Subscribe to Blog via Email
Tag Archives: Birmingham
If you follow me on Instagram you will probably be aware that I’m partial to a cocktail or two. My favourite is a Godfather followed by an Espresso Martini, I’m not a fan of iced slushy cocktails – brain freeze no thank you, creamy cocktails do nothing for me and I wouldn’t thank you for a cosmo as it’s just not my thing. Cocktails containing Whisky, Gin or Rum I can handle, I like the hard liquor you see.
I love a masterclass as it’s always good to learn new skills so you can probably imagine that I jumped at the chance to participate in a Cocktail Masterclass with some fellow bloggers. The last time I was behind a bar was in 2006 however it was mainly pints of ale I was pulling rather than mixing cocktails but that’s a story for another day.
The Revolution Cocktail Masterclass is an expertly guided tour through the world of cocktails. You learn a series of tips and tricks like muddling and mixing that you can easily try at home with the right equipment, does anyone know where I can buy an ice machine?.
There are a bunch of packages available for all price ranges, it’s probably worth pointing out that there is a fair bit of alcohol on offer so if you’re going for the basic package you might want to eat beforehand. Most of us arrived at the masterclass after work and hadn’t eaten so we were surprised that we didn’t get offered any bar nibbles or snacks to have along side our cocktails which meant that we had to abandon most of them after the masterclass so we could go and grab some food.
The cocktail menu was a decent size and there is something for all tastes, if you can’t drink alcohol for whatever reason there are 4 delicious sounding mocktails to choose from. When the masterclass started we were asked if any of us were not drinking alcohol or if we had any allergies which of course I do as I’m awkward like that. I must admit that after I had explained my allergy to Strawberries I didn’t expect that one of the drinks would be strawberry based, I thought we could have tried a different one but I guess that’s what happens when you don’t inform in advance so do bear that in mind.
One thing that did surprise me was that we were not given a choice of what cocktails we could make, there were 3 couples at the masterclass so it would have been nice to have been given a choice as none of the cocktails on offer were to my taste however I did enjoy making them. I sound so hard to please don’t I!
So what did we make?
Before we started we were handed a Bubblegum Daiquiri which contained Bubblegum Revolution Handcrafted Flavour, bubblegum syrup, lemon and apple juice. Make sure you take the sweets out first and eat them or they melt into the drink quite quickly. This is cold (Brain Freeze) and very sweet, to be honest it doesn’t taste alcoholic which is how we usually end up in a pile by 9pm because we don’t realise we’re getting drunk.
The Pushing up daisies was a fun cocktail to make and it was actually quite tasty, it contains Cîroc Apple vodka, elderflower cordial, cranberry, apple and lime juice. Served with candy floss. This is a showstopping kind of drink, if you love showing off then this is the drink for you! I won’t give the secret away but the preparation is a bit like a magic trick.
The cosmopolitan contained SKYY Citrus vodka with Cointreau, cranberry juice and lime, garnished with an orange flame. Very fun to watch but not something to try at home when you’re tipsy.
The classic mojito contained Bacardi Carta Blanca rum, fresh mint leaves, sugar and lime juice, topped with soda water.
Two of the bloggers got to make the same base cocktail with a flavoured vodka shot to show how different a drink can taste when just one element is changed.
The Strawberry Woo Woo was one that I couldn’t try, it contained Ketel One and Absolut Raspberri vodkas, Teichenné Peach schnapps, strawberries and cranberry juice.
The Ciroc the Casbah was the final cocktail to make which contained Cîroc Pineapple vodka, banana liqueur, Coco Reàl, half and half, all topped with pineapple juice. This cocktail was made in teams (I was on the winning team) and the losers had to take a vodka shot.
We finished off with a Vodka Train with Cherry and Peach vodka which I had the pleasure of pushing, quite a lot of pressure is on you to do this right – thankfully it all went to plan.
The little glitches aside like the lack of nibbles, lack of choice and cocktail that I’m allergic too, it was a really fun night and I’ve not laughed as much in a long time.
After the masterclass we were all presented with a certificate and a cute little cocktail shaker which was a nice touch and I’d imagine this would go down really well with a hen party. If you’re looking for a fun night out with friends, a birthday treat that’s a bit different or want an alcohol fulled work night out, the Revolution Cocktail Masterclass will be perfect for you.
