The Victoria, Barnt Green Festive Menu Review

My favourite part about Christmas isn’t the presents but the food. There’s nothing more that I love than a delicious freshly cooked roast turkey dinner with all the trimmings. I can’t forget the mince pies either! Now it’s reached November it means the festive menus have started appearing at many places, great news for me then! There’s nothing better to do on a cold winters night than divulge in some delicious heart warming food, so I headed to The Victoria in Barnt Green to sample their new festive menu.

Located in Bromsgrove, just 10 miles south from Birmingham city centre, The Victoria is a quaint village pub that hosts a warm homely ambience with a touch of luxury. Upon entering the pub I could see it had been tastefully decorated for Christmas and friendly staff promptly seated me at my table, next to a crackling open fire. There are three different choices with the festive menu currently on offer at The Victoria:

  • Three course classic festive menu – £26.95
  • Four course indulgent festive menu (choice of premium dishes), with a glass of Prosecco on arrival and luxury chocolate truffles to finish – £33.95
  • Five course extra special festive menu (choice of premium dishes), with a glass of Moët & Chandon champagne on arrival, rustic breads and olives, and a cocktail of your choice – £48.95

I opted for the three course classic festive menu, as well as one of the the special festive cocktails! I chose the festive pornstar martini, which was a standard pornstar martini with the added twist of winter berry syrup to give it a lovely spiced festive taste which didn’t overpower the drink. My partner chose the festive espresso martini, which like my drink, also had the addition of the winter berry syrup with complimented the coffee aroma perfectly.

For my starter I opted for the ‘duck liver & port parfait served with toasted walnut & raisin bread and a spiced fruit & sloe gin chutney’. Duck liver parfait is a classic Christmas favourite of mine so I couldn’t resist choosing it and I definitely made the right choice because it was delicious! Even though I’m not a fan of port, it perfectly complimented the rich creamy flavour of the parfait, with the spiced fruit and sloe gin chutney really giving the dish the festive feeling it needed. Spread over the warm toasted walnut and raisin bread this dish was to die for! My partner opted for the ‘creamy garlic mushrooms on toasted sourdough topped with Blacksticks Blue cheese’, I managed to steal a forkful from him and even though I’m not a big fan of blue cheese I found there was just the right amount in this dish for me to enjoy it and not be too overpowered by it.

Our mains arrived not long after our starters were cleared and WOW were we impressed! Laid before us was a feast fit for a king and we couldn’t wait to get stuck in. I opted for the ‘maple pork belly and pig cheek, on Dijon chive mash, cavolo nero, crisp prosciutto and a red wine & sage jus’, although apprehensive as I’ve never tried pig cheek before I was assured by the waitress that I’d love it. The pork belly crisp but juicy too, being cooked to perfection with the maple glaze browning at the edges giving it the perfect caramelised sweetness. The Dijon chive mash and cavolo nero was equality as tasty. When I was feeling brave enough I tried the pig cheek for the first time and was surprised that it wasn’t like anything I’d tasted before. It was deliciously tender and melted in your mouth, overall bringing a unique twist to the dish. My partner opted for the ‘roasted turkey with fluffy beef-dripping roasted potatoes, a honey mustard duvet and pork & clementine stuffing. Served with red wine gravy and bread sauce’. I didn’t personally try this dish but my partner told me everything was all cooked to perfection; usually turkey can be quite dry but it was flavoursome and moist. I was also extremely jealous that he got pigs in blankets as I adore them! Both meals came with an accompaniment of seasonal vegetables which consisted of sprouts, carrots and roasted parsnips coated in a tasty seasoning. The pictures don’t do the meals justice as the portion size was so plentiful for both the meals and the accompaniments, with it all being seasoned to perfection. Me and my partner both agreed that this festive meal was one of the nicest that we’ve ever had. The attention to detail with every aspect of the meal, making sure everything was seasoned and glazed accordingly, really excited my taste buds putting The Victoria up there as one of my all time favourite places for a heartwarming festive fayre.

I was pleasantly full after the first two courses, but as they say ‘there’s always room for dessert!’. Fancying something a bit fruity I opted for the ‘apple and plum crumble topped with a demerara sugar crumb, served with custard’. Served in its own mini saucepan the crumble was just as delicious as I expected it to be, tart and heartwarming balanced perfectly with the vanilla custard. The perfect way to end any meal! My partner being a chocoholic chose the ‘chocolate brownie with Belgian chocolate sauce, honeycomb ice cream and a brandy snap crumb‘. He couldn’t get enough of this decadent dessert and only wished he could eat another! He’s tried many chocolate brownies in his time but he did comment that this one was gorgeous compared.

