Chef Ryan Swift has left Dormy House and joined The Belfry as Head Chef of its Ryder Grill restaurant. Previously of The Edgbaston and Hampton Manor, Ryan told The Caterer: “Being from Tamworth I have always known about The Belfry with its long-standing reputation for excellence, so I am delighted to be starting here and cannot wait to get stuck in.” (Pic: The Caterer)
Gin fans should hope over to Selfridges in Birmingham, as it is now the exclusive stockist of Fifth Spire gin, which is distilled in Lichfield Best friends Tom Lindsey and Rory McKerrell create their gin using twin copper stills – one of which contains the main botanicals the other is only used for fresh citrus fruits. When combined, the result is a smooth spirit that has a classic gin base and waves of citrus notes.
When you only have Saturdays and Sundays to make the most of brunch, why not make it last with a ‘bottomless’ one? The Lost & Found in Bennetts Hill has a menu packed with delicious dishes, such as Eggs Royale, smashed avocado with chilli and lime, and Turkish eggs – poached eggs, whipped yogurt, spicy chorizo butter served on toasted sourdough. For £22 per person, guests can add two hours of bottomless Bloody Marys, Mimosas, Bellinis or Prosecco to their order.
While I’ve been away on a short Winter break, my inbox has been filling up nicely with news and events of tastings, pop-ups, new openings and festivals. I will be adding details to the blog this week, starting with the Birmingham Whisky Festival on Saturday 25th November.
Taking place at the Birmingham Council House, the festival is run by whisky expert Eddie Ludlow and his team at The Whisky Lounge. This year’s event includes brand new workshops, plus the opportunity to try some especially rare and exclusive whiskies with the ‘Under the Counter Drams’ selection.
Whether you’re a whisky novice, or know your Scotch from your Bourbon,this is the place to taste the best of homegrown Scottish whiskies, as well as an incredible selection of drams from all over the world.
The full session ticket includes entry to one session; a commemorative Glencairn Crystal tasting glass; a bottle of water); the Festival Guide; up to four hours sampling 100+ whiskies (not including ‘under the counter’ drams); an orange and white token for under the counter drams. There are also very special ‘Taster Tickets’ that admit ticketholders to the last two hours of either of the Saturday sessions for just £15.
Exhibitors include Talisker, Laphroaig, Highland Park, Kavalan, Aberlour, Springbank, Nikka, Elements of Islay, The Quiet Man and The Macallan.
The One Elm in Stratford upon Avon has reopened its doors after a top-to-toe refurbishment. As well as transforming the look and feel of the pub, the refit has brought a brand new all-day menu of top-notch pub dishes, made with great quality fresh ingredients.
New to try are free-range Scotch eggs and brown sauce and Westcombe cheddar and ham hock croquettes bar snacks; the Two Elm double burger with cheese, lettuce, tomato and burger sauce as well as a new grill and sizzler menu features seriously good chicken, king prawn and marinated halloumi sizzlers and great steaks from Aubrey Allen.
Thinking of Christmas yet? Luxury British chocolatier and cocoa grower, Hotel Chocolat, is opening a brand new store in Birmingham New Street on 8th November where you could stock up on gift ideas or simply treat yourself.
As well as a huge selection of boxed chocolates and single-origin bars, shoppers can also purchase cocoa-infused interpretations such as cocoa gin, cocoa beer, spiced cocoa nib ketchup, cocoa balsamic and chocolate orange marmalade.
From chocolate to game I am getting a warm glow writing about the fabulous food and drink happenings in November. Remember that this is the only guide you need to the best events this month!
Not one but two Chocolate Festivals are being held this month – the first in Warwick on Saturday followed by Shrewsbury on the 18th and 19th.
In Stratford upon Avon it’s luxury all the way with a champagne tasting dinner Salt and a charcuterie and cheese dinner at the Arden Hotel.
A brand new event to look forward to in Birmingham as Digbeth Dining Club together with Original Patty Man launches Sear & Smoke for a complete meat-fest.
