News: There’s a new garden area ‘Hopping Up’ in Sutton Coldfield at Brewhouse & Kitchen

Regular visitors and residents to Sutton Coldfield will no doubt already know about the Brewhouse and Kitchen, which has been open for the past few years. They’ve now extended this into their new Hop House Garden with a pizza shack amongst the new features.

There’s also a Facebook competition too!

More info below:

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With a fire pit, pizza oven shack, 15 litre serve yourself keg table, outdoor games and cosy covered areas with Wi-Fi and individual power sockets, the Hop House Garden has something for everyone to enjoy this summer season.

The arrival of the all new pizza oven shack offers a mouth-watering new menu, bringing everything from classic margherita and pepperoni choices, to spicy slices for the more adventurous types, including Thai Me Up, a creation covered in Siracha Thai chicken, red onion, red chilli and crispy beansprouts.

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In line with the new garden and pizza menu, Brewhouse & Kitchen will also be tapping its first Hop House Garden beer, a welcome addition to an already impressive selection of on-site brews.

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To celebrate the launch, Brewhouse & Kitchen will be running an exclusive competition on their Facebook page from this week, giving lucky diners the chance to win a seat at the Keg Table and pizzas for up to 10 people each week for four weeks. Customers can check Facebook for details on how to enter.

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Melvin Symmons, General Manager at Brewhouse & Kitchen Sutton Coldfield, comments: “We’re so excited to be opening our Hop House Garden and launching our new menu!

“There’s nothing quite like this in Sutton, and we can’t wait for customers to come and enjoy the delights of the new pizza shack, cosy up next to the outdoor fire pit, and pour themselves a pint of our brand new beer from the Keg Table!”

The launch of the Hop House Garden will be taking place on Friday 18 August from 5pm, giving customers a first glance at the garden with free pizza, live music from Electric Pollen, beer tasters and much more to enjoy.

For more information visit: http://bit.ly/2vXUsy5

 

NOTE: This is not a sponsored post or endorsement, just news of something happening in the food scene in and around Birmingham you might want to know about.

Feliz Segundo Aniversario! Brummie Gourmand is 2!

It’s hard to believe it’s been TWO YEARS since my first post. I gave an update on what the first year had held so I thought I’d give you an update on Year 2!

This year has been an interesting one so far, having been shortlisted for the Midlands Food Drink and Hospitality Awards Blogger of the Year, the first anniversary of Geeky Brummie on Brum Radio, the launch of the Geeky Brummie Podcast, and lots and lots of blogging.

Some personal highlights have been:

and

  • Enjoying Beef & Malbec at Gaucho

Choosing just a dozen of the things I’ve been up to was difficult so head on through the archives to read more!

To finish, a quick thank you, again, to long suffering Wifey and thank you to all those who’ve taken time to read my little corner of the internet. Here’s looking forward to year 3!

BrumGoesLon Part 2 – The Blues Kitchen, Shoreditch, London

At the end of last month, Wifey and I took a trip down to the big smoke for a few days for geeky pursuits (more on that side will be at GeekyBrummie) and, of course, food.

Our second stop off in London was a completely different kettle of fish to Pizza Pilgrims. A Shoreditch staple since 2009, The Blues Kitchen is all about live music and soul food.

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Surprisingly for a Monday, the place was full to the brim but Wifey and I were lucky enough to grab a couple of seats at the bar.

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After getting ourselves comfortable and having ordered drinks from our very hospitable bar man, we learnt why: Monday night is their Rib Night with a stack of ribs for £10. It was an offer I couldn’t say no to.

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From their rather extensive menu, we chose the following:

  • Cajun Popcorn Squid served with sriracha mayo & burnt lime
  • Cornbread with honey butter
  • Blackened Chicken & Ranch Salad (for Wifey) – crispy bacon, manchego cheese, mixed leaves, boiled eggs & heritage tomatoes served with a side of buttermilk ranch dressing
  • And for me, the Rib Special – short beef and St Louis pork ribs; according to the menu, all the barbecue is slow smoked in-house using a blend of hickory, oak, mesquite and fruit woods.

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The Popcorn Shrimp was in a tempura style batter and crisp, but the shrimp itself was a touch overdone and verging on the chewy.  The sriracha mayo was more sweet than spicy but with enough of a tang for Wifey’s tastes. I took full advantage of the sliced chillies on top for my lust for heat.

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The Cornbread was dense, crumbly, rich, and honeyed butter almost verging on a dessert. It’s the nicest cornbread Wifey and I had both had for a long time.

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Wifey’s Blackened Chicken salad came hidden under a mound of breast meat. Wifey’s feedback was the chicken was well cooked and on the right side of blackened not burnt. Her ranch dressing was, rich, creamy and tangy, and suited the crisp salad well.

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My Ribs were absolutely humongous, the photo doesn’t do it justice.  Even I, with my rapacious appetite, struggled by the second pork rib! The meat slid off the bone and had a complex but delicate smoke to it. If my belly wasn’t straining so much, I could’ve gone back for a second helping.

A special mention must be made for their whisk(e)y and Bourbon selection, try the Starward, it’s like a Dessert Whisky!  There’s also live music every night, which we didn’t stick around for after a long day exploring the city.  We’d more than likely return there again whenever we’re back in the area…

When: 24/04/2017

Where/: The Blues Kitchen, 134 – 136 Curtain Road, Shoreditch, London EC2A 3AR.

Who: The Blues Kitchen

BrumGoesLon Part 1 – Pizza Pilgrims, Shoreditch, London

Firstly, apologies for being away for a month. A few things outside of the blog got in the way but regular service has been resumed now!

At the end of last month, Wifey and I took a trip down to the big smoke for a few days for geeky pursuits (more on that side will be at GeekyBrummie) and, of course, food.

First stop off for Wifey and I was Pizza Pilgrims. Set up by Thom and James Elliot after their tour of Italy, it’s a London chain going since 2011, with a Piaggio Ape and several locations including Shoreditch, which opened in March this year.

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We chose Pizza Pligrims on a whim whilst wandering up Shoreditch High Street and Wifey was getting peckish. There was no room to sit upstairs so we were ushered into their basement seating area, past a wall of pizza boxes decorated by customers.

The tables were mainly decorated in classic restuarant style: green gingham tablecloths to match their green tongue and grooved walls, accompanied by old style school chairs of laminated wood. There was also a football table converted into a dining table (not pictured) and a TV showing an overhead view of the pizza chef’s prep station, which provided an interesting view to waiting for your food.

Before ordering, we were told by the staff the place is BYOB (Bring Your Own Bottle), which basically means they don’t sell alcohol.  You’re welcome to bring your own but they’ll charge you £2.50 per head for the privilege.

Now, I understand if it’s not a licenced premises but to charge a corkage fee for customers to bring their own is a touch mercenary in my opinion. A corkage charge is usually restricted to private events, where you want to bring different alcohol than what the venue supplies, and I fully agree with that. However, £2.50 per head for a venue that doesn’t supply alcohol feels slightly larcenous; £1 would be a much more reasonable amount covering service and glassware.

They’re upfront about it and it’s mentioned on the website so kudos to them.  At this price, this is a trend I wouldn’t want to see replicated in Brum.

Anyway, onto the menu:

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It’s a simple affair, not a bad thing: ten pizzas, one guest pizza, two starters, three dips and five sides.

I ordered the Nduja; tomato, fior di latte (cows milk mozzarella), parmesan, basil & olive oil with nduja (spicy Calabrian pork sausage), whilst Wifey chose the Marinara, tomato, oregano, fresh garlic, basil & olive oil.  We shared their ‘Simple’ Green Salad, romaine lettuce with a lemon & parsley dressing, and their Pesto Aioli, and a couple of cans of San Pellegrino Blood Orange as we hadn’t pre-purchased alcohol.

Service was brisk and came across as professional rather than welcoming, giving the feeling that they wanted to turn tables as quick as possible. The pizzas arrived very quickly but the sides needed an extra few minutes to join the party.