Huge thanks to Clare from Where Mama Went for allowing me to feature her in this post
*I was invited to this masterclass as a guest in return for an honest review of the evening
Fiesta Del Asado has got to be my favourite place in Birmingham for steak or any sort of grilled meat come to think of it. I’ve never been to Argentina but it’s definitely somewhere I want to visit after sampling the wares of this Birmingham eatery.
If you do decided to visit this restaurant next time you’re in Birmingham, be sure to try the bread and marinated gordal olives stuffed with guindilla (£2.99) while you peruse the menu. The olives are so delicious and have the perfect combination of sweetness, salt and a mammoth kick of chilli and I just can’t get enough of them.
We visited with Grandma Gourmand who likes to accompany us on our culinary adventures when she comes to visit. You can always guarentee that Grandma will order something that everyone wants to taste and the Estofado de ternera (£19.89) was no exception. Cubed brisket braised for 12 hours in a malbec & salchichon sauce served with crisp potato and blackened corn was so filling that she was happy to share some with us. The sauce was truly delicious and the beef just melted in the mouth which is exactly what you want from a brisket.
Grandpa Gourmand liked the Asado de tira (£21.49) so much during our previous visit that he couldn’t resist ordering again. 16oz 4 bone cross cut beef rib; cooked on the bone for a fuller flavour is the perfect dish for any meat lover. I ordered wisely as I knew I would get to sample a huge chunk of this!
You may wonder why I opted for the Pollo a la parrilla (£14.89) and not a steak? I love steak and I love the taste of the steak from here so much but the last time we visited Baby Gourmand had the most delicous chicken and there was just no way I was going to visit without ordering a portion of the grilled 1/2 chicken marinated in garlic & thyme served with tomato, peppers and capers. [served on the bone] for myself, after all I knew I would get some of Grandpa Gourmand’s steak!
No visit is complete without a portion of the papas fritas con perejil y ajo (£1.99) or fries with parsley and garlic and to be honest one portion just isn’t enough as they are so delicious.
I can’t wait for my next visit to Fiesta Del Asado and hope it’s sooner rather than later as I need my grilled meat fix.
You can find Fiesta Del Asado at 229 Hagley Road, Edgbaston, Birmingham, B16 9RP
*I paid for this meal myself
Jyoti is an Indian ‘pure vegetarian restaurant and sweet centre’ and offers a massive choice of 15 starters and 72 main courses as well as a sizeable list of rice accompaniments and sundries. We’re not actually vegetarians but we do enjoy vegetarian and vegan meals and try to eat at least two meat free meals a week. After reading some reviews on the internet we decided that we needed to pay this place a visit to see what all the fuss was about, after a busy day morning shopping at the bullring we made our way to Hall Green.
Situated at 1045 Stratford Road Hall Green Birmingham there is ample free parking outside.
Grandpa Gourmand started his meal with Mogo Chips (£2.95) which are deep fried cassava chips with tamarind sauce. I’d seen Cassava in Asian food stores but didn’t realise how it could be cooked so have always been intrigued to try it and I’m so glad I did as it is rather delicious. Cassava is a great alternative to the humble potato although it is a bit sweeter and does have a distinctive taste. We all enjoyed these chips and the slightly sour dipping sauce really complemented them.
I ordered the Onion Bhajiya (£1.95) to share with Mini Gourmand which consisted of 2 deep-fried balls of onion in spiced gram flour served with salad and chutney sauce. These were like nothing we had ever tried before, not at all greasy and extremely light in texture. The spice was on the hotter side of the spectrum so Mini Gourmand was a little put off but myself and Grandpa Gourmand devoured them.
Mini Gourmand ordered the Tarka Daal (£5.75) which was a lentil curry which she had served with plain boiled rice (£1.95) I imagine everyone has their own interpretation of this dish, I make it myself which was adapted from a recipe I saw in the Guardian, I consider Tarka Dahl to be a comfort food however I think my own recipe has tainted Mini Gourmands palate and she didn’t really enjoy this dish which she found a bit lacking and too tomato flavoured.
