Birmingham’s Newest Smokehouse

You don’t have to venture far within Birmingham to experience flavours from all over the world, and making its new debut into the up and coming Birmingham food scene is D.J. Quinn’s smokehouse. Located in Hall Green, just over 15 minutes away from the city centre, D.J. Quinn’s is a traditional Irish pub established in 2018, that hosts live music, sports and more recently a new authentic smokehouse.

Excited about the new opening I ventured to Hall Green to try out some of the amazing dishes D.J. Quinn’s had to offer! Their new menu consists of an array of smokehouse dishes, sharers, and small plates, as well as some pub classics and Sunday roasts. I opted for a selection of the small plates which included smoked wings, mac ‘n’ cheese and pulled pork nachos, with my partner opting for one of the mains which was Memphis style half rack of ribs & pulled pork. The food arrived and wow was I impressed! It all looked so delicious, we couldn’t wait to dive in and try it.

The smoked wings came in a delicious Cajun rub, served with a pineapple salsa and bbq sauce. They were crispy on the outside but deliciously succulent on the inside, the perfect chicken wings!

The mac ‘n’ cheese was a enticing combination of three different cheeses, combined truffle oil and Parmesan. I couldn’t get enough of this man ‘n’ cheese, it was creamy and more-ish, definitely not your standard boring mac ‘n’ cheese. My partner who hates mac ‘n’ cheese even said he liked it which is an impressive feat!

I’m a big fan of nachos, sampling them across many of Birmingham’s restaurants but the D.J. Quinn’s nachos surprised me. They were not your standard nachos to say the least! Full of flavour the homebaked nacho chips came with the same delicious pineapple salsa that accompanied the smoked wings, guacamole, sour cream, cheese and smoked pulled pork. The portion size was huge, it is fantastic value for money as they’re only £6.95 and we struggled to eat them between two of us! The pulled pork was the real winner here though, as it has to be the best pulled pork I’ve ever tasted, I could have honestly sat and ate a whole bowl of it to myself! The pineapple salsa went really well with the pulled pork and the flavours complimented each other. D.J. Quinn’s also offer a vegan version of the nachos with bbq jackfruit and vegan cheese sauce with salsa and guacamole.

My partners main meal which was the Memphis style half rack of ribs & pulled pork looked so good that I had to steal some for myself! The Memphis style ribs are smoked for 4 hours over a maple and applewood chip blend in a natural oil drum smoker, and are then finished with a homemade bbq sauce, served with seasoned fries and pickles. The pulled pork was the same smoked pulled pork that topped the homemade nachos, and was still as delicious as ever! The pictures don’t do this meal justice as the ribs were enormous! The were really meaty and had the most amazing flavour; all the meat at D.J. Quinn’s is supplied by local butcher Keith Emery and smoked in house.

Aside from all the meat, D.J. Quinn’s also offer a vegetarian and vegan selection, as well as some traditional pub classics and Sunday roasts. Their menu is served 7 days a week from 12pm-9pm. When you think of pub food you don’t think of anything inspiring but D.J. Quinn’s has really changed that! I’ve never been into a pub before and been so blown away by how fantastic the food is, every dish we had was spot on and I couldn’t fault anything. If you’re looking for a new place to try then get yourself down to D.J. Quinn’s, the short drive from the city centre is definitely worth it! You can find more information and their full menu here.

Disclaimer: I was gifted this meal, however all opinions are genuine and my own.

#PaisleyBrownies – Brownies Delivered To Your Door

If your anything like me, and the rest of the U.K. for that matter, then you’ve probably been spending most of lockdown baking away. I’ve had some good bakes and some not so good. So after many bags of flour and failed bakes later I decided it was time to call in the professionals. This is where Paisley Flour comes to the rescue!

