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Two Cats Roaming Kitchen

    Food and Restaurant News, News, Pub and Drinks News

    Coming Soon #4

    comingtobrum4

    Yep, it’s tine for another Coming Soon post…the fourth one of 2015.  This isn’t as long as the last few, but there’s some new and exciting places to look out for, including a brand new bar which I’ve just heard about, permanent pop-ups and pop ups permanently popping up (try saying that quickly).  The fact that there’s enough new places opening to justify a fourth ‘coming soon’ post feels like 2015 is a pretty exciting time for Birmingham’s food and drink scene (now, how to find the time to visit them all).

    The Night Owl

    Rumour has it a Northern Soul and Motown bar is coming to Lower Trinity Street in Digbeth at the end of June.  If my sources are right (and this is a good one) “The bar will boast a spring wooden floor perfect for dancing and be open every night playing a variety of associated music styles such as Motown, boogaloo, ska & funk but the big nights will be pure Northern Soul including an all ages night for the younger fans.”  Check them out on Twitter at @nightowlbham or Night Owl’s Facebook page for more updates.

    Epi chef moves to St Andrews Town Hotel

    After enjoyed a lovely lunch at Restaurant Epi in Bromsgrove earlier in the year, I was disappointed to hear that they were shutting up shop.  However chef Nathan Eades has put his plans to open a venue in Birmingham on hold to take up the position of head chef at St Andrews Town Hotel in Droitwich Spa…which is sorta near Birmingham.  It sounds like a great move for Nathan and I wish him all the best (and if I can figure out how to get there, might even pop down for lunch).

    Two Cats aren’t roaming anymore

    I’ve already referenced this in a blog post, but it would be remiss of me not to include it in its own right on a Coming Soon post.  The fantastic pop-up Two Cats Roaming Kitchen, who I’ve enjoyed dining with on several times, have announced that they will be opening their own permanent restaurant in the city’s Jewellery Quarter.  I honestly can’t wait.

    Sixteen bakery

    The team behind Sixteen, a small kitchen / bakery in the Piccadilly Arcade already supply their coffee shop neighbours Faculty with sweet treats, but it looks like they’ll be opening their own doors soon enough.  As well as cakes, they’ll be offering breakfasts and lunches…and if their photos on Facebook are anything to go by, we’re in for a treat!

    Amanzi and Empire

    The Birmingham Mail recently announced that a Liverpool venue popular with soap stars, footballers and singers is due to open a Birmingham branch at The Cube this summer.  The Liverpool venue, which opened earlier in the year, is the brainchild of Wolverhampton businessman Riad Erraji, who the article also reports might also be opening a bar next door to Amanzi, called Empire, which is due to open in July.  Amanzi, which is apparently Zulu for water, is said to have a pan-Asian menu focusing on fresh food from local suppliers, including beef from British native herds and a regional cheese board.

    Permanent pop up at at Six Eight Kafe

    Six Eight Kafé in Millennium Point is opening up its commercial kitchen to Birmingham’s exciting culinary talent as it announces a permanent pop-up space.  Following the success of Niki Astley from Two Cats Roaming, who used the venue after hours, the coffee-shop-by-day will be opening its space to a range of chefs wanting to challenge themselves.

    Jason Goodger, manager of Six Eight Kafé, says: “Taking place at our unique location in Millennium Point, our pop-up restaurants will be a formidable force to be reckoned with here in the heart of the Midlands.  We encourage any chef who would relish the opportunity to demonstrate their talent and culinary skills to enthusiastic and discerning diners to come forward and join us on our food revolution journey!”

    The next pop-up restaurants feature Michael Crew, Josh Porter and Chris Dance from En Place on Thursday 14th May and Friday 15th May, Mike Bullard and Jamie Desogus from the Harborne Kitchen / The Butcher’s Social on Friday 29th May, and Kam and Cat from the Live & Raw Food Restaurant on Saturday 6th June.

    Grand Central Birmingham

    Okay technically we already knew there were a bunch of new places opening this September when Grand Central Birmingham finally (hopefully) opens its doors but it looks like there’s even more food and drink places to whet our appetite, including Fuel Juice Bars and Frizzenti (sparkling wine, cocktails) bar, which have been confirmed and there’s also talk of an American candy store and somewhere selling fresh coconut macaroons too!

    Doner Kebab on Bull St

    If you’ve had the misfortune to walk down Bull St recently you’d be forgiven for missing this what will all the tram works going on, but it looks like a new venture appearing soon.   With branches in the United Arab Emirates and Sweden, the group are due to expand to Oman, Qatar, London and Brum soon.  For more information, visit their website http://donerkebab.ltd.uk/

    Not really new: Wrapchic and Quarter Horse Coffee

    Okay so I’ve somehow missed these off previous Coming Soon posts, but it’s worth mentioning them for anyone that might have missed them too.  Quarter Horse Coffee is a new coffee shop with an in-house roastery located on Bristol St in the Southside area of the city centre http://quarterhorsecoffee.com.  Everyone I know that’s made it down there has had really lovely things to say, so I’m looking forward to checking it out myself.

