An evening at the Poker table is not generally how I plan to spend my evenings, but in the spirit of my mission to have more adventures, when I was invited to check out Grosvenor Casino on Broad Street, I said yes.
We were met by the very lovely Mark, the casino’s Food and Beverage Manager, who gave us a quick tour of the casino. Talk about a hidden venue. After the small reception area, you go downstairs into a huge underground space, full of games tables and machines with blinking lights. After a quick pitstop at the bar to collect a Gin and Tonic, we settled ourselves in the restaurant.
The restaurant is tucked away at the back of the casino and is a modern, welcoming space, with lots of comfy seats. You can order from a set menu, at £10.29 for two courses or £12.95 for three courses during the week, which is a bit of a bargain. We started off with a tray full of lovely bread, meaty olives and oil.
We ordered from the main menu. For starter, I chose the Stilton Stuffed Field Mushroom (£4.95). The large mushroom is baked, and stuffed with stilton and spring onion and topped with herbed breadcrumbs, then served on a sweet onion brioche. The mushroom itself was delicious, rammed full of creamy cheese. The stilton wasn’t too strong, and the breadcrumb top was crunchy, contrasting nicely with the soft mushroom. I do think the brioche and the onion chutney spread on it were much too sweet (the chutney was almost like a jam) and overpowered the mushroom a little. I think, I’d have preferred to do away with the brioche, as it wasn’t really adding anything, and instead had two mushrooms.
For my main course, I ordered Grilled Sea Bass with a Tomato & Olive Salad (£13.95). The sea bass was massive, and beautifully cooked. The fish was flaky and rich, and well partnered by the salad. The mix of olives and tomatoes brought some sweetness to the dish, and the olives paired beautifully with the fish.
Throughout our meal, Mark took excellent care of us, reappearing frequently with more gin and a rather nice bottle of Malbec. It’s often hard to tell in these situations if the wonderful service is a special treat because they know you’re reviewing, but watching Mark chat away to other customers made it clear he is an absolute natural at good customer service. He was friendly, and helpful with recommendations and clearly gets to know his regulars well.
Well fed, and armed with more gin, we went back out to the main casino for some Learn To Play sessions. Mark handed us off to Georgio, one of the dealers, who supplied us with a stack of chips and set about teaching us to play Roulette. Roulette is actually very simple, but Georgio talked us through some of the maths involved in how likely each number is to come up, and how often the numbers do seem to come in patterns. He was able to accurately predict roughly where the ball would land, which was fascinating, for a game apparently based in random luck. We all rapidly lost all our imaginary money, and instead grilled the ever patient Georgio on his suggestions for good Sicilian food in Birmingham and good pasta sauce recipes. Georgio was a delight; charismatic, patient and funny.
We finally released Georgio to go on his dinner break, and moved over to Francesco’s table for a Blackjack lesson. Also endlessly patient with a table of gin-fuelled bloggers throwing the chips everywhere, Francesco talked us through the tactics to win at Blackjack, and we actually managed to hold onto our pretend money for a while.
All in all, it was a really interesting evening. We had a lot of fun, and were incredibly well looked after. I honestly think you’d get the same treatment as a customer too.
I was a guest of Grosvenor Casinos. All our food, drinks and lessons were complementary, in exchange for blog post. Words, images and opinions are my own.