Colmore Food Festival 2018

Full Disclosure: On Wednesday 20th June I attended the launch event for colmore food festival at purecraft bar & Kitchen – Food & Drink was complimentary (I Bought a round anyway). However, this doesn’t affect the below…

 

It seemed fitting to return properly with this post. The Colmore Food Festival is one of the highlights of viv and I’s year on the birmingham food scene.

Bringing the cream of the Colmore BID‘s bars, restaurants and cafes in a showcase over a Friday (For workers) and Saturday (For relaxers).

— (If you want to skip my ramblings and get on with the food bit, skip past this and head to Day 1) —

Colmore Row & Colmore BID

As usual, Viv and I attended both days. We both work in the Colmore BID (same company no less). It’s a short walk from one end of Colmore Row to the other. It’s a shame that the Row has lost some of its previous grandeur over the decades. The ugly lump of Snow Hill Station always saddens me a little. It’s a hump of brown bricks with little to no character, the opposite to its sister station Moor Street. Happily, a little further along, the restoration of The Grand Hotel to its former glory is in the final stages. A few more steps along, passing the pit which was Madin’s NatWest tower, we reach Victoria Square.

I doubt there is any place in Birmingham that goes through so many re-inventions over the year as Victoria Square. Sandwiched between the Town Hall and the Council House, it’s an intrinsic part of Birmingham with The Floozie (potted into her former jacuzzi), the statue of Queen Victoria and those odd lions.  I dearly miss Iron Man, currently replaced for ogling by a hereto undiscovered cobbled road revealed as part of the Metro works. Ever changing Victoria Square was the centrepiece of the Commonwealth Games handover and there’s always something going on albeit a protest, a stage, a graduation or even a food festival (yes, I’ll finally get onto it now!).

Colmore Food Festival

So onto Colmore Food Festival; I’ve already written about it in the previous 4 years as well as attending prior to starting the blog but I’ll cover the history a little if you’ve not read those.

Colmore BID, who run the food festival, is one of the city’s numerous BID’s (11 and counting). Their purpose (via a small levy on businesses in their area) is to run projects, services and initiatives in their defined area to improve and promote their district. Working in the BID has given me a chance to see the numerous improvements they have conducted over their last 10 years. They include Church Street Square, a shared space housing a bee hotel, and numerous street team members caring for and keeping the district safe.

Colmore BID’s flagship event is The Colmore Food Festival,  a 2 day event celebrating the diverse range of cuisine available from simple pub grub to Michelin starred dishes. All dishes are capped at £4 (drinks vary) and it’s held on Fridays and Saturday.

Day 1

For Viv and I, Day 1 was a lunchtime only visit as we had a busy evening. We still did our best to fit in as much as possible and started off with a couple of Festival newbies, Adams and Wayland’s Yard.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

We opted for both dishes from Adam’s (we usually share). The dishes were a Crab Satay with coriander and ginger, and a Mango, Thai Green Curry & Coconut concoction. The Crab Satay, was a small, but well formed dish. It was fragrant with crab catching the breeze and was a delight, although I’d have been happy with twice the amount. Alas a £4 price point does have its restrictions.

The Mango, Thai Green Curry & Coconut was a suprise; with those ingredients I was expecting more of a savoury dish. This was more of a rice pudding style dessert. The mango was refreshing, the coconut gave an added depth to the flavour, however, the Thai Green Curry was a tad on the mild side. I was expecting a punch of lemongrass, a slice of lime and the spice of chilli and ginger. This seemed lost in the sweetness of the coconut and mango. A shame as all other elements had come together with a finesse expected of Adams.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Our next stop was Wayland’s Yard, a new favourite of mine on the Birmingham food scene, taking over an old printing shop on Bull Street. It’s the second shop to open with the first store open in Worcester. Hopefully more on the way soon! We had an Eggy Crumpet (their house special) and an Iced Tea to salve ourselves in the heat.

