Category Archives: Birmingham

Restaurant Review: Handmade Burger Co. Bullring, Birmingham

A few weeks ago, a few local bloggers and I were invited to Handmade Burger Co. flagship branch in the Bullring to sample their food and meet the owner Chris and the marketing manager, Mike. I (Jo’s Kitchen) was joined by fellow bloggers Charlene, her husband Ian, and Elizabeth, along with Emma from the Bullring.

We perused their vast menu (who knew there could be so many burger choices!) and as Handmade Burger Co. does not do starters as such, we settled on a selection of chargrilled chicken and halloumi and vegetable skewers, served alongside an assortment of dips to share amongst us all. We tried all the chicken skewer flavours except the plain one. My favourite was the peri –peri as the chicken was really moist and tender, with a little bit of heat coming from the peri-peri. The dips were excellent too. I loved the hoisin and hot chill ones.

For my main, I chose the American cheese beef burger with an onion ring, gherkin, American mustard, mature cheese, mayonnaise and salad. I shared some peri-peri chips and onion rings sides with Emma. The bun was crisped to perfection and there was a generous amount of cheese on the burger too. The burger itself was charred on the outside and extremely moist within. It was unlike any burger I have eaten before. Due to the large portion size, I was unable to finish the burger. Next time I visit, I will probably have one of their smaller burgers as this one, although lovely was much too big for me to finish.  The sides were excellent too. I loved the peri-peri chips and the onion rings. The coleslaw was delicious and an excellent contrast to the rich burger. (I sneaked some to try from Charlene)

Chocolate Brownie Sundae

After a much-needed break, I decided to go for the chocolate brownie sundae for pudding. It was full of yummy vanilla ice cream, massive chunks of chocolate brownie and lots of chocolate sauce. I licked the bowl clean. It was yummy!

While we had been eating our meals, Chris chatted to us about why he started Handmade Burger Co and his beliefs in providing good quality food from other family run companies. The beef for his burgers comes from Scotland and is sent to the branches in mince form and they make the burgers themselves every day. The chicken is Red Tractor farm assured. Chris would like to use free-range chicken but cannot get it in the quantity he needs to supply all his stores. The bread comes from a family bakery that makes the buns according to Chris’s recipe. The potatoes are Maris Pipers and are brought to the branches as whole potatoes in bags and the chefs prepare them on site. Whatever Chris does not know about potatoes is not worth knowing!

Many thanks to Chris, Mike, Emma and my fellow bloggers for a lovely evening. I will definitely be back at Handmade Burger Co. soon!

Disclosure: I dined as a guest of the Bullring. All opinions are my own. I was not required to write a positive review.

Restaurant Review: The Gallery, Selffridges, Bullring, Birmingham

I went for lunch at The Gallery Restaurant on Level 4 in Selfridges in the Bullring, Birmingham. I was warmly greeted by the members of the waiting staff, and seated at a table near the balcony, giving an excellent view of Bullring. The menu at The Gallery is wide and varied, with everything from salads and sandwiches for a light meal to burgers and steak dinners for those with greater appetites.

As I was out on my own, (it doesn’t happen very often!) I decided to treat myself to a full three course meal. For my starter, I couldn’t resist having the Scallops with a Saffron Risotto and Peas. I loved the scallops as they were caramelised beautifully and were cooked to perfection. The risotto was fresh and creamy, and complemented the crispy scallops excellently.

For my main, I settled on the Confit Pork Belly, served with Chive Mash, Black Pudding Fritter, Apple Sauce and Red Wine Jus. The cracking was so thin and crispy, I can only wish my cracking I did at home was this good. The pork was juicy and the chive mash packed punch of flavour too. The mash was surrounded by a pool of red wine jus, which is good as in some restaurants, you only get a tiny bit of jus to accompany the dish. The only negative to my main was the black pudding fritter. I don’t feel it really added anything to dish. The texture just did not agree with the moist and juicy pork or the creamy mash. Everything else was excellent though and I would certainly order this again.

