It might be a little too early for Christmas, but I love it and what better way to start the count down than with a restaurant whose cuisine is inspired by a country who does Christmas on overdrive?!
Located on Broad St, Coast to Coast Birmingham is the largest, flagship of the group. It’s an American restaurant and bar, serving up what you’d expect – burgers, fries, wings and Cajun-inspired dishes. It’s a lot bigger than it looks from the front; the dark wood and low lighting give the place a nice vibe. But being a bit of a Christmas purist, I was interested to see how they were going to marry Americana with more British traditions.
On meeting up with a couple of other Birmingham food bloggers, Emma and Taylah, we were treated to a hot spiced cider – which give the temperature outside was well received. I find hot spiced cider can sometimes be a little too sickly, but this was just the right level of sweetness with a nice alcoholic kick.
We were then led over to a small bar at the back of the spacious restaurant, where Coast to Coast’s beverage consultant Andy Pearson took us through the Christmas tradition inspired cocktail menu. The cheeky Christmas morning tipple was replaced with a Mimosa; think bucks-fizz with more class (or just an extra hit of alcohol from the Grand Marnier). Andy’s take on Egg Nog used Mount Gay rum infused with raisins and gingerbread syrup, rather than cognac and Madeira. Rum and raisin is a classic pairing and Mount Gay is elegant enough to let the raisin flavour through without overpowering it. The final drink, a Chocolate Orange Martini, was served up in a frosted glass – very festive!
After drinks it was time to sample some of the Christmas menu – although sample really is underselling it! Executive chef Jim Dickenson told us he had the best job in the world and with the passion and amount of food we were given, it was clear he meant it! We sampled wild mushroom risotto, pretty standard but well made and bruschetta with homemade pesto which was light and fresh, something which I’ve found sadly isn’t always the case.
The options for mains have something to suit most people. Their maple bacon burger that was gloriously indulgent. I’m a sucker for maple bacon and the bacon drizzled in maple syrup and baked had a lovely sweetness against the 28-day aged chuck & rump steak beef burger. Why this isn’t on the full-time menu is beyond me; it’s surely an archetypical American burger. The ‘small’ sample of the turkey roast dinner was delicious with the turkey steak pan-seared and baked to keep it moist and give it a lovely flavour – again, a nice surprise given how terrible the treatment turkey usually gets at this time of year.
By this point we were all well and truly stuffed, but Christmas is all about indulgence so it was time to roll out the desserts; pecan pie, Oreo cheesecake and hazelnut chocolate brownie sundae. It’s unusual not to see a sponge pudding or Christmas cake on the menu, but the desserts were good, with the pecan pie being particularly delicious. I’m not really a fan of sundaes and with that much cream I gave it a miss, but the Oreo ice cream was he kind of thing I’d be happy to eat as dessert in its own right.
I was a little skeptical about Coast to Coast. Perhaps it’s my own prejudice but a chain restaurant on Broad St with an American theme wouldn’t be my first thought for Christmas. However, having tried a lot of their Christmas offerings, I’m happy to be proven wrong. I love turkey and I’m so pleased to find somewhere that gives it the care it deserves. With several venues in Birmingham offering turkey-free Christmas meals it’s nice to see somewhere that is including turkey, but also offering festive meals in keeping with their original cuisine. Definitely worth checking out if you’re looking to book somewhere for a festive meal.
Disclosure: I was invited to attend the Christmas preview for free, in exchange for an honest review. I wasn’t obliged to give a positive review, but was pleased to do so – particularly about the turkey which was pretty great.