    Indian and Mexican burrito infusion food Wrapchic, who used to have a location in that arcade near House of Fraser I never remember the name of, has recently opened in the Bullring on upper mall west which is sort of between Gap and Debenhams. http://wrapchic.co.uk/

    Any that I’ve missed? Feel free to email me, send me a tweet or drop me a Facebook message!

    Round ups

    April round up

    First things first; May the Fourth Be With You!  I know this isn’t a movie blog, but I hope my fellow cinephile foodie fans are having a fun on this auspicious day.  Anyway, enough about Star Wars, this is a quick round up of April which will be quick because I had a pretty horrid case of insomnia over most of April, which made it a bit difficult to find the focus and time to write.  On a plus side it means that I’ve now got a really nice backlog of posts that, if I can get written up, should provide for a fun May (possibly less references to Star Wars though).

    NJAFB award logoNews

    Well, it felt like there were two big news stories this month.  The first being that the people at Hungry House awarded me one of their Not Just Another Food Blogger Awards, which I’m really quite chuffed about.  As I mentioned, it’s been a bit of a rough month and it always makes me smile when people interact with the blog, whether it’s tweeting for recommendations, sharing news or giving me an award.

    The other news is that I ran a competition for the Foodies Festival which takes place this month.  It’s my first big competition and there were a lot more entries than I expected, which was really lovely to see.  The competition ended today and I’ve just emailed the winners, so congrats Anthony, Denise and Claire!

    Talking of winning tickets, I also blogged about a chance to win tickets to Glynn Purnell’s Friday Night Kitchen.  And there’s also the news that the Gin Festival is back at the Bond in Digbeth…but you’ll have to buy your own tickets to that!

    Food Glorious Food5 pork belly

    Whilst I spent a lot of the month struggling with sleep, I did get a couple of reviews written up.  The first was from my trip to Big Papas Beautiful South street food who’ve taken over the kitchen at the newly refurbished Sunflower Lounge.  The second was a return to one of my favourite pop-ups, Two Cats Roaming Kitchen…but they won’t be roaming for long, which I’m so very pleased to hear.

    My day job involves lots of events stuff and having used The Studio on Cannon St for a few events I was chuffed to be invited to their Spring/Summer menu tasting…only to return a couple of weeks later to see it in action.

    Give Me the Hard Stuff…or don’t

    Pancakes bacon and poached eggs on rosti copyBut it wasn’t food this month.  I also blogged about some non-alcoholic wine which I took along to a family BBQ…the review was really more my mum’s doing because she drank the bottle (but in all fairness I had a glass and it meant I also got a lift home). 

    Talking of drinks and food, I wandered along to The Victoria’s inaugural Sunday Brunch which for Easter had a whisky-infused element to it.

    What’s coming up in May

    Frankly there’s a massive back log of posts that I need to write and if I start listing them here I’m going to cry.  But some of the ones I need to tell you about involve unleashing my inner tea fiend, drinking whisky in the top of the Rotunda, hip hop and burgers, eating ants and a few afternoon teas too.

    Pop-up and Event reviews, Reviews

    Two Cats Roaming, March 2015

    You’d think given my life is basically punctuated by what I’m having for dinner I’d be better at keeping a track of when I last ate somewhere, but apparently not. I still can’t believe it’s been eight months since I last visited a Two Cats Roaming pop up, but that was when I last blogged about it and their food is so pretty I wouldn’t pass up an excuse not to share the photos.  However, I finally got round to revisiting them at their latest pop up at the newly opened Six Eight Kafe at Millennium Point, last month.

    Best described as New Baltic (at least according to their Facebook page), their five day residency at 6/8 was a fine example of the inventive yet tasty cuisine that chef Nick Astley and his partner Diana have come to be known for.

    First off we were treated to a linseed crisp with smoked eel and bacon pate, topped with celeriac noodles, and a cheese and cep cookies with cheese custard.  Both excellent to nibble at before the larger courses arrived.

    1 linseed crisp and ced cookie

    Delivered next to the tabled were chunks of bread nestled in brown paper bags to keep them nice and warm.  Soft, doughy but with a nice crust, this bread is always delicious and this was no exception.

    2 warm bread in a bag

    The Tartare ‘Olivier’ of beef, smoked duck, lumpfish, roe, coal, tarragon, pickled swede and chicken liver pate was delicated decorated with edible flowers and a quail’s egg with the shell still on.  There was some debate about whether this was the best way to enjoy the egg – I enjoyed the almost savoury mini-egg concept with the lightly crunchy shell, but one was enough for me (unlike actual mini-eggs which I’m convinced have addictive properties).

    3 quail egg and tartare olivier

    The soft shell crab with elderflower vodka and sourdough batter was just fantastic.  Wonderfully light batter, thanks to the vodka, alongside squid ink, flowers and kale was quickly re-named the best dish of the night by my friend Katie – a battle which raged for most of the night.

