Kinome Kitchen pop-up


If you missed the Kinome Kitchen pop-up at the Kitchen Garden Café over the summer, then you have another chance to experience Sachiko Saeki’s exquisite Japanese cuisine.

Quarter Horse Coffee will host Sachiko’s new pop-up, with a new four course tapas and sushi menu for eight dates in November and December.


The menu features new dishes, including Kinome’s take on the Hot Pot – slow-cooked beef tendon served with turnip, thin-sliced crispy leek and shon shon (kyushu dialect for the region’s dipping miso). As well as a dessert of chiffon (green tea) cake, yuzu meringue, chestnuts marinated in sweet soya sauce, sakekasu cream, chestnut paste and Kinome leaf from our Sansho tree. Japanese beers and sake will also be available and the evening costs £35 each.

Booking is recommended on:

Northampton’s winter feast


On Saturday 12 and Sunday 13 November, Northampton’s county cricket ground will host the town’s first Winter Food Festival.

Run by the team behind the Towcester Food Festival, you can expect a celebration of artisan food and drink and gifts from more than 50 exhibitors, chefs’ demonstrations,talks in the Foodies Lounge, kids cookery classes and free wine tasting sessions taking place throughout the weekend.


Sausages from Bakers Bangers, Prosecco from Fizz 76, Cobblers Nibble cheese from Ham Tunn  fine foods, tikka kebabs straight from the tandoor, Aberdeen Angus burgers and gluten free falafels are just some of the tasty food you will be able to tuck into.

Food writer William Sitwell joins Great British Bake Off’s Howard Middleton and a host of local chefs and producers who are giving talks and demos during the festival.

Find out more at



WIN! two tickets to the new Winter Food Festival in Northampton

To be in with a chance to win simply answer the following question:
Which sport is usually played at the County Ground?
Email your answer to including your contact details.
Correct answers will be entered into the prize draw on Thursday 3 November. Good luck!

A la tienne Tartine


Newly opened wine bar Tartine has joined Oscar’s and Eleven in Leamington Spa offering classic French dishes at bistro prices.


Using local suppliers where they can (including Haddie & Trilby for bread and Sweet As for cakes) Tartine serves breakfast, lunch and dinner.


The food is light and traditional, with dishes including Croque Monsieur (£6.50) Crêpes (from £7) and Moules à la Provencale (£12) you can eat well for less than £20.


The wine list travels to Lebanon, Croatia, Turkey plus Romania and owner Aidin is also planning wine tasting events paired with cheese and chocolate.

No more Gin Club


So sad to hear the The Square Wine Company in Warwick has closed. Owners Tom and Hannah have this message for their customers:

“With great sadness, The Square Wine Company has ceased trading. The Square Wine Company first opened its doors in July 2014, over 2 years ago. You may remember we were just a shop back then! We started to host regular wine and food evenings which were a tremendous success, one of the events selling out in just 40 minutes! It was then a fairly natural progression to offer a ‘drink in’ option where you could enjoy a glass of wine then hopefully buy a bottle to take home. With a cafe permit in place so we could put seating outside, this ‘bar’ side of the business became a key part of our offer.

“The shop/bar hybrid seemed to tick all the boxes but we found this out a little too late unfortunately. Hannah and I both left our jobs to start the business (hindsight is a wonderful thing…) but it takes time to grow a business and the overheads within retail can be fairly high. Unfortunately, sometimes there is more money going out than coming in and we had to make the hard and sad decision to close the doors.

“Warwick is a wonderfully unique place. We urge you to support the fantastic independent retail businesses that call it home. The Gift Shop, Hatton & Harding, The Bakehouse, Dough & Brew, Present Days, Market Place Pantry and Hair Management to name but a few.

“The Square Wine Company thrived when strangers became friends and used us as a meeting point, a social hub and occasional drinking den! But it was full of heart and soul, love and laughter. The occasional argument only added to the mix. The atmosphere was very special, you could bring your kids in quite happily and you would be made very welcome, because you were very welcome. We loved having you there and getting to know you.


