Salt & Earth back at 1000 Trades

You may remember, I wrote about Salt & Earth in residence at 1000 Trades a few months back. Back then, Salt & Earth chef Niki Astley was about to set off to pastures new, and it wasn’t clear if he’d be returning to Birmingham, or even the country! Lucky for us, he’s back, and is back in residence at 1000 Trades, serving a new menu inspired by his travels.

Once again, the menu is divided into Earth, Land and Sea, with a Heaven section for dessert. They advise you order two to three dishes a person. This time round, the menu is lighter, so I’d suggest three each and share like tapas, partly so you can maximise the amount you can try, and partly as we found this was the right amount to feel full but not stuffed.

earth

The Earth section is entirely vegan, which is great news for vegan foodies who are often over looked in these kind of pop-up menus.

Roast Cassava

Roast Cassava (£5.25) is served with whipped tofu and red chillies. Cassava isn’t something I’ve eaten a lot of, and I was curious what this would be like. The cassava is slightly sweet, counter balanced with gentle heat from the chillies, and creaminess from the tofu. The outside is crisp, holding a fluffy interior, like the best roast potatoes.

Bread Salad

Bread Salad (£6) comes with hazelnut oil, basil, cucumber, tomato and pickled chilli and packed a surprisingly spicy hit. The colourful salad has some real zing, and is a fresh, flavourful plate.

Asparagus

Asparagus, Miso, Nori & Potato (£7) is spring in a bowl, with fresh asparagus with plenty of bite and a light, frothy dressing that has a taste of the seaside thanks to the salt of the miso. This was one of my favourites, thanks to the bright, springy flavours.

land

The Land section is for the carnivores, with some meaty options, with some more unusual accompaniments.

Beef Brisket

The Beef Brisket (£11) is served with bitter radish, perilla and fermented red bean. The brisket falls apart at the touch of a fork, and is unbelievably tender, and juicy. The red bean brings rich flavour to the meat, with the radish bringing a sharpness to cut through.

Pork Belly

The Pork Belly (£9) with garlic is one of the prettiest dishes, with some serious bright colour on the plate. The pork is soft and moist, with perfect bands of flavoursome fat running through it. The garlic brings deep sweetness, a perfect pairing for the tender meat.

sea

There is only one dish in Sea this time around, but it ended up being my absolute favourite of the night.

Salmon Thai Laab Style

The Salmon Thai Laab Style (£12) with green beans and spring cabbage is labelled as a very spicy, but even my spice-dodging dining partner is able to enjoy it with no bother. The chillies in it are very hot, but if you avoid eating one of those whole, you’ll be alright. Instead, the flavour is classic Thai, flavoursome heat rather than ‘melt-your-face’, with delicious sourness undercutting it. The beans and cabbage are crisp, bringing great contrasting texture to the melt in the mouth fish. The salmon is soft, and full of flavour, thanks to the obvious light hand in it’s preparation. Perfection on a plate.

heaven

Despite being full, I found a corner for one of the desserts.

Strawberry and burnt white chocolate

Strawberry, Burnt White Chocolate and Almond (£6.50) is a great, light end to the meal. The icecream is full of fruity flavour, and pairs beautifully with the fresh fruit and the bitterness of the burnt chocolate. Summery, pretty and a delicious. What more could you ask for?

You can find Salt & Earth in residence at 1000 Trades, serving all day Monday to Saturday. You can book a table here, and tell Niki I sent you.

We paid in full for everything we ate and drank. Thanks to Twitter, I know Niki a little, so he was aware I’m a blogger. All opinions, words and images are my own. All prices and menu options correct at the time of writing. 

Edinburgh Gin Afternoon Tea at Harvey Nichols, Birmingham

For June and July, Edinburgh Gin have teamed up with Harvey Nichols to create the ultimate Gin Afternoon Tea. Harvey Nichols‘ chefs have created a menu inspired by (and using) the various gins and their botanicals, and Edinburgh Gin have created a list of cocktails to go alongside it. So naturally, I had to go and investigate. I do these things for you.

Harvey Nichols

Harvey nichols restaurant

I admit, I often forget how lovely the restaurant and bar are at Harvey Nichols. It’s a light, bright, modern space and it’s always so calm in there. You can book for afternoon tea Monday to Sunday, and relax in the main restaurant.

Savi Spritz

The cocktails

All the cocktails are, naturally, made with Edinburgh Gin‘s fabulous range. We kick off with a Savi Spritz, which is Sauvignon Blanc, Elderflower Edinburgh Gin Liqueur and topped with soda. It is sweet and refreshing, with lots of elderflower flavour.

Pomegranate, Rose and Prosecco Fizz

Next is the Pomegranate, Rose and Prosecco Fizz, which was pomegranate, Rose Edinburgh Gin Liquer and topped with Prosecco. It is almost Turkish Delight-ish, and pretty as a picture with it’s flower garnish.