The Eggy Crumpet was delicious when I found it! A small hedge had appeared in the box burying the crumpet but that was soon dispatched with. The only other negative for presentation was that it had been served in a box with knife and fork to slice. The box was quite deep and hard to hold and cut whilst walking around. Happily, the plastic knife supplied was on the sharp side so I made swift work using careful angles to maintain cutting power. Under the hedgerow, an abundance of Chilli Jam was present adding heat to the dish. Eggy crumpets are a favourite treat of Viv and I and it’s a dish I make often. This one was a solid dish too and I look forward to having it again.

The Iced Tea came sealed with a wedge of lime. It was much appreciated in the heat and disappeared quickly between us.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The final stop for Day 1 was to grab some treats for the afternoon back in the office from Hindleys Bakery. We picked up four small treats split between the two of us. I chose the Chocolate BrownieApple & Almond Cake, whereas Viv selected a Viennese Whirl Pineapple Cream.

My Chocolate Brownie was rich but crumbly rather than soft; to be expected in the heat. The Apple & Almond Cake had retained its wetness and was a delicious little morsel. I didn’t get many more notes other than that both were finished off with gusto.

Viv reported that the Viennese Whirl and Pineapple Cream were yummy, although she had forgotten how sugary sweet the pineapple cream was!

It was also great to have a quick catch up with some of the other bloggers in attendance (Bite Your Brum, Hey it’s Fay, and City Fever) also enjoying the food on offer.

Day 2

We arrived for Day 2 a little later into the Saturday. The World Cup Semi-Final between England and Croatia was on in the afternoon and as neither of us are great sport fans, we’d assumed the crowds would lessen a little as those more enamoured with the game filtered off to various venues around the city.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

First stop was to the other Michelin Starred attendee, Purnell’s. Their main was a Daube of Pork served in a rich jus, with caramelised apple puree, crispy shallots and watercress. The daube of pork fell apart at the touch of the fork and was well seasoned. The crispy shallots reminded me a little of Rice Krispies but added texture to the dish. For dessert it was Mr Purnell’s Soft Scoop Cone. A waffle cone filled with both strawberry cream and violet ice cream, sprinkled with hundreds and thousands. On first lick, I was taken back to the Parma Violets of my youth. The rich violet ice cream was the perfect anecdote to the stifling heat of the mid afternoon sun.

Drinkwise, Viv went for a Thyme for Pimms Cocktail from Gingers Bar at Purnell’s Bistro whilst I popped over to Purecraft Bar for a half of one of my all time favourite beers, Longhorn IPA. We then caught up with a few of our blogger friends (Caramel Latte Kiss and Brumderland) whilst watching some of the cooking demos and live music, including a colourful rendition of Rage Against The Machine’s ‘Killing In The Name Of’.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

We were lucky enough to bag a table under the covered seating area, a rare treat at the Food Festival. We were joined by Warwick & Jo, and the aforementioned Caramel Latte Kiss and Brumderland.

Whilst Viv settled down, I went to grab our next dish from Jailbird which has taken over from Nosh & Quaff . We had the Wings with Leeks and Spinach Risotto. The wings were a very generous portion, with three wings on a bed of grilled leeks. The chicken was well cooked, juicy and tender and well worth the £4 spend. Viv tackled the majority of the Spinach Risotto, but what I ate was delicious, with salty crumbly feta cutting through the richness of the spinach.

I grabbed another half of beer, this time a Blue Moon from the Square Peg. Viv went for a Chase Grapefruit Gin & Tonic from Primitivo, which was sharp yet refreshing.

Our final dish of the day was really saving the best until last, from OpusPan Fried Fillet of Hake with Fennel Pasta Salad. The Hake was cooked beautifully and flaked with a brush from the fork. The sweet, perfumy flavour to the fennel pasta made a great combination on a summer’s day. Hats off to Ben Ternent and the team; it was a triumphant flourish to the weekend’s fun.

We learnt afterwards that Opus has donated 50p for every dish sold at the Colmore Food Festival to SIFA Fireside. If you’ve not heard of SIFA, they provide food, clothing and shower facilities for Birmingham’s vulnerably housed and homeless adults. It’s a fantastic charity and they need all the donations and help they can get (especially, currently, underpants). If you are interested in helping or donating, find their link below:

https://www.sifafireside.co.uk/

It’s great to see movement towards sustainability also, with recycling on point and a significant lack of plastic straws all around. The only thing I’d like to see in 2019  would be wooden rather than plastic cutlery. As a popular supermarket used to say ‘Every Little Helps!’

