In keeping with the theme of getting more local, Wifey and I decided to try our nearest (and newest) local restaurant in the shape of Canal Square. Knowing #BrumHour‘s taste for Indian food, we invited him along too!
Canal Square specialises in high end Punjabi Cuisine and Cocktails, taking over the unit which was formerly Loves Restaurant, a few paces from JuJu’s Cafe and a stone’s throw from the Barclaycard Arena.
On their website, they describe themselves as an eclectic Punjabi dining experience. They do tasting menus, taking you around the Punjab region but for this evening, we thought we’d try their la carte “Glasshouse” menu.
Before tucking in, Wifey picked their signature Tequila and lime based cocktail which was sweet and refreshing, so much so, she changed her plan from choosing another cocktail from the menu and stuck to that for the evening. Dave and I went for Diet Coke, accompanied by ice and a slice.
Harvey Bains, maître d’ and owner, introduced us to the menu and concept. Each dish is balanced by the staff but can be tailored to how ‘hot’ or ‘wet’ you want it to be. We decided to skip the starters and instead went for poppadoms followed by mains.
The poppadoms were served as triangles rather than the usual “plate”, which most of us were used to, and was accompanied by mint sauce and mango chutney.
The poppadoms were crisp with no greasy film to them and were served warm. It was nice to have them as good sized portions rather than breaking them ourselves and chasing shards around the plate with a finger (I hope I’m not the only one that does this!). Special mention must be made for the mango chutney, which was sweet and had a nice piquant edge to it. They were that good that we ordered a second portion!
For main I went for their Punjabi Murgh (chicken) signature with a Peshawari naan. Mine was a really nice balance of spice and flavour, with enough of a kick to get the heat going and the flavour coming through. The Peshawari naan, though nicely cooked and fluffy, was a slight disappointment as the paste filling ended up more in the serving dish rather than in my mouth, though what I ate was delicious.
Wifey went for the Butter Chicken, made of Punjabi butter chicken mildly spiced, mixed nuts, tomato simmered rich dish, accompanied by Pilau rice.
Wifey doesn’t do spice so this was perfect for her. It was rich, but not in an oily sense, with just enough spice coming through to give it a solid flavour, and lots of good sized chunky chicken pieces. Her pilau rice was colourful, with addition of vegetables, and was well cooked.
#BrumHour chose a Chicken Jalfrezi and Garlic Naan. From the noises of delight coming from across the table, I am sure he was relishing in having the rare chance for a curry rather than his traditional Chinese.
We all chose mint ice cream for dessert, which came sprinkled with a pistachio crumb. This was a perfect finish for the meal as it was light, smooth and velvety with the pistachio crumb adding a second texture to mix things up.
It’s the little touches which elevate a place and the bill came in quite a stunning fashion: an ornate silver box laden with their signature chocolate truffle shaped like a Brazil nut, this went sharpish.
We all very much enjoyed our food and the quality of the ingredients came through in the flavours of the dishes. We shall certainly be making a repeat visit soon. This could be the perfect place for a pre-visit or post-visit meal, if you are heading to the NIA for a show.
For my 50th post,I thought I’d treat you all to something a little special. Birmingham is very lucky to have 5 Michelin starred restaurants.
Wifey and I have so far visited three of them. We visited Purnell’s pre blog days for a special birthday; visited Simpsons with Birmingham Breakfast Club a few months back and now we can add Carter’s of Moseley, Birmingham’s latest member to the Michelin Club.
We went on Thursday 24th March, a very wet and windy night, and were glad to be embraced by this cosy 35 cover restaurant, just off the main Moseley Village High Street on Wake Green Road.
We were dining with a couple of good friends, who had arrived before us, and we were seated towards the rear with a lovely view of both the wine cabinet and a window into the busy kitchen. Before we dived in, we started off with a few drinks, three of us went for gin and tonic whilst Wifey went for a vodka and tonic.
To keep us fed alongside our drinks, we had some crunchy wholemeal bread, with flour milled just up the road at Sarehole Mill. The bread came accompanied with two types of spread, one a simple salted butter, the other a nice pork dripping.
Wifey loved it being in a small brown paper bag and I liked the wooden butter knife. The bread was very crunchy with a thick crust and was very moreish and filling.
Whilst we munched on our bread and supped our shorts, we went through the menu and chose the full 7 courses with wine pairing. We thought if we were doing it, do it properly!
To start, there was a selection of five snacks for whetting our appetite:
The snacks were:
Chicken Liver Cereal – The liver was beautifully rich and went well with the crispy cereal and sultanas
Ogelshield Gougeres – These little balls of delight were scrumptiou and my favourite of the snacks the savoury choux pastry really complemented the rich raw milk creaminess of the cheese.
