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…
…and that’s something Bistro 1847 are trying to do something about. Led by Damien Davenport, their concept is providing modern, innovative and seasonally based vegetarian food. It must be a success as it’s expanded; originally from Manchester (2011) to Birmingham (2013), Bristol (2015) and Brighton (also 2015), it seems like they’re slowly working through the B section of the alphabet!
Wifey and I had been invited along to the Birmingham branch to try a selection of delights from their Xmas menu:
The Birmingham branch is based in the fabulous Great Western Arcade, a Grade II listed Victorian shopping arcade a short walk from Snow Hill train station. The restaurant itself is tastefully decorated with elements evoking nature in a cool clean style.
The downstairs had been cleared of tables to allow mingling room, apart from a table holding refreshments of Bellini’s to kick off the evening.
First up was a Mushroom Crostini, a mushroom and walnut pâté with pickled quince served on smoked butter toast.
Quince is currently having a resurgence in the fruit world but I’ve never had it pickled before. It worked very well with the earthiness of the pâté, providing a nice sharp note to the dish.
Next up was the Winter Warmer soup, a roasted parsnip soup with rosemary persillade, topped with black sesame and sesame oil.
The spicy soup came in little shot glasses and the description was very apt, giving an almost “ready brek” glow as it slipped down.
The final starter to try was the Squash & Feta. Whipped feta cheese, roasted cubes of butternut squash with wilted kale and pumpkin seeds.
The feta was sharp, the whipping bringing forth the saltiness of the cheese, zinging on the tip of the tongue. This was matched by the sweetness of the butternut squash and I enjoyed it much more than I thought as I usually prefer a harder, mature cheese.
Whilst we waited for our main course taster, Wifey and I were treated to a couple of glasses of prosecco.
The main we tried next was the “1847” take on “Fish & Chips”: ginger ale battered halloumi with savoury lemon curd, green pea and basil.
For Wifey and I, it was definitely the standout dish of the evening and was actually nicer than most fish and chips we have had. The lemon curd surprised us as we thought it would be a missed note in the flavour, but it married well with the pea puree and battered halloumi. If you ever pass by a Bistro 1847, I’d recommend this in a heartbeat.
To finish off the evening we were treated to Tropical Fruits, featuring burnt pineapple, pomegranate, orange caramel and coconut streusel.
A balance of mainly sweet, with a little sour from the orange and pineapple, came through with an almost breakfast like aspect to the dish. It was a nice refreshing palate cleanser to end the visit on before going out into the autumnal evening.
My thanks to the team at 1847 for the great tasters and reminding vegetarian and vegan food can be just as, if not more, so exciting than an omnivore restaurant!
The Xmas menu is currently available with a two course and three course menu available from Monday to Friday over lunch and dinner, plus Saturday all day and Sunday lunch. There is also a six course taster menu available. The menu includes vegan options too.
To make a booking call Birmingham on 0121 236 2313. email at Christmas@bistro1847.co.uk, Booking is advised.
Disclaimer: For this evening, we were guests of Bistro 1847 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.
Where / Who: Bistro 1847, Great Western Arcade, Birmingham