Table Talk – Friday 1st June

Temperance, Leamington

An interesting new venue has opened in Leamington. Temperance offers pastries from Haddie and Trilby and coffee from Monsoon Estates, this café bar is a great supporter of quality local produce.

Based in Bath Street, their building began life as a drapers and around 1880 became the Westminster Temperance Hotel and Coffee Tavern. It was badly damaged by the floods of 1998, but has now been extensively and sympathetically restored. By day, it will be a community cafe and, at night, become an art cinema, sports bar, a music venue and an event space .

Rose wine The Square Warwick

On the first Wednesday of the month, Warwick’s wine merchant The Square will be cracking open a couple of bottles of new wine for you to try. Between 7 – 8pm, just pop in and make the most of the sale prices.

Greenway Hall restaurnat Stoke on Trent

Tune into BBC Radio Stoke at 7pm on Thursday for a new food and drink programme The Takeaway. Paula White will be chewing the fat with culinary experts,  chefs, local producers and farmers.

 

Advertisements

Table Talk – Friday 25th May

Dough & Brew pizza Warwick

Congratulations to Dough and Brew for winning Best Restaurant in the local Muddy Stiletto Awards 2018. As the pizza boys get ready to celebrate the restaurant’s second birthday, the Warwick restaurant also reached the final 13 National Pizza Awards for best in the UK with their delicious sourdough bases and fresh toppings.

The Drawing Board

As Newbold Street in Leamington will be closed  for The Women’s Tour Of Britain cycling race, The Drawing Board pub has decided to throw a street party! The Newbold Pitstop on Friday 15th June will feature a few bands and local street food vendors, including burger boys Flying Cows, as well as pop-up bars from Cotswolds Distillery and Purity Ales.

Rotisserie chicken at Rebel Chicken Birmingham

Birmingham’s newest chicken joint, The Rebel Chicken has a pre-opening offer of 10% discount off food, from Friday 25th – Sunday 27th May during their soft launch.  Expect chicken, steamed, marinaded and finished on a bespoke built charcoal rotisserie, on coal imported from Cuba and Sweet Cherry wood for succulent and charred to perfection meat. The Jewellery Quarter venue opens on Pitsford Street on Friday 1st June.

Review – The Star & Garter, Leamington Spa

_DSC9224 copy_3

Even though I had been to The Star & Garter in Leamington plenty of times before I had never had lunch there, so over the Bank Holiday weekend my partner and I took the opportunity to try the new Spring menu.

Booth at The Star and Garter Leamington

Taking over a comfy booth, we sought shade from the burning sun outside and settled down to ice cold beers and gin cocktails in an airy, relaxing dining area at the back of the pub.

On a Saturday lunchtime, the bar was buzzing and even with a private party upstairs to look after, the team were friendly, helpful and perfectly paced our meal. We didn’t go off menu, but when we made teeny tweaks to our choices we were happily and easily accommodated.

Asparagus and smoked slamon starter The Star & Garter

Purple, white or green, I love all types of asparagus, so my starter was an easy choice –asparagus with a poached egg and smoked salmon (£9.50). Everything was cooked to perfection, the egg yolk burst out onto asparagus that was neither rock hard or mushy (I so wish I could get this right when I do this at home!)

Ham hock croquets The Star & Garter

My partner chose crispy, golden croquets that were packed with shredded ham hock (£7.25). A side garnish of rocket and apple with mustard mayonnaise added texture and zest to his moreish mouthfuls. He said that he could have easily eaten another portion, but he was saving himself for a main course  which he had spotted on the specials board.

Salt beef hash with fried egg The Star & Garter

The salt beef dish came with hash browns, pickled veg and charred corn, but he asked for the veg and corn to be left off and a fried egg to be added instead. He said that this generous slab of meat had everything– taste, texture and smell so he was very happy with his £17 choice.

Sea bass with samphire The Star & Garter

Being a creature of habit I nearly always have fish for my main course. I wasn’t sold on the cider cream that came with the sea bream option, so instead went for a sea bass. Served whole, the silky fish was delightful alongside the saltiness of the samphire. I also liked the nutty, nobbly ratte potatoes that made a change from run of the mill new potatoes (£16).

Warm ginger sponge dessert The Star & Garter

He doesn’t have a sweet tooth, so I was surprised when my partner asked for the warm ginger sponge and custard for dessert. The generously spiced pud had a lovely warm after burn, that was so much nicer than the bland desserts that only have a glazed ginger topping, but might be a bit too spicy for some. His single dinky pot of custard was quickly emptied and replenished to be more of a man-sized portion.

