Table Talk – coming soon

It is all about the anticipation in this week’s Table Talk, with a new pub beer festival for Worcester, bagels for Birmingham and afternoon tea for Compton Verney that are all coming soon.

Worcester Pub Beer Festival 2019

Friday 29th to Sunday 31st March the first Worcester Pub Beer Festival  will be held. This new event for the town will feature twelve of Worcester’s finest pubs, over 120 different beers, some amazing ciders and perrys and, of course, fantastic food and entertainment. All of the featured pubs and bars are just a short walk from Foregate Street train station with more details on their Facebook page.

The Steamhouse bagels

The freshly baked bagels and to die for cakes have been a hit in Leamington for the past three years and now  The Steamhouse is getting ready to open a new coffee shop in Birmingham. Expect to pay around a fiver for classic smoked salmon and cream cheese filling or the funky peanut butter, banana and bacon version when their new premises open later this month on Temple Row.

Compton Verney afternoon tea

Afternoon tea will soon be served at Compton Verney on Wednesdays to Fridays. From 3 April mini bagels with smoked salmon and cream cheese, a handmade sausage roll, egg mayonnaise sandwiches, a peanut butter and chocolate slice, mini macaroon, scone with clotted cream and jam, plus a coconut and raspberry smoothie are on the menu at 2pm and 3pm.

New Year, new events

January 2019

Happy New Year! If you head over to the Events page you will find my recommendations for what’s on in January and here are some highlights to whet your appetite:-

  • enjoy a wine tasting with Connolly’s Wine and a selection of tapas at The Hive’s new Saturday Sessions
  • tuck into a delicious Talton Mill home- reared pork and cider stew at their Pork & Cider Wasseil
  • the Dining for Sight supper club kicks off the New Year with an Asian inspired menu
  • celebrate the Californian wines of Orin Swift at the Hyatt Regency hotel
  • join a brigade of past and present Simpsons chefs for a special one-off dinner.
  • toast the haggis at Warwick Castle’s Burns’ Night supper and
  • step back in time for a Heritage Afternoon Tea, based on 18th century recipes, at the Market Hall Museum in Warwick.

Celebrate Summer

AUGUST 2018

Take a culinary trip to the Caribbean, Greece and Thailand in this month’s events as we celebrate Summer in August.

Check the Events page for more details of Yiayia Mama pop up, Rum & Reggae night, A Taste of the Mailbox, Sophie Hyam’s pop-up, An Afternoon Tea & Tasting with The Cotswolds Distillery and Birmingham Whisky Club plus the Lichfield Food Festival.

April events – where to eat and drink around the West Midlands

April 2018

Right now on the Events page are a host of great events to eat and drink your way around the West Midlands.

In April, The Wellington and 100 Trades in Brum are the places for real ale lovers to head for, whereas cocktail fans can get hands-on in the Breaking Bad Cocktail Experience.

Learn how to mix the perfect negroni, make Indian street food snacks or which cheeses are best paired with whisky in mini classes and tastings.

Dinners paired with gin and wine are taking place at The Tame Hare in Leamington, as well as the Rose & Crown and Old Shire Hall in Warwick.

You can take also afternoon tea with an Indian twist at Praza in Birmingham or celebrate musicals at Coventry’s Priory Visitors Centre.

Enjoy!

Table Talk – Friday 12th January

Whitley Neil gin

Ginuary just gets better in Birmingham, as for the rest of the month The Canal House in Bridge Street and The Botanist in Temple Street are offering two-for-one deals from their New World Gin List. This includes Masons, Whitley Neill, Bombay Sapphire, Liverpool Gin and the Scottish handcrafted gin Caorunn.

Spangles

Spangles American Diner has closed up in Fargo Village, as the sweetie shop and café prepares to open a new tea shop in Leamington Spa. Opening on 3rd February, they are taking bookings now for their Beauty & The Beast themed afternoon teas.

A Victorian afternoon tea in Coventry

As Coventry is still basking in the glory of winning the UK Capital of Culture2021, I thought I’d share with you one of the city’s small cultural attractions.

The Priory Visitors Centre is slap bang in the middle of the city centre opposite Nando’s.  Built over the remains of Coventry’s first cathedral, excavation work gave archaeologists the opportunity to uncover details of much of the original cathedral and tell the story of this amazing part of Coventry’s history.

Priory Visitor Centre & Undercroft is now open as a social enterprise and last weekend I took my mum there for a Victorian Afternoon tea.

Victorian afternoon tea

Our menu for this experience was prepared to authentic recipes by Leigh Waite from the Heritage Pantry – maker of the famous Coventry God Cakes  – and included these afternoon tea treats to get us into the festive spirit:

Cheese “Oliver” Twists

Surprisingly, one of our teatime favourites is a Victorian invention – we’ve added a touch of Dickens to fit the season

Potted Beef and Potted Ham

Another teatime classic, home cooked meats, all prepared, potted and butter sealed, served with oatcakes.

Pork pies with apple and cranberry with oatcakes 

Hand Raised Christmas Pies

A duo of classic pork pies, hand raised by CH Rowley Ltd of Arley, in the time honoured way, and topped with homemade cranberry and apple chutney, plus cider apple sauce.