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My Nduja was minced rather than the usual slices you see and ‘blobbed’ onto the pizza in a ‘rustic’ fashion with a few basil leaves scattered.  The ingredients were good quality but the dough seemed over-proved and too ‘chewy’.  The sauce had little tomato character to it, tasting mainly of herb mix and not much else. The parmesan did heighten the fior di latte past just creamy, by adding a touch of sharpness.

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Wifey’s Marinara had a massive blowout, which is usually the sign of under-proved dough.  However, in this case, I feel it’s more likely to have been an uneven temp or crowded oven. If it had been me in the kitchen, back in my days of slinging pies, I would’ve more than likely got it remade. However, Wifey’s report was that whilst the dough was chewy,  it was light and there was plenty of sauce. A few more basil leaves would have been appreciated to balance it out.

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Onto the sides. The Simple Green Salad was crisp lettuce and sharp with the lemon and parsley dressing.  For the price paid, another leaf (spinach? rocket?) would have made a nice choice to add to the mix or even a touch of watercress to go with the description of salad, or for them to change it to dressed lettuce on the menu.

The Pesto Aioli, was all pesto, no aioli. We thought it was actually guacamole as it was chartreuse in colour. All taste of garlic had been wiped away by the pesto and even Wifey, a big pesto fan, said it was too much for her.

Overall,  I was firmly in the unimpressed camp.  It felt more a case of appearance rather than taste, hopefully better things later on during our trip!

When: 23/04/2017

Where: Pizza Pilgrims, 136 Shoreditch High St,  London, E1 6JE

Who: Pizza Pilgrims

Is it Gr8? – Otto Pizza

Next door to Eight Foot Grocer, founded by Chris James, there’s been a bit of activity. First, Chris diversified into The Pop Up Taco Shop (whilst waiting for planning permission). Now Otto Pizza has arrived to take its place.

Sourcing a carefully selected list of suppliers for their ingredients, they keep a short but varied menu in chilled surroundings.

They also have a regularly rotating specials board for pizza, wine and beer. For drinks selections, I chose off the specials board with a Call of Korriban Black IPA from Twisted Barrel Brewery whilst Wifey went for Masons Gin with a Double Dutch Tonic.

My beer was lovely and Wifey (always a fan of G&T) loved the Masons Gin, though Langleys will always be her fave!

For food we had a Tomato and Pesto Flatbread; for mains I chose

Nduja, Mushroom, Marscapone, Mozzarella and Tomato

whilst Wifey picked Mushroom, Marscapone and Truffle Oil.

The flatbread came pre-sliced in a basket.  It wasn’t very strong on the tomato and a little heavy on the pesto, but Wifey is a huge pesto fan which meant it was perfect for her tastes.

My pizza had plenty of spice and oil from the nduja sausage, which was mellowed by the creamy marscapone, the mushroom added texture on a both crispy and doughy base. All in all ruddy lovely, though the oil and spice from the sausage may put a few off.

Wifey’s Pizza came with chunky mushroom, smooth blobs of marscapone and wasn’t too heavy on the truffle oil.  She enjoyed the earthiness of the mushroom combined with the rich creaminess of the marscapone.  The base was midway between ‘deep pan’ and thin and crispy, giving it enough integrity without being too heavy.

For dessert, Wifey went for Daniele’s grandmother’s homemade tiramisu whilst I chose some pistachio ice cream.

Wifey’s Tiramisu was a more than generous portion and in her words was “indulgent, rich, delicious”!  She struggled to finish it but valiantly battled through, it would have been rude not to!

My ice cream verged on the savoury side with the nuttiness of the pistachio shining through. Most people are used to the luminous green pistachio ice cream which I find verges on the too sweet side, whereas this acted as a nice palate cleanser.

Though we were sad to see The Pop Up Taco Shop disappear (which we enjoyed a few times), this is a more than worthy replacement and provides a much authentic experience than the regular chains.

When: 02/03/2017

Where: Otto Pizza, 14 Caroline Street, Jewellery Quarter, Birmingham, B3 1TR

Who: Otto PizzaEight Foot Grocer