To finish, I had the White Chocolate and Raspberry Torte served with Mint Ice Cream. When I saw this on the menu, I wondered why the chef had chosen mint ice cream to accompany the torte as I thought that the ice cream would overpower the white chocolate. I was completely wrong. The mint cut through the richness of the torte and brought out the flavour of the white chocolate and the raspberries. This was my dish of the day and I could of eaten it all over again!

I am already planning my next trip to Bullring so I can go and try one of The Gallery’s burgers and eat the torte again! Thank you to all the team at The Gallery for an excellent meal.

The post also appeared on the Bullring website

Disclosure: I dined as a guest of the Bullring. All opinions are my own. I was not required to write a positive review.

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I am a BBC Good Food Show Blogger!!

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Earlier on in the year, I was contacted the BBC Good Food Show asking if I would like to be a member of their new Good Food Bloggers community. Having been going to the Good Food Shows for many years, I jumped at chance to be involved and get the inside scoop. As part of the community, we get sent products from producers who will be appearing at the shows. So far we have received, some dried Edible Ornamentals Chipotle Chilli and some Farmer’s Fayre Rose Veal escalopes.

Hairy Biker's Gourmet Chili

With the smoked dried chipotle chilli, I made the Hairy Biker’s Gourmet Chilli with bitter chocolate. The Hairy Biker’s make regular appearances at the good food shows and being huge fans of theirs, it seemed the most appropriate thing to make. I adapted the recipe as I only used steak mince and also did not add any beans into my chill. It was gorgeous and the smoky chili really came through. I will definitely be making this again!

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With the veal, I just served it simply griddled with new potatoes, green beans and carrots. It was yummy and has veal is really good for us, I will be definitely eat it in another way soon.

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A few weeks ago, most of the good food bloggers community went to Purnell’s Bistro and Gingers Bar in Birmingham for lunch and some cocktails. We were treated to a cocktail making demonstration where we learn that cocktail making and creating recipes are actually very similar. We got to try a few cocktails too. My favourite was the roast lamb Provençal cocktail (basically roast dinner in a glass) It is very strange tasting at first but after a few sips I really enjoyed it.   I want to go back again to try more cocktails. For my lunch at Purnell’s Bistro, I had;

Starter: Black Pudding – Potato Rosti – Poached Hen’s Yolk – Bacon Dressing

Main: Blade of Beef – Seasonal Vegetables – Mustard Jus

Pudding: Seasonal Crumble – Vanilla Ice Cream

It was lovely to meet my fellow bloggers and I cannot wait to see them all again at the summer show :-)

If you would like to go to the BBC Summer Good Food Show from 12th to the 16th June 2013 at the NEC and have not got your tickets yet, then I have an exclusive discount code for Jo’s Kitchen readers, giving you 15% off normal standard ticket price.

The discount code is: JK15

This entitles Jo’s Kitchen readers to 15% off standard tickets. The discount is not valid on VIP Tickets. The ticket will include a seat in the Supertheatre in a session of their choice.

Thank you to the Ginny and the BBC Good Food Show team, Claire, Purnell’s Bistro, Edible Ornamentals and Farmer’s Fayre for the wonderful experience of being a good food show bloggers community member so far. It is much appreciated :-)

Disclosure: I was sent the products to taste free of charge. My meal at Purnells was complementary from the BBC Good Food Show Team. If you use the code above to purchase a ticket, then I will earn a few pence from it. 


Brum Yum Yum!

 

Last weekend, Birmingham had it first streetfood market called Brum Yum Yum. It was held in All Saints Square in Kings Heath and my dad, Thomas and I went to see what it was like. We arrived shortly after midday and were instantly impressed by the range of streetfood on offer. There was something for every taste.

