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Birmingham Breakfast Club

    Food and Restaurant News, News, Pop-up and Event reviews, Reviews

    Brum Breakfast Club at Nomad

    Kedgeree_pearl-barley_spelt

    Confession time.  I actually went to this meal on the same day as the St Patrick’s Day parade, but I’ve just been super lax at finishing the write up.  However with the news that Nomad is evolving, Pokemon-style, into The Wilderness, it seems a good time to post about it.

    Despite all my known heritage being Irish, I avoid going anywhere near the St Patrick’s Day parade because being up early on a Sunday, surrounded by crowds of (usually fairly) drunk people and not knowing what the hell is up with my bus home is not my idea of fun.  I totally get why other people like it, but I’m good with a cup of Barry’s tea and seeing the photos on Twitter.  So when I tell you I got up early, got on a bus and went to Digbeth on the Sunday of a St Patrick’s Day parade you better bloody well know it took a lot to get me there.  And that ‘a lot’ was a Brum Breakfast Club presents Nomad breakfast.

    cocktail_tea_nomad_brum-breakfast-club

    Firstly, I was a 45 minutes early, because it turns out, much like when it snows, the buses seem to work better when they theoretically shouldn’t; I assume this was down to most people leaving the cars at home (something they should do more of).  After a quick trip to Yorks for a coffee it was over to Nomad which has now found a home in BOM on Dudley St.  I’ve raved about various incarnations of Nomad before and I like that they’ve managed to create a rather chic place in what’s a bit of a bare-boned warehouse/workshop/exhibition space.

    On arrival we were given a cocktail.  Now pre-midday drinking isn’t something I generally do but I’m willing to make an exception for Nomad, because they rarely do me wrong.  This took the form of a drink they’re calling Viking Bubbles which contained mead, honey and cava.  It was lovely; sweet but not overly so and didn’t have that alcohol burn, which made it pretty perfect for a cheeky mid-morning tipple.  I paired it with black tea because I could and awaited the first course – apparently we were having a three course breakfast, which is entirely fine with me.

    nomad_eggy_bread_starter

    The first course was three nibbles: tansy eggy bread; reindeer moss with bacon, egg and coffee; Forest of Arden honey and homemade yoghurt.  The eagle-eyed amongst you will notice the distinct lack of yoghurt in the photo and that was because my ability to tolerate dairy that day wasn’t great, and I’m not about to inflict that on anyone, but I hear it was lovely.  The eggy bread had a nice crispness to it and the reindeer moss, as well as looking very pretty, had a nice crunch before disintegrating to create a lovely flavour along with the egg and coffee.

    sea-buckthorn_mimosa_nomadWe then had another cocktail, a sea buckthorn mimosa.  Now sea buckthorn is one of those slightly divisive ingredients, due in part, I suspect, to its tartness.  It’s not often seen on menus, but Nomad have used sea buckthorn before and it’s nice to feel like there’s something a bit different going on.  Given it’s a bit sour, it seems to work well with the sparkling wine and balances it out well.  This paired well with our ‘main’ course, which like the first course had elements of the drink incorporated into the dish.

    Kedgeree_pearl-barley_spelt

    The second course was a twist on Kedgeree, made with pearl barley and spelt, topped with poached eggs and smothered in sauce.  I have a soft spot for pearl barley so I was delighted at this and I think it gave it a meatier meal, particularly alongside the delicate fish and rich curry sauce.  Kedgeree is one of those dishes I think works well for any occasion but feels almost like a bit of a comfort dish, gently lulling you into a lazy Saturday morning at brunch.  This one still had that element of safety but the twists just lifted it to be a bit more interesting.

    apple_juice_nomad

    After a glass of freshly-pressed apple juice we were onto, what I think, was the real star of the show.  I’d been joking with Nomad over twitter earlier in the morning about them giving us Frosties for breakfast and I wasn’t entirely wrong.  Well only in so far as the last dish of the meal was a play on milk and cereal…but with bugs.  Yep, Nomad brought out the bugs again and I think, like previous times, this was a bit of a stretch for some people but they bought into the spirit of it and dove in.  I’m not sure you can see it in the photo, but there are roasted crickets in the mix and they had a delicious bite along side the crunchy cereal and caramel pieces.  It’s also worth noting that the ‘milk’ was actually caramelised milk mousse which you can’t see because it was presented to us first – putting the milk in first is usually a cardinal sin, but entirely forgivable it this time round.