I ordered the Vegetable Biryani (£5.95) which was a mixed vegetable curry served with fried rice. I love Biryani, it has featured in many posts on this blog and because of my love of the dish I couldn’t resist ordering when I saw it on the menu. When the dish landed on the table I was a little disappointed, the rice looked like frozen rice with veg and the curry didn’t look that different to the Tarka Daal that Mini Gourmand had ordered. I know that looks can be deceiving so I ploughed in with an open mind.
The dish was bland and lacked flavour, the rice was as I suspected a bit of rice with some frozen veg thrown in and it left me incredibly unhappy.
Grandpa Gourmand ordered the Paneer Bhurji (£5.95) which was Indian cheese cooked with onions, garlic, ginger, cashew nuts and tomato, this was served with a chapatti. Like the other two main courses this dish was lacking, it had good heat but the flavour just wasn’t there and to be completely honest the dish tasted incredibly similar to the other two.
We were very disappointed with our first visit to Jyoti, I had read some amazing reviews about the place prior to our visit granted the majority of them were from 2010/2011 and we all know how quickly a place can change but I hadn’t expected it to be quite as bad. All of the food was lacking flavour in one way or another, we have eaten a lot of vegetarian meals in other restaurants and the taste, seasoning and quality was on a different scale. I would like to say that the sweets I purchased to take home from Jyoti were incredible and couldn’t be faulted, maybe the same amount of effort should be put into the savoury food.
Have you visited Jyoti? How did you find it?
Christmas is well and truly over, new year weight-loss resolutions of small portions, more greens and less meat, have been rigorously followed, and because it’s nearly February, its probably time to get back in the swing of things with some mega food. You may have thought talking about Christmas is a strange way to begin a food post, especially when the festive season is not long gone and you are almost glad to see the back of it, tinsel firmly back in its box, china wrapped for another year, and trees stuffed into the attic, however, one thing i’m absolutely glad to see the back of, is meat!
So a month has passed and i’m just about beginning to miss the succulent chicken, mouth-watering beef, and all the trimmings, then out of the blue I have the opportunity to visit an Argentinian Steak House in Edgbaston, Birmingham. Well it has been a month, so time to get back on the horse!
Fiesta Del Asado is Birmingham’s first Argentinian restaurant and surprising as this may sound, the first time that either myself or Mini Gourmand have visited a restaurant of this kind. We have passed similar establishments, glanced at the menu and obviously liked what we have seen, but always thought it the kind of place to visit for special occasion, and honestly just never got round to trying it. Another slightly obscure reason is Mini Gourmand doesn’t often order steak if we go out for food, often choosing something from the menu that she’s not likely to get at home, almost like a treat. Luckily for Mini Gourmand after leaving Fiesta Del Asado, she realised that what she had just eaten was NOTHING like he gets at home!
We visited Fiesta Del Asado on a quiet Sunday afternoon at midday, not really thinking too much about food if i’m honest. We even had scrambled egg on toast for breakfast which is quite a hefty breakfast for either of us when we know we are going for lunch. We drove up to Birmingham and found the restaurant very easily, it was only a short distance outside of Birmingham located in a beautiful building, alongside many equally beautiful buildings in this area. Walking through the main entrance of Fiesta Del Asado and first impressions were good; very clean, deceptively large, and attractive décor allowing me to relax into the comfortable surroundings. Although there was only a handful of guests in at this early time the dining space was very relaxed, however, there was a buzz about that place indicating it would be really special and lively if visited during the evening. Before I forget, the staff, as common these days, were extremely pleasant, well dressed, and politely lead us to our table, immediately providing a high chair for Baby Gourmand before bringing water to the table while we looked through the menu. They also offered some olives and free bread which helped whet our appetite. The olives were gorgeous and had quite a spicy kick to them, a lot bigger kick than expected. The bread was warm and delicious, and the accompanying balsamic vinegar and olive oil perfect for dipping chunks of bread in!
Aceitunas marinadas, Marinated gordal olives stuffed with guindilla (£2.99)
Mini Gourmand was distracting Baby Gourmand and asked me to order for her; the menu was pleasantly large, but not so large to water down the experience. I ordered two starters that we decided to share between us. First was Pastel de cangrejo, Crab cake served with sweetcorn salsa. (£5.79). This was a good starter, stuffed full of crab, including the meat from the claws, and was accompanied with a delicate side of dressed salad leaves.
Thankfully the crab cake was light and thank god it was as you will discover as you read on!