“Gin Club on a Friday night became a part of Warwick folklore and to be the busiest bar in town at 7pm on Friday was extremely flattering. Thank you to everyone who made it such a fun and special night,week in, week out.

“On that note, special thanks to Alistair who was with us for most of our tenure and who was a massive help in all things Square Wine. He was a huge part of the success and we thank him for it. Thanks Al.

“Anyway, for us it is the end of the line but we do have a couple of interested buyers so some part of Square Wine may carry on. I can’t say anything more at the moment but please watch this space for further details. If a wonderful new business arises from 9a Market Place, please support them and take them to your hearts as you did with us.

“We really hope to see you all around so please don’t be a stranger if you see us around. We may not be selling wine to you anymore but we’d love to have a glass with you if the opportunity arises.”

Lots of love and thanks

Tom & Hannah


Go loco for cocoa in Chocolate Week


From single origin bars and luxurious celebration cakes to creamy hot chocolate and handmade truffles, it is easy to go loco over cocoa during National Chocolate Week.


 Love Cocoa

Established in 1824, the Cadbury’s name is synonymous with Birmingham and now the great-great-great-grandson James is continuing in the family tradition by making his own chocolate bars. After struggling to find his mother a birthday present, he  came up with the idea of posting three or six bars in a box that fits through post boxes  – so does not need a recipient’s signature. Available in milk, dark, blonde, Earl Grey, mint, sea salt and honeycomb flavours the 85g organic Love Cocoa bars are priced from £4.40 each.


Sweet As

Award-winning chocolate brownies, cakes and gift hampers are just a click away with the new website from Sweet As cakes. Dedicated to all things chocolatey this Warwickshire based bakery have been crafting celebration cakes for more than a decade, delighting fans including HRH Prince Charles and Philip Schofield. Prices from £10.



For an intense hot chocolate drink, look for cafés and coffee shops (like Home Café Deli in Birmingham) who serve the Marimba Hot Chocolate Melt. Made from a whole 40g of flakes of real single-origin chocolate the result is a richer, smoother and more indulgent hot chocolate experience.


Choc n Roll 

Choc n Roll

Tony Davies has set up shop in a container at Fargo Village in Coventry, where he lovingly makes his handmade chocolates.  Choc ‘N’ Roll is a family business in Warwickshire that Tony started in 2014 after several years as a chef. He can also teach you the tricks of the trade in his chocolate making workshops.


Book review: Spanish Made Simple by Omar Allibhoy

He has been in the news this week, for defending Jamie Oliver’s use of chorizo in #paellagate, and on Tuesday I was lucky enough to meet Omar Allibhoy in person.


At the launch of his new cookbook ‘Spanish Made Simple’ in his Tapas Revolution restaurant in Birmingham, the charming chef guaranteed that the recipes would be easy to make at home, even claiming that they are foolproof!

Omar said: “Inside my book you will find the best recipes I have to offer; for all sorts of occasions including midweek suppers, weekend lunches, full on evening gatherings and of course some tapas.

“They have all been translated from my Spanish kitchen where most of the recipes are unwritten they are just passed on verbally from generation to generation. They are authentic and simple – but some have necessitated a few phone calls to my mum and aunty!”


Spanish Made Simple is a comprehensive guide to 100 key Spanish dishes. From those that you will already know and plenty more new dishes to be discovered, the book is divided into seven sections.

Nibbles – I was happy to see salt cod fritters in this section as I can happily eat bucket loads of these!

Meat & Game – already my partner’s favourite section, he cannot wait to try the slow-cooked lamb and pepper stew.

Fish & Seafood – from a midweek supper of fried hake to the Christmas speciality of baked crab with cava, you will never be stuck for ideas on cooking fish again.

Eggs & Poultry – includes how to make the basic roast chicken a stand out dish with a beer can.

Vegetables – who knew that muscovado and honey compliment aubergines so well?