All in all, it was another fantastic year, and I hope Colmore BID heads into chapter 3 of it’s life in March, and I cant wait until the 2019 Colmore Food Festival.

All dishes and drink were paid for by myself and Viv.

You can read previous years’ posts hereherehere and here.

When:  Friday 6 and Saturday 7 July 2018

Where: Victoria Square, Birmingham City Centre

So… …I’m Back…

Hello All! It’s been a while…

To paraphrase a hoary old Mark Twain mis-quotation. The reports of my blog’s death are greatly exaggerated.

Apologies it’s been so long. It was meant to be a winter break, which turned into a winter, spring & summer break. I thought I’d give a brief explanation of why before I get back into the regular posts.

Why?

First off, I felt my posts were getting a bit samey and repetitive, and that’s not fun. Not fun for you to read or for me to write. The original intention of the blog was to champion local independent food in Birmingham and further afield but I felt I had lost my way. I wrote a lot more frequent, but shorter posts. It’s a disservice to both myself and you for me to write when it’s not working, so I thought a break would clear my head, allow me to breathe a little and try and recapture that creative spark.

Secondly, Geeky Brummie has taken up more time than I thought it would need. It’s grown from a weekly radio show, to add a podcast, a website and a YouTube channel. It’s been fantastic to watch it grow and the team, and thank you to all who, watch, read or listen to anything we do. As we all work or study full time, you can imagine to keep the consistency of quality we strive for, it needs attention. I had to make a hard choice on what to dedicate my available time to. I felt Geeky Brummie required more time but now things are moving along a little smoother, I can give some time back to blogging.

Thirdly, my amazing and supporting wife, Viv, and I are moving. After several years in the beating heart of Birmingham City Centre, we’re to move out a little to the suburbs. Viv and I are still in the middle of getting things sorted and haven’t found a place yet. So as a warning, posts may be sporadic for the short term!

Fourthly, in my absence, there’s been a lot of dispute and toxicity, on which I decline to comment on. I’ve kept myself mostly out of it and, to be quite frank, I want nothing to do with it all. I thought it better for me to wait until it had blown over before popping my head back over the parapet.

So what’s the plan going forward?

The plan is for less frequent but longer form blog posts. For now, expect probably one or two a month, the focus being on independent food and drink. I might throw in some culture too.

Where I receive an invitation or a ‘free’ meal as some describe, this will always be flagged as an ‘Experience’ in the title. It would be unkind for me to pretend this would not be different to a regular visit, or hide it in microscopic text. Therefore, this gives you the choice to read it or not. I’ll leave that up to you.

So I’m happy and raring to go again! Quite happily, there’s been a raft of new eateries in Birmingham for me to sink my teeth into! I hope you’ll join me again for the ride, and enjoy a newer look to Brummie Gourmand.

Anyway, my first ‘proper’ post back will be one of my favourite events of the year. Colmore Food Festival, so keep an eye out for that.

Otherwise, for now, I’ll leave you with a taster image from one of the days…

Inferno – Preview Day at Buffalo & Rye with Brumderland

You may remember I was invited to attend a special bloggers event at Bodega Birmingham, part of the Bitters ‘n’ Twisted group hosted by Brumderland. They now have a new sibling right next door called Buffalo & Rye which offers a taste of Americana in the City Centre – perfect if you want to get away from the overload of German tat one street away during this festive period.

 

DSCF3048

Continue reading “Inferno – Preview Day at Buffalo & Rye with Brumderland”

Breakfast Banquet – Birmingham Breakfast Club at Simpsons Restaurant

It’s not often Wifey and I go somewhere a little different. With one of the most prestigious pedigrees in Birmingham, and Britain, this time was going to be a rather special breakfast…

DSCF2929

Founded in Kenilworth by Chef owner Andreas Antona, then relocating to Edgbaston, holders of a Michelin Star since 2000, Simpsons is not normally known as a breakfast destination.