 Dainty Sandwiches

Another classic – no afternoon tea is quite right without them, and they are the epitome of what a fine lady might have served up to her tea guests. We had cucumber and egg.

 Christmas cakes

Mr Fezziwig’s Festive Fruit Cake

Traditional mini sized fruit cakes, made to a Victorian recipe, and topped with a touch of marzipan and Royal icing.

 Heritage Pantry tipsy cakes

Mr Dickens Delight

A classic Tipsy style cake, inspired by the fabulous Mrs Beeton’s recipe.

 Victorian cakes

Rum Butter Tarts

Delightful little tartlets filled with fruit and spices, a change from mince pies to add a twist to our tea.

 Classic Victoria Sponge Cakes

The ultimate cake to grace our seasonal Victorian tea plate. They came in different flavours, such as almond, or even orange, but the mini cakes on our platter today were in the modern sandwich form of the cake that we know so well.

 Tiny Tim’s Treats – Handmade Rum Truffles

Crystallised chestnuts and handmade rum truffles.

All washed down with lashings of tea and mulled wine! For £20 per person it was great value and a lovely way to experience an afternoon tea with a twist.

Check The Priory Visitor Centre’s  Facebook page for future events.

 

Time for tea

Afternoon and Gentleman’s Tea will be available from tomorrow (Wednesday) at The Lost & Found bar in Birmingham.

L&F Afternoon Tea

Fans of the traditional afternoon tea can sample delicate sandwiches of smoked salmon, Hendrick’s-infused cucumber and cream cheese, feta, red onion and honey pastries, Earl Grey panna cotta, raspberry trifle and a bittersweet popcorn tiffin, all served alongside warm fruit scones with clotted cream and jam for £18.95.

The Gentleman’s Tea also offers small baguettes bursting with crispy chicken and chorizo and a warm Scotch egg before the sweet section for the same price.

With National Afternoon Tea Week coming up I’ve been looking at different menus and venues to tempt you with so watch this space…

The Edgbaston’s Moseley Serve afternoon tea

The Edgbaston Moseley Serve afternoon tea

The Edgbaston has launched afternoon tea, with a delightful selection of cakes and pastries, including the Moseley Serve of tea-infused gin cocktails.

You may be thinking what is the Moseley Serve? Apparently it originates from when ladies in Moseley used to hide the fact they were drinking gin during the day by serving it from a teapot and drinking it out of teacups!

Ryan Swift Head Chef The Edgbaston
Head Chef Ryan Swift said ‘there is nowhere more fitting than The Edgbaston to launch a decadent and delicious afternoon tea, using vintage crockery in our 1920’s Art Deco cocktail lounge, it really is something very special’.

Served in the cocktail lounge or on the sunny terrace between Tuesday and Saturday 2pm until 5pm you will need to boook in advance. From £20 – £50 per person depending on choice of drinks.

If you have not yet visited this stunning boutique hotel, then the Gastro Card competition to win afternoon tea for two at the Edgbaston could be your chance!

To enter, simply RT and follow @thegastrocard and @TheEdgbaston or email sallyb@gastrocard.co.uk with the subject heading “Afternoon Tea at The Edgbaston” by 31 May.

Good luck!

Who is behind the plate?

Whenever we eat out I like to find out about the chef who has lovingly prepared our food. So at a recent bloggers Afternoon Tea at the Hotel la Tour, it was my chance to get acquainted with senior chef de partie Rachel Dorrell.

Rachel Dorrell senior chef de partie Hotel la Tour

Born and raised in Birmingham, 23-year old Rachel studied at University College Birmingham before beginning her career as a pastry chef.

Rachel’s culinary career started at New Hall Hotel and Spa, Sutton Coldfield. Working under Chef Kirk Bick, Rachel quickly developed her skills as a pastry chef and focused her talent into creating a very high standard of food.  Her love of baking and talent for designing seasonal dishes soon provided her with the opportunity to take on her role as Senior Chef de Partie at Hotel La Tour.

Hotel la Tour afternoon tea montage

After sampling both the Winter and Spring afternoon teas that Rachel has created, I can attest that the delicate cakes taste as good as they look. The attention to detail and use of seasonal ingredients with a witty twist are excellent – no soggy bottoms here.

Hotel la Tour afternoon tea cakes

The new Spring menu features bite-sized banana and chocolate macaroon, lime and ginger cheesecake, raspberry and mascarpone tart, opera gateau and gluten free muffins, which starts at an exceptionally reasonable £19.95.  (Welsh rarebit, hummus and selection of sandwiches for starters alongside the traditional scones and clotted cream are also part of the tea.)

Rachel Dorrell Hotel la Tour senior chef de partie

Rachel has had one of her recipes featured in the Great British Cookbook and one day she hopes to open her own tearoom and patisserie.

Lets hope it will be within the Midlands so we don’t have to go too far to go for her delightful confections!

Pop into the Parlour

How elegant does the new Parlour at Hampton Manor look!

The Parlour Hampton Manor

The hotel says “We are delighted to open the Parlour this month, which provides a relaxed setting, overlooking the gardens. Sink into a deep sofa for a long chat by the roaring fire, spoil yourself with an indulgent afternoon tea, or sip away the evening with a glass of fizz”.