Paisley Flour is a bespoke catering company located in the Worcestershire town of Bewdley. From cakes to wedding catering to private dining there’s nothing that Paisley Flour can’t do! But more recently they’ve been running the exciting (and very delicious) #PaisleyBrownies campaign, delivering boxes 8 different flavoured brownies across the whole UK. I can’t think of anything better than receiving this little box of joy in the mail, whether it’s for a special occasion or because you just deserve a treat!

I was kindly gifted a box of brownies to try by Paisley Flour. They were perfectly wrapped to keep them protected during the journey and arrived looking like they had been freshly baked only hours ago! When I opened the box it was love at first sight, I was greeted by 8 decadently moist brownies of a variety of flavours. The flavours I received in the box were:

  • Orange Liquor Cointreau & Terry’s Chocolate Orange
  • Tia Maria Glaze with Rich Belgium Chocolate & Peppermint After Eight
  • Honey Jack Daniels & Almond with Toblerone
  • Traditional Chocolate Brownie
  • Salted Caramel & Peanut with Snickers
  • Peanut Butter with Peanut M&M’s
  • Malteaser Cookie Dough
  • Espresso Martini Kitkat Brownie

After trying all of them there wasn’t a single one that I didn’t like. My favourite had to be the malteasers cookie dough, as I’m a real sucker for anything that has cookie dough in! Paisley Flour changes the flavours each week so there’s something different every time you try a box. What I love about the company too is that they’re donating £1 from every sale to charity and you can even add a personal note in with your order, making the #PaisleyBrownies the perfect gift for any chocolate lover!

You can get your hands on these boxes of pure chocolatey heaven by visiting the Paisley Flour website here. For just £17.50 you get 8 uniquely flavoured hand baked brownies, a personal message included (if you want one), and postage included too! No longer do you have the hassle of baking and making a mess whilst doing so, but you’re also supporting a small local business! The #PaisleyBrownies make the perfect gift for any occasion or even as a little lockdown pick me up to get you through the tough times. But one thing I can assure you is that if you order #PaisleyBrownies they most definitely won’t disappoint!

What’s your favourite flavour brownie?

Laura 

Disclaimer: I was gifted this brownie selection box, however all opinions are genuine and my own.

 

The Barnt Green Inn Review

Located in the leafy Worcestershire village of Barnt Green, the popular country pub favourite of mine, The Barnt Green Inn, has recently had an exciting new refurbishment. I couldn’t wait to visit to see how this beautiful historic listed pub had reinvented itself! I’ve always loved the food at The Barnt Green Inn, so for me the most exciting part was the brand new menu which was chosen to incorporate fresh fresh flavours and ingredients inspired by modern world food trends.

Eager to see the transformation I headed to The Barnt Green Inn for their re-opening night so I could be one of the first to see the exciting new chances. At the door I was met with the usual warm welcome by the staff but was taken aback by the breathtakingly new lush interior, which brought a twist of modern to the classic feel of the half timbered original decor.

The bar area was large but had a private feel to it and was still as cosy as I remembered it before! Situated in the bar on the opening night was something I’d never seen before – a build your own gin station. Filled with an array of fresh fruit, garnishes, and botanical, something I couldn’t resist. With the expertise of the staff I was able to craft a gin and tonic that consisted of the perfect combination of flavours for my personal taste.

It has to be said The Barnt Green Inn has really succeeded in creating a luxurious venue whilst still incorporating the classic charm the building had before its renovation. I don’t think there’s an establishment within the Midlands quite like it! I really am impressed with the new interior but I have to say my favourite part is the toilets (strange I know).

I absolutely adore the chic feel of the bathrooms and couldn’t help taking a few pictures of myself in the cute little mirrors either. If only I could have a bathroom this stylish at home!