However, Simon S of Birmingham Breakfast Club (reviewers of breakfast locations far and wide around Brum) arranged two special seatings .Wifey and I naturally jumped at the chance for a visit and it was a great chance to look around the recently refurbished restaurant.

DSCF2923

For those not up to date on happenings at Simpsons, former Head Chef Matt Cheal left after 16 years on and off,and two years as head chef under Chef Director Luke Tipping, to establish Cheals of Henley.

Recently, Nathan Eades has taken over Head Chef duties after a successful run at his own, Epi @ The Courtyard in Bromsgrove, and pop ups at The Kitchen Garden (Kings Heath) and The Pickled Piglet (City Centre).

To go with the change in the kitchen, Simpsons has had a makeover too, with a full refurbishment giving the place a lighter, ‘Bauhaus’, Japanese, Scandinavian, mix of light and airy style:

After removing our coats, we were ushered to take out places in the beautiful dining room:

 

But before I ate, Simon had arranged a very rare treat for fellow bloggers and I – a look behind the curtain and watch these food maestros in the kitchen:

It was a privilege to see how much effort the team were putting into our breakfast, especially considering they were still conducting normal service in between fitting us in.

After that, it was back to the table for a spot of tea, toast and juice for Wifey and I and time to look over our three (!) course breakfast menu:

 

The bread, a crusty crunchy sourdough, was very generous and served with a delicious pale and soft butter. The juices were all amazing quality (as expected) and tea was served in beautiful clear glass pots.

Our first course was a twist on the classic breakfast dish of Kedgeree, smoked haddock risotto accompanied with capers, parsley and quails egg:

DSCF2909

I usually hate capers; the bitter, salty, sour medicinal taste usually sends me running.

But this kedgeree was something else. Well presented chunky flakes of smoked haddock, glossy quails eggs and wet but perfectly done rice meant I was in heaven. Wifey was apprehensive as rice for breakfast reminded her of childhood memories of Congee but she fell in love with this also, heaping praise on the delicate smokiness of the fish.

The ‘main’ was another twisted dish, a Full English featuring crispy duck egg, chorizo & coco bean, confit tomatoes, walnut puree and smoked bacon emulsion.

This miniature masterwork came with an egg hidden in a birds nest, waiting to be opened like a treasure chest. Silence descended on the table whilst we dove in and you could hear nothing but the scraping of knives and groans of delight!

DSCF2912

The egg was exceptional and surpassed the quails egg from the previous course, a hard challenge to beat. The bacon emulsion providing a tang, a nice earthiness and zing supplied by the chorizo and coco bean. The twist on brown sauce was amazing too.

Our final dish on the breakfast tour was Granola, with toasted almonds, English apples and yoghurt:

DSCF2914

I wasn’t expecting a foamed yoghurt but this was delightfully pleasant. It was  a refreshing end to the meal with a balanced apple compote peppered with hidden huge blueberries.

After our big repast, Wifey and I patted our contented bellies and with goodbyes done, started the day with a sense of contentment. Wifey will definitely be back for another meal soon.

The Birmingham Breakfast Club held a second event last Saturday (28th November) which had a different (but likely no less superb). Luckily, for you readers, Vicky from Brumderland attended and you can read her experience soon!

When: 31/10/2015

Where: Simpsons Restaurant, 20 Highfield Road, Edgbaston, Birmingham, B15 3DU

Who: Birmingham Breakfast Club, Simpsons Restaurant

 

 

 

Brum Bites – One Life One City @ The Rotunda

You may not believe it but I occasionally do non foodie things around Birmingham, as well as stuffing my face!

As part of BYPY 2015 winner, Katie Kershaw‘s One Life One City Project, a few weeks back on a Friday lunchtime, I had the chance to take a break from the day job and do something a little different.

