Thursday, July 16, 2009

Simpsons Restaurant, Birmingham

Even after our meal at Mesana in Marbella, I was still obsessed with Michelin-star restaurants. So, when Hubby got a promotion at work, we had a reason to celebrate and what better place to celebrate than a Michelin restaurant! :-)

In 2007, only 2 restaurants in the Birmingham area held a Michelin star - Jessica's and Simpsons. (For more information about Michelin-star restaurants in the United Kingdom, click here) We chose to dine at Simpsons since they were voted as the 'Best Restaurant in Birmingham'.

We made reservations a week in advance and were lucky to get a table for Saturday lunch. The place was filled with patrons when we arrived. We got a table right next to the open kitchen (yay!), so I got to watch the chefs at work. Since we didn't get to try the tasting menu at Mesana, we decided to try the 7-course tasting menu here for £65 per person. Hubby ordered a bottle of white wine to go with the food (can't remember the price but it was something stupid like £40)

Executive chef, Luke Tipping at work

Our first course (starter) - Hand dived scallops, cep compote, pumpkin purée, cep foam. I loved this dish, the combination of scalops with the cep compote and pumpkin puree was nice, but I have to say the foam didn't do much for the dish.
Second course - Fillet of red mullet, fennel and artichoke barigoule, lentils du Puy, green beans, sauce épicée. I am not a fan of beans or lentils but it went quite well with the red mullet.

Third course - Seared duck foie gras, roast banana, pain d’épice, banana purée. This was my first time tasting foie gras, so I didn't know what to expect. Lots of people rave about foie gras. But it wasn't my cup of tea although it had a nice velvety texture (maybe because I knew it was liver).

Fourth course - Roast Anjou pigeon, smoked pancetta and potato terrine, quince purée, savoy cabbage, juniper berry sauce. Really lovely dish, the pigeon was cooked to perfection.

Fifth course - Salad of poached and raw pear, fourme d’ambert, walnuts, honey and balsamic dressing. I liked the combination of cheese and poached pear.

Sixth course - Chocolate tart, red wine plums, Ceylon cinnamon ice cream. The tart was a bit too dry, but the ice-cream was reallyyyyy delicious!

Freebie - Doughnut with raspberry coulis and pistachio. Tasted like a doughnut.

Last course - Dessert delight palate. I liked the macaron the best and Hubby liked the fudge.

For those of you who do not wish to spend so much for lunch but would still like to have a Michelin experience here, then try their set lunch menu (3 courses for £30.) The Simpson's restaurant is a restaurant-cum-hotel so if you have had too much to drink and do not fancy driving home, then you can choose from one of the 4 bedrooms available.

Beware when dining at UK Michelin restaurants! A discretionary service charge is added to the final bill, in this case 12.5%!

Comfort: Relaxed setting in a lovely Grade II listed mansion.
Service: Excellent service.
Price: Expensive. Our total bill came to around £250.
Food: 9.5/10. Really great tasting food! Classic French cooking.
Location: Simpsons Restaurant, 20 Highfield Road, Edgbaston, Birmingham, B15 3DU


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