Sauce Supper Club is hosting a very special event on Monday 20th November, with a champagne reception and stunning six-course menu – designed and delivered by six different Michelin star chefs and their teams! The all star line-up is Tom Kerridge and friends – Luke Tipping, Brad Carter, Richard Turner, Rob Palmer and Adam Bennett.
Fancy learning all there is to know about whisky? Then head over to The Star & Garter in Leamington, or is port is more your tipple Hotel du Vin in Birmingham is hosting a Port & Portuguese Wine Dinner.
Game is on the menu at The Moat House, Acton Trussell, and to get us in the mood for Christmas, food historian Dr Annie Gray is hosting a talk on ‘Mrs Beeton’s Christmas.’
More details are over on the Events page and please don’t forget to check the venues’ websites for booking information.
Lo pan fries, macaroons and chocolate creme eggs are on the menu for this week’s Table Talk.
Anyone playing crazy golf at the Custard Factory could fill up at the new Slim’s Pork Chop Express. Focusing on slow-smoked meats and secret sauces, Slim’s takes inspiration from the 1986 cult classic film ‘Big Trouble in Little China’ and combines two of the UK’s favourite cuisines – barbeque and Chinese. Diners will be offered snacks from brisket pots and burgers to chicken and waffles, plus Slim’s special Lo Pan Fries.
Next week, Miss Macaroon is celebrating the first birthday of their Great Western Arcade macaroon and Prosecco shop. This lovely little store not only sells sweet treats, but all sales fund Macaroons that Make A Difference catering and retail employability training courses, work experience and paid jobs for long term unemployed people aged 18-35.
Anyone with a sweet tooth should be heading over to Warwick next weekend for the return of their annual Chocolate Festival. The legendary creme eggs from Sweet As will be on sale, as well as cakes, biscuits, brownies and all things chocolatey from 10am to 4pm in the Market Square.
A couple of ideas of how to spend the weekend if you like gin, chocolate and Italian food. Enjoy!
The stylish Italian restaurant Fumo is now open on the fourth floor of Selfridges. This is the second Birmingham outpost for the popular family owned eaterie, with some new exclusive dishes on the menu.
Keep your eyes peeled for a new deli opening soon in Warwick. Scran will offer breakfasts, coffee, salads and baked goodies from Oken’s Kitchen. Premises are currently being refurbished at 1 St.John’s.
Probably the smallest bar in Birmingham has scooped a major award. Congratulations to 40 St Pauls for winning Best Gin List in the country. They are also the first bar in the UK to stock Sacred Gin’s new sloe gin – a must for juniper fans.
Chocoholics should head over to Brindleyplace on Saturday, where from 11am – 5pm Chocival will feature music, entertainment and a variety of food stalls. On sale will be a range of indulgent and unusual chocolate treats – from cookies to cakes, gooey brownies and chocolate flavoured cask beers, Central Square is going to be choc-a-block with cocoa flavoured goodness!
This month is flying past and if you have missed out on some of October’s great events, don’t worry there are still a few more left to go from my top tips for you to enjoy.
Friday 20th – Saturday 21st October Autumn Beer Festival
This popular festival returns to the Lichfield Guildhall where you can enjoy a fine selection real ales and ciders from local and regional breweries. Live music on each evening plus pork pies and a choice of refreshments.
Friday 27th, Saturday 28th & Tuesday 31st October Nightmares & Nibbles
The Old Grammar School, Coventry
As part of the Day of the Dead festival, Vortex Creates is hosting a Nightmares and Nibbles spectacular where you can join Dr Frankenstein at the medieval hospital for a sip and a nibble at the grand unveiling of a secret laboratory. This lab and clinic explores the properties of the human body and soul creating miracle cures for those daring to try this selection of tasty yet gruesome delights £25 inc half a bottle of wine.
Monday 30th October Sauce Supper Club with Matt Cheal
The Winehouse, Lichfield
Chef patron of Cheals of Henley, Matt is the host for this month’s supper club. He will be creating a six course tasting menu for guests that costs £65 per person.