheese salad (£6.25). Again, fresh and bursting with flavour. These were served with a Cherry Orchard (£7)- vodka, sweet vermouth with cherry and cranberry. A little sweet for some fellow bloggers but I have many friends who would love this.

There were plenty of mains to try, My favourites were the beautifully moist Chicken Supreme (£13.75) Teriyaki Salmon (£14.75) and Trout and Haddock Fish Cakes (£13.75) topped with a lovely poached egg.

After all that, there was a little room for dessert. I was so happy to see it was Affogato (£3.50) the perfect after-dinner treat of espresso and vanilla ice cream.

As always, the cocktails were delightful and I'm still thinking about the fish sharing board- yum!

Marmalade at The REP - Reopens 21st August

Photos by Helen.

Food and drink were complimentary for review purposes. 

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Summer Menu at Cafe Rouge

On a warm summer's evening, I found myself whizzing into town after work so I could attend a summer menu showcase at Cafe Rouge. Birmingham is a little chain-heavy and I do try to support the independents, but I do appreciate when a chain is making an effort. When I attended the winter showcase, I really enjoyed the effort that had gone into choosing the produce, particularly the meats, cheese and wine (the trifecta of French dining).

The evening started with a Gin Bloom, a G&T in the fashionable Spanish style- served in a balloon glass with plenty of ice and appropriate garnishes. It's sensible for Cafe Rouge to jump on this trend. I'd certainly rather have a couple of these refreshing beverages than a bottle of wine these days and I know I'm not alone.

These are £6.95 for a double measure of Beefeater gin and your choice of flavoured tonic. Flavours include Elderflower, Watermelon and Cucumber and Green Tea and Lemongrass. All very refreshing.

We tried a couple of mini starters, including a delicious French Onion soup, but my eyes were on the meats and cheese. I enthusiastically made myself up a plate of dry cured French ham, pork rillettes and smoked duck, all of which are available on the Charcuterie and Fromage sharing board (£13.95) along with gooey Camembert, chutney and bread.

For my own starter, I picked Crevettes (£7.50) king prawns, cooked in garlic and chilli butter with baguette for dipping. This is one of my go-to starters wherever I am and I'm pleased to say there was a good chilli hit, though not enough butter for dipping.

Meanwhile, Edd chose the Crab and Avocado Tian (£7.50) a delightfully fresh mix of Devonshire crab meat, avocado and coriander mayonnaise, served with bread. The tasty crab meat held its own against the creamy avocado.

Time for another drink. This time I chose the Le Pamplemousse (£6.5) mainly because I just love the word pamplemousse, French for grapefruit. Naturally, this was a vodka based grapefruit flavoured short drink which I enjoyed a lot. As well as the Gin Blooms, Cafe Rouge have expanded their cocktail menu, providing a variety of fruity, refreshing and simple mixed drinks.

As if I hadn't eaten the whole kitchen, it was time for mains. I'm a fan of a salad so I was pleased to see such a selection. I picked the Bistro salad (£11.50) and added Smoked Duck (+£3). The salad had lots of lovely little bits in it like walnuts, green beans and a boiled egg and the duck was rich and tasty.

As much as I enjoyed it, I'm looking at the prices and thinking £14.50 seems a little excessive for a few slices of duck and a pleasant salad, especially when compared to the giant tuna steak Edd had on his Nicoise Salad for £12.95. I would put my salad at maybe £9.50 and stick to £3 for the duck.

Pudding was a sweet little selection of desserts, including chocolate mousse, creme brulee, strawberry cheesecake and tarte au citron. Cafe Rouge know what they're doing with desserts and you'd be happy with any of these, especially the Creme Brulee! A similar selection to this, Cafe Gourmand (£7.95) is available, served with an espresso.

No it's not an independent but I'm always happy to see places like Cafe Rouge working hard to improve their offering, keep up with the trends and caring about the produce they serve. A very pleasant evening indeed, finished with a splendid glass of wine on the balcony.

Photos by Helen and Edd.

Food and drink were complimentary for review purposes. 

Sunday, 6 August 2017

The King's Head Summer Party

If you have driven down the Hagley Road enough times, you'll have noticed The King's Head, a lovely old pub on the corner of Lordswood Road, just before you get into Quinton.

I recently attended their summer menu launch party, where I was able to try some lovely cocktails and food.

It's a large, spacious building, with several smaller spaces as well as a lovely terrace at the back. We were sat in a smaller room, which they are hoping to turn into a cocktail lounge; a clever idea given the current popularity of cocktails.

I tried a few, including a Whisky Sour, which were made with good quality spirits and garnishes.

We then tried lots of lovely picnicBBQ-style food, including ham terrine with piccalilli, jerk prawns and spicy chicken wings. The chicken wings were big and juicy and the sauce was hot and sweet.

I enjoyed all the little samples I tried at The Kings Head and would certainly recommend going along for a cool drink and some spicy food this summer.

The Kings Head, Hagley Road

Food and drink were complimentary, a blog post was not required.

Photos by Helen and Edd.