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Pub grub

    Pub grub, Reviews

    Rose Villa Tavern new(ish) menu

    chicken_wings_rose_villa_tavernIf I was the sort of person that felt ashamed about the food they liked, then fried chicken wings would be a total guilty pleasure.  But life is too short to feel embarrassed about the food that makes you happy.  And chicken wings, with their crispy batter encasing juicy meat, with no airs and graces but to get in and use your hands, are a simple, but delicious pleasure.  The Rose Villa Tavern in the Jewellery Quarter has been gaining a bit of a reputation for their chicken wings for a while now, so when they mentioned a new menu was brewing and specifically mentioned those chicken wings, I knew it was about time to revisit the place.

    Their new food menu has built on the Americana vibe that they’ve been rocking for a while.  Sure it’s a bit weird that this glorious Victorian Grade II listed building has a menu which would be more at home in a town in Texas, but somehow sat in the sunlight streaming in from those glorious glass windows it sort of works.  There are some dishes that you’d expect on such a menu; burgers, hot dogs, classic American sandwiches, nachos and fries, as well as a few dishes that you don’t see quite so much.


    Anyway, those wings.  The Rose Villa Tavern’s crunchy fried chicken wings are definitely what they promised.  They can be ordered in batches of six, twelve or eighteen with a number of sauces.  Personally though, I like my fried wings to have enough flavour to cope without the need for sauce and these lived up to that.  If you’re feeling generous, the wings (which feature as part of the small plates), would make a good accompaniment to some of the sharer options, like the chilli cheese fries which come loaded with chilli (meat or three bean), melted cheese, onion and American mustard.  Personally though, I’d just order some all to myself.

    bacon_cheeseburger_rose_villa_tavernOf course burgers feature heavily on the Rose Villa Tavern’s new menu, with eight different varieties and the option to add bacon, friend onion and/or cheese and to switch regular to sweet potato fries.  There is a classic House burger, a chicken burger, and a vegetarian burger which comes with friend minted halloumi.  But the menu also includes a Bacon Cheese which includes American cheese, candied bacon and love…take of that what you will.  The Codfather burger is a beer-battered fried cod fillet which makes a nice alternative to a fish finger sandwich (although I bloody love fish finger sandwiches).  The American Meat burger comes with a beef patty and beef brisket, which always struck me as a lot of food but I guess that’s sort of the point.


    If burgers, hot dogs and the like aren’t your thing then the new menu has expanded out the lunch offerings with sandwiches and salads too.  Salad wise it’s mainly the Cobb salad which can have blackened chicken, cod or halloumi added to it to make a more substantial meal.  Frankly ordering salad whilst dining out always felt to me like a strange thing to do but the blue cheese, crispy bacon and avocado make it more indulgent – and the blackened chicken was nicely cooked on the one I tried.  There’s also a grilled avocado, chorizo and warm cherry tomato salad which sounds nice, if you like that sort of thing.


    Whilst the menu is chockfull of meat, there are some surprises on the menu too – namely the Hipster Pasta Option, which is a vegan twist on a carbonara.  It uses pureed cauliflower and almond milk which isn’t quite rich enough to recreate cream and felt a bit powdery to me, but it is a decent effort at creating a vegan option on a pub menu.  It’s interesting to see that catering for vegans is becoming something of a thing on pub menus these days, which is never a bad thing.

    It’s also worth mentioning the house specials which include pulled brisket cannelloni, ribs, gammon and crab cakes, as well at meatloaf.  Maybe it’s just me, but years of watching American TV shows has made me wary of meatloaf, but the one we tried wasn’t nearly as dense and impenetrable as I’d been led to believe and had a nice flavour alongside the white gravy, mashed potatoes and green beans.

    I wasn’t really sure what to expect beforehand, given American diner menus have been popping up all over the city, which seems like a bit of an excuse to make a menu full of burgers, fries and hot dogs.  Sure the Rose Villa Tavern’s menu includes these, but there are also some nods to other traditional American dishes which give it a much more rounded menu.  And those wings…it’s worth going back for them alone.

    Disclosure: I was invited along to a complimentary menu tasting, although admittedly this was a while ago.  There was no obligation to blog about it and certainly none to say nice things, but when I’ve dragged myself to the JQ and brought my camera, it would seem a shame not to post something.