Now onto the food. I’d probably say my favourite hobby is eating, so I was definitely excited to taste the new menu that had been created by the team. I was spoilt for choice, everything sounded so lovely but I finally settled on the Pork Belly Bao Buns and my mother opted for the Seared Wild Atlantic Scallops. Our food arrived shortly after we order and looked an absolute treat! The Pork Belly Bao Buns came with a red chilli, pineapple and mango salsa which perfectly complimented the pork. Additionally the chilli gave the dish a fiery kick that went nicely with the sweetness of the mango and pineapple. On the side was a pot of thai-style dipping sauce if you fancied adding a little bit of extra heat to the dish! I really enjoyed the Pork Belly Bao Buns; they were perfectly flavoured, very filling and brilliant for sharing.

I’ve never tried scallops before and as my mother opted for the Seared Wild Atlantic Scallops I found this the perfect opportunity to try one for the first time. The scallops were served along lobster and a crab bonbons with a pea and truffle oil velouté. My mother really enjoyed this dish and I have to say so did I…my first time tasting scallops was a success! I expected them to be overpoweringly fishy, but instead they were tender and juicy, with a very subtle seafood taste. Now I know that they’re delicious I will certainly be ordering them in the future!

For the main I opted for the Outdoor-Reared Heritage Breed Rotisserie Sticky Glazed Pork Belly. I had pork as my starter so probably shouldn’t have opted for it as my main, but it sounded too delicious to resist! It was served with smoky creamed corn, roasted butternut squash, calvolo nero mashed potato, red wine jus and crispy crackling. The pork was cooked to perfect and was so tender it melted in my mouth. Surprisingly I’ve never tasted roasted butternut squash before, I’ve only tried it in soups but it was really flavoursome and I’ll definitely be trying it at home in the near future. The creamed corn went unusually well with the dish, adding a unique flavour when paired with the pork. My only criticism is that I would have liked more calvolo nero in the mash as I adore it, but I guess that’s just a personal preference!

My mother opted for the Four Bone Lamb Rack which looked impressive to say the least! This was served with chorizo, butternut squash purée, roasted shallots, calvolo nero, dauphinoise potatoes, chimmi churri and a red wine jus. You were able to choose how you wanted your lamb cooked and to my mothers delight it was cooked expertly, with it being exactly how she had asked for it to be. I didn’t try dish myself but I’ll take my mother’s word that it was all cooked to perfection, being one of the nicest meals she’s had in a very long time!

After finishing two mouth-wateringly delicious courses we browsed the desserts menu and decided on the Icon Sharing Dessert Birdcage. This exciting dessert consisted of a half birdcage structure with three tiers of desserts. The desserts included were vanilla cheesecake, strawberry, chocolate & pistachio smash; blackcurrant mousse & mango coulis; home-baked brownie, French almond macaron & pecan praline ice cream. This dessert is made to be shared between two to three people, or just one if your appetite is big enough! I was excited to try each dessert of this trio, as they weren’t too similar in taste or texture and it seems like the selection was picked so as to bring you an array of different flavours to excite the tastebuds. My favourite was the chocolate brownie as it was really light and fluffy, but decadent at the same time! Overall, I really did enjoy all the elements of each dessert and would definitely recommend the Icon Sharing Dessert Birdcage if you’re stuck on what dessert to choose, not only is it delicious but also makes for a great picture!

Overall I had an absolutely amazing night at the newly refurbished Barnt Green Inn. The staff were as friendly and attentive as ever, but I was really taken aback by the effort that has gone into designing the luxury velvet interior which merges perfectly with the original timbered structure. Before the refurbishment I didn’t think the food could get any better at The Barnt Green Inn but I couldn’t be anymore wrong. I throughly enjoyed every course I had and wished I could have ate it all over again!

The Barnt Green Inn has really put itself on the map as a luxury dining destination. Perfect for family outings or special occasions, it’s really worth giving this establishment a visit as you certainly won’t regret it. You can find out more information about The Barnt Green Inn and see their menus here.

What’s your favourite country pub?

Laura 

Disclaimer: I was gifted this meal, however all opinions are genuine and my own.

 

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.