Birmingham city centre at Christmastime can be a bit of a pain. The hordes of tourists flooding in mean everywhere is busy to the point of bursting, while the sprawling German market fills the air with the sweet smell of candied nuts and empties your purse with its £6 pints of German beer. But although standing out in the cold eating a giant red sausage with a miniature cup of Gluwein is a Brummie Christmas tradition, there are other places to go to get that cosy, Christmassy feeling.
Venture a couple of miles out of the city centre into Harborne and you’ll find The New Inn. Part of the Bitters & Twisted group, The New Inn features the same flair for cocktails as its vibrant, city centre based sister venues, but feels more like a homely local pub. The New Inn played host to the latest Brumderland event – Lust – with Christmassy cocktails and pies to try.
After a bit of a horrendous journey home from work, I arrived rather late and guiltily had to squeeze through the packed bar to join my fellow bloggers. Luckily though, within minutes of arriving, a ‘Hotini’ was placed in my hand and the woes of the day melted away in its warmth.
With warm Rekorderlig cider, vanilla vodka and ginger syrup, this was mulled cider with sex appeal. Sticky, spicy and warming, I could definitely get used to drinking these this winter.
The bar manager kindly explained the Hotini’s ingredients for the third time for my benefit, before talking us through the new menu. Everything is hearty and comforting, with steak and pies taking centre stage. As well as the cocktails there is an impressive wine list which staff have been trained in, so they can recommend the best wine for your meal. A step up from your usual pub grub!
We got to sample a whole lot of the dishes, starting with the free range chicken liver parfait with whisky and raisin chutney. The parfait was smooth and light, while the sweet, sticky chutney was a lovely addition to the meaty livers.
Next up was the New Inn’s wonderful game pie, which had crumbly short pastry and a rich, lip smacking filling. The game was cooked really well so it was almost melt in the mouth and the truffle mash accompaniment went perfectly, giving the whole dish a wild, foresty feel.
The other dishes were equally as good, the salmon and cured ham wellington was surprisingly good, the salty ham went really well with the fish which I must admit, I wasn’t expecting to! The grilled fillet of stone bass was also delicious, with the firm fish fillet and chermoula prawns, it looked and tasted very indulgent.
I have to single out the roasted butternut squash and spinach Balti though. Normally I find curries in pubs are either comparable to microwave curries or really lack the depth of flavour I’m used to from Indian restaurants. This curry however was so tasty, and had a great flavour even without any meat. It was just spicy enough to be warming without leaving me reaching for the water jug, and the fresh flavours mean it was obviously made fresh with love and care, like the other dishes on the menu.
Our dessert came in the form of liquid apple pie, another hot cocktail, this time with almond syrup and hot Rekorderlig apple, served with a gingernut biscuit on top. This really did taste like the dessert in cocktail form, and the biscuit just gave it a nostalgic feel!
The New Inn has the most wonderful cosy feel, a real gem in a city rife with chain bars and cheap Wetherspoon pubs. With expertly crafted cocktails and delicious, heart warming food, if you’re seeking shelter from the cold next time you’re Christmas shopping, step outside your comfort zone and seek out the New Inn. You’ll feel all the better for it!
The New Inn has pie night every Tuesday and steak night every Wednesday. Booking in advance is advised.
My food & drinks were complimentary, many thanks to Vicky at Brumderland and the team at The New Inn. All opinions, as always, are my own.