With just a month to go until The Church Inn opens in the Jewellery Quarter, I’ve been talking to owner Carl Quinn from the Soul Food Project about his new venue.
Soul Food Project has been serving a taste of Deep South from The Hare & Hounds, The Victoria and pop-up events in Birmingham for more than three years. Diners who have tucked into SFP gumbos at festivals and taster evenings can now look forward to a new, extended menu in a permanent location.
In February, armed with set of knifes and a hunger for some jamba, Head Chef Carl Finn went to New Orleans, searching for new foods and styles of cooking. He wanted to bring back some of the city’s world famous hospitality to put in to Soul Foods new joint, The Church Inn.
Carl says: “For all of the food and music events we run we just wanted a place for it all. We searched everywhere, from the city centre to Sutton Coldfield, but we kept coming back to the Jewellery Quarter.”
The site that they have taken over is an Everards pub, on Great Hampton Street, just a few doors up from The Lord Clifden.
“The Jewellery Quarter is a burgeoning area and stood out for us for being a place where people worked, lived and went out. From what our Soul Food Project customers and Jewellery Quarter residents have told us, there is definitely an appetite for us here. This is where we drink too, so it already feels like home.”
So what will be on the menu?
“For The Church Inn our food will have more of a gastro appeal, with crayfish boil (a stew of shellfish, corn and new potatoes seasoned with garlic and hot sauce) and speciality dishes. The week I spent in New Orleans was great. We had such a good time that we’re going back every year for menu inspiration and we’ll take customers with us. From the brass bands to go crocodile hunting in the bays if folks want to go we’ll do it!”
That sense of adventure, fun and love of the avant garde continues throughout The Church Inn. With a secret bar hidden in the building, a roof terrace for film nights, Friday and Saturday night DJs, special pop-ups and the return of the Lust Lectures, the team are promising an interactive pub. You can also just have a quiet pint or glass of wine from local suppliers.
The Church Inn is scheduled to open on 25 May, check http://thechurchinnjq.co.uk and @churchJQ for updates. When The Church Inn is open, The Soul Food Project will continue to serve food from The Victoria.