It’s been one of the most hotly anticipated openings of 2015. Promising lobster, beer, burgers, hot dogs and ribs from one of Birmingham’s – in fact the nation’s – best chefs, all situated in one of Brum’s most iconic locations.
Nosh & Quaff has finally arrived, and it’s been well worth the wait.
I was lucky enough to be invited to one of their (many) launch parties last night to get a sneak preview before it officially opens tomorrow. The interior is stunning, with marble walls, hanging lights and sympathetically restored features, including a vault on the way to the lavs which provided much amusement!
The atmosphere was buzzing, and absolutely full of local foodies! I shared a table with Rosina from Rosina’s Food Blog, her friend Jenny and Sarah from The Style Floozie, but also enjoyed catching up with Ting from The Ting Thing, Helen from Positive Fridays, Alev from Bella & Robot and Ahmed from Dine Birmingham. After a couple of drinks, it wasn’t long before I was enviously leaning over to catch a glimpse of other people’s meals so we placed our orders.
Sarah and I decided to share the Blooming Onion, the Lobster and the Truffled Mac & Cheese burger (yes you read right, truffled mac & cheese burger…) so we could try a good selection of the small but perfectly formed menu.
There was a bit of a wait for the food, but as the place was so busy it was understandable. The waiting staff made a real fuss of us though, offering us extra drinks to make up for the delay, which was a lovely touch. When the food did arrive it was a spectacle!
The blooming onion looked beautiful, with slivers of lightly battered and fried onion spread like a lotus flower with truffle mayo in the middle for dipping.
The lobster was an absolute beauty. Kept live on site, it was as fresh as could possibly be, split down the middle, perfect for sharing, with salad, skinny fries and herb butter sauce on the side. It comes with no cutlery other than a lobster cracker and a pick, so you just have to get stuck in! Here’s Rosina attempting to get into her lobster.
Luckily for us, Aktar was on hand to give us a lesson on how to go about eating your lobster!
Once we got in there, the lobster was delicious. The flavour was so fresh and it was a lovely change to have a lobster served like that with just a simple but punchy butter sauce on the side, without it being smothered in cream and cheese.
Then came the burger…
I kid you not, this burger is made from a breaded, deep fried slab of macaroni cheese. And it is GOOD. Even though this is one of the only veggie options on the menu, it’s so delicious and indulgent that I would happily forgo meat for this. The provided bib is definitely required though, unless you want to end up smothered in lobster and mac & cheese!
Although we had just shared a huge meal which easily satisfied us both, it seemed rude not to go for a dessert. Sarah and I shared the Toffee Apple Cheesecake while Rosina had the Rocky Road.
This cheesecake was so different from usual cheesecakes as it was somewhat deconstructed. With caramelised nuts hiding in the base, rich, creamy toffee filling and a really zingy apple puree, every mouthful of this dessert was different, and equally delicious.
What I really love about Aktar is his respect for the ingredients, not only through the sourcing of the absolute best produce, but in the way everything is cooked. There are no uneccessary garnishes and everything on the plate contributes to the overall dish. Nothing is overpowering and the natural flavours of the food come through, complimented by everything else on the plate. He is also a stand up guy and took the time to chat to us at our table about the food, twitter and what on earth us food bloggers actually do!
After we’d finished the meal we headed upstairs to the bar area for an after dinner drink. Upstairs has a lovely relaxed feel with stunning views over Victoria Square, Council House and Town Hall, making Birmingham look positively cosmopolitan and quite glamorous in the moonlight!
I have a feeling that Nosh & Quaff is going to become one of Birmingham’s most popular venues, not just because of the fantastic food, views and atmosphere, but also because you can get the lobster for just £20! A veritable bargain.
Although my meal was complimentary at the launch party, many thanks to Aktar, Jabbar and the team at Nosh & Quaff, I can’t wait to come again and try the rest of the menu.