As Thomas' and mine favourite food is pizza, we went straight to Fundi Pizza and had a margarita pizza, cooked fresh in front of you for £5. It was delicious and if the weather had been warmer, I could of been in Naples. For pudding, I had a rhubarb and custard brioche toasted sandwich from The Jabberwocky. I have never thought of having a sweet toasted sandwich before and I now realise I have been missing out. It was yummy and I did not even leave a crumb! I forgot to take a photo of it too as I was so looking forward to trying it.

As well as having the streetfood vendors, Brum Yum Yum had entertainment from local singers, a bar and a stall selling Pip's Hot Sauce, locally made in Birmingham. It really had a festival vibe and people hung round after eating the food to soak up the atmosphere. From about 1pm, the square got incredibly busy and even when the rain came, people kept on coming showing that Birmingham desperately needed an event like this.

I was lucky enough to have a few minutes chat to Duncan Stanley, director of Brum Yum Yum and former touring apprentice with UB40. Duncan told me how he looked at each Brum Yum Yum event like a gig and wanted to create a similar atmosphere, to ensure everyone there had a good time, stayed around for a bit and did not just go straight after getting their food. Duncan is a lovely guy and I am very sure that Brum Yum Yum is going to be an amazing success. I will definitely be going back soon!!

 

 

 

 

Restaurant Review: Itihaass Brassiere, Selfridges, Bullring, Birmingham

Gulab Jamun

What is the best Indian restaurant in Birmingham? I am sure that every one of us has a different answer to this question, me included. How about this then, where is the best place to get a delicious authentic Indian meal and still be able to carry on with the shopping afterwards?

The answer to the second question is easy. Itihaas Brassiere. Itihaas Brassiere is the outpost of Itihaas Indian restaurant on Fleet Street. It serves everything from Indian starters and snacks to the full on curry experience, right in the heart of Selfridges in the Bullring.

Stuart and I arrived at Itihass Brassiere on a busy Thursday lunchtime and were warmly greeted by the staff. We sat down at the high tables and perused the wide selection on the menu. As well as traditional curries, Itihass Brassiere also has chat, dosa and wraps on the menu, ideal for those who want something lighter for lunch or as a snack. Having tried one of the chat dishes the last time I visited, this time I decided to go for a curry, as I was feeling hungry.

Makhani Murgh

Lamb Rogan Josh

side salad

Stuart had Makhani Murgh, which is fenugreek & smoked tomato tikka chicken curry, with steamed Basmati rice, garlic Naan and chutneys. I had Lamb Rogan Josh, which is Garam Masala spiced lamb, curry with steamed Basmati rice, garlic Naan and chutneys. We were both immediately impressed with our curries. My lamb was melting tender and rich with all the garam masala spices. The naan bread had the perfect texture. Slightly crispy round the edges with a soft and very garlicky centre. I am very picky with my naan breads but this was near perfection for me. Stuart’s curry was excellent too. It had the right amount of chilli heat and spice, allowing the full flavours of the tikka to come through. The side salad and yoghurt we were served alongside cooled the small but very tasty fire in our bellies and meant we could eat even more curry!

Despite starting to feel very full, we managed to both eat Gulab Jamun for dessert, which is milk & pistachio steamed dumplings, with rose water syrup and served with pistachio ice cream. I love these little doughnut type things and would have quite happily eaten a whole bowlful of them, had I not been full of curry. They are full of syrupy gorgeousness and with the ice cream alongside, it was a palette cleanser too and very refreshing after all the spices. Stuart and I loved the Itihass Brassiere and we are looking forward to going back again soon!

This post also appeared on the Bullring website

Disclosure: Stuart and I dined as guests of the Bullring. All opinions are my own. I was not required to write a positive review

Birmingham’s First Ever Street Market Launches This Saturday!

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The official launch of BRUM YUM YUM’S Kings hEATh Streetfood Market is taking place on Saturday April 13 at 12noon. Birmingham’s first ever authentic streetfood market will bring together 15 of the country’s hottest streetfood traders, rare street music and an urban circus troupe to create a truly unique dining experience.

