Adam’s | Birmingham City Centre | Fine Dining
[Review by Conrad Brunton]
Adam’s Restaurant, Birmingham’s newest fine dining restaurant, is located at the bottom of Bennetts Hill in the city centre. Adam Stokes and his wife Natasha have moved from Scotland after receiving a Michelin star and four AA rosettes at Glenapp Castle, to set up here in our city. Adam’s is a two year ‘pop up’ restaurant which will see the team through until their new home is finished – a top secret location somewhere near to their current one.
On our arrival, the restaurant had a good buzz about it, with five tables of couples chatting and enjoying their experience. The interior is well decorated and certainly does not feel like a merely temporary home. We were greeted by the restaurant manager Corin, who was smart, young and well-spoken.
We started our meal with some aperitifs – Belvedere gin and tonic, and began the tough choice of deciding what to eat. It all sounded so good. We plumped for the five-course menu with accompanying wines, although we did exchange to a lamb dish from the nine-course menu for our meaty main on the five-course set.
Our amuse bouche selection certainly set the tone for things to come. A small Hendricks gin foam with cucumber and coriander was a perfect summer palate cleanser. This was followed by radishes protruding from soil – the burnt onion ash with lemon and chive provided the perfect accompaniment to the crunchy summer veg. The third and most triumphant morsel was described as a roast chicken dinner and had to be eaten in one mouthful. This small spherical lollipop burst with an intense flavour of chicken, that married perfectly with the small disk of sage stuffing that adorned it.
The main event…
Now it was time for the main five courses to begin. First up was seared tuna served with black pepper, olive tapenade, shallot rings and broad bean flowers. The tuna was perfectly cooked and its wonderful flavour was heightened by its perfectly-chosen accompaniments. The fish melted in the mouth and was just the match for the Gavi di Gavi wine.
Second up was asparagus served with a warm mayonnaise, poached quails eggs, pink grapefruit, wild garlic toast and hazelnuts. This is one of the chef’s signature dishes and it is easy to see why. The combination of flavours and textures is a triumph and perfectly showcases the spring vegetable. The grapefruit added a lift to the dish and elevated the warm mayonnaise accompaniment beautifully cutting through the richness of the sauce. I even mopped up the last morsels with the chef’s recipe sourdough that we had been served.
The lamb was beautifully cooked and blushed pink throughout. It was accompanied by purple sprouting broccoli, wild rice and gentleman’s relish – a salty anchovy butter which sat atop a small piece of slow-cooked neck of lamb. The accompanying wine was a Tempranillo from New Zealand which offered the perfect level of tannin and acidity to balance the dish without taking over.
I have to comment that this dish could definitely have been bigger. And although the flavours worked well together, but I could not help thinking that some form of potato would have finished the dish.
Onto the sweet treats! We began with a tasting of raspberry with lemon curd and champagne jelly. The raspberry was presented three ways: fresh, freeze-dried and in a sorbet. It was the perfect foil for the sweet creaminess of the curd and the summer fizz of the champagne jelly.
Next came a cylinder of glossy, brittle dark chocolate containing a soft, luxurious milk chocolate filling, served with an intense puree of caramel, a yogurt sorbet and a crisp pepper tuille. The harmony of the chocolate and caramel with the pepper and yogurt was excellent and was a befitting way to end the meal. This course was paired with that classic dessert wine, Hungarian Tokaji. This wasn’t for me. I preferred it with the aged port that my partner chose – the fortified wine working in perfect harmony with the rich, dark chocolate.
Our meal was by no means cheap (£202 with service). But, for a special occasion, in a restaurant of this quality, it is to be expected. I am already looking forward to returning and sampling the set lunch.
Adam’s offers a set lunch menu for £25 (3 courses), and two set tasting menus; one with 5 courses (£45) and the other with 9 courses (£75). Wine flights to accompany these tasting menus are also available.
Overall the meal was excellent. But there were areas where Adam’s ‘pop-up’ nature‘ showed itself. The choice of breads was very limited, and the petit fours were very basic (a small square of dark chocolate and pumpkin seed brownie) These small details did not detract from the overall experience. The service was truly excellent, well-informed and attentive without being overbearing.
Special mention must go again to Corin who worked the room with the expected level of professionalism and approachability that one takes for granted in a restaurant of this standard. It is great to see another restaurant of this standard in Birmingham. Surely it will not be long before Adam, Natasha and their team celebrate joining the city’s other Michelin-starred eateries in that most exclusive of clubs.
We met with head chef Adam Stokes earlier this year, just before he opened the new restaurant. Read the interview here.
UPDATE (26/09/13): Adams Restaurant wins Michelin Star
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