Christmas is a time of the year best spend enjoying yourself and I can’t think of a better way to enjoy yourself than divulging in the gastronomic delights that The Victoria has the offer. From fun festive cocktails to the heartwarming food than you can eat next to a crackling fire, you can’t go wrong with The Victoria. You can check out their festive menus and full menus here.

What’s your favourite food to eat at Christmas?

Laura 

Disclaimer: the food I received was complimentary however all opinions are genuine and my own.

 

The Village, Moseley

In late October one of Moseley’s best eateries, The Village, opened its doors after an exciting refurbishment seeing in a whole new menu and fresh modern interior. Located in the heart of Moseley, The Village has always been a favourite of mine due to its friendly, laid back vibe and heart warming food. Their new decor has given the whole place a face lift, with a vibrant chic finish but still maintaining its warm friendly feeling. Not to forget there is now a log burner, perfect to relax by on those cold winter nights!

Photo courtesy of The Village

Not being able to resist the sound of their new menu, me and my partner visited to try out the new offerings. For starters I opted for the Chilli & Garlic King Prawns, a favourite dish of mine that I’ve had in many restaurants. I was pleasantly surprised at how tasty it was compared to others I’ve had in the past. It was just the right spice level but was also bursting with flavour; the garlic and ginger complimented this dish just nicely. Not to mention the delicious warm bread it came with which I could have ate twice over!

My partner opted for the Chicken Wings doused in cola BBQ sauce served with coleslaw. I was cheeky and managed to steal a few off him, but I wish I could have eaten them all. The cola BBQ sauce was sweet and sticky, just how I like it! The wings themselves were cooked just right so they were juicy with a little crispness on the outside. The coleslaw was crunchy, flavoursome and tasted homemade, the perfect accompaniment to some sticky BBQ wings.

Our mains arrived not long after finishing our starters. I had chosen the Fish & Chips, which to my surprise consisted of not one but two large pieces of beer battered Cod. This was accompanied by chunky chips, crushed peas, green olive tartare and a lemon wedge. The portion size was enormous! I couldn’t believe how much you got for the reasonable price of £12. I love fish and can always tell when the fish cooked isn’t fresh, but this wasn’t the case at The Village. The perfectly white fresh cod was coated in a delicious crispy batter that was to die for. I was apprehensive over the crushed peas as I’d never tried them before and assumed they would taste similar to mushy peas (which I hate) but I was surprised to find they were quite delicious! Everything with this dish was faultless.

My partner opted for the Halloumi Burger. This consisted of a crisp battered thick slice of halloumi on a brioche bun, accompanied by fresh salsa, jalapeños, burger sauce, lettuce and tomato with a side of skinny fries and coleslaw. The burger itself looked amazing and my partner said it tasted amazing too, with the flavours flawlessly complimenting each other. I wasn’t able to try it myself because my partner said it was too good to share but I’ll have to take his word for it!

No matter how much food I eat I always have room for dessert, so I opted for the Pavlova, which was different to any other pavlova I had tried before at it contained poached peaches which were delicious! It was the perfect light fruity dessert to finish off with; not too heavy but just as delicious.

One aspect that really stands out to me about The Village is the value for money. The food itself is fantastic and you get so much if it too for the cost. It really is great quality food and you also get a great quantity; it’s rare to get both of these aspects when dining out, usually the food is good quality but small portions. After having such outstanding food for a reasonable price I can’t wait to return to The Village to try the other offerings on their menu, especially their famed Sunday roast.

Photo courtesy of The Village

One thing I noted on my visit was the fantastic range of daily offers they have, including a pizza and quiz every Tuesday which sounds like my perfect kinda’ night!Their modern chic interior and friendly welcome makes The Village the perfect hangout or place to go when your in the mood for some delicious expertly cooked food. No matter what you’re after, you’ll always feel home from home at The Village. To check out their weekly specials, live music and the menu you can visit The Village here.

Have you ever visited The Village?

Laura 

Disclaimer: the food I received was complimentary however all opinions are genuine and my own.

 

Rico Libre: tapas with a twist!

Recently the ever popular Birmingham eatery Rico Libre, that has been situation in the city for over 5 years, has moved location joining forces with Kanteen based in the custard factory. This new unique collaboration of independent restaurants sees Rico Libre’s delicious tapas being served daily at the new location after 6pm.