    Pub grub, Reviews

    Temper burger at the Lord Clifden


    Burgers are great aren’t they?  They’re so simple but done right they are delicious.  But some times, I’m convinced if I don’t keep an eye on myself I’d just order burgers every time.  So a few weeks ago when I was at the Lord Clifden in the Jewellery Quarter for my lovely friend Molly’s birthday, I decided to try something different; the veggie burger.

    Frankly, if it had been one of those miserable mash of miscellaneous vegetables I wouldn’t have bothered, but the promise of halloumi with cajun seasoning, rocket and red peppers was enough to make me curious.  And it didn’t disappoint.  A nice big chunk of halloumi which tasted fresh and salty which was nicely balanced with the generous slices of sweet red pepper and rocket on what tasted like a brioche bun.  I didn’t get much from the cajun seasoning, but this wasn’t a great loss as the burger itself was pretty spot on.

    I stuck to soft drinks as it was a school night for me, but my the drinks range at the Lord Clifden is pretty good (they even had Hooch if you’re feeling nostalgic).  The food menu was varied and their Sunday roasts are famous within the city, so it’s well worth visiting.

    Disclosure: I paid for my burger with my own money and wasn’t obliged to write anything at all but that would make running a food blog kinda tricky.

    Guest Posts, Pub grub, Reviews

    One Trick Pony Club, Moseley

    I love writing the blog, but occasionally I like going for dinner and not having to try and formulate a blogpost in my mind whilst eating.  Recently I was invited down to One Trick Pony Club, Moseley’s latest hot spot, which has replaced O’Neills but remains in the M&B family.  The venue is retro-meets-industrial decor with lots of exposed brickwork and seating booths, with a focus on American diner style food – in particular burgers.  Given that it was burgers there was one person I knew I had to take with me to check out the place, my friend Andrew, who also agreed to write the review this time.  Over to Andrew…IMG_1024.JPG

    We started with a portion of chicken wings in BBQ sauce. The wings had a generous amount of tender meat and the sauce lived up to its name with a clear smokiness in a tomato base providing the right amount of non-sickly sweetness.

    Our Mains had to be burgers. Laura naturally came up with a customised option our server hadnt heard of before. The Wafkin is normally a chicken with smoked bacon and maple syrup in a waffle bun, but Laura went off-menu with the Beef Wafkin. The waffle was a toasted, making it harder than one would want as a bun.IMG_1032.JPG

    I chose the pulled pork & chipotle jam burger, and for the sake of nostalgia I added some pickled onion Monster Munch. The pulled pork was just that – tender pieces of deep pink pork, unlike the pork mush in sauce found in many establishments. The chipotle jam was a disappointing, just as a slightly sweet sticky mesh around the base of the burger. The Monster Munch was a unique combination, but the nature of the product means it lost its crunchy. The dishes were nice overall, but we both found the beef to be a bit dry, more well-done than we would expect.IMG_1027.JPG

    On the side we had fries, in addition to two dipping sauces – a moreish Louisiana Hot Sauce and the rather hot (but not the hottest) Rubys Hot Lips – and a portion of fried pickles. The fries were spot on, the right textures and flavour, especially when teamed up with the Louisiana Hot Sauce. The fried pickles were crunchy strips coated in light Tempura style batter that was not overly greasy. An excellent dish, I think someone will have to remind me I cannot deep fry all my vegetables this year.

    A meal is not complete without a pudding. To make it easier we asked our server to bring us whatever he recommended. Shortly after we were presented with a Chocolate Brownie Sundae and a trio of cookies & ice cream, salted caramel & chocolate cheesecake and a brownie.

    Laura dug right in to the Sundae, the ice-cream was flavoursome and not overly sweet, and Laura enjoyed with brownie cold with a slightly firm texture. This worked out well for me as I enjoyed the soft warm brownie more, crisp on the outer with slightly sticky in texture in the middle without being claggy. The cheesecake had a nice caramel note and perfect for those who want a chocolate cheesecake with a twist, but it was a bit on the rich side. Lastly the cookie and ice cream probably worked better as a separate dish, however it was a bit on the crunchy side for my liking.

    We would both definitely return, but would go for different main meal options; something we can put down to going off-menu rather than the dish itself.

    And there you have it.  I’m looking forward to checking out more burgers at One Trick Pony, and definitely more of those delicious chicken wings!

    Disclosure: Our dinner was complimentary and I’d like to thank the PR lady for recommending the friend chicken – she was absolutely right.  I wasn’t obliged to say anything nice and I didn’t even tell them Andrew was going to be writing the review, so he definitely wasn’t either.  All our views remain honest, although this is massively edited because Andrew likes to talk about food a lot.