The second starter was Rabas fritas, Crisp baby squid rings with aioli sauce. (£5.79). Oh my, this is definitely one of my favourite all time starters. The squid was perfectly cooked, not chewy, but just enough bite and consistency to cut in half if you bit into it hard enough. The garlic, buttery sauce was also delicious, even baby Gourmand seemed to have a taste for it when we caught him dipping his chips in and sucking the garlic off which then turned into just dipping his fingers in!!
Time for the mains!!
Mini Gourmand had the Asado de Tira, 16oz 4 bone cross cut beef rib; cooked on the bone for a fuller flavour. (£18.79). Oh my god, when this came to the table she nearly jumped out of his skin! and so did the guests sitting alongside us! The smell was intoxicating, a char-grilled spectacle. The waiter instantly noticed the startled look on Mini Gourmands face, he must have seen this face many times before when serving up a monstrous plate of meat like this. He lent down next to Mini Gourmand, like we do to Baby Gourmand when explaining something simple for the first time, and gave some very useful advise on how to work his way through the mountain of succulent beef. “start with the middle two sections.” he said, ” then cut the slightly tougher parts (pointing at the left hand side of the rib on the photo) into small chunks, and if you finish that, cut out the remaining chunks from between the ribs.” Mini Gourmand followed his advice and half way through the second rib was boasting how she was going to easily finish this dish off, yeah right! The smells, sight, juices, accompanying chimichurri, in fact everything, was a complete package. It was a work of art, not too reliant on flavourings and smokiness, it was perfect. In fact looking at the photos bring back the mouth-watering taste over, and over again. It was one of those meals, something you will remember, and even years down the line, a feint smell will bring back the taste-recall of this exquisite meal. Suffice to say, Mini Gourmand did leave some, but to her credit, not as much as i thought when he started.
I ordered the Brochette de cuadril, Skewered chunks of beef rump with peppers onion and tomato basted with rosemary and garlic. (£16.99) I’m not sure why I ordered this as I love nothing better than a bloody hunk of meat on my plate but something drew me to this dish and I’m very glad I picked it. After seeing the monster that Mini Gourmand was left to contend with I thought mine would be an easy feat however I was stuffed by the time I finished. The steak was cooked to perfection and to be honest when I was half way through I started to wish I hadn’t been so greedy by ordering side dishes. Just like Mini Gourmands steak, my meat didn’t rely on any fancy flavourings as the meat alone had such an amazing taste which lingered on my tastebuds long after I had finished.
Ok, about now you are probably thinking surely they didn’t order sides as well…well, we did. We did go simple though with Salteado de vegetales mixtos, Selection of vegetables tossed in lemon and butter. (£2.99). Very simple and very nice, butternut squash and peppers. delicious, but possibly one dish too many.
Then of course was the second side. Papas fritas con perejil y ajo, Fries with parsley and garlic. (£1.99). Possibly in the top 5 of my favourite chips of all time? We nibbled at these in between giving up on the main courses, then back again, and again, and again. Delicious!
Lets not leave out Baby Gourmand. We had no idea what he would like so decided on chicken and chips. Alitas de pollo, Grilled chicken wings served with mixed leaves and hand cut fries (£3.95). Lets get one thing straight, on any other given day this one dish would have been perfect for anyone in the Gourmand clan. The chicken had the same char-grilled flavour of the main courses and the salad was outstanding. In fact, this dish pretty much became the third starter as we took it in turns blowing on the food, one bite for Baby Gourmand, one bite for Madame Gourmand….
Overall I rate this place highly. Yes, I couldn’t go every weekend, and yes you could probably rack up quite a bill if there was a group of you and the red wine started flowing (which I can imagine happens often!), however, you get what you pay for, and I would describe the Fiesta Del Asado experience as reassuingly expensive. The restaurant feels quality, tastes quality, the staff excellent, and happily went the extra mile, including at one point the manager coming over to help entertain Baby Gourmand after spotting the tell-tale sign of being in the high chair for too long.
One thing I would like to add is that Leamington Spa NEEDS a Fiesta Del Asado, I’ve even been planning in my head where I think it should go!
If you would like the Fiesta Del Asado experience you need to head to 229 Hagley Road, Birmingham, West Midlands B16 9RP.
*We received a deduction off our bill in return for an honest, impartial review*