I recently had the opportunity to visit Rico Libre in their new home and divulge in their delicious and authentic food! The first thing I noticed after walking through the door was how vibrant and fresh the new interior was. I’m definitely a fan of modern interiors so this one won me over instantly. The one thing that hasn’t changed about Rico Libre is that it still has the same ‘bring your own alcohol’ policy which I love! Sometimes going out to restaurants can become quite costly if you’re drinking a lot of alcohol with your meal but because of Rico Libre’s fantastic BYOB policy you’re able to get top quality delicious food without all the expensive alcohol costs! If you’re not a fan of alcohol then there is an extensive range of soft drinks and hot drinks available also.

Now onto the food! Rico Libre offer a vibrant menu with something available for everyone’s taste. From meat lovers to vegans, Rico Libre has you covered! As well as the main menu they offer a daily specials menu so you have the chance to try something different every time you go. There was so much delicious food to choose from I found it hard to narrow it down but eventually settled with 9 different dishes which I was shared with other people. The first dish to arrive at the table was the Pan de Ajo, which was a deliciously freshly toasted flatbread covered in garlic and herbs. I adore garlic so this was definitely a winner for me! The rest of the dishes arrived soon after and the selection we had opted forward:

  • Grilled Halloumi
  • Patatas Alioli
  • Pescado Blanco Frito
  • Gambas Pil Pil
  • Pollo Marbella
  • Chicken Wings with Alioli
  • Pork Belly
  • Duck Breast

All the food arrived hot and fresh and surprisingly there honestly wasn’t a single dish that I didn’t love! But out of all the dishes my favourite has to be the Duck Breast, not only because it was plated up so beautifully but because it was cooked to absolute perfection. The fresh raspberry and blackberry also complimented the dish nicely. A second favourite was the Pollo Marbella as it was unlike any dish I’ve ever had before. This dish consisted of chicken breast in a creamy white wine sauced with chorizo. The creaminess of the sauce was perfectly paired with the spicy chorizo making it a well balanced unique dish.

I’ve been to many establishments serving tapas where every dish tastes the same but that was certainly not the case at Rico Libre, with each dish having its own flavour explosion. I ate until I couldn’t eat anymore but as they always say “there’s always room for dessert!”, so being greedy I opted for two; the Crème Catalan and the Mousse de Maracuya. The Créme Catalan is in essence the Catalan version of a créme brûlée and is just as, if not more, delicious. It was cooked perfectly with it’s crisp caramel topping followed by a rich custard interior; what’s not to love about that! The Mousse de Maracuya was different to any dessert I have tried before. It consisted of a creamy passion fruit mousse inside of a chocolate cup topped with a fresh raspberry. You wouldn’t think passion fruit and chocolate go well together but trust me, they do! I found both desserts to be delicious and to my taste, but my favourite has to be the Créme Catalan because it makes me reminisce of the many good times I’ve had this dish whilst on holiday in Spain.

In a food coma I left Rico Libre feeling cheerful and content, if not a little bloated from the sheer amount of food I managed to eat! What I love about Rico Libre is that you almost feel like you’re being invited into someone’s home because of how warm and friendly the service is; you really feel like you’re being looked after as a guest in this establishment. Tapas has always been one of my favourite styles of food because I’m so indecisive about what dish to choose when in normal restaurants but with tapas I don’t have that issue as you can choose as many dishes as you want. This being said I’ve tried many restaurants within Birmingham serving tapas but Rico Libre has now taken the top spot as my favourite tapas restaurant. Delicious fresh food, a genuine warm service and a clean vibrant interior…this is what sets Rico Libre above all the rest. The extensive menu of daily specials means you could never get bored of coming to this restaurant time and time again, with each visit being a new flavour journey!

The full menus for Rico Libre can be found on there website here.

Have you been to Rico Libre yet?

Laura 

Disclaimer: the food I received was complimentary however I was not expected to write a blog post in return, all opinions are genuine and my own.

 

Flight Club Birmingham Review

Meet Flight Club – the trendy bar chain and worlds first interactive darts venue which opened its doors to the people of Birmingham back in July. The creative concept gives a fresh modern take on traditional darts, using state of the arts darts tracking technology combined with fun interactive games.

After having a blast on their opening night, I decided to return for the brunch social hosted every Saturday and Sunday, priced at a reasonable £25. Upon arriving, my partner and I were allocated our own table and oche (posh word for the dart line area) which was beautifully laid out with fresh orange juice, filtered water, bottles of prosecco and fun props to play with. Each guest receives a bottle of prosecco as well as unlimited fresh orange juice and filtered water. Can this get any better you may think? Yes, it can! You are also served unlimited pizza for the two hour duration you are there!

