DINING DIGEST: 3 New Birmingham Dining Destinations
It’s all going on in Birming-yum writes DLUXE Dining correspondent Anita Champaneri.
REVIEW : CHAKANA
Peruvian cuisine comes to bohemian Moseley. Not in the form of some street food snack shack but from the talented hands of Chef Robert Ortiz. We learnt a lot when we popped in for dinner at the 60-cover restaurant on a cold Friday night, such as what Chakana means – an Incan cross which is an ancient symbol that represents the sun, land and sea, and promotes the idea of individuals living in harmony with each other and their surroundings (take note Brexiteers).
Making its home in a converted bank, they’ve actually turned the old vault into a private dining space. The design celebrates the earthy elements of South America, with textures and colours inspired by Peruvian weaving and textiles, paired with clean white walls and matt black hardware.
The bar staff (some formerly from the now defunct Nocturnal Animals) were very helpful with their suggestions. I kicked off with a robust and spicy glass of Argentinian Malbec – Casa Solera Bonarda.
I don’t think I have ever tried Peruvian cuisine and have only associated the country with the Incas, Machu Picchu and llamas!
The menu showcases a range of Ceviches, from salmon, tuna and sea bass to a vegetarian option of Green and White Asparagus with Kombu and Plankton Spuma. I had first tried ceviche on a plane to Mexico in my teens and thought nothing much of it. But these are beautifully prepared from fresh raw fish, cured in tiger’s milk. Not real tigers milk but Leche de tigre, the Peruvian term for the citrus-based marinade that cures the seafood in a ceviche usually flavoured with chilli.
The ebullient waitress talked us thought the menu giving us her advice and suggestions. She advised us to try several causas, a unique Peruvian starter, traditionally served cold as spiced potato terrines with a choice of ornate dressings. We tried the King Crab Causa – red potatoes, achiote mayonnaise, avocado and the Chicken Causa – yellow potato, aji chilli, spring onion. We struggled to decide which one we preferred, they both looked beautiful and tasted great. I didn’t even mind it being cold.
For mains we had the Carne option, the popular Confit Suckling Pig with Yucca Root, Majadito, and Charapita Chillies, which was amazing, although the octopus was even better – beautifully presented and popping with colour, taste and texture.
To sum up, Chakana is definitely Robert and his Technicolour Dream dishes.
CRAFT ENGLISH GARDEN SET TO BLOOM IN 2020
Launching in January 2020, the Craft English Garden will be a stunning garden terrace and inside dining room located on the Canalside at the ICC, and will sit alongside the well received Craft Dining Rooms.
The setting has been envisaged with nostalgia and childhood in mind and will specialise in afternoon tea and beautifully crafted gin and tonics, with over 32 British gins on offer – _from small batch gins to more recognised favourites, all customisable with a selection of Double Dutch tonics. The cocktail list will also embrace an English botanical theme, with deliciously vibrant and innovative creations garnished with hand-picked British ingredients.
Our favourite Italian chef Gino D’Acampo arrived in Brum looking like a Hell’s Angel and gave us a first look of his new restaurant on Temple Row, which I’m sure is his interpretation of Italian heaven.
Sat right next to The Ivy, the 165-cover restaurant, looks impressive. Guests are greeted by a striking 25m marble eat at cocktail bar. Flowing through into the beautiful open plan restaurant, guests get their first taste of the real Italian food on offer with the restaurant’s deli bar providing a mouth-watering visual feature although the photos of himself along the walls with his celebrity friends might not be to everyone’s liking…
A first look at the real-Italian menu promises something for everyone with meat eaters, lovers of seafood, vegetarians, vegans and those with a gluten intolerance all well provided for. We really enjoyed the seafood linguine and the Wild Boar Ragu – both big portions!
Bringing a further touch of Italian culture to the heart of Birmingham, every afternoon at the restaurant will see Aperitivo time, when guests can enjoy typical Italian nibbles called “Cicchetti” in the bar- all on Gino!