Saturday, 25 April 2015

Lunch at The Edwardian Tea Rooms

Meeting up with friends the other weekend in Birmingham city centre, we all put our thinking caps on with regards to where we could eat that would accommodate a vegetarian, a pescetarian, somewhere that would suit us and my friend’s teenage daughter, be easy on the pocket and yet have a little bit of ‘wow factor’ attached.  So we decided to give The Edwardian Tea Rooms in the Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery a try.

It is a delightful little haunt which you access via the art gallery floor and through the museum shop (and yes, walking through, it does guilt trip you into thinking how you should visit more often!).
Edwardian Tea Rooms Interior

In recent times, it has been given a make-over both in terms of décor and menu offerings and I’d heard of its good reputation through the grapevine so I anticipated that lunchtimes could be  busy.  So bearing this in mind, we arrived early on the dot of 12pm only to find that everyone else had the same idea too!

Not to worry, we scouted round to find a table of 4 vacating so in a smiley yet predatory way, we waited, exchanged a few pleasantries then got ourselves comfy before anyone else spotted it.  We were also in a good position for a bit of people-watching and to be able to take-in the beautifully painted ceilings and artwork on the walls.
Portobello Mushrooms & Potatoes with Blue Shropshire Cheese,
Red Onion Chutney & Salad

Taking a look at the standard menu and the specials, the others ordered pots of tea with bacon sandwiches, an all-day breakfast and filled jacket potato whilst I had the vegetarian main course of Portobello Mushrooms & Potatoes with Blue Shropshire Cheese, Red Onion Chutney and Salad. Everyone commented that they enjoyed their lunch choices and with regards to my meal, the red onion chutney and Blue Shropshire cheese with their respective contrasts in flavour worked well against the other meal components, especially the chutney against the mushroom.  Whilst quite a basic arrangement overall, it certainly satisfied the lunchtime pangs and would be something I would have again for a lunchtime fix. 
Tea for One

All in all, the menu gave a run-of-the-mill/crowd-pleasing selection with some stalwart favourites including a few vegetarian options.  It was great for what we needed and the timeframe that we had, and in general, I feel the food and venue would appeal to a wide demographic.
Wall Art in the Tearooms

Finishing off our lunches we noted the atmospheric, bubbly hum of noise and witnessed the rest of the lunchtime punters ready to leave with a new wave of arrivals awaiting their afternoon tea.   
Balcony & Ceilings of the Tearooms

I would definitely recommend a visit to the Edwardian Tea Rooms, perhaps teamed up with a visit to one of the many fabulous exhibition events on at the gallery. 

After all, a little coffee, cake and culture is good for the soul in so many ways………..

Friday, 17 April 2015

Food & Genealogy for Warwickshire Life

On the back of my Food Roots Interview feature,  I have taken some time to continue exploring the concept of food and its links to genealogy.

Take a look at my latest article for Warwickshire Life, enjoy a little food history and perhaps gain the inspiration to discover your own food roots!

Easter Basket ready for blessing
before Ukrainian Easter

Paska - Eaten during Ukrainian Easter

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Marmalade Birmingham

The Rep Bar is how I knew it back in the 1990’s.  I used to hear about it every Monday at college as the girls I knew back then were obsessed about the city’s footballers that used to frequent there on a Saturday night.   That’s how I remember The Rep Bar.

Fast-forward 23 years and its reincarnation as Marmalade is a welcomed addition to Birmingham’s food scene.

Part of the Bitters & Twisted Group, which has already given a facelift to a number of Brummie haunts, Marmalade offers the full monty from pre-theatre drinks to full dining menus.

Packed to the rafters before the 7:30pm showing of ‘The King’s Speech’ (with the wonderful Jason Donovan!), my carnivourous husband and I had a cheeky little drink before curtain up and took the opportunity to take a look around.

We witnessed a buzzing atmosphere, eclectic décor, great cocktail list and a really tempting, contemporary food menu with lots of vegetarian dishes that made me go “mmmmmmm…..”

Mediterranean Vegetable Crumble, Tofu, Roast Tomato Sauce, Spinach & Figs or Roast Aubergine, Lentil, Feta, Basil Leaves, Chickpeas, Croutons, Curry Oil, Raisins, Shiitake Mushroom Salad are some examples available and receives a big thumbs up from me as a veggie. Such is my enthusiasm, I even gave a copy of Marmalade’s menu to the venue hired for my works event to show them how us veggies like to be catered for, highlighting we like something more exciting than gnocchi.  

So, we had a date with Jason Donovan that night, time was of the essence and we were only able to have a drink that night, but after enjoying our aperitif and mini-tour around, we agreed we’d return to sample the meals next time.  You know, the ones that made me go “mmmmmmm………”

Sunday, 5 April 2015

Bircher Muesli

The third in my Flahavan’s trilogy of #PerfectPorridge offerings, comes by way of a Bircher’s Muesli.

I'm quite late to the Bircher’s party, but I’ve always thought, “I must have a go at that” but I've never quite got round to it……….

Having my Flahavan’s porridge oats to hand, there is no excuse and I felt it's now time to get acquainted with all things Bircher’s!

So, what is Bircher’s Muesli?  Founded in the 1890’s in Zurich by Swiss Dr Bircher-Benner, he created a muesli that he felt offered his patients a recuperative boost.  The secret to which he believes was down to the apple juice and apple slices he used.   Apples he felt were a factor in his recovery from jaundice in younger years and he became zealous in his approach to using them.  Married up with other typical muesli ingredients, it became internationally known as Bircher’s Muesli and has increased in popularity within recent years.

Other than the apple elements, there are no hard or fast rules with how you make it, celebrity chefs such as Jamie Oliver and Yotam Ottolenghi have all furnished us with their versions, but a lot of it is down to personal preference and choice.

Here is my version, milk-free (as you may know I’m not a milk drinker per se), packed with a lot of my favourite things, it makes for a good low-GI breakfast and it will be something I shall enjoy eating over the Easter weekend!


Bircher Muesli

Serves one

75g-100g Flahavan’s Oats (quantity dependent on personal preference)

Apple Juice (approx.  half a mug's worth, but enough to cover the oats)

Half an apple (sliced)

2 tblsp Greek Yoghurt

2 tsp Chia Seeds
Other toppings as desired


  • Soak the oats in apple juice in a cereal bowl.  Cover in clingfilm. 
  • Leave overnight.
  • Stir the oats in the morning, add in apple slices and yoghurt.
  • Add the chia seeds and any other toppings.
  • Ready to eat!


           This post has been written following receipt of a #PerfectPorridge Breakfast Kit from Flahavan's Oats.    This is one of three posts.  This review was conducted honestly  without bias and I was not required to produce a positive review.  For further details of my PR policy, please see the Press, PR & Food Writing page of this website.