Here we are, the first restaurant review, and I’m starting with a bang. Prepare for sweetbreads, pigeon and more.
You know you’re working in the right company when special occasions involve Michelin starred food. And you know you’ve joined at the right time when two of these special occasions fall within your first 8 months.
Our visit to Waters Restaurant at Resorts World Birmingham, (former) Michelin starred chef, will most definitely feature in a post of the future, but for now I’m focusing on our most recent office adventure for the second special occasion in 3 months: the boss’ 50th.
So again we ventured out of the city centre, to Simpsons in Edgbaston. As an unfamiliar suburb for me, it’s a breath of leafy fresh air from the concrete-laden city centre of Birmingham. Following the restaurant’s move 5 years ago from Kenilworth near my neck of the woods, it’s moved home from home in terms of demographic.
With impeccable service, as expected, from entry until departure, the whole atmosphere was fresh and relaxed yet perfectly indulgent. Having undergone a recent overhaul, the interior design felt spacious, light and incredibly modern. Not what was expected upon arrival at such a beautiful period house, but this felt more pleasant and comfortable to my millenial tastes, bordering ever so slightly into a more premium installation of the IKEA catalogue. Anyway, I’m not here to go into every single tiny detail or pretend I’m some interior-pinning blogger. I’m here for the food.
Opting for the 3-course a la carte menu, we decided against both the Simpsons Lunch menu and Taster Menu that are on offer. However, for me, it felt like a tasting experience. With our three courses ordered, a trio of canapes arrived at the table… but ‘not just any canapes’. These were the equivalent to the accessories and ornaments ‘not included’ in the IKEA catalogue. I’ll let the captions speak for themselves…
Followed by (what I assume was) sourdough bread, delicious tapenade roulades and the boss’ favourite SMOKED BUTTER (+ another portion, on our piggy request!)
And this is before the 3-courser.
Being the ‘adventurer’ I am, I dove straight into the unknown right from course no.one: sweetbreads. They must be mini freshly prepared toasts to mop up the delicious accompaniments, she thought. Not the reproductive organs of a male cow… Oh go on then, ‘Han Eats sweetbreads’ it was. If I’m going to eat something like this for the first time, it may as well be cooked by someone the French-bourgeois Michelin folk approve of. Having overcome the initial panic of a potentially disastrous menu choice (worst feeling ever, #firstworldproblems), especially faced with the delicious trio of scallops to my left, I was pleasantly surprised. As a fan of all things offal (liver, kidneys, heart, give me it all), the sweetbreads had a similar taste to liver. The consistency slightly softer, the warm mushroom broth to wash it down with was just perfect. Add to it the sweetest onions on record (why don’t they taste like that in my chow mein?) and crunchy asparagus, this starter had come up trumps. Unsure whether I’d opt for those delightful testicles again, but there’s another one ticked off the unknown bucket list.
Other starters across the table were “the most delicious scallops I’ve ever tasted” in “a sauce so divine I could drink it from a cup”, accompanied by shrimps and roasted cauliflower. The other, beef tarter, my second choice, and a good second choice it would have been.
For the main, again I stuck to my adventurous side and opted for the pigeon. Having loved every rare mouthful of this unusual carne choice at my first Michelin experience, The Cross in Kenilworth, I was keen to enjoy this again. Hidden under a beautifully green cabbage leaf, on a bed of red cabbage and puy lentils, topped with pomegranates, the meat was melt in your mouth. As a lover of red meat, and when I say red, I mean red, I perhaps could have had this further undercooked. However I’m sure this particular part of the bird was cooked to perfection (must remember strapline Hannah…)
Now I’m a dessert kinda gal, boyfriend is not. Hence why on date night meals I rarely opt for the lonesome third course. But dessert, on an occasion like this, is the star of the show in my eyes. My sweet tooth was aching in anticipation. Upon zooming in straight away to ‘speculoos ice cream’ on the menu (a Frenchie fave), there were no qualms about my final course choice.
Speculoos ice cream accompanied by a bitter block of deep chocolate with an ever so thin biscuity base, just enough to vary the texture of the rich ganache, this was an indulgent dessert that did not disappoint.
I was straddled by two alternative dessert choices; a beautifully colourful, and definitely lighter, pineapple, meringue and mango sorbet dish and the cheese course (enough for a fourth course for us all).
I ate every last morsel of all of my own dishes and, true to my Han Eats name, polished off the few final nibbles of cheese to my right, accompanied perfectly by a Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, the ultimate vin blanc.
There’s almost a sense with a Michelin starred experience such as this that there is little room for disappointment, or even critique. Who am I to fault someone who has been given one of the highest honours in the gastronomic hierarchy by the experts of the fine dining industry? Can’t deny I haven’t become a little more critical in of the slightly outdated and ridiculously bourgeois institution that is Michelin, but on the whole, I’m a crowd pleaser – may this restaurant and its team remain high on the Birmingham foodie pedestal, for all the right reasons.
Thank you to all at Simpsons for a very special afternoon.
20 Highfield Road
Disclosure: Simpsons has the privilege of being my very first restaurant review and blog entry as Han Eats. Therefore all comments are solely the honest (and excitable) opinions of a new foodie on the block.