Coming from the creative minds behind The Humble Pub Co, owners of The Prince of Wales, The British Oak and next door neighbours The Dark Horse, Cheval Blanc comes with an estimable pedigree.
Run by GM Abigail Connolly and Chef Cyd Tachdjian their aim is to bring a wine bar with impeccable food to Moseley. Wifey and I heard about their special weekend offer on Mussels and a glass of Wine for £10 (also available as Mussels only for £5), so we took the brother and sister-in-law over for a taste on one of their rare visits from Jersey.
The decor could be described as eclectic, with bottles for light shades, vintage lampshades and mismatched chairs, all tastefully done. The star of the show is the wine cellar. Positioned in front of the bar and topped with thick glass, it’s a nice touch to look down and see some of the bottles on offer.
The wine to the accompany the mussels was Clip, a Portugese Vinho Verde. Made by two friends, Pedro Barbosa and João Maria Cabral, they are aiming to celebrate the local variety Loureiro grape. This is done by following a policy of minimal intervention and care for the ecosystem, in order to grow grapes that ripen well and can display the terroir from which they come. The wine wasn’t dry but crisp, at the same time with a slightly floral taste and a complex almost mineral aftertaste.
The mussels themselves were no small portion – a huge bowl, full of large juicy morsels in a chilli and lemongrass broth. The mussels were very fresh with no overpowering ‘fishy’ taste. The broth was heavy on the lemongrass but enough chilli to make its presence known. Perfect for Wifey but brother-in-law would have preferred a touch more heat (maybe some chilli flakes on the table as an added extra would have allowed us to adjust for taste).
The accompanying crusty bread was delicious and soaked up the broth nicely, my only disappointment was there wasn’t enough! After munching through the mussels, there was still plenty of broth which I would have loved to dunk an extra slice or two into like the savage that I am! Maybe an option to pay a pound or two more for an additional portion of bread for the table would be welcome.
All in all, we loved the experience and will look to return again soon. Cyd will be rotating the recipes for mussels with other flavours such as chorizo, paprika and madras sauce. There’s enough temptation to keep returning…
Chez Mal is no stranger to Wifey and I, we’ve enjoyed a few brunches with family in the past. When we were invited to go and try it out, how could we say no.
Their brunch is billed as “The Biggest Sunday Lunch in Town”, a substantial selection of three courses including an unlimited chef’s table of hors d’oeuvres, a choice of either a main plate or a brunch option and dessert – for £19.95 per person (£9.95 for little ones)!
Prior to sitting down, we had a quick drink in the relaxed bar area before going into the Brasserie, which has been recently updated with cosy booths and more relaxed lighting.
After Wifey and I took our seats (we were dining with the lovely Ting and Mr Ting), we wandered over to the Chef’s table.
The table had a cornucopia of canapes (including the soup of the day – Cream of Cauliflower), Caesar, Caprese, Greek and bespoke fresh salads, shellfish and seafood cocktails, hand carved serrano ham, ibérico, chorizo, salchichon, terrines, Artisan breads, dressings, cheeses and chutneys.
The trick is to not eat too much before the main course!
Talking of main courses, Wifey and I went split choice, with me picking from the brunch menu and Wifey went for the main plates.
My selection was California Eggs; two poached eggs, crushed avocado and chilli on char-grilled Altamura (Italian) bread.
The eggs were perfectly poached and the yolk was deliciously runny. The bread was nice and crisp on the outside and soft in the middle. I found myself wanting an extra slice to help with the runny yolks. The crushed avocado was rich and buttery with flecks of chilli, though I would have preferred a touch more heat.
Wifey on the other hand chose USDA Black Angus; Picanha (rump cap) cut, thyme & rosemary Yorkshire pudding, served with gravy, buttered greens, maple glazed root vegetables and dripping roast potatoes.
The beef was well done (Wifey’s personal preference, against my protestations!). The gravy sauce was rich in flavour and the vegetables were nicely glazed, and to share with the other roast dinner care of Mr Ting.
From the dessert menu, Wifey chose the blackberry and pistachio trifle.
The trifle was beautifully presented with the lady fingers, blackberry jelly squares and pistachio crumb on top instead of the bottom. The custard & cream were not overly sweet and was balanced well with the textures of the jelly and lady fingers.
My dessert was a sticky toffee pudding with pecan caramel sauce and vanilla ice cream.
The pudding was rich, comforting and topped with crunchy walnuts, and glazed in a glossy, sweet and gloriously sticky sauce. The ice cream was rich and flecked with vanilla; it paired well with the hot dessert.
Fully stuffed, Wifey and I went for a stroll down the canal to burn off some of the calories we’d built up on the Sunday feast. For just under £20 a head, it’s absurdly good value and a great way to catch up with friends. No doubt we will be visiting again soon.
Disclaimer: For this brunch, I was a guest of Malmaison & 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.
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