Most dishes are in the £3-5 range with lots of snacks and sharing plates on the menu. A selection of quality beer and wine will be served at very reasonable prices (£2 bottle/glass) and if the weather disappoints, visitors can soak up the atmosphere from covered dining areas.

Streetfood Market

Streetfood is the hot trend in dining. The rare combination of quality and value has sparked a huge, vibrant streetfood scene in London. Now Birmingham will see the streetfood revolution roll out across the city. Kings hEATh will be at the Village Square on the second Saturday of every month from 12noon until 6pm, with more markets at various locations across the city due to be announced.

The latest boost to Birmingham’s reputation as a centre of food culture is produced by local promoters BRUM YUM YUM. Director, Duncan Stanley learned his trade in show business as a touring apprentice with local reggae superstars UB40.

Duncan Stanley, director said: “I have a creative vision of what makes a really great streetfood market. A complete experience; a ‘streetfood show’ with quality food, drink and entertainment combined to create a special and unique vibe.

“People want to eat food that is sourced and produced with care and sold at an honest price. Streetfood ticks all the right boxes, so the initial response to our vision for the food events has been overwhelming. Our online following just keeps on growing and the BBC Good Food Show producers are in talks with us about featuring streetfood at their shows.

“Thanks to the support of Birmingham City Council, BRUM YUM YUM’S streetfood markets will be regular foodie fixtures.”

Highlights from the menu for the Kings hEATh launch include; local baby back ribs from the filing cabinet barbecue, the ultimate dry aged Hereford beef burgers, 10 hour roast Cotswold lamb, authentic Neapolitan woodfired pizza, south Indian pure vegetarian masala dosa, handmade Moroccan falafel and hummus, Bradford-Kashmiri halal curries, freshly made hot Belgian waffles, and Middle Eastern salads created by ‘The Deli at Edgbaston’.

Duncan Stanley adds: “If you love great food and drink come early & come hungry. Whatever the weather we will keep you and your family comfortable and entertained. We want our markets to create a family fun atmosphere, a family affair with lots to eat, drink and enjoy whatever your age. I guarantee you will leave happy.”

Find BRUM YUM YUM on twitter @brumyumyum or facebook.com/brumyumyum & get down to Kings hEATh on Saturday 13 April and every second Saturday of the month.

Stuart, Thomas and I will be there soaking up the atmosphere on Saturday and we hope you can join us too :-)

Restaurant Review: Fleet Street Kitchen, Birmingham

Image by FSK

Image by FSK

A few weeks ago, Stuart, Thomas and I were invited to lunch at Fleet Street Kitchen. Fleet Street Kitchen is a new restaurant on Summer Row/Fleet Street in Birmingham, specialising in farm to plate British cooking with a relaxed contemporary edge. The restaurant has the only ‘Barbacoa’ Grill in the UK, which is a barbecue cooking method popular in Northern Spain using American lumpwood charcoal.

Image by FSK

Image by FSK

Image by FSK

Upon arriving at the restaurant, we were seated promptly and given a few minutes to sort ourselves out. Once we were all settled, our drinks order was taken (they have a wide range of real ales, proper ciders and an excellent wine list) and left to browse the menu. Fleet Street Kitchen do not have a children’s menu but are happy to make any dish on their menu a half portion for children.

For a shared starter, we had Freshly Baked Bread Oil & Balsamic and Kalamata Olives Marinated pepper. The bread was excellent with a crisp crust and a lovely chewy middle. The olive oil was slight bland and could have been better quality. The olives and the peppers were so delicious that we had to fight Thomas for them as he ate them like they were sweets. He is a proper little foodie already!

