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A ‘Taste’ of City Café, Birmingham Beyond Expectations

Wine writer & Food Reviewer Philippe Boucheron

Wine writer & Food Reviewer Philippe Boucheron

Philippe Boucheron finds Birmingham’s City Café, Beyond Expectations

What do I expect from a place called City Café? Good coffee, if I were in Vienna perhaps a newspaper on a stick and a slice of chocolate cake, but sophisticated cocktails and great food – no way.
So imagine my surprise to be sampling an exquisite trio of line-caught trout – a confit, an escabche and a smoked trout mousse – of faultless quality.  This was followed by a dish of seared scallops with a confit of suckling pig’s belly with a pea purée, and then a loin of Shropshire lamb set in a mint mousse with a cauliflower purée.

But the absolute piece de perfection was left to the end – a jelly of Warwickshire strawberries set in a champagne jelly that actually tasted of champagne, accompanied by a magnificent plain chocolate coated delicate mint ice cream!
What made it all the more remarkable is that I enjoyed all these tasting dishes not in the confines of Brunswick Square, at the entry to Brindley Place, but in a tent set in Cannon Hill Park during the recent Taste of Birmingham culinary festival.  The scallops and lamb are difficult enough to serve from a well-equipped modern catering kitchen, but from a tent on a damp Sunday afternoon!

City Cafe Dessert of Strawberry Champagne Jelly, and vanilla Choc-ice

City Cafe Dessert of Strawberry Champagne Jelly, and vanilla Choc-ice, from the Taste VIP area

City Cafés are in fact the sophisticated quality dining restaurants and destination bars of City Inns.  This is a small group of fantastically equipped 21st century business hotels emanating from Scotland – where they certainly know all about hospitality. I shall most certainly be returning to Birmingham’s City Inn to see what other pleasures the kitchens can provide, let alone sample the cocktails mixed by Jack Parsons.
Oh, and the coffee?  It was dark, strong and full of rich Arabica flavours.  A far cry from that awful stewed solera-stored rubbish that has become the dreaded conclusion to so many otherwise enjoyable lunches and dinners.

More on the City Inn Hotel, and City Cafe Brindleyplace HERE

Search for ‘Philippe’ on ETM top right for more reviews, plus visit his website for more information here: www.pboucheron.com

Enjoy 25% off your food bill at the City Cafe with Gourmet Life Midlands Dining Club, plus news on forthcoming gourmet events in Birmingham and the Midlands. More HERE

City Inn Cafe, Brindleyplace, Birmingham

City Inn Cafe, Brindleyplace, Birmingham

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