Sunday, 25 February 2018

Review: Bulgarian Village Kitchen

Having never quite found agreeable flight times from Birmingham to Bulgaria for a holiday, I recently decided to sample a little of Bulgaria in Birmingham instead.

Quite the new(ish) joint in town, Bulgarian Village Kitchen could easily be missed.  Nestled unassumingly in the building opposite the side of the Alexandra Theatre in the city centre (where the old Bierkeller used to be in the '90s), you could miss it, especially as it isn't where the main footfall trails are.

So our little Saturday luncheon affair for the girls commenced with my Mother and two of our friends fighting through blustery winds and rains to get there and we were pleased to be greeted by central heating and Bulgarian pop music.  All of us being of Slavic heritage and fans of Eurovision, the music set the mood, we instantly felt akin with the place.  

We took in our surroundings of Bulgarian crafts and object d'art, pointing things out to each other and although it wasn't amazingly busy, we waited a little while to receive our menus and drinks.

The drinks menu had a number of Bulgarian spirits and liqueurs present as well the usual wines, beers etc but the soft drinks menu was quite basic.

The menu reflects Bulgarian fayre (obviously), but would benefit from more description and explanation.  Our waitress (who was exceptionally friendly and helpful I have to say), gave us more information about each dish and pointed out the vegetarian ones for me and one of our friends who is also veggie.  She also brought out her phone and showed us photos of some of dishes to help us depict what we were interested in.  

Some items need to perhaps feature an accurate English description to avoid confusion.  For instance, the items described as 'pastries' are actually more in the style of flatbread pizzas, whereas by calling them pastries, it gave us the initial impression of them being more pie based, so it is worth discussing items with the staff before you order.

Our two friends both had the Traditional Bean Soup and Mum and I shared a Kypolou Salad (mashed roasted aubergine, red peppers, tomatoes, onion and parsley), with a Garlic Pastry (aka flatbread).  They both commented that their soup was delicious, filling and hearty.  Our Kypolou was tasty with good flavour and upon the suggestion by the waitress, it was enhanced by a drizzle of olive oil.  The flatbread went perfectly with it.  A big portion for one person as a starter, but ideal for two.

All of us gravitating towards the same, Mum and one of our friends had the Chicken Vreteno and us two vegetarians had the Shopski Claypot (mine without egg).  

The consensus was the chicken dish would've benefited from some vegetables to accompany it or at least the recommendation of some to be ordered as the dish was delivered as just chicken in a sauce.  There were tiny elements of mushroom and carrot in the sauce but it was thought by both that they would be present as whole vegetables.  Oh well.

The Shopski Claypot was cutely presented in a rustic handicraft style painted pot and was nice and hot.  Like a vegetable stew with feta, it was hearty, flavoursome but with hindsight, I would've ordered some more bread or potatoes to go with it to capture the juices.

This is a nice niche restaurant and great to see something different in the city.  In a similar vain to The Karczma, it offers a cosy Eastern European village dining experience and you'll get more out of your visit there once you become au fait with the menu.  

And in the meantime, I'm still waiting for those flight times to Bulgaria to become more convenient....


Note:    I funded all costs for the meal myself with it being my choice to blog about my experience.  The venue was not  informed that I was visiting or aware that they were being reviewed.