Continue reading “Brum Bites – One Life One City @ The Rotunda”

Great Galloping Glasses of Grain – Glenfiddich Evening with Birmingham Whisky Club

On a Tuesday evening a few weeks back, I was invited by Birmingham Whisky Club to try a few wee drams of Glenfiddich as part of an blogging / networking event in the cosy little cubby of Bar du Vin.

DSCF2691

Continue reading “Great Galloping Glasses of Grain – Glenfiddich Evening with Birmingham Whisky Club”

Deliveroo Round 3! – Rub Smokehouse

It’s Friday again and just before we were away for a weekend, it was time for more of Birmingham restaurants to our home.

As you may have read previously (coughcough), Deliveroo supply a delivery service for a wide range of some of the best eateries in Brum: what I’d like to term a ‘restaurant concierge service’ providing ordering, payment and delivery services for some of Birmingham’s biggest independents with a few chains too.

logo

This time, our choice was Rub Smokehouse, a Southern US BBQ style restaurant who’ve expanded from their original restaurant in Nottingham to Regency Wharf off Broad Street earlier this year.

We’ve heard the reputation of Rub for supplying large portions, so Wifey and I went for a main each and a side to share.

Like the last few times, ordering with Deliveroo is simple. Select your food and order time, the website keeps a running total whilst you tot up your total and adds a reasonable £2.50 for Deliveroo. There’s even space for a driver’s tip too if you’re feeling generous.

For starters, we went with the classic of Nachos to share, accompanied with sour cream, guacamole, pulled BBQ pork, Monterey Jack, salsa, cheese.

For mains, I fancied something a little different from a burger or ribs and chose a Reuben sandwich. Consisting of low & slow cooked beef brisket in special Jack Daniels BBQ gravy with Monterey Jack cheese, pickles and slaw on sourdough, to which I added extra bacon and American cheese.

Wifey went a little lighter with a Cobb Salad, which was pulled BBQ free range chicken, smoked bacon, egg, sweet pepper, tomato, avocado and blue cheese.

The order went in at 19:44pm and an ETA given of 20:30pm. In actual fact, the food arrived at 20:29pm so top marks on time prediction. A short mobile call from the driver and I was ready to meet him as he pulled up downstairs. When I arrived, I found our Deliveroo driver had come via pushbike! A quite smart and eco friendly for delivery.

IMG20151015203236

Back upstairs, even though we were prewarned, Wifey and I weren’t expecting the size of the portions!

There was an issue, however, with my Reuben as the box was cardboard the gravy had breached the side and caused a bit of a mess:

IMG20151015203428

I mentioned this on Twitter and got a quick response from the team, stating they’ll be looking into the packaging to prevent the same happening in the future.

The contents, however, we still mainly intact:

IMG20151015204358

The brisket was well braised in the gravy and topped off with fries and slaw; the sourdough did seem to be missing, though.

IMG20151015204414

Wifey’s cobb salad, equally as massive, was really nice with the sweetness of the pulled chicken offset with the pungent strength of the blue cheese. Wifey couldn’t handle the blue cheese so instead I pinched it and combined it with my Reuben (which was great, by the way).

We finished off with the starter, the nachos:

IMG20151015204402

Oozing with guacamole , sour cream and salsa, the nachos had got a little bit soggy by the time we had got there but still tasted amazing.

Next time when we’re in the mood for a BIG appetite, we’ll have to make our way down to try the restaurant!

When: 15/10/2015

Where: BG HQ, Birmingham

Who: DeliverooRub Smokehouse

Veggie Heaven at Bistro 1847 – Xmas Menu Launch

Before I started blogging, I never particularly thought about vegetarian restaurants properly before. I’ve always assumed everywhere catered for omnivores and a small selection for those of the vegetarian and vegan variety. However, after meeting the passionate foodie Andy Hare of  vegiefoodie.com, (who finds the best veggie places in and around Brum), I’ve realised it’s actually a problem. There’s not many places that cater for a vegetarian/vegan audience without resorting to nut roast or risotto…

Continue reading “Veggie Heaven at Bistro 1847 – Xmas Menu Launch”

Mediterranean Delights – The Upper Room at Byzantium

For the first time in a while, it was nice to get out of the city centre and mosey on down to the suburbs on a foodie adventure.