Salads – grilled lettuce with a sweet and sour bacon vinaigrette is one of Madre Allibhoy’s dishes that has made it onto the Tapas Revolution menu.

Soups, Pulses  & Stews – the hearty chorizo, greens and bean stew will be perfect to beat the Autumnal chill.

Paella & Rice – Omar recommends wrapping your saffron in foil and toasting it for 10 seconds to boost it with an extra layer of flavour.

Desserts & Sweet Treats – the poached pineapple in rum with a coconut cream, learnt from Omar’s years with El Bulli’s Ferran Adrià just about make us for the disappointment of not seeing a recipe for churros.

Overall, I like the way Omar introduces each recipe with either a story behind the region the dish originates from, or why they are important to him, which I think adds a nice personal touch. He guides you step by step through cooking and his handy notes increase the chances of a perfect result every time.

I was pleased to see that there are plenty of recipes to suit vegetarians in this book and (with the exception of pig cheeks and cuttlefish) the majority of ingredients you will probably already have in, so no searching the shops for expensive ingredients.

So whether you want to boost your bocadillo or perfect your paella, Spanish Made Simple will help you enjoy the best-tasting and most authentic dishes from all corners of Spain.

Spanish Made Simple: Foolproof Spanish Recipes for Every Day by Omar Allibhoy of Tapas Revolution (Quadrille £20) Photography: Martin Poole

Bonjour Bistro de Luxe

For #throwbackthursday here is a previous review of Edmunds Restaurant, as the restaurant prepares to relaunch next week in its new guise as Edmunds Bistro de Luxe.


Head Chef Didier Philpot commented, “The new Edmunds Bistro de Luxe will enable my brigade to bring the best out of every dish for our customers. If they want a bowl of perfectly balanced fresh soup with traditional bread, a classic Gigolette of chicken chasseur or even a great steak with pomme frites, they can have it – no need for rigid fixed menus. All cooked simply, served for flavour.”

(Photo: Delicious PR)

Restaurant Review 


My partner and I went to Edmunds to try the three course A La Carte menu. We were expecting a mainly business crowd at the 2 AA Rosette restaurant, but there was a good mix of families, couples and friends all enjoying dinner.

The restaurant is a single room, with sixteen well-spaced tables, softly lit by drop pendant lighting and two walls of windows. Single yellow gerbers on the tables added a pop of vibrant colour, to the organic soft palette of gold and taupe. Definitely a grown-up and comfortable dining room.


Our amuse bouche was a lightly bread-crumbed langoustine, with white asparagus and soft egg. Two of my favourite ingredients already before we’d even ordered were an auspicious start.

I chose the new season green and white asparagus, with soft poached egg and smoked olive oil sauce for my starter. The white asparagus is French, with the green and purple varieties from the Wyre Valley in Worcester.My partner had an inviting plate of morel mushrooms, broad beans, peas and golden sticks of toasted brioche.



With beautiful presentation, my main course of turbot, white asparagus, ratte potato, broad beans and razor clams were a light and delicious combination. The light coating of Tahitian vanilla foam on the razor clams was a variation that I hadn’t tried before and really enjoyed.

It was a difficult choice between the lamb and pigeon for my partner, who likes both. He went for the Loire Squab with Perigord duck liver, spinach, morel mushroom, shallot purée and pigeon jus. He confirmed that the moreish, intense flavours all complimented each other very well, but from his enviously glances at other diners plates I know he will choose the lamb next time.


A pre dessert of pineapple compote and coconut bridged the gap while we looked forward to our desserts. They didn’t disappoint.

Our waiter pierced the top of my partner’s hot toffee soufflé to push in a spoonful of chocolate ice cream, which melted in the gooey depths of the dessert.My dessert – Le Chocolat consisted of three miniature dishes of hot, cold, milk and dark chocolate. Cherries soaked in Kirsch in a warm chocolate sauce, a deep, dark chocolate cake slice and soft milk chocolate ice cream were the trio of a chocoholic’s dreams.

