The latest of their 7 Deadly Sins events – Envy – took us to Marmalade which is situated conveniently below Birmingham Rep and features an great pre-theatre menu and cocktail specials that match the plays on in the theatre.
Like the other Bitters & Twisted venues, Marmalade has decided to specialise in one type of drink, so it’s now touting itself as a Vermouthery! According to the staff there, Vermouth is in a place now where Gin was a couple of years ago. It’s suddenly become fashionable again and the team there are making some wonderful cocktails with it, like this Negroni which we had to welcome us that night.
On first taste, I wasn’t sure about this one. It has a bitterness to it when you take your first sip, but after sip 2 and 3 this drink really opens up and is really refreshing.
As well as being a Vermouthery, Marmalade have a great menu where they match cocktails to food, instead of matching wine. They call their food choices ‘flexitarian,’ meaning there are options for people who are meat eaters, pescatarians, vegetarians and vegans, so nobody has to compromise on eating lovely food. We got to sample four dishes from the menu with matched cocktails, starting with this gorgeous Halloumi dish.
These little balls of halloumi coated in sesame seeds and fried were absolutely delicious, as was the bed of crispy fried rocket underneath. It was paired with La Vie En Rose, with Beefeater gin, creme de cassis, dry white wine and peach bitters. The nuttiness of the sesame and salty halloumi went really well with the sweet cocktail.
Next we had tequila marinated salmon with wasabi dressing with an, as yet unnamed, tequila cocktail! The salmon was rich with a kick of heat from the wasabi dressing, while the cocktail which was jam packed with grapefruit flavour acted as a refreshing palate cleanser.
These rum marinated beef kebabs with mediterranean vegetables were a real summery dish, reminiscent of barbecues. Paired with Captain Ahab’s Grog, Marmalade’s twist on a dark ‘n’ stormy, this was a rum based gingery, sweet short drink. Definitely my favourite cocktail of the night.
Lastly we got to try a vegan dish, mushroom pâté on toast.
I was really impressed with this dish. I am guilty of thinking vegan food is often boring, but this was really flavoursome with a kick of heat and a lovely, earthy flavour. The Midsummer Day Dream it was served with was really perfumed. On its own it was a bit too much for me, it reminded me slightly of a Lush bath bomb, but in a good way. Paired with the earthy mushrooms though it really balanced out and went well together.
The whole point of Marmalade’s menu is that everything is designed to be served as small plates that you can share between friends, so it’s a really social dining experience, and it’s a great place to grab a bite to eat and start your night out.
The new menu, which features all of the dishes above, launches today, so if you’ve not been before or haven’t been for a while, head back and try it out. I’ll be back when I go to see King Lear at the Rep in a week or two, so I’ll be looking forward to their Shakespearean cocktail!
All my food and drinks at the Envy event were complimentary, many thanks to the team at Marmalade and Vicky from Brumderland. All opinions are my own and I was in no way obligated to give a positive review.