So first the bad news, Saturday is the last day for Birmingham’s acclaimed Nomad restaurant.
Despite being a successful, innovative business that was well received by foodies and critics alike, owner and chef Alex Claridge explains the story behind Nomad’s closure : “Within weeks of successfully opening our venue, the Michelin-starred NoMad hotel in New York contacted us and asked that we change our name. Not having the money, time nor appetite for solicitors, we took the difficult decision to close Nomad – come mid-May we’re done, that chapter closes. Heart-wrenching, really.”
Quickly followed by the good news that Alex is launching a new venture The Wilderness.
What started as a pop-up last summer is moving into permanent premises in Dudley Street, close to the markets in the city centre. Stax Creations, who have found success creating large-scale and ambitious theatrical sets for events and productions, have come on-board to oversee the transformation of the 26-cover dining room into an immersive experience.
Alex added: “We’re looking at whether we can change the weather indoors or build a stream. It’s going to look nothing like a restaurant or bar.”
“The Wilderness will be a newly fitted dining room, expanded kitchen team and new bar where we will continue to serve our guests the most distinctive adventure in British food and drink.”
Alex is using the new name to introduce radical changes to the experience he and his team offer – concentrating even more on telling stories through the food and drinks they provide.
“Drinks will be a very important part of the venue as it matters that you can visit us for just a drink and still understand what we’re about. There won’t be a taster menu in any traditional sense, we will open all day Wednesday to Saturday and it’s the first of a trio of venues.”
Alex’s right-hand man, chef Brian Smith, will remain involved as will Loubie Goldie as general manager, but they have been out recruiting too.
“We have two incredibly talented and forward-thinking chefs joining us – Oliver France and Todd Turner,” said Alex. “Both have left rosetted and Michelin-starred backgrounds before joining us to help launch The Wilderness. Our commitment is to build the best possible team that we can to create, in turn, the most unusual and incredible experience in Birmingham.”
The Wilderness will be open to the general public from Wednesday 25 May, with reservations available firstname.lastname@example.org @nomadbirmingham facebook.com/nomadbirmingham