There's been so many exciting events and takeovers recently. I love a takeover or pop up as you generally get to try something different or it's an easy way to try a place you've been meaning to go to.
This event is in the former category.
Saying that, this event was catered by Two Cats, who I reviewed before, so I'd had some of the food previously.
We were at Rose Villa Tavern for an afternoon of Russian food, drink and tradition. Food by Two Cats, drinks using Snow Queen Vodka and this event was put together by I Choose Birmingham. It was inspired by a scene in House of Cards when Frank Underwood sniffs bread, eats pickles and drinks vodka.
It made sense that it was held at Rose Villa Tavern as they have over 100 vodkas.
We sat at our shared table and took a look at the menu. I was expecting vodka and a few snacks, not a full on meal!
First we were presented with sourdough bread, pickles, smoked butter and salo, which is cured fat (and also the name of a horrid sounding film when you google it).
I tried pickles with vodka last time I was at RVT and the whole thing makes complete sense.
So you sniff the warm, rich bread, drink the crisp vodka and eat a sharp pickle. I love this tradition- it's the sort of thing Edd and I would get our friends to do when they come over!
Next up, the Haladnik, a kind of gazpacho. In the restaurant it was much prettier but this one tasted just as good. Check out my review of Two Cats to see the prettier version!
We were given a martini with a bit of a twist. I do like a straightforward classic martini, but this one hadn't been messed with too much. Vodka, vermouth and the twist of lemon bitters. It was still crisp and clear but with a slight edge of something else.
More food! Something I haven't had before and something I have had. I hadn't tried the Russian Fur Coat Salad before and I was a little apprehensive. When it turned up though, it looked so beautiful with generous chunks of herring on top of a pile of potato salad. The fish was lovely, not too salty, but salty enough to cut through the rich potato and mayonnaise.
Next, pelmeni, which are little goats cheese dumplings in a sweet onion and garlic broth. Again, I've tried these before in the restaurant and they are delicious but a lot prettier when they haven't got hundreds to make!
We were also given our second cocktail, a long drink of vodka and tonic with diced radish and micro amaranth. Believe it or not this was a bit of an acquired taste.
I like to think I'm up for different flavours but I did find this a bit of a struggle. It was like a salad in a drink. Initially I found it quite refreshing but only really wanted to drink about half. It was an interesting experience but not one I would be choosing again.
But the food wasn't over! We still had smoked beef stroganoff. I find stroganoff a little too heavy but I did enjoy the smoky flavours and the hearty grains it was served with.
Finally we tried the Snow Queen vodka chilled, with lemon balm for fragrance. I'm really getting into vodka at the moment, particularly chilled. Having it chilled makes it a little easier to drink neat though this doesn't let all the flavours come through. Snow Queen is one of the new vodkas coming through, with the clean, crispness you expect from vodka but with a rounded, almost creamy finish.
Finally, there was a competition to win a magnum of vodka. Unfortunately I did not win but it was fun to join in.
Subscribe to I Choose Birmingham
Two Cats Kitchen
Rose Villa Tavern