    bug_cereal_nomad

    Yet again Nomad have delivered a dining experience that was both fun, inventive and a bit challenging.  Whilst this wasn’t from their ordinary menu, it included a lot of the same themes of seasonal, local produce without it being a marketing exercise.  The reimagining of three breakfast dishes along side drinks which worked as introductions to the next course gave a flow to the menu which is something often forgotten about.  All of the Birmingham Breakfast Club collaboration meals I’ve been to have been superb and this was no exception.

    So what’s with the name change?

    I mentioned that Nomad are changing their name and whilst this might be largely due to legal reasons, I think it’s a positive step.  Having moved around from south to central Birmingham, they’re now putting down roots in a part of the city centre largely forgotten about.  And sure, The Wilderness isn’t about how Dudley Street has been lost amongst the regeneration of Grand Central, but more that they seem to be wandering out into a drinking and dining experience that the city hasn’t really seen before.

    The Wilderness retains some of the previous team, but also is expanding with chefs coming from rosetted and Michelin-starred backgrounds, as well as an award-winning bartender curating the cocktail menu and a well respected barista from some of the city’s local indie coffee shops heading up the hot drinks programme.  Theatrical set designers Stax Creations are transforming the restaurant into a dining experience, with The Wilderness will be open to the general public from 25 May 2016.

    Disclosure: Paid for this all myself. Although some might say I didn’t get my money’s worth because that whistle totally didn’t work. Just kidding, it was an amazing meal.

    Breakfast and brunch, Reviews

    Simpsons and Brum Breakfast Club

    simpsons_full_englishI’ve already admitted how much I don’t like getting up early on a Saturday, but after the last Michelin-starred breakfast, organised by the Birmingham Breakfast Club, I knew it would be worth sacrificing my lie in for.

    This time round it was the newly refurbished Simpson’s who were serving up breakfast.  The Grade II listed building in Edgbaston has undergone an extensive change, some ten years after their previous major refurb.  The main dining room has been extended to one big room rather than a collection of smaller ones, and the interior is crisp and contemporary.  Nathan Eades, formerly of Epi at The Courtyard, has also recently become Simpson’s new head chef, under the guise of chef owner Andreas Antona and chef director Luke Tipping.

    simpsons_toastIf the previous Michelin-starred breakfast at Adam’s was the best version of a fry-up I’ve ever had, then Simpson’s went for a completely different tack – but equally good.  Nathan and his team created a three course breakfast, where each dish an example of a typical breakfast; kedgeree for a starter, full English as main and granola for pudding.

    Ahead of the first course we were given juice, tea or coffee and delicious, delicious toast.  Seriously, toast is entirely underrated but if you get it right, it can make a great start to breakfast.  Service was impeccable, which is typical of a Michelin-starred restaurant, admittedly, but this wasn’t over the top either – don’t you just hate it when you feel like you’re on show whilst trying to eat?  Thankfully this wasn’t the case, but everything was tended to as needed.

    simpsons_kedgereeThe first course of kedgeree was re-interpreted as smoked haddock risotto, with capers, parsley and quails egg.  The risotto element meant it was a wetter version than usual kedgeree but a lovely twist on it.  In fact the twisted on a classic was echoed in the main course of full English too, which was a crispy duck egg, chorizo and coco bean, confit tomatoes, walnut puree and smoked bacon emulsion.  I loved how the duck egg was wrapped in a nest, ready to be cracked open with a deliciously oozing egg yolk.  The chorizo and coco bean were a clever alternative to baked beans and their twist on brown sauce was delightful.

    simpsons_granolaAnd to finish we had breakfast pudding.  I’m really coming round to the idea that all means should have some sort of pudding to them.  For the Simpson’s breakfast pudding we had granola – English apples (and some blueberries, I think), yoghurt and toasted almond granola.  I went through a bit of a phase of granola about a year ago and for some reason haven’t eaten it since, so this was an excellent reminder.  The sweet yet slightly tart fruit with the creamy yoghurt and crunchy granola was a superb end to a great meal – and definitely worth getting up early on a Saturday for.

