Monday, 3 August 2015

New opening: Nosh and Quaff



The food enthusiasts of Birmingham have waited months for Nosh and Quaff and it is now finally open! They've done a great job of building interest in the place, with a sneak preview at the CBD Food Festival, girls dressed as sparkly lobsters and various launch parties. I was delighted to be invited to one of these parties last week, along with semi-professsional plus one and prize winning photographer Edd. (Well he put a photo into a twitter competition and won Birmingham Independent Food Fair tickets!)


You never know what you're going to get at opening dos, so being handed a glass of fizz, a menu and drinks tokens was a great start.


As well as hearty, tasty, casual food, Nosh and Quaff are pushing their beer menu. On Wednesday there were a couple of empty taps left so I'm hoping to see some quirky, independent breweries on there. Edd and I started with beer. We both loved the Floozy, a light, quaffable beer which neither of us had heard of before. A great nod to the nearby Floozy in the Jacuzzi.

I didn't get to try the cocktails but there was a great looking selection- not just the classics, some new ideas too. I look forward to trying them in the future.


So, onto the food. The menu is simple and unfussy. You aren't going to Nosh and Quaff for a three course meal. You pick your main, you might get some sides to share . You might even share your mains as I saw others doing.

Edd and I were sat at a big table in a marble-walled side room. It sat eight so would be amazing to book out for a birthday or similar. We were sat with Ting of The Ting Thing and her husband plus some other people who I hadn't met before so it was nice to chat. It turned out that one of them was Twitter superstar Stephen of @SKCwitter so it was good to put a face to a name.

Edd picked beef ribs and I went for lobster. I haven't had a whole lobster before so I was intrigued. We also shared a blooming onion. There are a variety of sides that I've got my eye on for the future, such as Mac and Cheese, corn on the cob and sweet potato wedges. Your main comes with salad or slaw and chips so you probably only need one side between two unless you are particularly hungry.


Above you can see Edd's beef ribs. I tried a bit and they had a beautiful sweet taste. They are slow cooked in a molasses and hickory smoke glaze. He felt the portion size was good too.


I went for the lobster, which are kept fresh on site. I managed to get the flesh out of the claw whole which was very exciting and I wish I'd got a photo! The lobster is split and served with a lemon and garlic sauce which


I liked the crunchy topping of the mac and cheese. Thanks to Stephen for letting us try it!


The blooming onion was huge and came with a fun 'burger sauce' dip.

We also tried the pork ribs from someone else on the table. I enjoyed everything I tried on the evening but the pork ribs definitely won. And I only had a tiny mouthful. The pepper mustard rub is beautiful- I'm definitely going for these next time. It is a giant serving- you will be full, so definitely share the love with your fellow diners.

So I will definitely be back and ordering ribs- I've also got my eye on chicken wings and the burger as well as all of the sides. Look out for a full review of how they are doing soon.


Edd and I decided to share a dessert. We went for the de-constructed Rocky Road- brownie bites, marshmallows, nut brittle and gorgeous chocolate sauce. This was delightfully gooey and indulgent. Definitely one to share. Also available are a fun sharer sundae and a de-constructed cheesecake which comes in different flavours everyday.


Afterwards, we popped upstairs to check out their bar area. A bit of a change in atmosphere here. Downstairs is all marble and sophistication, upstairs is metal and chains. It had a cool loft bar feel to it. I could definitely see myself chilling out here with a cocktail or two after indulging on ribs downstairs!

Oh, you should have a look at the loos too.


Check out my lobster utensils and stylish bib! I'm looking forward to revisiting Nosh and Quaff now it is officially open to the public. Look out for a full review soon!


Nosh and Quaff is now open in Victoria Square. Check out their very 90's style website http://noshandquaff.co.uk/

I was invited to the Nosh and Quaff launch and was treated to a free meal and a couple of free drinks- We paid for extra drinks ourselves. I was not required to blog about it- I just wanted to!

Photos by Edd

Friday, 31 July 2015

July in Food

Foodie bits and pieces I didn't blog about in July

Breakfasts

This month is very breakfast heavy! One of my favourite things about being off work is the ability to have breakfast at home or to go to a cafe or restaurant. I get to work by 7.30 and so I eat there- a bowl of cereal in my hand while writing learning objectives on the whiteboard at the same time isn't the most relaxed start to the day! So I've been enjoying eating granola with yoghurt and fruit, maybe some honey or golden syrup too. Eating this while reading or watching some daytime TV is such a nice way to begin a day.


I also headed back to Gas Street Social for another relaxed brunch there. These pancakes with bacon and maple syrup were great on a lazy Sunday morning. The ability to add a glass of Berocca to your order is a touch of genius.


Edd and I also enjoyed a relaxed brunch at Cafe Opus at the Ikon Gallery. I had an urge for smoked salmon so I went for something I never usually choose- Eggs Royale. I'm not a big hollandaise fan so I was taking a bit of a risk here. I can report that Cafe Opus' hollandaise is beautiful. The balance between the sharp lemon and creamy egg was perfect, especially with expertly poached eggs and soft smoked salmon. We sat outside in the sunshine and it was a delight.


