On a Monday at the back end of November, winter looked like it was settling in to be a nasty one. After finishing the day job, I got on the bus out towards Harborne with howling wind, pouring rain. I even got an impromptu tour of Brum due to the city centre roadworks.
Thankfully, I was on the way to The New Inn in Harborne. Bitters’n’Twisted‘s only Birmingham venue outside the city centre. They kept the traditional inn feel with roaring fireplaces, quirky wallpaper & funky decorations. It was a great antidote to the outside weather. They’ve even got a ruddy big beer garden for when the weather is nice.
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.
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…
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.
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:
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!
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:
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!
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