To complete Lee’s birthday stay at The Edgbaston we decided to push the boat out and try their recently launched tasting menu along with matched cocktails. Headed up by chef Ryan Swift, I’d heard some fantastic things about the cooking coming out of his kitchen. We loved the cocktail bars at the Edgbaston, all done out in 1920’s style black and gold.
I was little surprised to find out that they didn’t have a separate dining room – so we ate in a raucous noisy room with drinkers and other diners, I think they’d do well to make a segregation. While we’re on that subject I might as well get the little negatives out the way. The place was extremely busy and at times this was really obvious with the service. For example at one point we got our meat course, but with it arrived the cocktail that matched the pudding. So instead, as the bar ‘couldn’t get the right drink out in time’ we were given a glass of red wine instead. Fair enough, but we were looking forward to that tomato olive lemon vodka concoction that was advertised. Ok, thats the bad stuff out the way, because apart from that our evening of food and drink was outstanding.
Let’s start at the beginning; the bread. And what lovely bread it was too – a stout bread, white and an olive swirly one, served with soft salty butter. They went down very fast indeed, probably due to the two cocktails we had already consumed!
Moving on, the first and second courses were entitled
- The Night Before – Gin & Tonic
- The Morning After – Cherry Museli
This was the most interesting starts to a meal that I can recall in recent months. The first having such bursts of zing and zip with pickled cucumber, cucumber sorbet and gin jelly and the latter rick velvety duck liver parfait, plump sweet raisens and pickled cherries amongst the crunch of granola type seeds. The cherry muesli and duck parfait dish, with the added theatre of some dry ice would rank up there among my top dishes of all time. Alongside this was a small glass of Dubbonet and Ume Plum.
Next up was
- Lichfield Asparagus, Cornish Crab, Quails Egg, Nasturtium
Another very well accomplished dish with textures of asparagus alongside delicate white crab meat. Precise and accurate cooking with subtle flavours that all worked really well. A celery highball with cucumber gin, bianco and ginger ale went with this – and worked perfectly.
Following this another excellent course and then maybe the weakest of the night (although saying that if you compare it to most other restaurants, it was still a cut above)
- Hand Dived Orkney Scallop Surf ‘n’ Turf
- Cornish Cod, Moet, Cucumber Seaweed
The scallop was perfectly cooked and served alongside a confit crumbed chicken thigh, sweet creamy corn pureé and charred corn. A delight combination. I find sweetcorn elements are often done so badly but this pureé was divine. The cod dish was quite salty and I found this overpowered the delicate flavours of the fish and the sauce, although I enjoyed the seaweed element. Glasses of ‘Sweetcorn & Rye’ and then ‘Vermouth & Oyster’ accompanied these courses. For me the Vermouth & Oyster was the outstanding cocktail pairing of the night.
The main dish of the night, the meat course was next:
- Warwickshire Lamb, Courgette, Tomato, Black Olive
The meat was perfectly cooked, and all the elements sang together in harmonious mediterranean glory!
To finish off 2 dessert courses:
- Gariguette Strawberries & Cream
- Valrohna Chocolate, Peanut, Banana, Passion Fruit
The strawberry dish arrived again in theatrical dry ice style and was utterly delicious. By this point I confess to not really listening well enough to the dish descriptions as they arrived so I can’t really explain this one to you, but just trust me, it might be the best strawberries and cream you ever eat. The chocolate dessert was no less impressive. To accompany the latter was ‘Chocolate & Berries’ with Espresso Fog. The aroma was magical.
I really was very impressed with the standard of cooking at The Edgbaston. There were combination and flavours that really excited, which isn’t all that common. It thoroughly met and surpassed my expectations, as did the creativity and imagination in the cocktail pairings. So if you’re looking for excellent food quality and something a little different from your normal wine flight, this is the one for you.
Disclosure: We paid in full for the meal.