For our mains, Stuart had the 12oz Dexter Chop with FSK #1 Meat Sauce. The Dexter chop had been aged for 35 days and was served with a flat mushroom and roasted cherry tomatoes. The portion size was amazing. It reminded me of something Fred Flintstone might eat. It was cooked to the perfect medium and was very juicy and tender. The sauce was absolutely gorgeous too. My main was a corn fed Poussin cooked in a rotisserie and served with chips and homemade coleslaw. The chicken was juicy and the meat flaked easily off the bone. The coleslaw cut through the creaminess and was a great compliment to the poussin. Thomas had the Minted Pea Risotto Truffle Oil which was very fresh and zingy. Thomas really enjoyed eating it as the picture below shows.

For pudding, Thomas and Stuart shared the Soft Whip Ice Cream with Flake and Strawberry Sauce. I am not quite sure who ate the most but it was gone very quickly. For my pudding, I had Spotted Dick with Custard which was dense and very rich. The custard was beautiful with lots of vanilla seeds in it. My plate was soon clear too.

Overall, we had a fantastic time at Fleet Street Kitchen. I think it is an excellent addition to the Birmingham food scene. I am already planning my next visit on an evening when I can have a fantastic meal, then go downstairs to their bar for a cocktail and then party the night away!

Image by FSK

Disclosure: Stuart, Thomas and I dined as guests of Fleet Street Kitchen at a pre-restaurant opening press event. I was not required to write a positive review.

Young Birmingham Chef is Crowned Winner in National Culinary Competition

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The winner of the inaugural Wing Yip ‘Young Chef of the Year 2013’ was awarded on Friday 22nd February at an awards ceremony in Birmingham.

Joseph being awarded his trophy by Brian Yip - Image by Jo's Kitchen

Joseph being awarded his trophy by Brian Yip – Image by Jo’s Kitchen

Joseph Vinten from Birmingham won the coveted title of Young Chef of the Year for Oriental Cuisine, which celebrated culinary expertise of the very best chefs across the Midlands.

New for this year the competition set out to find the Midlands’ most promising young chef talent in Oriental cooking. It offered young chefs, between the ages of 18-25, who were either training or employed in the catering industry the chance to boost their culinary careers.

Joseph was chosen after a challenging 90 minute ‘cook-off’ at University College Birmingham during the day, which saw 11 finalists, across two heats, prepare an authentic two course meal comprising of a starter and main course.

The Judges and the Yip Family - Image by Jo's Kitchen

The Judges and the Yip Family – Image by Jo’s Kitchen

Judges on the day included celebrity TV chef Ching He Huang, Michelin-starred Birmingham chef Glynn Purnell, and President of the British Culinary Federation, Peter Griffiths, who put the finalists through their paces and passed on expertise.

Chairman of judges and President of British Culinary Federation, Peter Griffiths said: “This competition has shown great diversity and is different to other competitions on the circuit. The calibre of the entries has been very high, so selecting our winners was difficult. We have been very impressed by the talent and skills of these budding professionals. This makes Joseph’s award even more impressive and he should be very proud of his achievement.”

Joseph, 22, is a student at University College Birmingham and impressed the judges with his dishes including Lobster Spring Rolls and Duo of Asian Quail.

Michelin starred chef Glynn Purnell said: “It’s a great to see a competition that embraces the multi-cultural food scene in Britain today. The dishes have shown a great fusion of east meets west. Oriental cuisine inspired my early career so I was delighted to be asked to judge this competition and was thoroughly impressed with the level of skill from all the finalists.”

As this year’s winner, Joseph has not only added the coveted title to his CV but has also won a once in a lifetime culinary trip to Hong Kong where he will have the opportunity to experience fine Asian cuisine and the popular street food scene.

On finding out the news, Joseph said: “I can’t believe the judges thought my food was good enough to win, and it was great to meet Glynn – he is one of my biggest inspirations. I am so excited and cannot wait to try out more Oriental cuisine when I visit Hong Kong later in the year.”