Smoked Cod’s Roe Cracker, Seaweed & Fish Floss – A little pearl of roe dusted with seaweed and topped with fish floss, it was quite salty but iIparticularly enjoyed the dusted seaweed.
Blood Cake with Bramley Apple – Wifey is not a fan of blood cake or black pudding normally but made an exception in this case. The blood cake was quite smoky with a strong offal note, which I really enjoyed and was counterbalanced well with the sharpness of the bramley apple.
Cider Cured Sprats & Dill – These were Wifey’s fave of the snacks. Deliciously pickled little fishes with an intense dill sauce.
After a brief break and more chatting, it was time to start our 7 courses. Our first course was an Orkney Scallop with a lava bread and brown butter sauce.
The Oyster Scallop was HUGE, it was cooked perfectly, piping hot and delicately sweet flavour with a rich salty sauce made from ‘Welshman’s caviar’ and was beautifully presented on a scallop shell.
The wine pairing was a Muscat, a full bodied fruity buttery wine which complemented the scallop well.
Our second course was Yukon Gold Dauphinoise, with Spring White Truffle paired with a Chardonnay. Unfortunately, I didn’t get a decent enough picture but it was a well cooked dish with the perfect potato pick for me with its rich buttery gold colour and firm texture. The Chardonnay was closer to a white burgundy in flavour with a complex taste.
Course number three was Cotswold White Chicken with Bread Sauce & Calçots.
The chicken was again perfectly cooked and tender, the gravy was exceptionally rich and the bread sauce was the best I’ve ever had. The Calçots, a relative of the spring onion, added a light bitterness to offset the richness of the gravy. Accompanying the dish was a Arneis. It was a very citrusy wine with subtle overtones of blossom, yet sweet, and merged well with the chicken.
Course number four was Skrei Cod with Fermented Garlic & Monk’s Beard.
The cod was delicate and flaked with a brush from the fork. the black garlic sauce was rich almost treacle like in colour and oh so complex in flavour, almost chocolatey, sweet and bitter at the same time with a powerful hit of umami. Monk’s beard (Goat’s Beard) hails from Tuscany and is only in season five weeks a year. It’s probably quite unknown in this country but tastes similar to spinach with a high minerally flavour. It was a very well balanced dish and perfectly accompanied with a Gavi. This wine is made from Cortese grapes in the DOCG protected region of Cortese di Gavi. This was another fruity wine, mainly with peach coming to the fore with a little bit of gooseberry following it up.
Our fifth and ‘main’ course was beef with string beans and gravy:
It was my favourite dish of the day, the beef was cooked with enough pinkness for me and well done enough for Wifey. The gravy was a joy with a deep richness and really bringing the umami of the beef to the fore.
It was accompanied by a beautiful Beaujolais, my second favourite red after Chateauneuf du Pape. It was fresh and fruity and almost verging on a white in flavour but it went down a treat.
Wifey, not being a red wine fan had an alternative white, however Holly was kind enough to let Wifey sample an almost rosé Red, which Holly had converted her mother with previously. Unfortunately, I don’t think I’ll ever get Wifey to drink red on a regular basis!
Course six and our first dessert was a watermint sherbet
Watermint is a less well known mint compared to garden, pepper and spearmint but it is abundant in northern Europe’s waterways and has quite a strong menthol flavour. It was combined with the sherbet (a sorbet made with milk rather than a fizzy powder). The accompanying Moscato d’Asti was very sweet with pineapple and grapefruit being the main flavours. Combined with the carbon dioxide, one of our friends coined it similar to an alcoholic Lilt in flavour!
The seventh and final course was Sheep’s Curd & crystallised blood orange.
The sheep’s curd was very rich, like a very soft cream cheese; the crystallised blood orange added both sweetness and sharpness. It disintegrated on the tongue and blended into the curd. A wonderful end to a great meal. The final wine was a Demi-Sec and matched the dessert elegantly with its strong citrus and honey notes.
A special mention must also be made for the service. It was faultless , informative and informal, a relaxing change for fine dining. The sommelier was very knowledgeable and more than happy to change some of the red wine pairings for Wifey.
There was one final extra little treat. We were presented with with cardamom-flavoured chocolate nestled in a bed of edible cocoa shavings. We ate this the following day, too stuffed to eat any more, and it was delightfully bitter with the spicy sweetness of cardamom pervading throughout.
We had an amazing evening and wouldn’t hesitate to return, the food and service was amazing and I’d recommend it to anyone looking for a special meal in Brum. Next time we’ll probably hit the lunch menu.
Where: Carters of Moseley, 2c St Mary’s Row, Wake Green Road, Moseley, Birmingham, B13 9EZ
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