Gas Street Social has been a great addition to Birmingham’s thriving food and cocktail scene and I was very happy to be invited to try out one of its most successful innovations, the social sharing plates. So yesterday I made a trip to Birmingham’s Mailbox to try out a selection of the dishes on the social menu.
The social plates are a range of dishes that are meant to be shared – sort of like tapas, but on a larger scale. The idea is that you choose a selection of dishes to share amongst a group, these can be from a vegetable, meat of fish selection. This is a great idea for lunch or a snack while you are enjoying a cocktail or two. A sharing plate could also be chosen as a starter before a main meal.
If you haven’t been to Gas Street Social before, the first thing I need to tell you is that the place looks great. It is bright and spacious, with a modern industrial feel that starts with the concrete floor that almost has a factory shop-floor look. With an open kitchen and a mixture of tables and booths, Gas Street has a look that invites you to come in. Friendly and pleasant front of house and waiting staff add to the warm vibe the place just gives off.
We were seated in a booth quite near to the kitchen and I started with a cocktail – my favourite Mojito. This compared well to the best of Mojitos – lots of flavour and plenty of mint. My husband Pete just had a coke has he was driving, but the addition of a carafe of water for the table was a nice touch too, especially as there was no need to ask for it first.
We chose a selection of plates from the social plates menu. On Sunday’s these cost just £4 each which is a real bargain – 5 plates costing just £20, so two people can dine for £10 each! From the vegetarian selection we chose 3 dishes:- the Bruschetta, the Sweet Potato Cake and the Tempura Vegetables. From the meat we chose GSS Meatballs and a Social Scotch Egg, and from the fish menu we chose Mini Fish and Chips.
The Brushchetta was delicious, lovely thick bread topped with avocado and sun-dried tomatoes. There was also a quails egg which I removed but Pete said was runny and delicious. I’m a real fan of avocado, and loved the fact that the topping was plentiful – this is best eaten with a knife and fork as it could get messy.
The sweet potato cake was unusual, with a slight undertone of chilli on the first bite that was then balanced with natural yoghurt. I loved this plate, it was one of my favourites, and I would definitely choose this again.
Without doubt, our favourite plate was the tempura vegetables. I love tempura anyway, but adding curried spice tempura to cauliflower, broccoli and mange tout is just a masterstroke. The batter was just crispy enough and the curry was flavoursome. Combined with a paneer and minted yoghurt dip, this was a plate I could order over and over again and never get bored with.
The Scotch Egg was Pete’s choice – Eggs are one of my pet hates, but Pete adores them, and totally loved this. A large egg cut in two, the outside was crispy, with a lovely flavour of black pudding coming through. The addition of beer ketchup gave this the perfect accompaniment. The second meat dish was the GSS Meatballs. These were served with hearty foccacia that was definitely needed to mop up the hearty tomato sauce. The meatballs themselves were really tasty, succulent pork and beef with just the right amount of seasoning to avoid the blandness that I often find with meatballs.
Our final choice was the delicious fish and chips. With minted peas and tartare sauce, this was the traditional favourite done really well – crispy batter and thick cut chips that were fluffy and soft on the inside. This is a decent sized portion too – you could easily choose this one for yourself as a light bite lunch.
The social sharing plates at Gas Street Social are a great way to try new things that you might not order as a full sized meal, and to make your meal a real social occasion – sharing is such a social activity.
Gas Street Social can be found at 166-168 Wharfside Street, The Mailbox, Birmingham B1 1RL
TEL: 0121 643 0362