Brumderland can always be relied upon for excellent foody events. A select gang of bloggers were invited for a feast of autumnal vegetarian delights at Bistro 1847. Named after the year the Vegetarian Society was founded, 1847 serves modern dishes across four menus; á la carte, taster, Sunday lunch and express lunch. Founded in 2011, the collective of restaurants is all about pushing the boundaries of vegetarian cooking. The Birmingham location is in the Great Western Arcade, which is becoming quite the foody spot with more places opening all the time.
We were greeted with a glass of Prosecco and settled ourselves upstairs. The restaurant is small, but perfectly formed. The mezzanine level allows light to pour in, and the grey and white decor keeps the small space light and airy. Bear size in mind if you’re going; booking is a good idea, as there aren’t huge amounts of tables. Upstairs would be a great space for large groups. The 10 of us sat on one big table in the middle of the top floor and had it to ourselves, which meant we felt we could relax and enjoy ourselves without our noise disturbing other diners around us. First up, we were brought slices of fresh-from-the-oven focaccia bread with shakshuka hummus. Still warm, the bread was beautiful and fluffy. The hummus was packed with flavour, pairing perfectly with the bread. A perfect little welcome snack!
For my starter, I choose Grilled baby gem lettuce with butternut, medjool dates and ricotta. Served on a slate, this immediately looked attractive on the plate and just invited dipping into the tasty sides to the lettuce. How they got so much flavour into lettuce, I will never know, but the grilled edges added a great charred bite to the flavour, and the combination of the sweet dates and creamy cheese was perfect. I think too, this a dish you could easily recreate at home, or at least the flavour profile. I’ll be eating all my lettuce grilled, with dates and ricotta, from now on.
My main course was a pressed potato terrine, with burnt aubergine puree, charred broccoli, braised quince and a red pepper jus. Anybody who thinks vegetarian food is boring needs to look at this. It was so colourful, and beautifully laid out on the plate. The flavours of the sweet quince and red pepper were balanced out by the almost peppery puree and the charred broccoli. The terrine itself was light (amazing for a dish made out of so much potato) and crisp. I was concerned it might be too stodgy, but it wasn’t at all. The combination of flavours was truly wonderful; a lot of salt and sweet happening, a combo I always love. This dish is also vegan, and totally gluten free.
To finish off, I went for a Chocolate Brownie, with dehydrated chocolate mousse, white chocolate powder and soaked red wine blackberries. The brownie was perfection, really gooey, which is exactly how I like them to be. It was rich, but the slim size of the slice stopped it from becoming too over powering, and the sharpness of the blackberry helped cut through the richness. The dehydrated mousse was interesting; I wasn’t sure what would come out on the plate, but it looked so striking, and was crisp and not too sweet.
Everything we ate looked absolutely beautiful. It was one of those dinners where no matter how delicious your own meal is, you still gaze longingly at what everyone else is eating! It was all so colourful, and it was clear seasonal, fresh ingredients were being used. This is a Coconut malabi, with apple rice donuts and caramelized pear (from the desert menu), and a starter of sage and lentil croquettes, carrot puree, pear and winter leaves.
Now, I’m not a vegetarian, but I would highly recommend 1847 to anybody who loves food, meat-eater or not. There wasn’t a single misstep on the menu, and it was great to see so many vegan and gluten free choices too. They have an extensive wine list and cocktail menu, and knowledgable friendly staff. The atmosphere was so relaxed. I can see this spot being perfect for large groups like us to sit upstairs, or great for date night sitting at the small tables downstairs. The chilled out feel hit us all, and it felt much more like a dinner with friends than a blogger event. I’ll be back, 1847!