New Menu at El Borracho de Oro

I was invited by Emma Yufera-Ruiz of El Borracho de Oro to go an sample some of her amazing Tapas as part of their menu relaunch, unfortunately I couldn’t make it so instead George Elsmere (Caramel Latte Kiss) bravely stepped into the breach for me…

Tapas is one of my favourite styles of food, so imagine my delight when Ryan asked me to play roving reporter and pay a visit to El Borracho de Oro.

Tucked away in Edgbaston, the restaurant is independently owned with a focus on authentic Spanish cuisine. We were welcomed with an enormous Sangria (just the way I like it) and settled at a table near the kitchen. The main restaurant is cosy without being kitschy, and I always enjoy being able to see the chef working from the kitchen pass.


We started with a selection of dishes from the tapas menu. Vieria con Morcilla (Grilled Scallops, Black Pudding, Piquillo Sauce) was the real stand-out. The black pudding was packed with flavour without being overly rich, as I often find with the British version. The scallop was plump and tender, perfectly cooked. They could have just kept bringing this dish all night and I think our table would have been happy!


The Patatas Bravas were crisp on the outside and fluffy in the middle. The addition of Aioli alongside the classic Bravas dressing lifted the dish with a little freshness. We also tried Calandracas (Ham, cheese and chorizo parcels cooked in beer batter), Costillas de Cerdo (Slow roasted Pork ribs, sweet potato puree) and Guisantes Salteados con Huevo Cocido (salted garden peas with onion and garlic topped with a boiled egg). Everything we ate was beautifully unfussy with good ingredients allowed to speak for themselves. Deep fried cheese is always a winner with me, and the ribs were so well cooked they were almost hard to serve as the meat simply dropped off the bone.


This was the point we found our eyes were bigger than our bellies. We’d previously decided that we’d like try two kinds of paella at our table of four, but all the tapas dishes were so generous in portion, we were already feeling pretty full. The Chicken and Chorizo Paella was full of huge pieces of chorizo (so often skimped on), and was a rather huge portion. Designed to share between two, this would be plenty for a dinner out if you’re in need of a treat on a budget, priced at £15. The Seafood Fideuà was equally generous, chock full of prawns and mussels. We were less convinced by ‘fideos’, which is a type of toasted pasta. It was a bit Spaghetti like, and our table were in agreement that we would have preferred paella rice. The flavours were delicious though, and we made a good dent in the huge dish.


Almost full to bursting, we found a corner for tasters of Brownie, Tarta de Santiago (almond cake) and of course, Churros y Chocolate. I love Churros, and these are excellent. Light and crisp with a good helping of liquid chocolate for dunking.

El Borracho are producing truly excellent, authentic food, and the experience is heightened by their truly outstanding staff. Every single person we spoke to was incredibly friendly, passionate about the food and ready with recommendations. Owner Emma is exactly the same, and it’s clear her staff are carefully selected for their customer service skills.

In short, go. Let your waiter suggest some food, and roll home, full and happy.

Disclaimer: For this visit, George was a guest of El Borracho de Oro, this provides no bias to the 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: 07/02/2017

Where: El Borracho de Oro,  Harborne Court, Harborne Road, Edgbaston, Birmingham, B15 3BU

Who: El Borracho de Oro

Whisky meets Wok – Tasting Evening at Chung Ying Central

Regular readers would know I visited Chung Ying Central recently (and thoroughly enjoyed the experience too!). So when I was invited to return for a Whisky and Chinese food pairing along with Joe Ellis from Maxxium, how could I say no?

To start off, a quick Tsing Tao and the requisite Prawn Crackers – perhaps the ultimate Chinese food accompaniment? Our selection of whisky went across a fair selection of the brand:


A varied selection as you can see, this was being partnered up with a range of Chinese cuisine (and a dish closer to home):

  • Duck in Plum Sauce
  • King Prawns in Black Bean Sauce
  • Crispy Belly Pork
  • Sweet and Sour Chicken
  • Salted Caramel Brownie

For each course, Joe introduced the particular whisky we would be sipping, what flavours and scent to expect and why he’s paired it with the specific dish.


