A few weeks ago a message landed in my Instagram inbox from my friend Scott, asking, “So when are you coming to review my new place?”. Seeing as ‘my friend Scott’ is Scott of Scott’s of Harborne, the new cafe-bar causing some serious buzz, I rounded up the blog squad and we headed over to test out some tapas.
We’ve all seen Scott’s plant-filled cafe all over Instagram. It’s a small space, but it’s bright and light, with pale wood, white tiles, and piles of greenery. There’s one long communal table to encourage sharing and sociability, and there are smaller tables either side for couples or solo diners. There’s plenty of plug sockets too, so you can settle in with your laptop.
The bar at the back is piled high with cake, and you can sit back and watch your drink being made.
I ordered a Strawberry Gin Mojito, which arrived looking gorgeous in a gin balloon glass, packed with fruit and topped with pretty paper straws. It was sweet and fruity, without totally overpowering the gin, and was a prefect refreshing treat for the warm weather.
As well as a gin menu, Scott’s also has a decent wine selection, and serves coffee made with beans from Quarter Horse.
As usual, we ordered a huge amount of food, and demolished the lot. Scott’s menu is divided into brunch (available all day), sandwiches, a soup of the day, and a tapas menu. We went for the tapas as Scott’s is all about sharing. The tapas menu is split into sections by price, and is incredibly reasonable.
Marinated Olives (£3.95) were salty, juicy and well paired with pickles, which I always love. The Fried Squid (£5.95) comes with Aioli, and was a stand-out dish. The squid was clearly very fresh, with not a hint of rubber. It was lightly fried, and delicious.
Courgette Fritters (£4.95) were an unexpected highlight. Scott recommended them as his own personal favourite item on the menu and I can see why. Slices of courgette are fried and somehow transform into magical bites of deliciousness that you’ll want to eat by the handful.
The Sundried Tomato and Goat’s Cheese Tart (£4.95) was flaky, melty cheese perfection. I always think of Patatas Bravas (£4.95) as the test of good tapas. I’ve had many a disappointing dish with over and under cooked potatoes with bland tomatoes dumped over the top. Not so at Scott’s! The generous portion of potatoes were crispy, fluffy inside and smothered in a rich tomato sauce with a gentle kick of spice.
A dish of Grilled Aubergine, Courgette and Peppers in Chilli, Lemon and Mint Vinaigrette (£4.95) was also a massive portion, with tasty, fresh veg. The Cured Meats Board (£5.95) was also a crowd pleasure, with a good selection of meats, joined by more of those tasty olives.
The Lamb Koftas (£5.95) are studded with pine nuts and were full of flavour. We loved the accompanying creamy hummus, and warm flat breads too. The only misstep for us was were the Chicken Wings (£5.95). They were nice enough, marinaded in Honey & Ginger and Chilli, Mint & Lime, but just didn’t stand up to the high quality of everything else.
The Gambas (£5.95) are huge prawns, cooked in a delicious garlic and paprika sauce. I’d have liked a few more prawns just for ease of sharing, but the portion is more than reasonable for the price. The prawns were gorgeous, with plenty of garlic, and soft Peel and Stone bread on the side to soak up the sauce.
Scott’s also make fresh cakes on site, with an ever rotating selection of treats. Scott brings us a slice of Victoria Sponge and Carrot Cake which are both beautiful. The Carrot Cake is truly exceptional, and may be one of the best I’ve ever had.
When you know the owner, it’s hard to be subjective about the service! What I can say is that Scott loves this place; he’s designed the sort of place he wants to hang out in, with a menu themed on food he likes. He was very keen to get out feedback and was full of ideas for further menu and recipe tweaks to come.
Watching his staff with other customers, it’s clear that a warm welcome is the norm at Scott’s, with friendly service and nothing too much trouble.
I’m moving in. The food was exceptional, and it’s insanely good value. Next time I’ll be back in for coffee and another slice of that insane cake. GO now and eat half the menu. If you have an Independent Birmingham Card you can get 15% off food and hot drinks.
I was a guest of Scott’s of Harborne, so food and drinks were complementary for the purpose of honest review. All words, images and opinions are my own.