Colmore Food Festival is always one of my personal foodie highlights of the year. Operated by the Colmore BID, the festival brings together businesses from around the Business District to showcase their food and drink offerings. From Michelin star restaurants, to Wetherspoons, you’ll find something for all tastes, and all capped at a very reasonable £4.
We started with a visit to Opus, to try their hake dish. The hake is pan-fried, resting atop a light fennel pasta salad. The fish was stunning; meaty and flaked at the merest pressure of a fork. The salad was light and fresh, perfect for the intense heat.
Next, on to Adam’s. This Crab with Satay was my dish of the day. I love seafood anyway, and this was, again, ideal for the hot weather. The portion was small, but perfectly formed. The crab was fresh and flavoursome, with creaminess from the satay, and some light crunch from the topping.
From Asha’s, we tried Chilli Garlic Chicken Tikka. This had a gentle, flavoursome hit of spice, and the chicken was juicy and tender. We actually caught some of Asha’s cooking demo on the live cooking stage, and sampled a mouthful of the truly delicious Masala Scallops about to hit their summer menu.
Gaucho had sold out of Empanadas, which would have been more upsetting if they hadn’t placated me with steak. I’m fairly sure this is the same dish they brought last year, which is a bit of a shame. I’d have liked to see something different, but this beef dish is very tasty. The meat was packed with flavour, and unbelievably soft. The creamed corn side is extremely moreish too.
Finally, it was time for dessert. Purnell’s were offering up Violet soft serve ice cream, and as a keen lover of the Parma Violets, I had to try. Violet can soon tip into tasting of perfume or soap, but this was lightly floral, and very pretty. I was disappointed to find the violet ice cream only reached the top of the cone, and the cone itself was filled with some sort of orange mousse, which was too sweet for my tastes. This seemed a bit of a cop out to keep the more expensive violet to a minimum. What there was was very enjoyable though, so I’m willing to forgive.
As always, there was a wide range of tipples available, whether your poison of choice is caffeine, spirits or wines. Even for me, it was too hot to contemplate a hot drink, so I stuck with the alcohol, which I’m sure you can imagine, was a real hardship.
We started at Ginger’s, the bar at Purnell’s, for cocktails. Dave chose the Johnny Cash, which was Woodford Reserve Bourbon, sour cherry and lemon. This was slightly sharp, with a good Bourbon kick. I had Thyme for Pimms, which was thyme infused Bombay Sapphire gin, Pimms, raspberry and vanilla. It was sweet, fruity and boozy. Excellent.
From the Alchemist, we both had the Dead Red Zombie. This is Barcadi Carta Blanca Rum, Wray and Nephews, Grand Marnier, lime, pineapple, cranberry, zombie mix (whatever that is) and smoke. The smoke comes from a healthy dollop of dry ice, and I assume the zombie mix was what was making the drink slightly glittery. This wasn’t anywhere near as strong tasting as I expected, and was the standard Alchemist theatrics over flavour, but it was pleasant enough.
Of course there was going to gin involved. From Primitivo I had a Gin and Tonic with Pink Grapefruit. Super refreshing and a great pick to round off all the eating and drinking.
As always, there was plenty to watch too, with a full programme of live music and cooking demos. There was the usual herd of eclectic street performers too, including giant bubble blowing, these pigeons, and people dressed as hedges. Naturally.
So Colmore…what’s on next year?
The festival is free to attend. All food and drink was paid for in full by ourselves. All words, images and opinions are my own.