After my visit to Byzantium for their upper room launch, I headed back for a proper meal.
Byzantium is hidden just off the High Street in Kings Heath and has a fairly unassuming exterior. Despite this, it was full up on the Tuesday evening we visited, with more people coming in throughout the night. Clearly the people of Kings Heath know they've got something good on their doorsteps.
Our splendid waiter advised us to have five or six tapas dishes with a flatbread between us for a good meal. We heeded his advice as we chose our dishes, alongside a very quaffable glass of Spanish citrussy wine. They've got a good array of wines, as well as some lovely sounding cocktails.
We'd been eyeing up everyone's flatbreads as we took our seats, so we had to have one. A giant piece of griddled, wonderfully herby bread took up nearly a quarter of our table. It was a delight to dunk into the various sauces and oils as well as with the Zaalouk dip we chose. This was a mix of aubergine, cumin, tomatoes and coriander.
When we ordered the langoustine, we were warned that they come with the shell on. "Yes!" we replied cheerfully. I'm always disappointed when the shell is off- there's something so wonderful about prising open the shell, getting oily fingers in the process. The garlic, parsley and cognac sauce here was delicious, and there was plenty left for bread dunking.
Sea bream in pancetta was perfectly cooked and served with paprika, lemon and tomato sauce.
The chicken souvlaki was as you would expect- herby, tender chicken with grilled peppers and tzatziki. I've tried the halloumi version too, which I preferred, but it's good to have the option.
We picked the cheese and spinach croquetas because Edd loves them. However, they ended up being one of my favourite dishes of the evening. The crunchy crumb gave way to the most creamy, delicious filling with just a touch of citrus to lighten things up.
We also loved the sympathetically cooked aubergine parmigiana, topped with a sunshine tomato sauce and lots of parmesan of course.
Five tapas, a flatbread and a dip was plenty for two of us on a weeknight. On a weekend when you can spend a little more time lingering, you may want one or two more dishes- based on my previous visit I would definitely recommend the pork belly, arancini and the halloumi souvlaki.
Saying that, we did manage to squash in a dessert to share. Edd and I had both fancied the crema catalana as soon as we saw it. I love any kind of baked custard, and this was a good one. The sugar topping was perfect and the custard was richer than you would find in a Crème brûlée.
Byzantium, Kings Heath
Photos by me and Edd.
The meal was complimentary in return for an honest review.