Thursday 29 March 2018

Food Review: Hotel Du Vin Spring Menu Launch

In an uncertain world, there's always Hotel Du Vin Birmingham. Restaurants come and go, but this place stays the same, offering up food, wine and hospitality by the bucket load.

Under the guidance of new General Manager, Barry Sherwin, we were invited to try the new menu at Hotel Du Vin Birmingham on what felt like one of the first days of Spring.

Starting off with a little taste of Gusbourne, an English Sparkling, along with some hearty nibbles, we enjoyed our welcome drinks and bar snacks in the Bubble Lounge before making our way to the main restaurant.

The new menu is full of French classics including Moules, Parfait, Steak Tartare, Escargots and of course Steak.

Wanting to try out something different, I sidestepped the Chicken Liver Parfait and went for the Severn & Wye Smoked Salmon Classic to start. Far from your usual dish of smoked salmon, alongside the thick, moist slices of smoked salmon was an unusual garnish; egg. The garnish of chopped boiled egg was laid out around the circumference of the dish, mixed in with red onion, parsleys and cornichons. An unusual take on this simple dish, it added interest and colour. Lemon juice of course added some zing.

Onto the main course, I stuck to the fishy theme and opted for the Sole Meuniere, a lightly pan-fried dish of lemon sole. A tricky fish to eat thanks to it's spiky bones, it was nonetheless well cooked, although it could have benefitted from a little less oil for my tastes. Accompaniments included honey roast carrots, pommes puree, haricots vert and of course pommes frites.

Gluten free dessert options included ice cream and Creme Brulee, so I picked the latter as much as I was trying to resist. A delightful dish as always, it was the dessert wine that really stood out for me here. The Emiliana Late Harvest was a light dessert wine with honey hints that I thoroughly enjoyed.

We were also treated to an introduction to the Sommeliers Table, a corner of heaven where wines are available to try by the glass, along with some expert advice. A little known feature, try it out next time you're there and you may even discover something new.

The new menu at Hotel Du Vin is a love letter to French cuisine. Showing off favourite dishes beloved by Brits and Frenchmen alike, there's some hearty food and seriously good wine to be enjoyed. My advice? Pop by for a meal that's sure to leave you satisfied.

*With thanks to Hotel Du Vin for the complimentary meal

Thursday 15 March 2018

Food Review: Indioz Indian, Moseley

Moseley is a great place for a night out, pub crawl or brunch; but is it known for its curry? Sure, there's Zindiya, but that's more popular for its street food bites than bowls of balti.

I headed to Indioz to try out the menu. Described as "well-crafted Indian food", we arrived on time and sat at the bar before heading to the table. Serving soft drinks only, the restaurant is unlicensed meaning it's a great affordable option for anyone who likes a tipple, whilst also avoiding those awkward "who drank what" conversations over the bill.

Promising to cater for allergens, the team was very knowledgable on what was and wasn't gluten free.

The first thing to arrive was a plate of poppadums and dips to go with it, before the starter of Samosa Chaat came out. Although this isn't gluten free, a portion was made up for me without the crispy topping so I could try this too. A mix of chickpeas and onions, this was a fairly spicy dish.

We also tried the Chilli Chicken which was again, fairly spicy, with some sweet flavours that are unusual for an Indian restaurant. The same goes for the main course dish of Zanzibar Chicken, which was an extremely mild coconut based chicken dish, best suited for anyone who would normally order Butter Chicken.

Next, we sampled Lamb Chops and Spiced Cod, both of which were good with plenty to chew on. The lamb chops in particular were meaty and tender, and the cod was also well cooked.

Onto the main courses proper, we were served two large sized Thali's, one vegetarian and one meat, alongside a very traditional Chicken Balti.

This was the highlight of the meal for me, with a fantastic variety of dishes included in the Thali, both of which were well flavoured, varied and filling. Both included naan, rice, raita and an onion chutney, whilst the meat version also included lamb and chicken curry, whilst the vegetarian version included saag, daal and aloo gobi.

The Chicken Balti was also as you would expect, hearty, medium spiced and with good sized chunks of chicken.

All of the main courses were gluten free and there was plenty of rice on offer to go alongside the curry dishes.

For dessert, the rest of the party sampled Halwa, although this is not gluten free. However, I unashamedly headed to the giant box of mint chocolates by the bar to finish off the meal with something sweet.

Indioz in Moseley is a great spot for a reasonably priced meal with friends and family. The more traditional dishes including the Balti and Thali were the most enjoyable dishes on the menu, and the hospitality and service were second to none. The atmosphere is family friendly and suitable for all. making it a great pit stop.

*With thanks to Indioz for the complimentary meal