It is obvious that the dishes are created with great care and precision.  The menu is a triumph of  blending seasonal ingredients with classic French cuisine and every flavour can be savoured.

The team of five staff in the restaurant were warm, friendly, informative and attentive without being obtrusive. Edmunds reputation for fine dining is essentially safe in Chef Didier’s hands and I for one am anticipating even more great things from them.

Edmunds, Six Brindleyplace Birmingham B1 2JB

0121 633 4944



Meet the producer: The Lost Farm


According to the Hairy Bikers, Manx Loaghtan is “probably the finest lamb in the world”. With their long brown fleeces and imposing horns they look like they belong to a bygone era, but this ancient breed is flourishing today thanks to a local farm right here in Warwickshire.

The Lost Farm in Grandborough, just outside Rugby, pride themselves on raising British livestock the traditional way – slowly and with care. Their animals are raised on the wild grasses and herbs that surround them, as well as locally grown whole grains. The pasture on which the sheep are grown, together with their natural slow rate of growth contributes to a unique flavour.


Run by Jeff Clarke, George Steriopolus and their wives, the farmers have fought long and hard to save the breed from extinction. Their efforts were recognised in 2008 when the Manx Loaghtan sheep was awarded Protected Food Name status. Over time, as demand has grown, George moved his livestock from the Isle of Man over to Grandborough. The sheep are now part of the ‘forgotten’ breeds’ which the farm rears and promotes their wonderful history across the UK.

As well as a range of Manx Loaghtan sheep cuts, sausages and minced meat the Lost Farm also has a variety of traditional breeds of beef which include Highland Cattle, Dexter and Longhorn.

You can meet The Lost Farm at the monthly Grandborough Farmers Market, enjoy their cuts at special events such as the Opus Dinner Series in Birmingham, as well as buy their produce via their website

Buying meat from the Lost Farm enables you to experience the  real  quality  of  pure  breeding  and support a local producer keeping old  traditional breeds going .

Exciting new eats in Edgbaston

After receiving their press release, I am counting down till the refurb of The Physician pub is complete in November and we can start tucking into tasty dishes like these!


Owners pub group Brunning and Price are currently renovating what was once the Birmingham Medical Institute building on the Calthorpe Estate in Edgbaston. They are turning this historic building into a mixture of rooms, two private dining rooms, a central bar and Orangery serving modern British cooking.


General Manager Lisa says ‘’I’m really looking forward to creating our menu, finding some great new local suppliers and forming relationships. I love the idea of running beer and gin festivals and evenings where customers can meet local brewers or distillers to find out more and taste what’s on offer locally. We are fortunate to have a wealth of brewers in the area to choose from and I would love to hear from our customers about what they would like us to stock. The pub has a great bar at its heart and I hope that it will be a hub of local life.’’

When open, The Physician will be in good company – joining Fiesta del Asado, Simpsons, The High Field, Blue Piano, El Barracho de Oro and Comida @21 in the booming foodie enclave of Edgbaston.

Whats on in October

From celebrity chefs’ book signings to martini masterclass – here are my top tips for what’s on in October.


The Balcony Bar in Selfridges is starting National Champagne Week with a hosted tasted and canapés, while the Birmingham Wine Club will be drinking their bubbles alongside a hearty dinner of fish and chips.

 For celebrity chef spotting head over to Leekes in Coventry for a cookery demo by Ken Hom. In Brum you’ll find both Rick Stein and Glynn Purnell signing their new books at Waterstones .

Three special dinners are taking place this month. At the Battle of Eden eight of the hotel collection’s chefs prepare dishes where you decide upon the winner. Sweet As in Leamington is toasting their 11th year in business with a decadent night of Puddings & Prosecco. And A Taste of Leamington is a charity dinner with each course taken at a different restaurant in aid of Parkinsons UK.

On the drinks front you can learn about the craft brewing process with Twisted Barrel Ales or how to make the perfect Martini at 40 St Paul’s gin palace.