Beefeater Spring Menu Review – Longford House

Beefeater have this week launched their spring menu, combining old favourites with new combinations and dishes. Last night I took my boys along to sample some of the new dishes and the hospitality of my local Beefeater Grill, which is situated in the beautiful Longford House in Cannock. Once again, we were impressed by the quality of the dishes, both in terms of presentation and flavour, and also really looked after in terms of service from all the staff.

The new menu has specially selected dishes with a spring flavour. Healthy, lighter options are becoming more popular, and the Beefeater menu has taken this into account, adding a range of new salads that combine meat and poultry with traditional leaves and dressings.

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There are also a range of new starters on the list, and after our lovely waitress had recommended the Pork and Beef Koftka,  Pete chose this (I decided to go for a dessert instead as I knew I wouldn’t manage three courses.) The Koftka smelt divine, a great mixture of meat and spices, and was authentic in it’s Greek styling. Served with a warm flatbread, crunchy Greek salad and a yoghurt, cucumber and mint dip, this was a delicious choice, brimming with flavour, not too heavily spiced and beautiful in its presentation. A definite hit.

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For mains, both myself and Pete decided to try the new salad options, which are featured on the tasty alternatives menu. Pete chose a new choice, the Beefeater Ultimate Steak Salad. This certainly lives up to its name, a hearty salad with slices of 6oz* chargrilled flat iron steak tossed with grilled peppers, courgette, red onion, mixed leaf salad, tomatoes and a French dressing. The steak was cooked perfectly (medium) and was a real sizeable portion – you certainly weren’t hunting around for bits of steak in this salad. There was plenty of dressing to give the salad real depth of flavour, and the mix of salad veggies worked really well. For £10.99, this is a real bargain, and at less than 500 calories this is for food saints not sinners.

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My salad choice is a favourite of mine that often proves to be a let down. The Chargrilled Chicken Ceasar Salad was delicious, with crispy Romaine lettuce leaves, a full sliced chicken breast that had been chargrilled to a gorgeous smoky flavour, and the unusual, but very tasty addition of Regato cheese, rather than the hard Parmesan that is sometimes used. The dish was plentiful, again the Ceasar dressing gave the dish a good coating that ensured flavour throughout. This is one of the best Ceasar salads I have tasted, and would definitely order again.

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We both accompanied our mains with a side order of Garlic King Prawns. Served in mini skillets, these were stunning in flavour with the garlic coming through beautifully. The garlic butter in the pan was so tasty I found myself mopping it up with chips – it was too good to waste. We also had a side of skinny chips. These can be ordered plain or spiced – we opted for spiced and they came with a great Paprika covering that was very appetizing and they soon disappeared. Luckily you can ask for refills on fries so another portion was swiftly devoured too.

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While we were enjoying the delights of the adult menu, Joe was sampling and enjoying the Mr Men and Little Miss Kids menu. This is one of the reasons I feel Beefeater is a great destination for family meals, the children’s menu offers real choice and the option for children to enjoy a three course meal with their parents – so many places fail to offer kid’s starters. Joe went for his favourites, garlic bread, Mr Perfect’s popin’ chicken, chips and beans, and the fabulous ice cream and sweeties desert. All were enjoyed, and the popin’ chicken in particular pronounced a hit.

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There was just time for a dessert, and I kept to the healthy theme by enjoying the lemon curd sorbet. This was lovely, a real palette cleanser that was light as a feather. The lemon was tasty rather than tangy, non of those pulled faces as the zest hits the throat. Another good sized portion, this is another desert I will definitely try again.

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The Beefeater at the Longford House hits all the right notes with the tasty new menu. With great, friendly service and knowledgeable recommendations from the staff when it comes to food, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Beefeater as a restaurant for good family food that is reasonably priced.

*We were given a voucher code for £50 to test drive dishes from the new menu, the remainder of the bill was paid by ourselves.

 

Strada Kids Party at the Birmingham Mailbox

Half term week had a special treat for Joe and I when we were invited to a special party at Strada in the Birmingham Mailbox. It was a lot of fun, with pizza making and activity packs for the children, and Prosecco and fine food for the adults. The children also got the chance to try dishes from the Strada Squad menu, a menu that has been specially approved by a panel of children acting as taste testers.

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Joe took a turn with the camera

Joe took a turn with the camera

The day started with the pizza making session. Pizza bases and a range of toppings were provided and the children all had great fun designing their own pizza. Joe was really happy to be one of the first to finish, using chicken, pepperoni, ham and cheese and tomato. It really did look delicious, and this was proved once it had been baked – he literally ate every morsel.

Waiting to make Pizza

Waiting to make Pizza

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Joe's pizza - ready for the oven

Joe’s pizza – ready for the oven

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Ready to eat.

Ready to eat.

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The adults weren’t left out when it came to food either. Strada has a daily set menu that offers two courses for £9.95 and three courses for £11.95. I chose the Chicken Liver Pate, which was a smooth pate that came on toast, with crispy Parmesan shavings. It was delicious, with the cheese adding a lovely flavour to the pate. I also liked that the pate was smooth – I struggle with the coarser varieties.

Delicious chicken pate

Delicious chicken pate

Enjoying a glass of fizz

Enjoying a glass of fizz

For our main courses, both Joe and I opted for steak. I was shocked that Joe was still eating, but he has the appetite of a horse lately, and really enjoyed his first experience of steak, which had been chargrilled. The steak was accompanied with French Fries which were lovely, well seasoned and crispy. My steak was a British Rump which came with skin on fries. I had it medium and really enjoyed it, especially teamed with the fries. The steak was a good quality cut, and was both tender and juicy.

