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 

 

Bodega Cantina – Birmingham Review

I find there’s nothing better during the colder months than warming up eating my favourite cuisine – Mexican, and where else better to go than Bodega Cantina in Birmingham! Located on Bennett’s Hill, Bodega has spiced up Birmingham’s local cuisine since it opened in 2010. With its quirky vibrant decor, the restaurant offers homemade South American and Mexican inspired dishes, and with over 18 dishes on the menu there’s something to choose for everyone!

Recently their menu has had a refresh, with the addition of new dishes and improvement of some of the existing ones…the perfect excuse for me and my partner in crime to visit again! As usual upon entering Bodega I was greeted by their warm friendly welcome, and we were soon onto ordering our cocktails whilst we browsed the food menu! We opted for the ‘Bodega’s Burger a la Parilla’ and Peruvian Seco de Pollo, along with a side of Mexican Cola Wings, Colombian Papas Chorreadas, and of course…nachos! No visit to Bodega is complete without their famous homemade nachos.

In no time our fresh homemade food was delivered to the table, and boy were we in for a treat! The array of enticing aromas wafted past me, not only did this food smell amazing but it looked amazing too. I started with the Mexican cola wings, and I was instantly in love. They have to be some of the tastiest chicken wings I have EVER tried. The lightly spiced sticky sauce was delicious, I couldn’t get enough of it. Since the visit I’ve tried making cola wings myself at home but unfortunately can’t master them to the Bodega standard, so I’ll certainly be returning to get my next fix of them soon. The nachos at Bodega are different to any nachos I’ve ever tasted, their crunchy homemade taste really sets them apart. Covered in a mountain of melted cheese, guacamole, sour cream, salsa fresco, jalapeños and chicken mole they are definitely a winner. The other side we ordered, Colombian papas chorreadas, was equally as good. The dish consisted of crispy diced potatoes covered with a creamy cheddar cheese sauce, topped with salsa fresco. If you’re a cheese lover like myself then this dish will win you over, it reminded me of a cheesy patas bravas! I had to stop myself from eating it all and save some for my friend.

The sides proved the perfect accompaniment to our delicious mains. My friend opted for Bodega’s burger a la parilla, and to my surprise it was like no burger I had ever seen before. It was a unique take on a traditional burger, and instead of a bun the burger was wrapped in a tortilla. It sounds strange but it surprisingly goes really well and it is actually easier to eat than a normal burger! But my favourite was the main I had chosen – Peruvian seco de pollo. This rich chicken stew was just what I needed to warm me up! Different to any other stew I’d tasted before, the fresh coriander and red chilli within the dish really brought it alive and enhanced the warm hearty flavour of the dish. It’s not a dish I’d usually associate with South America which made it a nice unusual change to the stereotypical street food I always tend to order at Mexican/South American restaurants. If you’re looking for a dish that fills you up and warms your soul Peruvian seco de pollo is the dish for you.

As they say there’s always room for desserts no matter how full you are, so we opted for my favourite – churros, as well as banana & salted caramel cheesecake. The churros were warm, crispy and delicious, with just enough cinnamon sugar to make them not too sickly. But my favourite out of the two was the cheesecake. Served with dulce de leche and a dusting of sugar, I couldn’t get enough of rich creamy flavour of banana. The taste reminded me a bit of banoffee pie, a dessert I adore, which is most likely why I loved this cheesecake so much. For me it has to be one of the cheesecakes with the best flavour combinations I’ve ever tried.

A few cocktails later and we were ready head home. As usual we had an amazing time at Bodega Cantina, with an array of delicious food and fantastic service. I’m already planning my next visit to try out some of the other new items they have introduced to the menu. Whether you’re strolling through town and fancy a quick bite, or want somewhere refreshing for a date night Bodega is the place to go.

You can find out more about Bodega Cantina and what they have to offer on their website.

What’s your favourite South American dish?