To begin, we had Duck in Plum Sauce and The Macallan Gold. The Macallan Gold is a single malt. They replaced the previous age statement varieties with colours five years ago. It’s produced from 9-15 y.o. first fill and refill sherry casks, it’s quite a bodied whisky with a citrusy note, which matched the duck well, as you could expect.


The duck was delicious though plum sauce is not my natural choice. I usually go for Hoi-Sin sauce with duck but the plum was balanced out by the citrus and vanilla in the whisky, giving it a fruity pairing.

Next was The Naked Grouse with Sweet And Sour Chicken. The Naked Grouse is a recent joiner to the Famous Grouse stable.  It was one of the last creations of the company’s long-serving Master Blender, John Ramsay, who retired after forty years shortly before the whisky was released. As it’s a blended whisky, it takes on elements of other parts of the Maxxium brand in The Macallan and Highland Park. It’s got quite a mix of flavours in there, mainly dried fruits with a hint of spice.


The sweet and sour chicken was artfully presented with a carved radish. Sweet and Sour chicken is one of those dishes that will never go out of fashion in the UK, as is General Tso’s chicken in the US. This was a solid example, with the fruity tang people expect, and the chicken had a nice light tempura style batter.

Then it was onto one of my all time favourite dishes, Crispy Belly Pork, paired with a Highland Park 12 Yr Old. Back to single malt territory, this is a lightly peated whisky. I LOVE peated whisky (can you guess which one will be my fave of the night?). This is classed as the gold standard all rounder, bringing the peats of Ilsay, the heather of the Highlands and the fruitiness of Speyside, with a sherry cask finish into one glass.  This would be the bottle I’d have in the cupboard to  cover all guests, if I only kept the one bottle!


There is not much to say with Crispy Belly Pork; it’s one of those ultimate indulgent foods for me, and one which is tricky to replicate at home. This version had the skin just slightly ballooning giving that light crunch, keeping away the toughness that is the downfall of many versions of the dish.

Our penultimate dish was King Prawns in Black Bean sauce paired with Laphroaig 10 Yr Old. This is the original Laphroaig, with malted barley which is dried over a peat fire. The smoke from this peat, found only on Islay, gives it an almost medicinal flavour and the peaty vapours make this one of my favourite winter drinks which warms from the feet up.


These king prawns were beasts. For some reason, I’ve noticed king prawns seem to be shrinking recently (or is it just my imagination?). These kept their shape and remained plump swimming between the onions and peppers, the sweet ingredients countering the deeply savoury black bean sauce.

Our final pairing was a Salted Caramel Brownie with a Jim Beam Double Oak. Bourbon is an American whisky, distilled from corn rather than the malt or wheat as is tradition in Scotland. This Double Oaked variety is first aged in charred American white oak barrels, then we pour it into another freshly charred barrel to mature for a second time. It was actually too oaky for me as I’m more of a peat fan (as you’re probably aware by now!) but I can see why it’s sharpness was paired to cut through the sweetness of the brownie.


Covering the brownie side, these were supplied to Chung Ying Central from Mrs Mills Makes Cakes. As mentioned previously, the Salted Caramel Brownie is a deliciously slice of unctuous goodness, which I heartily recommend.

This was an interesting evening as I’d never considered pairing Chinese Food with Whisky but this worked really well, and it was nice to see Scottish and American rather than Japanese whiskies being used.

Disclaimer: For this visit, I was a guest of Chung Ying Central & East Village PR, this provides no bias to the 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: 26/01/2017

Where: Chung Ying Central, 126 Colmore Row, Birmingham, B3 3AP

Who: Chung Ying Group

#BardolinDough – Pizza Making at Bardolino

It was National Pizza Day last Thursday (Feb 9th).  Along with some other bloggers, I had the opportunity to have a hand throwing the dough and making a pizza at Bardolino to win the chance of being on their menu for the day.  It was also to celebrate the launch of their new menu.

If you’ve not been to Bardolino yet, it’s overlooking the canal at the opposite end of The Cube to the skyline Marco Pierre White Steakhouse Bar & Grill. It’s designed to be ‘ultra-casual’ and focuses on the Italian comfort food staples of pasta and pizza, with a relaxed interior. It is a tad hidden away but worth finding out.

