Thursday, 21 July 2016

Event: Marco Pierre White Birmingham Rooftop Terrace VIP Launch

When you receive an invite to Marco Pierre White's Rooftop Terrace VIP Launch, you know you're going to need a new dress.

Sadly the only thing I could find was a black summer number, but I digress.

As one of the hottest places to be seen in Birmingham, we locals and visitors alike love to flock to the rooftop terrace when the sun's out. But when the rain starts to come in, we've always had to duck for cover; until now.

Having undergone a £100,000 transformation, with a new conservatory to shield us from the elements, guests can now enjoy the rooftop views come rain or shine, and there are even new heaters and blankets on hand.

Promising free flowing Bottega prosecco, the invitation wasn't wrong as I made my way up to the 25th floor to see the newly revamped terrace.

Supplying us with Bottega served in stylish test-tube like glasses as well as nibbles from the new Light Bite Menu including Mushroom Arancini and Glazed Pork Belly, the terrace was full of the city's glitterati.

There was even a gold Bottega motorcycle on display!

Are you visiting the MPW terrace soon?

Photo credit: Mark Little Photography

*With thanks to MPW for the invitation

Monday, 11 July 2016

Food Review: Giraffe Restaurant Grand Central Birmingham

Since opening last September, Grand Central has become a foodie hotspot in Birmingham, bringing with it a host of new restaurants such as Caffe Concerto, Tapas Revolution and Giraffe.

It was Giraffe in Grand Central that I was kindly invited to review last week, and I took along a few friends and a poorly son to try out the menu at this new eatery.

Giraffe is known as a family friendly restaurant, and is so called because 'giraffes are so tall, they see a different view of the world'. Exploring foods from around the world, it's fair to say that it's difficult to pin point any singular type of cuisine, however, the menu encompasses dishes from the USA, South America and China.

Meeting outside the restaurant, we were seated at a table that was part booth, part table and shown the menu. I asked for the gluten free menu and was given an extensive allergens folder. For my friend's son, we also took a look at the children's menu.

Firstly, we ordered our drinks. The girls both ordered the Mango Colada and I ordered the Orchard Pig Strawberry, Blackberry and Apple juice.

My friends son ordered from the children's menu which came to £6.50 for a meal, drink and a dessert. He went for the breaded fish fingers with beans and chips, and we requested a colouring sheet and crayons too.

We really pushed the boat out with dinner and ordered a real variety to get an idea of what was on the menu.

For starters, I ordered the Halloumi Skewers, which came served with a light pea salad. Seasoned with fresh lemon, my two skewers were grilled and tasted light and fresh.

F ordered the Chicken Gyoza, which came in a large portion of five pieces. Golden dumplings were heartily filled with a soft chicken mixture and the pastry was not too thick and crispy in the right places. The accompanying sweet sticky sauce went down a treat.

M ordered the Salt and Pepper Squid, which was served soft in light crispy batter, complemented by a mango and chilli sauce which was sweet, with a kick.

For mains, we then went for two portions of Huevos Rancheros, one gluten free, one normal, and Chilli Beef Burritos.

First up, the eggs. These could be fried or scrambled, but we both went for fried which is more traditional. My gluten free version came on two small tortillas instead of one, but both were thin and crispy pizza style tortillas topped off with salsa, avocado, beans and cheese. Hurrah for this alternative to Avocado Toast, that Instagram cliche!

The Burrito was huge, generously filled to bursting with a beef and rice mixture, topped off with sour cream and cheese as well as pink onions, a Mexican specialty.

As there weren't too many Gluten Free dessert options, I had my friend's son's dessert of Strawberry and Banana Lollipops with a chocolate dipping sauce. F went for the Churros and M for the Banana Waffle Split.

The churros were hot and crispy, exactly as you'd expect.

My dessert was also, as you'd expect, fresh and would have been healthy if I hadn't eaten all the chocolate!

The waffle dessert was the real star though. A thick, warm waffle topped off with melting ice cream, caramel and chocolate sauce. Cinnamon finished off the flavour mix and surprisingly, this wasn't too sickly at all.

I was impressed with the service, relaxed and fun atmosphere and most of all, by the variety of dishes on offer. The fact that Giraffe is so family friendly is a real plus, and there is a dish for all tastes here.

The staff were very clued up on how to use the extensive allergens menu, and I was pleased to see the chef's were able to make simple substitutions which meant I could finally enjoy Huevos Rancheros!

*With thanks to Giraffe for my partly complimentary meal.