On this occasion I was invited by Byzantium, an independent family-run restaurant which serves up a wide variety of tapas, to join them for the opening of their upper room.

DSCF2609

A good crowd had turned out to try the new food, not surprising since this is one of Kings Heath’s little gems. The upstairs room had been tastefully decorated in neutral colours, with a Mediterranean theme, and was surprisingly spacious!

After a very warm welcome from the owners Efua and Antonello and the team, I got to work quickly on the lovely drinks on offer and then, chatting to the other lovely guests of the evening.

DSCF2616

We were taken on a whirlwind tour of the Mediterranean with some amazing tapas, including

French bread with caramelised onions and Camembert and Moroccan Zalouk; Italian Arancini balls with prawns and mozzarella; Greek halloumi souvlaki; crispy pork belly with a balsamic glaze, anchovy and black olive tapenade; courgette fritters; quinoa salad; chicken ballotine with black olives and chorizo; and albondigas with a spicy tomato sauce.

My favourites of the evening were:

  • The crispy pork; paired with an amazing balsamic glaze the sweet, sour and umami flavours played delightfully on the tongue.
  • The albondigas; well seasoned mince meatballs partnered with a powerful spicy tomato dip, which left tendrils of warm heat after the first taste.

I would’ve been happy with them all to be honest and it’s definitely encouraged me to drag Wifey down one evening, so we can have a nice relaxed evening out of the bustle of the city centre.

The Upper Room seats up to 40 people, catering for a wide range of functions. Byzantium’s special party menu has something for all tastes.

Their xmas menu can be viewed here, and bookings are now being taken on 0121 444 5444.

Byzantium is open Tuesday to Saturday 12-2:30pm for lunch, and Monday to Saturday 5:30pm-10pm for dinner.

Disclaimer: For this evening, we were guests of Byzantium who provided all food and drinks; this provides no bias to this post. This blog is my own personal opinion and strives to provide an independent view, promoting, enjoying and reviewing the range of exciting food and venues in and around Birmingham.

When: 13/10/2015

Where / Who:  Byzantium, 11 York Road, Kings Heath, Birmingham

Wrath – Feel the Heat! at Bodega Birmingham

You may remember I was invited to attend a special bloggers event at The Jekyll & Hyde a few weeks back, hosted by the wonderful Vicky Osgood of Brumderland, and the team at Bodega.  The name of the event was Greed and it was particularly apt with the amount of food I ate!

Tonight was Wrath and the host venue was Bodega Birmingham, another part of the Bitters ‘n’ Twisted group. They are currently in the process of having a menu tweak, introducing some seasonal specials and supplying some tasters. Along with a special Tequila master-class, I couldn’t say no to that! So it was a descent to the Sugarloaf bar to immerse myself in South American cuisine & liquor.

IMG20151005190033

It’s hard to think Bodega has already been in place for 5 years! Wifey and I moved into the city centre about 5 1/2 years ago. It’s the first time I’d been downstairs into the Sugarloaf bar. The décor was inspired by Dia de Meurtos with lots of sugar skulls on the wall.

DSCF2356

We were welcomed with a Margarita to kick off proceedings.

Odu, the GM, welcomed us in and explained the ethos behind the menu and their plans going forward. They’re keeping the fusion of South American cuisine; next year, the core menu will be kept but a range of seasonal specialities will be introduced. Some of the big hitters were on for tasting tonight such as Xim Xim, Veggie tacos and Dirty Rice.

DSCF2334

DSCF2355

First up was the Brazilian Xim Xim. The dish originated in Africa as a stewed combination of dried shrimp, ground nuts and coconut. It’s now arrived at Bodega, by way of Brazil, and has changed a little. Tonight’s dish was a mix of chicken, prawns, peanuts and coconut cream, served with dirty rice and tortilla.

DSCF2341

The dish reminded me slightly of a Chicken Korma with the creaminess of the coconut. There were soft chunky chicken pieces, which partnered well with paprika peppiness of the dirty rice.

Next on the tasters were the vegetarian tacos, served in soft tortillas and stuffed with sweet potatoes, black beans and avocado.