    4 soft shell crab

    For me though, my favourite dish of the night was definitely the pork belly with clear onion broth wild garlic oil, crackle and potato.  The onion and garlic broth was fantastically packed with flavours and the delicious pork topped with crackle was spot on.

    5 pork belly

    There were a couple of mysterious additions on the menu, one of which was just entitled ‘sorrel’ and this is exactly what arrived; stone-cold and fresh from the freezer this was dusted with icing sugar and needed to be eaten straight away.  Fresh, sweet but with a lemony zing this was an unusual palate cleanser but at least I could report back to my mum I’d definitely had my greens that day.

    Our first pudding was sliced apple with hazelnut praline, ice cream and dill.  This was my favourite of the puddings because I’m a sucker for anything with hazelnut in it.

    6 apple hazelnut ice creamNext up the Little Sponge of curds, fennel, elderflower, flowers and blueberries looked pretty but was probably my least favourite – I just can’t get on with curds.

    7 little spongeAnd then the final mysterious dish ‘potato’ had gained ridiculous suggestions from our end of the table all night but what arrived, much to Lauren’s delight, was choux pastry filled with sweet cream and covered in biscuit soil. A fantastic end.

    8 potato profiterole

    I’m aware of how pretentious this might sound but I love that we’re now at the stage where Birmingham has a fine-dining pop-up scene.  It’s pretty awesome that people, chefs and diners alike, are willing to take a chance on something a bit different in the city and it feels like Two Cats Roaming have been a real catalyst for this.  Although I’m equally excited that they’ve just announced that they’ll be opening their own permanent restaurant in the Jewellery Quarter, it doesn’t take away from the fact they’ve really helped push the food scene in the city into something new and exciting.  This evening was brilliant and I won’t leave it so long to return.

    https://www.facebook.com/twocatskitchenbirmingham/

    Disclosure: Nothing to see here, I paid for this all out of my own money and I’d totally do it again.

    Pop-up and Event reviews, Reviews

    Two Cats Roaming Kitchen July event

    I think I’ve just about recovered from the food extravaganza that was Two Cats Roaming Kitchen last month.

    If you read my June review you’ll know I was pretty blown away by the experience…but this was on another level entirely.  In a brilliant case of quality AND quantity, we were treated to eleven different courses, ranging from vodka & gooseberry, sea urchin, and lumpfish roe to build your own dessert and candles made from butter.  Chef Nick Astley and his partner Diana took a modernist culinary approach that leaped away from the ordinary and created a fantastic experience as well as great food.

    At this point it would feel a little ridiculous to try and go through each dish and comment, but suffice to say that hopefully my terrible smartphone photos give you some indication as to what a fantastic array of food was on offer.  Even items seen on the menu the month before were given new life and once again the monkfish was a particular favourite.  I was also grateful that my lactose intolerance was taken into account and some dairy-heavy dishes were swapped, but at no point did I ever feel like I was missing out.

    Two Cats Roaming are taking a break in August, but will be back in the autumn.  Keep an eye out on their Facebook page for details of any upcoming events and book some tickets.  You won’t be disappointed.

     

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    Round ups

    July round up

    Wow, what a month July was.  Oddly, considering I managed to blog much more this month, it was also the month I seemed to end up in a lot of other cities with a weekend away in York and trips to Leamington Spa and London (no blogposts about them though).  I’ve varied some of the posts in July too, adding product reviews in among the usual reviews, recipes and round ups.

    Recipes20140721-142354-51834649.jpg

    A bit of naughty and nice with just two recipes this month; one for a blueberry balsamic glaze which really added the finishing touch to my rainbow salad, and a recipe for Gluten-free Chocolate and Cointreau Cake .

    Reviews

    It was a great month for pop up food events, as I went to one of Brum Yum Yum’s Lunch Market where 63 Islands and the Cake Doctor were selling their wares for the afternoon.  I also made it along to the Colmore Business District’s annual Food Festival – their best yet.  And not forgetting my first visit to Two Cats Roaming Kitchen, a north-eastern European fine dining pop up and well worth seeking out.

    Plus I visited one of the most hidden away cafes in the city – so hidden I didn’t even know it existed until I went for lunch!

    Product reviewschocolatebombe

    I decided to add in some reviews of more unusual food items I came across, the first being Beanies gingerbread flavour instant coffee, after developing a bit of a habit for gingerbread soya lattes.  I also stumbled across Tyrrell’s Vegetable Crisps when looking for something a bit more interesting in my lunchtime sandwich meal deal, and finally a Selfridges salted almond and crunchy toffee Bombe I found in the sale…I know, chocolate in the sale!

    Coming up in August I have reviews from Two Cats’ July event, the recipe for my favourite blondies, mojito chocolates from Hotel Chocolat, The Electric’s Food Film Club and much much more!