Laura 

Battle of Birmingham’s Best Rated Cafés

You don’t have to venture far from Birmingham to experience flavours from all over the world. Being blessed with a handful of mitchelin star restaurants such as Purnell’s which is located on Cornwall Street, ran by the Birmingham born master chef Glynn Purnell. Birmingham is a hub of variety when it comes to food. But good food doesn’t always have to be expensive, with the new street food venue Digbeth Dining Club taking Birmingham by a storm, you can enjoy gourmet foods at a low cost. Hosting weekly events at the Spotlight venue, the Digbeth Dining Club showcases various street food venders who offer fare to tantalise the taste buds and allow you to embrace your senses with the various smells and tastes which this venue has to offer. After moving to Birmingham when I started university, I have been fortunate to try what Birmingham has to offer, and I am impressed. Brunch is one of my favourite meals; I mean who doesn’t love a good coffee paired with eggs benedict? This year I took it upon me to try out two places that I had heard great things about; Boston Tea Party and Yorks Bakery Café.

Boston Tea Party
Boston Tea Party is a chain of independent cafés located around the UK, one of which resides on Birmingham’s Corporation Street. Opening in 2013, this café has gained a lot of fame, being featured in The Times list of top 25 places to eat brunch in the UK, as well as winning Food Magazine’s ‘Best Café’ award in 2015. The chain is proud to be ethically run, being a three star member of the Sustainable Restaurant Association. The rustic, ‘upcycled’ interior is one of the first things you notice as you enter Boston Tea Party, but if you’re food obsessed like me you will probably notice the huge array of baked goods displayed on the counter instead, which I couldn’t resist! As well as an extensive hot drinks and food menu, the café offers a great range of vegetarian, vegan and gluten free food to cater for all dietary needs.
After ordering a latté and eggs benedict, I took a seat in the corner of the room to get a good view of the café itself. My coffee arrived after a few minutes wait, nicely presented with an nice attempt at some latté art on the surface. The coffee here was to die for, it was one of the nicest lattés I have had, but I wasn’t too long into enjoying it when the main event came, my eggs benedict. The presentation was brilliant, enticing me in with the rich, tangy smell of the hollandaise sauce. The eggs were perfect, the coffee was perfect, the experience was perfect, and I left (with cake in hand) feeling very satisfied.

9/10

 

Yorks Bakery Café
Yorks Bakery Café is an independent café with two locations in Birmingham, with one being an espresso bar. Founded in 2012, Yorks Bakery Café has a passion to deliver the very best speciality coffee and uplifting food to Birmingham, with an emphasis on craft and ingredients. Rated by the Sunday Times as one of the best places in Britain to have brunch, I first heard about this café in an article by The Guardian, who stated it as one of the top 50 best breakfast places in the UK in 2017. With high expectations I eagerly made my way to Stephenson Street to locate Yorks Bakery Café. Inspired by the travels of the team, the interior had a similar feel to that of Boston Tea Party, with a more urban feel to it. Excited, I ordered immediately, choosing a latté and the Arabian buttered eggs. Once I settled into my surroundings, I felt that the café itself was small and cramped, but this may be due to the café being entirely full when I visited. The counter hosted a small array of baked goods, but nowhere near the quantity that Boston Tea Party displayed. As this café calls itself a ‘bakery’ I was expecting there to be more on offer. As I sat there staring out the window I had noticed 10 minutes had gone by, and I still had not received my coffee. It arrived a few minutes later, and although there was a wait, I was impressed by the presentation. The coffee used in the latté itself was a very dark roast, with a bitter taste which I did not enjoy. After drinking my latté my food had still not came yet, with it eventually arriving a good 30 minutes after I ordered. The Arabian buttered eggs were something new to me; I enjoyed the new tastes, and eating things that I normally wouldn’t put together. The presentation was slightly lacklustre compared to Boston Tea Party’s offerings, and I noticed my food was missing the ‘mixed herbs’ which were stated on the menu. Although I enjoyed my food, I left (with cake in hand obviously), feeling rather disappointed. I had high hopes for this café but they sadly didn’t meet them.

6/10

 

After sampling the delights of Birmingham’s best rated cafes – Boston Tea Party and Yorks Bakery Café, I can conclude that Boston Tea Party is hands down the winner. For me first impressions are everything, and Boston Tea Party made a cracking one. Although both cafes are good, and I would recommend going to either if you are in the area, there is no doubt in my mind the Boston Tea Party comes off as superior. Maybe one day I will give Yorks Bakery Café another chance one day to impress me, but when I am not busy, as it’s not the best place to go if you are in a rush! So if your after ethically sourced food, amazing coffee and brilliant service, I highly recommend you pay a visit to Boston Tea Party, you won’t regret it.

Laura


Links to the websites for the cafes in the review can be found below –
Boston Tea Party
York’s Bakery Café