To start off, we had our hats to decorate (my styling was a little boring), but Dave from #BrumHour was happy with his by the looks of it!

After a gluten free Peroni, a new offering from their stable, it was time to get our hands busy. Before I start, a little disclaimer: many many moons ago, I used to work for a national Pizza Chain (no names but it rhymes with Mutt), so I had a slight advantage.

We started off with a dough puck with a hefty dose of semolina, and then were shown how to make it into a 12″ base by stretching it into a fried egg shape using our fingers, before tossing and spinning.  A bit different to what I was taught (using the heel of the palm) but no less effective.

After saucing and cheesing with mozzarella, it was time to pick from the bountiful table of ingredients in front of us. There were smoked meats, vegetables, herbs, bolognese and even eggs for those brave enough to try them. For my Pizza, I thought I’d theme it around the three colours of the Italian flag, named “Il Tricolore”:

  • Green – Spinach & Basil
  • White  – Mozzarella & Mushrooms
  • Red – Bresola & Cherry Tomatoes

Whilst I was waiting for mine to cook and playing with the semolina, I had a look at Out In Brum (The 1877) and #BrumHour’s efforts:

I’m glad to say that my Pizza finished 3rd overall in the rankings, with Han Eats coming in second and Wine Press Girl finishing first with her ‘Ciao Bella’

We all enjoyed our experience immensley and I wouldn’t be surprised if their pizza making classes went on the menu too.

To celebrate the week of love, they’re also offering heart shaped pizzas on Valentine’s Day (get in quick, only early and late slots left when I checked !).


Each pizza will be handmade and shaped by Bardolino’s expert chefs and included in the restaurant’s exclusive Valentine’s Day offer – a three course meal and a bellini in picturesque settings for just £22.50.

As well as the special heart-shaped pizzas, diners can also choose from any main course from Bardolino’s brand new menu designed by Marco Pierre White, which launches next week. If the heart-shaped pizzas are too cheesy of a gesture, why not re-enact the famous Lady and the Tramp scene with one of two new spaghetti dishes added to the menu – Meatballs Americano or Pollo Alla Valdostana.

With scenic views of Birmingham waterways, Bardolino is perfect for those wanting an intimate meal this Valentine’s Day, without the hefty price tag that usually comes with romantic meals at this time of year.

Bardolino’s new menu launched on Tuesday 7th February, and all pizza options can be made into heart-shape designs on Valentine’s Day, with gluten-free dough and dairy-free cheese available when requested in advance. To book your table and see the full menu, visit or call 0121 634 3433.


Disclaimer: For this visit, I was a guest of Bardolino & Rewired PR, this provides no bias to the 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: 30/01/2017

Where: Bardolino Birmingham, The Cube, B1 1RN

Who: Bardolino,  Marco Pierre White Steakhouse Bar & Grill

Ju Ju’s Round 2 – Adventures in Brunching

Well, we said we wouldn’t be long.

If you read my previous post, you might know Ju Ju’s Cafe recently extended and added more dining space to the rear. To match the theme and their punky take on Modern British in the back, they’ve also had a makeover to the front area too, so an excuse to revisit again!

Naturally, Wifey  and I want to have a mooch at the new set up whilst partaking in one of Ju Ju’s famous breakfasts / brunches.

We chose to sit at Table Number 1, a pair of cosy wing-back chairs at the end of the new bar, with an appropriate size height table, and ordered drinks whilst we went through their extensive menu.

I had a Latte and Apple Juice, whilst Wifey went for Flat White and a freshly squeezed Orange Juice.

My latte was very pretty, with some magical trickery it seemed the coffee floated between layers of steamed and frothed milk, the apple juice came nicely chilled with ice.

Wifey’s Flat White was reported as nice and smooth. The Orange Juice was freshly squeezed, garnishes with a slice and ice and “refreshingly sweet” without the acidity of most oranges.

For breakfast, we were a little disappointed the platter for two (an old favourite of Wifey and I’s) had disappeared from the menu. Happily though, there’s enough variety to keep us both happy.