Ting of The Ting Thing invited me along to a Pinterest workshop this week at the beautiful Fazeley Studios. Lizzie from Pinterest talked us through how to make Pinterest work for your blog or business- so expect lots more pinning from me! My pinterest page is www.pinterest.com/positivefridays
It was really useful. If you have a blog and pinterest you should definitely check out their business page as there is so much on there.
As well as all the useful information we were treated to a lovely little breakfast buffet. I had some lovely fruit and an amazing pastry to snack on.


Deliveroo

Deliveroo is becoming a bit of a habit!! I definitely need to do a proper post on them. We tried out a couple of the big names this week- Gourmet Burger Kitchen and Handmade Burger. Gourmet Burger Kitchen delivered better as it was in a really sturdy box. Both tasted excellent of course. I'd still pick Handmade Burger to go and eat in the restaurant as I love their sourdough buns and proper chips but Gourmet Burger Kitchen is better for delivery. 

Gourmet Burger Kitchen

Handmade Burger

End of term

I really appreciate when parents give you a present at the end of the year. I know money is tight for a lot of parents, especially with holidays coming up, so you know that it is coming from the heart. I had more flowers and less chocolates this year which is definitely good for the waistline! However I did love these cakes, which I believe the Mum had made herself- look at the awesome icing.


Dinners

A couple of weeks ago Edd and I had such an urge for roast chicken but didn't want to go down the whole Sunday dinner route. So I did a simple roast chicken rubbed with an Oxo Herbs and More garlic and parsley, green beans, roasted cherry tomatoes and herby new potatoes (microwavable, in a bag, I had a hangover...) It was such a tasty meal and exactly what I wanted. Completely forgot to trim the beans though.


The following Sunday we had an even lazier meal- scampi, chips and peas! I enjoyed it so much though. Sometimes you just want a pub kids meal.


 Sixteen Bakery

Last week I met my friend Sophie in town for a spot of lunch and a mooch round the shops. We headed to Sixteen Bakery, next to Faculty Coffee. They have the most amazing display of sandwiches and salads, all fresh and at very reasonable prices. My chicken, mozzarella, pesto and tomato sandwich, served warm was about £3.70 and you could add on a mixture of salads for only £1. And these aren't just any salads. We're talking lemon potato salad, panzanella, herby cous cous. Amazing. Then we took our boxed lunch next door to Faculty and had a lovely chat over tea and sandwiches.


Purecraft Bar

Edd's friends came to stay and we headed to Purecraft bar for beer and food. I'm not even into beer that much but they have a massive selection and a variety of glass sizes so you are bound to find something you like. 
Food wise, think top notch pub grub. You've probably heard about their scotch eggs- they are that good. Go now- try the beer ketchup too. On my most recent visit I had fish and chips served with tartar sauce and fancy mushy peas. The fish was tender, flaked away beautifully and so is a contender for best fish and chips in Birmingham.


If you want to see more foodie pictures you can follow me on instagram where I post pretty much every meal I eat! I'm at https://instagram.com/positive_fridays/

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Event: Cocktail XChange does Gin in June


Saturday 13th June. 7pm. Also known as Gin o'clock! To celebrate I went along to Cocktail XChange's event, Gin in June at Hotel Du Vin.

Held in the bar of the hotel, we were treated to an evening of gin cocktails, gin samples, G&Ts, gin information...Basically lots of gin. Which works for me as gin is my favourite spirit!

Using local gin Langley's throughout, the staff at Hotel Du Vin had whipped up three new creations for us.


Cucumber Leaf Martini- Gin, Elderflower Liquor, Cucumber and Apple juice.

A classic flavour combination and one I love. This is the sort of cocktail I would order from a menu. A little sweet, a little fragrant, but with the cucumber and gin cutting through perfectly.

   

HDV Langley Raspberry Spritz- Gin, Liquor 43, fresh raspberries, topped with Prosecco 

A very refreshing drink. Raspberries and prosecco are a match made in heaven. This went down very nicely indeed!



Basil and Grapefruit- Gin, Rhubarb Liquor, basil, grapefruit, topped with tonic water.

Basil and grapefruit both work excellently with gin and grapefruit is the garnish of choice for Langley's. This was like a super special G&T.


In between the cocktails there was time for some gin tasting. Here's a tip for tasting spirits neat. Don't 'shoot' it, you won't get the flavours. Instead, take a sip and swill it round your mouth like mouthwash. It will taste awful but it will acclimatise your taste buds. On the next sip you will appreciate the delicate botanicals.


There was also chance to enter a competition. This was such fun- we went into a room filled with balloons and popped them to see what prize was inside. I won a Langley's glass!



At 7pm, we all had our G&Ts in hand and raised our glasses to Gin o'clock! All over the world, people were celebrating using the hashtag #ginoclock and we watched them roll in on twitter on a big screen. You can see one of my tweets up there, having been retweeted by Anita at Delicious PR! Thanks Anita!



Does this sound like your kind of event? Try the next one, which is based around Absinthe. I'm really excited about this one as I know nothing about Absinthe. It will be a similar structure with special cocktails, a taster of Absinthe and information about the history of it too. Tickets are £25, the event will be held at Le Truc on 22nd August.
http://www.designmynight.com/birmingham/whats-on/cocktailxchange-presents-absinthe-in-august?from=autocomplete