There’s a big list of gin cocktails on offer, so something to suit all tastes, and of course, a giant range of tea and coffees.

Gin afternoon tea

savoury layer

The savoury layer

The savouries are much more interesting than your usual array of sandwiches. The mini Gin and Tonic Cod is coated in a light, tonic infused batter, with soft, flaky fish. The Goat’s Cheese and Vegetable Terrine is rich, and creamy, and a firm favourite around the table. I enjoy the Artichoke and Courgette Wrap a lot more than I expected, considering I don’t like courgette, but my firm favourite is the Duck Leg Croquette which draws on Edinburgh Gin‘s plum liquer, and is crisp on the outside, fluffy inside and soaked in plum tastiness.

Sco

The Scones

There are two kinds of scones, one plain and one Raspberry and White Chocolate, with jam and piles of clotted cream. The scones are still warm, and are beautifully fluffy inside. Considering I don’t have a sweet tooth, I am surprised by the raspberry version, which I love. Sweet, but not cloying and gorgeous with a good heap of cream.

Sweet Layer

The sweet layer

The best layer. The unusual Cucumber Candy Floss is somehow exactly like those watermelon sweets you get in pick and mix at the cinema (which is a good thing). A Strawberry and Elderflower Eclair and Peach, Rhubarb and Ginger Gin Tart are both excellent, with lots of sharp fruit flavour, well made pastry and made in perfect bite sized morsels. The Pomegranate and Rose Panna Cotta isn’t my favourite. It is tasty, but had gone quite liquid, but this may have been my fault for eating it last.

Edinburgh Gin

The Afternoon Tea is a great experience for gin fans. You can book  from 1pm-4pm Monday to Saturday and 3pm-5pm on Sundays throughout June and July. It is priced at £22 or £30 per person to include a cocktail. Booking is essential, so please call 0121 616 6028 or email reservations.birmingham@harveynichols.com. And tell them I sent you.

I was a guest of Harvey Nichols and East Village PR. All food and drinks were complementary in exchange for honest review. All words, images and opinions are my own. Prices correct at the time of writing. 

Digbeth Dining Club, 2nd June

Dave and I had our friend Nick staying with us for convention purposes this weekend, and after a day on the convention floor, you always need some major refuelling. There’s no better place to eat excessively than Digbeth Dining Club. We managed to bag a table and set out to forage to food.

Soft Serve Coffee

Usually, I like to do a lap of the place to stare at all the options before I decide what to eat first, but almost immediately on arriving, I spied There Goes Coffee and made a beeline for them. They were serving up their Soft Serve Coffee which I haven’t actually tried, so naturally, ordered immediately. They use freshly brewed espresso with Vanilla soft serve, making a Vanilla Latte in an ice cream form, basically. It was gorgeous, and really is exactly like a Vanilla Latte. I must eat more.

Next stop was Bare Bones Pizza for a Garlic Bread to share between the three of us. We liberally sloshed ours with Balsamic, which I recommend, and all thoroughly enjoyed the buttery, garlicky goodness.

The Frenchie

Dave and I moved to The Gravy Train for some poutine. For those not the in the know, poutine is a Canadian dish of chips topped with cheese curds and gravy. I tried The Frenchie, which is a classic poutine with maple bacon, garlic mushrooms, and red onion marmalade. It was delicious, with loads of squeaky cheese, piles of juicy mushrooms and rich gravy. The fries are good quality, and was so vast a portion I couldn’t finish it.

The Pioneer

Dave’s The Pioneer was poutine with BBQ shredded chicken, maple bacon and sour cream. The chicken was seriously moist, and the gravy was rich and tasty.

Meanwhile, Nick was at The Paneer Wrap Co, where he was unable to choose between the Tradtional One and The Spicy One and so ordered a combo. This stall smelt incredible, and Nick let me try a mouthful of the wrap. It was packed full of soft paneer, with a delicate blend of delicious spices, flavoursome heat and crunchy salad.

Halloumi Fries

Sticking on the cheese theme, we shared some Halloumi Fries from Street Chef. Coated in (I think) a yogurt dressing, these were fried slices of gooey, squidgy heaven. I love Halloumi.

Baby Back Ribs

Dave continued his love affair with Dick’s Smokehouse. As always, the Honey & Bourbon Baby Back Ribs fell off the bone practically as soon as you looked at them. Juicy, flavoursome meat, and piles of red cabbage ‘slaw disappeared in short order.

The Lottery Winner

Finally, Nick tried The Lottery Winner from Urban Cheesecake. I’ve eaten this beauty before, so can vouch for the excellent thick layer of buttery biscuit, rich salted caramel sauce and creamy middle.

Safe to say, Nick’s already planning his next visit to Birmingham so he can go back to Digbeth Dining Club…

We paid in full and nobody knew I was a blogger. All words, images and opinions are my own.