Table Talk – Friday 20 September

This week we are talking about beer, asparagus gin and three courses at different restaurants.

Sadlers Brewery pint

First the bad news – Sadler’s Brewing Co has closed their pop-up on Harborn High Street. The good news is that a permanent bar Brewer’s Social will open on Friday 27 September!  Alongside Sadler’s award-winning ales and spirits, the all-day venue will offer collaborative and special edition brews,  craft spirits and cocktails – and great food like Mud City Baby Back Ribs, Smoked Brisket in Sadler’s Ale Sauce and Truffle Mac and Cheese.

RHS Malvern Autumn Show

The Malvern Autumn Show will be celebrating its 25th anniversary next weekend  (Saturday 28 and Sunday 29 September). From one of the country’s biggest ever food bank donations, to world record breaking giant vegetables, a new gin festival will see weird and wonderful gins from asparagus to fruits, go head to head in a competition.

The Drawing Board Leamington interior

Looking ahead to 15 October, The Rotary Club of Royal Leamington Spa is once again partnering with Parkinson’s UK to host a fundraising dinner. A Taste of Leamington starts with  a drinks reception at Leamington Town Hall, diners then take a different  course at three restaurants  which includes a choice of Oscar’s, Valles at 44, Momenti, Eleven, The Drawing Board (pictured) Emperors, Sabai Sabai and Paprika Club. Tickets are £38 and available on Eventbrite

Spring into a new season of events

March 2018 (19)
The gloves are off as Hampton Manor plays host to a Battle Royale between two egos of the Birmingham wine scene, over a decadent four course dinner with two paired wines per course. This Wine Dinner Gent vs Rebel  evening kicks off a new season of delicious food and drink events in March.

In Hereford you can learn from brand ambassadors at the Secret Bottle Shop’s Rum Tasting or enjoy a South Africa Wine Tasting of the county’s most popular blends at Longworth Hall.

Leamington is hosting a trio of special dinners. The Tame Hare joins forces with Tailors of Warwick for an Un-tamed Dinner with a collaboration of dishes, The Star & Garter gives us a Spring Sneak Peek  at their new menu and the ever popular Classic Bistro Evening returns with four French classic dishes at Oscars.

There’s chocolate and craft beer on the menu in Coventry at the Meet the Brewer  evening at Beer Gonzo as well as the Chocolate Festival at Fargo Village (which is perfectly timed for Easter and Mothers Day gift shopping).

Head over to Birmingham for the Brewers’ Lectures at the Custard Factory’s Old Library from industry experts and a gastro pub night of Dinner and wine pairing at The High Field in leafy Edgbaston.

Staffordshire’s Three Horseshoes Inn  is hosting a Wine Dinner with Nigel Wilkinson, Master Sommelier with Boutinot Wines,who  will introduce six carefully selected wines paired with a five course tasting menu. Or if gin is your favourite tipple, put the Chase Distillery Tasting in your diary at Webbs in Wychbold.

All of the details are over on the Events page. Enjoy!

Table Talk – 29 September

From French cuisine to fish and chips, this week’s Table Talk caters for all tastes with a new opening in Birmingham, an award winning restaurant in Leamington and a guest chef appearance at a local food festival.

All Greek Deli

It is easy to miss the rather lovely All Greek Deli, as it is tucked away in Stephenson Street just by New Street station. But from Christmas the owners aim to change that by opening their first restaurant in the suburb of Moseley. The 40 –seater venue will serve breakfast through to light dinners and will be in good company with Carters of Moseley, Loki Wine and Italian deli Sapori de Sole as neighbours.

Oscars bistro Leamington

Congratulations to Oscars, for winning the best restaurant in Coventry and Warwickshire Tourism and Culture Aaward this week. The French bistro in Chandos Street, Leamington has been owned and run by Aubrey Allen for over 15 years.

Solihull Fod Festival

One half of the Hairy Bikers –  Dave Myers  –  will be cooking at the Solihull Food Festival this weekend. With several demos from Friday to Sunday to choose from, tickets for seats at Dave’s cooking demonstrations are £5, which includes entry to a prize draw to win a selection of Le Creuset cookware.

Rumours of a new fish and chips with fizz place opening up Stratford upon Avon are yet to be confirmed so watch this space!

A taste of Provence


Charming, convivial and nostalgic are adjectives which would easily describe the dining experience at Oscar’s in Leamington, but they would miss out on the little quirks of this bistro.

Holding a wine dinner without talking about the wine and giving guests a pot of lavender after their ‘Evening in Provence’ dinner, are just two of the ways in which I was pleasantly surprised by a recent visit.

Having walked past Oscar’s and seen a full dining room before, I’d mentally added it to my list of places to remember to book in advance, assuming that it was a popular place just locals. Little did Ellen (Eat With Ellen) and I know that there was a lovely, airy dining room upstairs as we were shown to our table. We were seated by an open window on a gorgeous hot evening, in what was the first of  many crushed assumptions during the evening.

Oscar's bistro Leamington Spa upstairs dining room

The owner, Russell Allen from Aubrey Allen, greeted guests as they took their seats then sat down to enjoy his own dinner without any fuss. At other establishments, themed dinners are seen as an opportunity for the chef to get out of the kitchen, interact with guests, discuss the provenance of ingredients and suppliers.

Not so here. The closest we got to insider information was to question Pascal, as he continued to fill guests’ wine glasses. Luckily he is from Provence so was able to fill us in on the menu and wine choices.

Oscar's Leamington Spa

With pissaldiere, bouillabaisse the Marseille way with eel, ratatouille with the chicken main course and soufflé beignets for dessert, the rustic dishes were true to their origins and very tasty.

Banon cheese wrapped in chestnut leaves

A major part of most French meals is the cheese course and again Oscar’s held a surprise up their sleeve. The goats cheese was wrapped in chestnut leaves and neatly tied with rafia. We had never seen this before, even though Banon is Provence’s best known and most recognisable cheese.

With the Le Bistrot Pierre and Eleven restaurants nearby, there is a good choice of French cuisine without the fine dining faff for Bastille Day, or any other day when you yearn for a ‘bon repast’ in Leamington.

Thank you again to Oscar’s for the invitation to the ‘Evening in Provence’ dinner, which consisted of five courses, plus aperitifs and unlimited wines. Guests paid £50 but our meals were complimentary.

Follow @oscars_bistro for details of future events.

More March dates for foodies

Almost half way through the month and there are still nine great food and drink events that you can go to.

All the details are on the Events page, but here are three new events that I’ve just added for you especially if you like popcorn, champagne and cakes!

more march events

In the Jewellery Quarter you can sit back and enjoy a film, supper, drink and popcorn at the Urban Coffee Company’s film and supper club on Friday 21 March.

In Leamington it is an indulgent two nights in a row, with a Canrad-Duchene champagne five course dinner at Oscar’s on Thursday 27 followed by the Grand Union Bar’s Pudding Club on Friday 28 March.

Leamington eating and drinking guide

Leamington Spa town centre

With a farmers market and annual food festival, Leamington Spa is quite rightly showing off its great local produce, chefs and restaurants. I hope that my guide, on the Destinations page, helps you navigate eating and drinking at some of my favourite venues in this compact spa town.