Warm raspberry and pistachio tart The Star & Garter

I by-passed the chocolate and peanut butter cheesecake, as I had fallen for the raspberry and pistachio frangipane tart and swapped the clotted cream with raspberry sorbet. Cherry seeds had been baked into the short pastry base for added crunch, which was a great base for the succulent pistachio filing in this warm tart (£6).

After three courses each we had absolutely no room at all for any cheese, which I intend to rectify at one of the pub’s future wine and cheese nights. Like with the rest of the menu there are seasonal highlights and locally produced varieties to try, with the Wookey Hole Aged Cheddar in particular piquing my interest.

For me it’s the quality of ingredients that shine through at the Star & Garter. There is an obvious care of cooking and preparation, dishes are executed well, and sometimes with unexpected twists, making it a cut above your average gastro pub.

If you are after just a light bite, the fixed priced lunch menu is very good value. With four of five choices for each course, with a more substantial range of sandwiches and burgers along with tasty sides, you can enjoy two courses for £13.25 or three for £15.75.

Not your run of the mill choices either. The garlic and rosemary-studded camembert with rustic bread and spiced lamb koftas starter and mac n cheese with maple cured bacon lardons, stood out to us straight away as dishes to try on our next visit.

  • I was invited to review the Star & Garter’s Spring menu and received a complimentary three course meal. My opinions are unbiased.

The Star & Garter, 4- 6 Warwick Street, Leamington Spa https://www.starandgarterleamington.co.uk/

Table Talk 15 September

The latest news from Lasan, The Steamhouse Company, Restaurant 23 and Patina in this week’s table talk.

Lasan restaurant Birmingham

Lasan in Birmingham has closed its doors  – but don’t worry its only temporary! The restaurant is being refurbished and a more spacious interior plus new menu will be revealed in October.

The Steamhouse

Steamhouse, the  coffee and bagels café in Leamington, has expanded and opened a new branch in Stratford upon Avon on the High Street.

Restaurant 23 Leamington Spa

Restaurant 23 in Leamington has welcomed  Abigail Connolly to the team. Abigail is taking over from  Eduardo Neto  as Restaurant Manager and Sommelier.

Patina Bakery wedding cake

A new bakery has opened in Kenilworth. Patina is owned by Amy Clarke, who was previously pastry chef at The Cross. Ingredients used for her wedding and celebration cakes come from fair-trade sources and often local ones too – with flour from nearby Charlcotte Mill.

Bellissimo desserts

MiSu

MiSU describe themselves as “the dessert explorer intrepidly travelling the world in search of the most scrumptious fusion flavours” but don’t let this put you off. These are tiramisu desserts with a twist – Matcha tea, salted caramel and rhubarb feature as ingredients in their take on the Italian classic.

Based in Leamington Spa, founder Yannan has always been passionate about desserts. She spent many evenings developing recipes and infusing various flavours and hey presto the MiSU desserts range was created.

A regular at the Wednesday University of Warwick market, you can also catch MiSU desserts from 18 – 31 May in the Bullring at their new pop-up and at the Kenilworth Food Festival on 23 July.

 

Spring into new events for April

April 2017 events

Tomorrow I will be sampling ALL the gin at a festival in Leamington and kicking off a month of events in April. Also on:

Guy Day

Weston Park is wishing a fond farewell to their head chef Guy Day with two special demos and tastings.

The Alchemist Birmingham

Whiskey fans will be torn between sinking a few drams at The Plough or The Alchemist who both have tastings on.

Seasons restaurant Leamington Spa

You can’t go wrong pairing craft beer with Aubrey Allen steaks, so head over to The Star & Garter in Leamington to meet the brewer too. Still in the spa town, enjoy tapas and raise funds for autism at the Season’s restaurant tapas and quiz night.

Yumlaut sausage

At Warwick Kitchen, Price’s Spices are hosting their first restaurant pop-up and  in the Custard Factory you’ll find street food fans tucking into everything from German sausages to curries, these are both brand new events.

Eastnor-Chilli-Festival

You’ll have to wait until the end of April to show off your chilli-eating skills at Eastnor Castle’s Chilli Festival.

My top tips for what to do are always popular, so as usual please check with the venues on ticket availability and enjoy filling your bellies!