    The Birmingham Breakfast Club have organised another of the Simpson’s breakfasts, but I think tickets are sold out.  However, if you’re interested in attending one of their special event breakfasts (and I’m really hoping there’s a third version) then it’s worth keeping an eye on their twitter account @BrumBrekkieClub.

    http://www.simpsonsrestaurant.co.uk/

    Disclosure: I paid for my own ticket to the Simpson’s and Birmingham Breakfast Club event. So there.

    Pop-up and Event reviews, Reviews

    Adam’s and Brum Breakfast Club breakfast

    adams_brumbreakfastclub_coffee_menu

    I’m really not one for getting up early on a Saturday if I can help it, but when the Brum Breakfast Club announced a collaboration with the Michelin-starred Birmingham city centre restaurant Adam’s I knew I had to be there – possibly in my PJs, if it came to it.  Reminding my sleepy self to head to the restaurant and not to work, I trundled off to Bennetts Hill to find out what chef Adam and Brum Breakfast Club organiser Simon had in store for us; the menu had been a closely guarded secret and there’d be suggestions of everything from a Full English to a bowl of cornflakes (I’d have been plumping for breakfast cocktails but even I thought it was a bit early).

    I’ve eaten at Adam’s once before (and once as a temporary location for something else) for a joint birthday celebration between my mum and her husband and I’m pretty sure I only got away with booking it because Adam’s were awarded the Michelin star right before we went.  The food was amazing and it was a fantastic experience, one I’d been wanted to return to but hadn’t yet managed to come up with a justifiable excuse.

    adams_brumbreakfastclub_sourdough_toast_butter

    Service at Adam’s is always excellent and as soon as we were seated, staff appeared to offer us juices and hot drinks.  Still half awake I opted for a black coffee which was nice and strong, a perfect wake-me-up and apple juice.

    After a short time the homemade sourdough toast with Lincolnshire poacher butter was taken to the table.  I am at heart a simple soul and I bloody love toast.  Even after much faffing to take a photo of the toast it still had a nice crisp crust yet chewy bread and the butter was delicious, even more so because I never usually have butter on my toast.  To be honest, at this point I was already sold on this being one of the finest breakfasts I’d had.

    And no sooner had I finished faffing around taking photos of toast, the main attraction arrived; a proper full English breakfast…with haggis, which maybe makes it more of a full Great British breakfast (if Wales were involved somewhere).

    adams_brumbreakfastclub_full_englishTrue to Simon’s strict rules, the beans arrived separately but I threw caution to the wind and dumped a pile on my plate – the usual rules of not letting them ‘infect’ the other food was thrown out the door.

    And good lord this was an amazing breakfast.  Those squares of black pudding were the sort of gateway that you wished you could hand out to people who claimed they didn’t like black pudding – light and with a hint of sweetness, they didn’t have the paste-like rubbery quality that some black pudding has and were almost like a savoury brownie.  The poached duck eggs were cooked to perfection and put cutting a little hole in the top you could savour the yolk dipped with toast…although sad as it was I couldn’t finish both of them – and trust me, I tried.

    I could keep waffling on about this breakfast but it really was the bees knees.  There’s not a lot that I will willing get up early on a Saturday morning and I didn’t begrudge this for making me, not one bit.

    Simon, aka Brum Breakfast Club, is threatening to do more of these one-off breakfasts at unexpected places.  Follow him on Twitter (@BrumBrekkieClub) and check out his website too for more info on where’s good to get breakfast in the city – http://www.birminghambreakfastclub.co.uk/

    Disclosure: I paid for this experience and I would do again. In fact I tried to get Simon to take the money from me beforehand so I definitely, absolutely had a space.