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After two courses I was feeling rather full, but was really glad that I had chosen a dessert. I love Ice Cream, and often find it a great way to finish a meal, as it is light and refreshing. The Affogato though, is something I have never tried, vanilla ice cream drenched in a shot of hot espresso. The contrast, as the hot liquid falls on the freezing ice is just amazing, and when the ice cream starts to melt, the coffee creaminess is so delicious. Definitely something I would love to try again.

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Joe should’ve been all pizza’d out, but wanted his favourite dessert, the chocolate and hazlenut pizzetta, which is like a warm chocolate pizza. Due to eating so much, he wasn’t able to finish it, but loved the flavour and the fact that this is a dessert you can easily eat with your hands.

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We had a wonderful afternoon at the Strada party, the food was lovely, staff very friendly and helpful, and Joe loved the company of the other children. If you are looking for a family friendly restaurant where both kids and adults will be satisfied, check out your local Strada.

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“My entry for the Fire Label best dressed baking award.”

 

Reviewed – Handmade Burger Co. at Grand Central Birmingham

The arrival of Grand Central Birmingham has meant the opening of lots of new eateries, selling a wide variety of different cuisines. On Sunday I was invited to check out on of those restaurants, the Handmade Burger Co, which offers one of the biggest selections of burgers I have ever seen. So, after Joe had made his football debut for Wyrley Rangers, and we were all suitably starving after a morning on the footie touchline, we made our way to my new favourite shopping centre to try out the handmade Burgers of the Handmade Burger Co.

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The restaurant is another that has that slightly industrial feel to it, with a mixture of booths and tables. It could easily accommodate bigger groups due to larger tables at the back of the restaurant, and the general feeling is friendly and relaxed, but with a few added surprises along the way.

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We were shown to our booth and presented with the menus. We were offered both table or counter service and opted for table. The menus are fairly large, and so choosing your burger is a tough choice, they all sound so delicious and have so much variety. This is where the staff are so good, our waiter Mick was very knowledgeable about the burgers, and made recommendations based on our food preferences. Pete was really tempted by the Peanut Butter and Bacon, but eventually the promise of extra black pudding won out and he chose the local choice of the Black Country Burger, a burger put together for the Birmingham restaurant that supports local charity Help Harry Help Others. The Black Country burger is a handmade beef patty with the Black Country touch of adding Black Pudding.

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Both Joe and I chose chicken. Again, this was where the beauty of the Handmade Burger Co. revealed itself. We totally tailor made Joe’s burger, which is actually bun less on the menu. Joe wanted a bun and cheese, but no relish or salad. He wanted ketchup – but on the side, not on the burger. All of this was noted down and was no problem, so refreshing when you have a fussy child who knows exactly what he likes.

I was very torn on what to order, loving the sound of the honey mustard chicken, the sweet chilli and the Cajun burgers – I do like a little spice. In the end though I fell in love with the AMERICAN CHEESE which was made up of
Onion rings, Swiss cheese, handmade burger American mustard & gherkin relish, mayo, lettuce, tomato & red onion. I asked for the tomato to be removed, but otherwise left this as it is on the menu.

With the sides we opted again to add spice to the menu with 2 portions of chips, the Cajun chips and Denver Chips, and two portions of Peri Peri Onion Rings. Pete also ordered a small side salad – he would frankly eat salad with Sunday lunch if he was allowed.

With the food ordered we were treated to some rather special magic tricks by the super talented Alex Angell. His card tricks frankly left me flabbergasted and Joe mesmorised, and I was really impressed that Handmade Burger Co. would think of this sort of entertainment to make the wait for food just fly by. Alex is a superb magician and it was a pleasure to enjoy his trickery.

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And so onto the food. We didn’t wait too long even though the restaurant was quite busy, and the food looked absolutely amazing as it was presented at our table. The burgers are big, hearty portions that are a great mix of burger and sundries, relishes and salads. The Black Country burger was juicy, with the delicious beef patty perfectly balanced by the black pudding. The salad – lettuce, tomatoes, red onion, added lightness to what could be a very heavy choice. There were no complaints from Pete, he finished every single mouthful – praise indeed.

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My burger was equally delicious. A fresh chicken breast that had a slightly barbecued flavour from chargrilling, this was complimented by the delicious melted Swiss cheese. The creamy cheese could be sickly, but by adding American style pickles and mustard the balance is there for a perfect chicken burger. I loved this, each bite seemed to reveal a new flavour, each one deliciously tasty.

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Joe’s burger was also good because it was just how he liked it – no relish, no mayonaise, just chicken and a bun. That said, Joe totally tucked into the rather spicy sides – he totally loved the Peri Peri Onion rings that were gorgeous and crunchy and coated with a tangy Peri Peri salt. The Cajun chips were also fantastic, I loved the fact that they were crunchy and spicy on the outside, but the middle was totally soft and fluffy.

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Handmade Burger Co. burgers are wonderfully filling, and I had to say no to dessert. Joe however, always has room for dessert, and ordered the BRAMLEY APPLE PIE. Made from Vanilla ice cream, bramley apple compote, biscuit and topped with whipped cream, this was a sundae I was a little worried about – apple can be very tart and sharp. However, this was beautifully sweet and creamy, and probably tasted even better as Joe was able to create it! This was a gorgeous touch that made a little boy’s day.

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I really can’t recommend Handmade Burger Co. enough. The food is delicious, the choice is immense, the service is friendly and efficient, and the place is just so child friendly.

handmade burger Co. Grand Central
Grand Central Station
Upper Retail
Birmingham
B2 4BF
Tel: 0121 643 1621

Opening Hours:
Mon – Fri: 9am – 10pm
Saturday: 9am – 11pm
Sunday: 9am – 9pm