I went for the Full English (BIG), two bacon, two sausage, two fried eggs, tomato, beans, mushrooms, hash browns & two thick sliced toast.


There’s not much you can really say about a great fry up. It’s just a thing of beauty, the bacon was cooked well, sausages nice and meaty, egg yolks the requisite level of runny. The only thing the great breakfast expert, Birmingham Breakfast Club would probably argue with would be the lack of bean separation.

Wifey opted for an alternate Ju Ju’s classic, the Hash, crushed hash browns mixed with a medley of sausage, bacon, lightly sautéed onions and topped with fried eggs and tomato.


Wifey hadn’t tried it before and wanted to steer away from her usual choice of Eggs Benedict. She wasn’t disappointed by it either.  Served in a skillet pan, it was absolutely delicious, not overly salty or greasy – a perfect comforting brunch dish.  The egg yolks added a nice richness to the dish, which was just right.  There was also the option of toast and Hollandaise sauce with it, which Wifey didn’t have.

It was nice to have a cosy relaxed place for breakfast, away from the overly busy hotspots elsewhere in the city. Julia and the team are welcoming hosts and nothing ever seems too much trouble. You can see why in the summer it’s sometimes difficult to get a table, such is the draw!


When: 22/01/2017

Where: Ju Ju’s Cafe, Canal Square, 100 Browning Street, Birmingham, B16 8EH

Who:  Ju Ju’s Cafe

Wrapped Up – WrapLab in Great Western Arcade

Wrap Lab is the latest addition to the range of eateries in Great Western Arcade.

Rather than your normal meal deal, their aim is to bring healthy fast food serving uniquely created dishes, offered in tortillas or salad bowls.

To help with the concept, award winning chef Steve Love of Loves Consultancy has worked with the Tiwana family of Gupy, wife Anshu and mum Gabby on the creation of their menu, keeping calories low but taste high.

I popped in one Friday for a spot of lunch, prior to a bloggers evening on the following Thursday.

The interior is done well, with a light bright interior and touches reminiscent of a school laboratory; even the eating bar area is made from reclaimed school benches.

For my lunch, I tried their BBQ Bourbon Chicken Wrap meal deal (407 calories, sliced chicken BBQ bourbon sauce bacon, red onion, sweetcorn, ‘Savoy Slaw’ and salad), which is on the pricier end of the spectrum of offerings.  For that, you get a substantial wrap, a packet of Ten Acre Crisps and a drink of your choice:

My wrap was jam packed with crispy bacon, though I could’ve done with a touch more chicken. There was a really nice sharp lemony tang to the BBQ sauce, a change from the usual sickly sweetness of most sauces of its ilk. There was also plenty of veg with mounds of sweetcorn, although less lettuce would’ve made it more balanced for me personally. Early signs were good then!

Onto the evening, we were welcomed in by the family and there was a selection of wrap samples for us to tuck in. I tried the Lamb Super Food (509 calories, roast lamb, mint yoghurt, pomegranate and salad) and a revisit to the BBQ Bourbon Chicken.


After a quick mingle, we were then onto a speed wrap challenge! Gupy walked us through how to wrap the perfect wrap, and then it was a wrap-off to see who could make the quickest wrap.

My wrapping wasn’t perfect by any means and I finished mid-table on the speed. However I did do a “Create Your Own” option with my wrap, which they’re happy to do. I tried to make a “Sunday Roast”, with braised beef, sweet potato, sweetcorn, spinach leaf, mustard mayonnaise and lyonnaise onions.

It was very nice, showing off the quality of their ingredients, and something I’d be happy to order again. I also managed to grab some footage of Julie, the winner (on behalf of #BrumHour), Ini (Life by Ini) and George (caramellattekiss), with their wrapping efforts:

Wrap lab is at the Snow Hill station end of Great Western Arcade and is open from 7.30am every day except Sundays, when it opens at 10.00am. You can even place an order at: alternatively visit for more information.

Disclaimer: For this visit, I was a guest of WrapLab & Barques PR, this provides no bias to the 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: 19/01/2017

Where: Wrap Lab, Unit 3, Great Western Arcade, Colmore Row, Birmingham B2 5HU

Who: Wrap Lab, Loves Consultancy