Ruby receives her trophy from Brian Yip - Image by Jo's Kitchen

Ruby receives her trophy from Brian Yip – Image by Jo’s Kitchen

Valerio receives his trophy from Brian Yip - image by Jo's Kitchen

Valerio receives his trophy from Brian Yip – image by Jo’s Kitchen

Ruby Rainey from Keele University was also awarded second prize winning £500 of Wing Yip vouchers and Valerio Grimaldi-Plant from Stratford-upon-Avon College came third, winning £250 of Wing Yip vouchers.

Mr Wing Yip and I - Image by Jo's Kitchen

Mr Wing Yip and I – Image by Jo’s Kitchen

Mr Wing Yip, Chairman of Wing Yip, said: “The increasing popularity of Pan Asian cuisine in the UK is extremely exciting. We launched the competition first and foremost to celebrate Oriental cookery with its delicious flavours and aromas, but also to identify the region’s most talented young chefs to encourage them to carry the tradition forward and preserve the legacy of this glorious cuisine.”

Ching and I - Image by Jo's Kitchen

Ching and I – Image by Jo’s Kitchen

TV chef and Young Chef Judge Ching He Huang, added: “Joseph thoroughly deserved the title but I was impressed by the standard of all the finalist’s dishes. The talent in the final line up confirmed that the there is a hot bed of culinary promise and the final proved to be a fierce competition. Winning the title will open many doors for Joseph and offers a helping hand at a stage in their career which can be tricky to navigate. I was honoured to be able to share my experience and offer advice to the region’s finest young chefs.”

Stuart and I were lucky enough to be invited to the awards ceremony after the cook off. I have included the official account above as I did not want to miss anything out. We had an amazing time. Mr Wing Yip is a legend and his family, especially his son Brian are fantastic too. The event was hosted and run by students of the University College Birmingham who were very hard working and ensured that we had a great time. The Menu for the awards dinner was magnificent. I would happily eat their food anytime. Ching and Glynn were lovely to chat too and I hope to meet them again soon. Many thanks to Seal amd the Wing Yip family for hosting and inviting us to the event. Finally I would like to congratulate all the competitors for taking part. You all did amazingly well! :-)

Young Birmingham Chef Reaches Final in National Culinary Competition

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A young Birmingham chef is gearing up to battle it out in a live Masterchef-style cook-off and is hoping to impress celebrity judges as part of a national competition.

Wing Yip’s ‘Oriental Young Chef of the Year’ competition set out to find the Midlands’ most promising young chef talent in Oriental cooking, and the oriental supermarket will be joined by celebrity TV chef Ching He Huang, Michelin-starred Birmingham chef Glynn Purnell, and President of the British Culinary Federation, Peter Griffiths, to taste the top talent’s creations and crown the winner.

Ching He Huang, Brian Yip

The competition is new for this year and offers young chefs between the ages of 18-25 who are training or working in the catering industry a chance to boost their culinary careers. The lucky winner will walk away with a once in a lifetime trip to Hong Kong, where they will gain an insight into the hospitality industry and explore the region’s cultural highlights.

Jamie Glanville

Jamie Glanville, 23, is currently working in the kitchen at The Punchbowl Gastropub, Kings Heath, and hopes to be in the running with his dishes of Spicy Confit Chicken Wings and Pan Fried Fillet of Seabass to win a once in a lifetime culinary trip to Hong Kong and of course add the coveted title to his CV.

On finding out the news, hopeful finalist Jamie said: “I can’t believe it; I’m a little bit nervous but mostly excited! To have such highly acclaimed chefs giving feedback on my work is a once in a lifetime opportunity- I can’t wait to get in the kitchen as I love creating Oriental dishes.”

Mr Wing Yip, Chairman of Wing Yip, said: “The increasing popularity of Pan Asian cuisine in the UK is extremely exciting. We launched the competition first and foremost to celebrate Oriental cookery with its delicious flavours and aromas, but also to identify the region’s most talented young chefs to encourage them to carry the tradition forward and preserve the legacy of this glorious cuisine.”

