El Borracho de Oro, Edgbaston

Autumn has definitely arrived in Birmingham. And whilst I love a scarf and a pumpkin spice latte as much as the next basic bitch, one thing I really can’t get on board with is the lack of daylight. Dragging myself out of bed has become an impossible task; one that requires more willpower than I happen to possess and a fancy sunrise simulating alarm clock. It’s dark, it’s cold, it’s miserable, it’s shit, and I’ve used up all my holiday at work.

With a trip to Spain off the cards, the next best thing was a trip to El Borracho in Edgbaston, somewhere I’ve wanted to visit ever since eating at their brilliant 1000 Trades pop-up. It’s a lovely space; warm, welcoming and expertly presided over by the wonderful Emma.

We start the evening with Catalan bread. Simple flavours of tomato and garlic soak into the top of the bread, whilst the bottom retains it’s crunch. It’s almost definitely the best rendition I’ve ever had and puts the one we have two days later to shame; it’s half the price and definitely twice as good. To accompany it comes the house red (Pez de Rio, excellent at £17.50) which I quickly recognise as one I often drink far too much of in Bar Opus..

Skewers of chicken marinated in red mojo sauce are our first meat dish. The tender meat is packed with flavour and sandwiches chunks of pepper and onion that still retain a little bite. Drizzled with garlic aioli, it’s a perfectly formed plateful and – happily – a sign of things to come. Lamb is slow cooked and falling apart in the tomato and pepper sauce, whilst the tang of baked piquillo peppers stuffed with goats cheese balances brilliantly against the richer dishes.

The pork cheek is rich and comforting, the pork perfectly cooked and served with a red wine sauce that cries out for every last drop to be finished. It’s perfect for cold Birmingham evenings; a hug in a dish. The butterbean stew with smoked black pudding, chorizo, pancetta and red pepper has a similar vibe. It’s all kinds of warming, the kind of dish you want to eat tucked up on the sofa, mopping up the last of it with bread.

We order the potato churros with blue cheese because they sound intriguing. They are fantastic. Out of this world, life altering, fight-to-the-death-over-the-last-one fantastic. If I was a potato, I’d be pretty happy to end up in this particular afterlife.

Regrettably, we have no room for dessert. The bill for two barely reaches £70 including wine and we roll home full of some of the best Spanish food I’ve ever had. The value is further driven home a couple of days later, when we pay a considerable amount more for an underwhelming meal at a much-acclaimed Spanish restaurant in Manchester.

So thank you, El Borracho, for bringing some sunshine to my dreary Thursday evening. You really are a gem.

El Borracho de Oro is on Harborne Road, Birmingham, B15 3BU. WEBSITE.

El Borracho de Oro Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Simpsons x Sticky Walnut collaboration

A couple of weeks ago I turned 25. And as if I wasn’t already depressed about reaching my first quarter century, the birthday gods also decided to bless me with two accountancy exams on my birthday.

It would have been the worst birthday ever if my lovely boyfriend hadn’t booked us a table at the Simpsons x Sticky Walnut collaboration as a surprise (I say it was a surprise, but I accidentally ruined this one months ago by also booking us a table, forcing him to confess!).

Sticky Walnut is a neighbourhood bistro in Chester with a fistful of accolades & a brilliantly entertaining Twitter account (@stickywalnut). I have family in Cheshire so have wanted to eat there for a while, but Simpsons brought them to me – even better!

Simpsons is tucked away in a gorgeous building in Edgbaston. The décor is elegant and classy with beautiful design features – it’s the perfect setting to sit and enjoy a meal. Here’s me trying to look fancy and civilised..

For the evening, Sticky had put together a 5 course tasting menu. We started with some canapés; lamb tartare (with anchovies, linseed), salmon (squid ink, egg yolk) and calves brain (beef fat beetroot, walnut and verjus). They were all fantastic. The lamb and the salmon were perfect mouthfuls with amazing flavour and texture.

I have to admit I was a little bit terrified of the calves brain at first, especially because I’m not much of a beetroot fan either (probably due to bad school dinner flashbacks). But it turned out to be one of my favourite dishes of the night. It was full of flavour and I loved the crunchy exterior with the smooth, soft inside. It paired perfectly with the rich sweet beetroot  – I think Sticky have managed to convert me into a fan! I also enjoyed the fact that it kind of looks like a chicken nugget..

The second course was wood pigeon, apple, morcilla & savoury granola. I love morcilla (it’s basically the Spanish version of black pudding) but usually just have it on the BBQ in Spain so it was great to try it combined with the rest of the ingredients. It looked beautiful and tasted even better.

Next up was halibut with romesco & gem lettuce. Every part of this dish tasted good but the romesco was incredible. If I hadn’t been trying to behave myself in Simpsons I definitely would have licked my plate clean..

Course number four was lamb rump, scichimi togarashi (a Japanese spice mix – I had to google it as well..), carrot, goats curd and burnt onion. The sauce was super rich, so the goats curd brought a nice freshness to the dish. One of my favourites of the evening.

Dessert was toasted porter, treacle, caramel and chocolate. It didn’t blow my mind but was a solid, tasty end to the meal. We went for the drinks flight with our meal & instead of wine, the dessert came with a chocolate & orange old fashioned. I’m not a big whiskey drinker but this was so good and I’d order it again in a heartbeat.

I had an amazing birthday evening & it more than made up for the fact that I am now officially closer to 30 than 20 (ugh). Big shout out to the boyfriend for treating me – sorry for ruining my surprise!

Sticky Walnut can usually be found at 11 Charles Street, Chester, CH2 3AZ (WEBSITEwhilst Simpsons is at 20 Highfield Road, B15 3DU (WEBSITE).

Simpsons Restaurants Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato