Monday, 13 June 2016

The High Field Town House

I've talked about The High Field on various occasions. It's a gastropub in leafy Edgbaston, part of the Peach Pubs chain. Oh no! A chain! They call themselves a 'collection' which is a nice way of putting it. There's several in the Midlands, including The Rose and Crown in Warwick, which I loved, and The High Field which is closest to me.

What's nice about them is that they've all got a very different feel. The Rose and Crown is quite a traditional pub but with quirky touches while The High Field feels more like a relaxed restaurant with a bar at the front. I was just looking at The Almanack in Kenilworth and that one is completely different again. There's similarities across the brand, such as the layout of the menu, focus on seasonal food, design led interiors and grand gins.

Saying that, having been to a couple, they feel individually run, with their own aims and direction. So when I found out The High Field had purchased the building next door and converted it into a stylish boutique hotel, it made perfect sense.

Highfield Road is a lovely place for visitors in Birmingham to stay. It's close enough to the city centre to be able to spend the day exploring Brum, but you can easily spend your evening in Edgbaston- with Simpsons for Michelin star dining, The Edgbaston for cocktails and The High Field literally next door.

The High Field Townhouse throws the idea of hotels on its head. There's no faffing around with checking in. You are emailed a code a few days before, which lets you through the front door and also into your room. We arrived at around 7pm, had a mooch around the sitting room and then let ourselves into the room. It was lovely to feel under no pressure to be there at a certain time.

The sitting room is kind of a reception but will also have free coffee and an honesty bar. It also sets the tone for the rest of the hotel with its incredible decoration. I basically want to move in.

Obviously you're not completely alone- you can pop next door to the pub if you need help.

Much meta.

The rooms range from 'standard' to premium but we stayed in a standard room and there was nothing standard about it.

As far as I can tell, the premium rooms are bigger and have a free standing bath. Our room was a delight and had all the little touches you would expect from a boutique hotel. There was a sweet little card welcoming us to the hotel , which allowed us a free drink at the bar.

A beautiful desk tripled up as a dressing table and tea station. There was standard tea and coffee but also the variety of teas I always look for, including a very lovely Earl Grey. As I mentioned, there will be a proper coffee machine in the sitting room but there was also standard coffee granules if you can't quite drag yourself from the room.

The mirror was a good height for doing my hair and make up. I just thought it would be nice to have some tissues available.

I loved how much thought had gone into everything- little branded coasters and even a book to read on the bed side table. Plus plug sockets on both sides- you'd be surprised how often this doesn't happen.

Note the hare on the cushion too. The High Field's branding features a fox and a hare and our room seemed to be hare/rabbit themed. Cute!

So how did I sleep? As who cares about the rabbits and free tea if you don't sleep well? The curtains did an excellent job of keeping out the light, which is important for Edd but less so for me. There was also excellent air conditioning. It was a very hot evening but we stayed cool all night. It was quite loud but I like a bit of background noise- Edd and I usually have the fan on every night or use a rain sounds phone app. Realistically we're in England so it won't be that warm the majority of the time.

The bed and sheets were comfortable but I found the pillows way too soft.This is something I struggle with in almost all hotels. I think people must like soft pillows? I would appreciate the opportunity to request a firmer pillow which I know a few places are starting to do.

I rose the next morning and fixed myself and Edd a cuppa before showers and breakfast. Despite a couple of gins at The High Field with dinner (blog soon) and cocktails at The Edgbaston, I was feeling cheery and ready to go on a beautiful sunny morning.

The contemporary yet classic design continued into the bathroom, which was mainly white, with those fabulous blue tiles. The rain shower was hot and strong.

The toiletries were lovely of course, and even the soap dish was cute.

Complimentary bottles of water and proper glasses are another must for me. There was one still and one sparkling which meant Edd and I had to fight over the sparkling. NOT REALLY- he just let me have it because he knows I love it.

It was a quick hop and a jump over to the pub for breakfast. I'd never eaten breakfast at The High Field but I had high expectations. I chose an apple juice as I'd already had a hot drink and Edd had a black coffee.

We perused the menu, which was full of interesting and hipstery choices such as avocado smash (instagram favourite) brisket and sweet potato hash and almond milk porridge. I wanted all of it and I was nearly swayed by devilled (I assume spicy) beans with poached eggs or by bacon and pancakes.

In the end though, I went for my current breakfast favourite of Eggs Royale (£7.75) (they called it Eggs Benedict with ham, salmon or spinach which is just confusing)- Smoked salmon on a toasted muffin, topped with poached egg and hollandaise sauce. I love smoked salmon and I love eggs and I'm warming to hollandaise as long as it hasn't been absolutely soaked in it.

When it turned up, I was happy to see TWO poached eggs and not too much sauce. The salmon looked a bit odd and I realised that's because it had cooked a little when they had grilled the dish to get that browning on the top of the egg. It didn't affect the taste but I felt the texture wasn't quite so soft. Other than that- great sauce, plenty of salmon and perfectly cooked eggs. I tried to take a picture of the runny yolk but I was too hungry and over-excited so it was out of focus. You'll just have to imagine.

Edd went for an exciting option. Good work Edd! He had the BBQ brisket and sweet potato hash, topped with a fried egg (£7). He polished it off and I tried a little. It was really tasty and an interesting alternative option for the morning but just not what I want for breakfast. Mainly because these days all I want is salmon. Anyway, it makes me very happy to see such interesting options for breakfast.

A relaxed breakfast to end a relaxed stay at The High Field. I highly recommend staying here to anyone visiting Birmingham. Check out their website for more info and booking.

The High Field Town House, Highfield Road, Edgbaston

Photos by me and Edd.

Our stay was complimentary but we paid for breakfast. 

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