DSCF2344

It was a slightly healthier option and with a beautifully fresh flavour. iIt can even be done gluten free with lettuce instead of a tortilla.

DSCF2359

A mango salad was next on the agenda with a zingy raspberry vinaigrette

DSCF2336

The sweet savoury punch was different to your usual side salad but I would have been happy with just a bowl of that all night!

Pre-desserts, it was time for a masterclass with Marcelle, the head bartender.

The three spirits we were to learn about were tequila, rum and a drink I’d not come across before, cachaca.

IMG20151005195532

Tequila takes its name from the city of Tequila and is made from the agave fruit nectar. Apparently if you drink good quality tequila made from pure agave nectar, you won’t get a hangover the next day. Bodega stock over 50 types of tequila. These include a range of tequilas from the highland region of Jalisco. Jailsco is the only other area allowed to brand their agave spirit as tequila; anything else is a Mescal.

Tequila is enjoyed in Mexico like a good malt whisky and is served neat. You can find good inexpensive tequila; it just needs a gimlet eye to sniff out a bottle.

DSCF2335

Next up on the spirit tour was cachaca, a distilled spirit made from sugarcane juice. It’s Brazil’s favourite spirit and forms the basis of quite a few cocktails such as a caipirinha.

DSCF2361

Caipirinha is the most popular cocktail in Brazil. Invented in Sao Paulo in 1918, it was designed as a remedy for Spanish Flu with cachaca, honey and garlic. The garlic was quickly replaced by lime. It’s probably one of the most easy cocktails to make, with sugar and lime crushed together, then liqour, ice and a slice.

A little break before the final part of the masterclass meant it was time for pudding.

DSCF2349

We tried a white chocolate and mojito cheesecake, served with a raspberry coulis.

DSCF2345

The bitterness of the lime, mint and raspberry really took the edge off the sweetness of the white chocolate mousse and had a chunky crispy base.

The final dish was a Pastel de chocolate pegajoso, served with a vanilla ice cream and pistachio praline and It was also gluten free!

DSCF2346

A flourless sticky chocolate cake, it had a peculiar texture, almost a cross between cakeand mousse. Its rich flavour tasted of intense dark chocolate, which was lifted by the vanilla ice cream.

Back to the masterclass and onto the Navy’s favourite, RUM! Rum is made from the same plant as cachaca, the sugar cane. However, it’s made from the by product (usually molasses) of refinery rather than distilled from fresh sugar cane. The most well known rum based cocktail is probably the Mojito.

DSCF2365

Made from white rum, sugar, lime juice, mint and ice it’s apocryphally attributed to Sir Francis Drake. Whilst in the Caribbean, an epidemic of scurvy occurred on board. It was known that the local South American Indians had remedies for various tropical illnesses; a small boarding party went ashore on Cuba and came back with ingredients for a medicine which was effective. The ingredients were aguardiente de caña (a crude form of rum) added with local tropical ingredients, lime, sugar cane juice and mint. It’s now Britain’s most popular cocktail.

We finished off the evening (bar a few more cocktails and a photo I can’t remember taking).

Anyone know who these two are?

DSCF2367

If you know who they are, please let myself and brumhour know 😉

Sugarloaf holds up to 75 people and has its own bar, dance floor, DJ booth and sound system as well as the convenience of its own toilets.

They’ve hosted birthdays, anniversaries, product launches, corporate mixers, sporting events and even wedding receptions, offering full buffet facilities as well as a sit down meal for 30 people. Plus, you can add one of their cocktail master classes to your event!

Sugarloaf can be hired at most times during the week except Friday nights.

Disclaimer: For this evening, we were guests of Brumderland and Bodega who provided all food and most of my drinks; this provides no bias to the review. This blog is my own personal opinion and strives to provide an independent view, promoting, enjoying and reviewing the range of exciting food and venues in and around Birmingham.

When: 05/10/2015

Where:  Bodega Birmingham, Bennetts Hill, Birmingham

Who: BrumderlandBodega Birmingham, Bitters & Twisted