There was an impressive selection of ten different types of freshly baked pizza made using the finest ingredients, with choices for everyone…whether you’re vegetarian, vegan or an avid meat eater Flight Club have you covered!

Photo courtesy of Flight Club Birmingham

The pizzas were so delicious that I wish I could have stayed and tried them all as they were certainly some of the nicest pizzas I have ever tried in Birmingham. I’d even return again just for the pizza! A personal favourite was the ‘pork sausage pizza on a garlic cream base with braised leeks and smoked mozzarella’.

Photo courtesy of Flight Club Birmingham

If you’re not a fan of alcohol or if you just don’t like prosecco then the Flight Club team will happily make you some exciting mocktail alternatives instead. So no matter what your preferences are, Flight Club will make sure that everyone is having an amazing time! One thing which I didn’t realise before going to Flight Club is that they record snapshots and highlights from your entire night and send them to you via email, so you can look back at them any time you want. I love this concept because most of the time when I’m having fun I forget to take photographs to save the memories, so Flight Club have you covered on that aspect!

I applaud the new experience which Flight Club has brought to Birmingham, bringing a creative and contemporary concept which stands out against the array of typical traditional bars found within the city centre. So whether it’s your birthday, hen-do or you just fancy a day out with a difference, then I’d definitely recommend Flight Club to be your first choice to go to, you won’t regret it! More information about pricing, menus and what they offer can be found at Flight Club Birmingham.

Will this be your new brunch spot?

Laura 

 

Marmalade at The REP

Photo courtesy of Marmalade at The REP

A couple of weeks ago I was lucky enough to be invited to the re-opening of Marmalade at The REP theatre in Birmingham. Over the past couple of months Marmalade has been rejuvenated, with the addition of a new outdoor terrace, delicious new menu and a live events programme. Marmalade is situation near the newly redesigned Centenary Square making it the perfect location to pop in for a bite to eat or for your pre-show meal!

Their exciting new menu has been designed to utilise locally sourced ingredients and suppliers where possible, not only promoting local business’ but also reducing the environmental impact sourcing ingredients has!

Firstly, I tried some of their small plate options (which would make perfect starters). I opted for the fava bean patties with a tomatillo chutney and dukka spices as well as the chicken liver paté with onion jam and toasted bread. Both were full of flavour and really morish, I had to stop myself from eating more as to leave room for the mains!

For the main I opted for the battered catch of the day which was served with mushy peas (on the normal menu they are served with triple cooked chips). This dish was cooked to perfection, I couldn’t get enough and the mushy peas were the best I’ve ever tasted.

I also tried the chicken & chorizo jambonette, glazed baby carrots & gooseberry jam. The jam perfectly complimented the succulent chicken and really brought the dish alive!

For desserts I was spoilt for choice but eventually decided on the chocolate & coffee mousse with chantilly cream and pecan praline. The soft airy slice of chocolate deliciousness really hit the spot! My friend opted for the apple & rhubarb crumble with coconut ice cream – the perfect balance between sweet and tart.

After discovering that Marmalade also offer afternoon tea I couldn’t resist trying it. I was also surprised to learn that they do a vegan afternoon tea (which I was greedy enough to try as well). The selection of sandwiches and cakes was perfect- some establishments skimp on what they give you but Marmalade is definitely NOT one of those. I couldn’t decide which was nicer, the standard afternoon tea or the vegan option as they were equally as scrumptious!

To my delight, Marmalade have also revamped their drinks menu. They have set up a new relationship with local brewery company Purity Brewing co. from Warwickshire. The brewery supply their standard beers as well as a fantastic new Marmalade flavoured pale ale (crafted especially for the re-opening of marmalade!). Unfortunately the ‘Marmalade Pale’ was a one off brew, however you can continue to try their other offerings such as Helles lager, Longhorn IPA and Pure cider all year round. If beer isn’t your thing, Marmalade has a fantastic range of cocktails on offer, with an exciting new addition being the Martini Fiero (created through a partnership with Martini!). If you’re teetotal you can find an inviting selection of mocktails or award winning ethically sourced coffee, supplied by the local roasters Iron & Fire. Whatever your taste there’s something for you!

Photo courtesy of Marmalade at The REP

If your looking for somewhere to find fresh locally sourced food at a reasonable price, or to drink some handcrafted beverages whilst relaxing on a terrace, then Marmalade at The REP is the place your place! The full food and drinks menu can be found on their website here.

Disclaimer: The food and drink I received were complimentary, however I was not obligated to do a review, and all opinions in this post are my honest opinions.

Will you be visiting Marmalade at the REP?

Laura