Glynn Purnell, Michelin starred chef and Young Chef judge, added: “The talent in the final line up confirms that the Midlands is a hot bed of culinary promise and, from what I have seen so far, the competition is going to be fierce! Winning the title will open many doors for the lucky champion and offers a helping hand at a stage in their career which can be tricky to navigate. I am honoured to be able to share my experience and offer advice to the region’s finest young chefs.”

The cook off will take place at University College Birmingham on the 22nd February and will see the finalists prepare two Asian- inspired dishes in under 90 minutes.

I have been lucky enough to be invited to the dinner and awards evening when they announce the winning chef. Stay tuned for more about this soon :-) 

A Night at Jamie’s Italian Sampling The New Winter Menu

I have always been a big fan of Jamie’s Italian restaurants since I went to my first one in Covent Garden, London a few years ago. The concept is excellent and there is a wide variety of food and drink choices and things that you just do not see anywhere else. I was very happy when Jamie’s Italian came to Bullring and was lucky enough to eat there in first few weeks it opened. I have been back there many times since to break up a shopping trip or two.

Recently I was invited back to Jamie’s Italian with Emma, the lovely editor of Browse Bullring, Ahmed and Sanjeeta from Dine Birmingham and Charlene from No Love Sincerer and her husband to sample their new winter menu. We were warmly welcomed by the staff and were treated to a glass of Prosecco on arrival. While perusing the new menu we were served the ‘World’s Best Olives on Ice’ which had large green olives, black olive tapenade and music bread. The claim that they were the ‘world’s best’ started a discussion for the group as to why this might be. I am not a fan of olives so did not try them. However my companions decided that this might be because they are not preserved. By serving them on ice, they keep fresh and were very tasty according to my dining companions.

For my starter, I chose the ‘Crispy Stuffed Risotto Balls’ which came very originally presented in a metal pot on a board with a small portion of spicy tomato sauce alongside. The portion was very generous and I found that just eating 2 of the risotto balls was enough for me. The tomato sauce was yummy and was an excellent contrast to the risotto balls, lifting them to new heights flavour wise.

For my main, I chose the ‘Game Meatball’ which is a giant meatball slow cooked in a tomato and garlic ragu, served with oozy polenta and black cabbage. We each had a glass of wine matched to our main courses served to us by the manager. Mine was a gutsy red wine that complimented the large meatball perfectly; unfortunately I have completely forgotten the name of it. However I am sure that if you go to Jamie’s Italian and ask for the manager, he will give you the same wine I had and you can try it for yourself.

In my opinion, the meatball was the absolute star of the dish. It was full of a variety of game and had rich, earthy flavours suitable to warm you up on a cold winter’s evening. I did find the sheer amount of polenta slightly overwhelming and I thought it slightly overtook the majestic nature of the meatball a bit. I was recently lucky enough to interview Gennaro Contaldo when he came to the BBC Winter Good Food Show at the NEC. I spoke to him about recipe development at Jamie’s Italian which he is a key part of. The meatball was inspired by Gennaro cooking a game ragu which Jamie saw, thought was an excellent idea but decided to put his unique spin on it and make it big! For more about this interview, please see a video post coming soon.

For pudding, I was very tempted to have the Chocolate Brownie which I have had before and know it is absolutely amazing. However, for something different I went for the ‘Sour Cherry Bakewell’ which has a sweet almond filling with tart berries and is served with a clementine rippled sour cream. The tart was very moist and the berries contrasted the sweet filling perfectly. I have only 1 small request, can I have a bigger slice next time please? The manager brought me a glass of Limoncello to drink with the tart and it was gorgeous. If I closed my eyes, I could of nearly of been in Italy drinking it in the sunshine. I hope to be back at Jamie’s Italian in the Bullring soon, especially as I have lots of Christmas shopping still to do!

Many thanks to Emma, the team at Jamie’s Italian, Ahmed, Sanjeeta and Charlene and her husband for a lovely evening.

You can also see this post on the Bullring website

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