Midlands round-up

I’m spending a relaxing Sunday at home catching up on the week’s news and here are three stories that have caught my eye from Warwick, Hereford and Leamington Spa.

the-saxon-mill

The Saxon Mill outside Warwick is showing off the results of a mini makeover. The former 12th century mill re-opened on 1st February back to serving popular gastropub dishes.

lamb-rump-at-madam-adam

They have only been open a couple of months, but I am reading some good reviews for Hereford’s latest eaterie – Madam and Adam, where owners Beth and Swav focus on fine dining small plates.

birtellis-leamington

Birtelli’s in Leamington are recruiting, so it cannot be long before scooters will be whizzing through the town to deliver their stonebaked pizzas, from their base in Clarendon Avenue.

 

Dip into the first British asparagus of the season

St George’s Day is traditionally the start of the British asparagus season, where for a short eight weeks you can enjoy the tasty home grown veg.

Asparagus

Keen to get the delicacy on our plates as soon as possible though, the chefs from The Star & Garter in Leamington have been off in search of the earliest possible crop. Their travels took them to a small family run farm owned by John Barfoot in Sussex and they have brought their produce back to the pub. To make the most of this fantastic produce, Head Chef Jakub and his team have come up with a novel way of getting your asparagus fix.

Dip Your Own Star and Garter Leamington

From today, they will be launching ‘Dip Your Own’ dunking your veg into a pot of delicious home-made Hollandaise sauce, grated egg and Parmesan. Soft, free-range egg combined with the slightly sharp, nutty taste of Parmesan and a classic Hollandaise make for a fantastic flavour combination.

The Almanac - Kenilworth

“Once you’ve tried it, you won’t be able to stop dipping!” says Head Chef  Jakob Fijak. But don’t delay – Dip Your Own is only available in The Star & Garter from now until the end of May, so make the most of the British asparagus season while you can.

Ooh la la! French fancies in Kenilworth

The residents of Leamington are already spoilt with two shops from French patisserie Comme-ci Comme-ça (Warwick Street pictured below) and now it’s Kenilworth’s turn to be delighted by their amazing confections.

Comme Ci Comme Ca Leamington Spa

Celine Vermont, one of the owners said; “Our third Comme-ci,Comme-ça shop in Kenilworth will have a bigger kitchen to make more cakes. It is very exciting, we get the keys in November and will be open in time for Christmas.”

While I was in Leamington last week I bought a passion fruit and coconut tart, plus one of the new Le Montelimar’s – an apricot and nougat cake, layered with fruit puree and mousse, which were absolutely divine!  I’m going to let the images of their gorgeous cakes do the talking for them.

Comme Ci Comme Ca Le Cointreau

Comme Ci Comme Ca Le Montelimar

Eat Street, Leamington’s first street food market

Whether you eat it with a fork or your fingers, the quality of artisan food served from the vans and stalls in street food markets has been giving cafés and restaurants a run for their money for a while now.

In the West Midlands Birmingham has two successful street food organisers in the Digbeth Dining Club and Brumyumyum, so I was keen to see what genteel Leamington Spa had to offer in its first Eat Street food market.

Eat Street Leamington Spa

Situated in Regent Court, the wide paved area runs from The Parade to Regent Street in the town centre, it is a good location to attract passers-by. Maria Hughes, manager of Regent Court shopping centre said: “We’re pleased to be holding this weekly market. It adds another dimension to the offering here and I’m sure it will be popular with shoppers once they discover the tasty treats available.”

Fresh Rootz at Eat Street

The first two vans I saw belonged to BBC Good Food Show Midlands Street Food winners Fresh Rootz and Jabberwocky who are also both from Leamington. Jabberwocky’s Flic and Barney told me that “it’s great to finally have a street food market in our home town, this is what Leamington has always needed.” They have written about Eat Street on their blog  so you get a vendor’s perspective of the new street food market.

Barmey and Flic The Jabberwocky

Most food markets in the area are run by Sketts, but Eat Street is down to a family-run Warwickshire company CJS Events.  Jamie Walker said: “As a local company we’ve always been keen to set up a market in Leamington Spa. With other local towns having a market of some kind, we felt Leamington was missing out and Regent Court is the ideal place to have it.”

Annie's Ice Cream Van

Big Daddies Diner

The Big Red Pig at Eat Street Leamington Spa

Funky Cupcake Company at Eat Street Leamington Spa

Deli2dine4 at Eat Street Leamington Spa

Leamington already has a thriving food festival and variety of food shops, so I hope that the town, residents and visitors grab the delicious, innovative, food to go with both hands.

Eat Street plans to have around a dozen stalls selling tasty food and produce, every Friday from 9am – 4pm.

More pictures on www.facebook.com/MidlandsGourmetGirl

STOP PRESS:  New food openings in Leamington over the next few weeks include The Larder, a deli and coffee shop, followed by a bakery from George Casey – so keep checking the blog for updates.