Last month Joe and I took a trip to Birmingham as a belated birthday present for his 31st Birthday. As we were stopping a night in the gorgeous Rotunda Apartments (take a look at my pictures and a virtual tour!) I booked us in to Adam’s – a Michelin Star restaurant on Bennetts Hill for their 9 Course Tasting Menu with Wine Flight. Fancy.
After our visit to Heston’s last year we were keen to get stuck into another Michelin establishment and surprisingly with the amount of times we eat out on this blog neither of us had ever experienced a tasting menu which made our visit was even more exciting. Adam’s is an intimate fine dining experience with space for up to 25 guests which opened in 2013 headed up by Adam Stokes and his wife Natasha. After just 6 months of opening Adam’s was awarded its Michelin star and became the fourth of only three restaurants in Birmingham to hold the award.
We were one of the first tables in at 7:30 on Saturday night which was a little strange as it was so quiet with no background music to break the silence, but we soon distracted ourselves with the drinks menu and chitter chatter over the beautifully elegant and simple decor of the room. Aware we had a lot of wine ahead of us we opted for a simple Elderflower Champagne Cocktail (£15) and a Pint of Two Towers Pale Ale (£5.50) to sip while taking in the beauty of this intimate restaurant. To go with our freshly baked bread selection (White, Wholegrain and Rye if I remember correctly) there was Hand Patted Lincolnshire Butter and Slightly Smoked Pork Fat (served on a stone) – a lovely addition although hard to resist filling up on when you knew you had 9 courses coming your way.
Beetroot Meringue with Goats Cheese
As an amuse-bouche before our tasting menu came out we had four little treats from the house which started with a rather beautiful Beetroot and Goats Cheese Meringue – heavenly. Bite-sized and sweet with super smooth cheese and impossibly light meringue. I’m tempted to have a go at making these myself or turning them into a savoury macaroon…leave that with me.
Mussel with Coriander and Lime
Served on a bag of cleaned mussel shells we were next presented with a lone mussel with coriander and lime – simple yet refreshing and a great taste bud tantalizer.
Beef Carpaccio with Miniature Egg Yolk
I’m a big carpaccio fan so this was right up my street – delicately flavoured with a creamy hit from the miniature egg yolks on top of our spoon. I would have loved this as a main course, it was heavenly and one that I still think about now during my food infused daydreams of meals gone by!
Tempura Prawns with Warm Bearnaise Mayonnaise
Personally i’m not usually a fan of tempura batter I was pleasantly surprised by this snack – meaty, crisp and not in the slightest bit oily it was a real hit for me. Dipped in that warm and creamy Bearnaise sauce it was an absolute dream and again I could have eaten it as a full course on it’s own.
Cauliflower, Eel, Apple | Paired with 2013 Riesling Qba Trocken, Reichsrat von Buhl Pfalz, Germany
Our 1st course was a spicy and succulent eel dish with a slight curried taste. It was smoky and quite simply delicious with the apple and our German wine pairing was fantastic complimenting but also cutting through the spices in the dish without over powering any elements. A very strong start indeed.
Asparagus, Girolle, Ash | 2013 La Nuit Blanche, Dom. Sainte Rose Cotes de Thongue, France
For the 2nd course we were treated to soft asparagus topped with a smokey ash which was strange but alluring and incredibly tasty. Paired with an almost whisky-ish French white,it was a strong pairing that made for a smokey yet still very light dish. Really intriguing.
Our 3rd course was one of my favourites with Queen Scallops in a fiery marinade served with hearty carrots making for a very well-balanced dish. Our Chilean wine was quite sweet which paired excellently with the spice in the scallops and again didn’t overpower the delicate flavours that came through on the plate.
By this point most of the other tables had filled up and there was a soft murmur of people talking and forks on plates to cover the initial silence of the restaurant. The staff were incredibly polite and trained to a high standard with great knowledge of the food and wine, never taking their eyes off our table making sure we got everything we could need.
A strange discovery was that Adam’s only has one bathroom which made us a feel a little like we were back at school having to ask permission to go! As there are so little covers however we weren’t waiting too long and the waiters kindly and very discreetly explained to us when the bathroom was vacant again. Overall the atmosphere in Adam’s was incredibly relaxed and serene, similar to being at a spa but with a lot more wine and a better lunch!
Our 4th course had so much flavour it took us back a little on first bite. Like Willy Wonka’s Roast Dinner in a chewing gum this dish tasted like a full pork Sunday roast in a mouthful and it was absolutely beautiful. Tender pork, creamy turnip and a fiesty mustard to garnish, I absolutely loved this dish. Elegantly and surprisingly balanced with the light and fruity Sicilian red I was deep in my happy place with course number 4, well done Adam’s.
Duck Heart, Broad Beans, Fennel | 2011 Blaufrankisch, Hopler, Burgenland, Austria
For the 5th we were presented with duck hearts, broad beans and fennel which was incredibly buttery and rich. A little too much for me but Joe’s favourite dish – this is a total contrast to the previous course and really kicks the tasting menu fully into the main course category. The wine however, a flavourful Australian red was fabulous and did pair well with the rich flavours on our plates.
Lamb ‘n’ Onions | 2011 Licis, Franck Massard, Ribeira Sacra, Spain
The 6th course was the last of the ‘mains’ with Lamb and Sweetbreads in a powerful and tasty jus. The lamb was crispy, rich and tender, like a lamb pork belly but the sweetbreads just weren’t for me. Again it was amazing how much flavour was packed into such a small tasting dish and how well the wine went with the food in front of us.
Potato, Caramalised Yoghurt, Macadamia Nuts
7th was a palette cleanser dish designed to bridge the gap between savoury and sweet courses. Made up of a potato and caramelised yoghurt-like ice cream is was very odd indeed and although we understood the concept it just wasn’t for us. It did however do the job and led us into the dessert courses perfectly.
Can we just take a moment to look at our 8th course a little bit longer and appreciate its delicate and indulgent beauty? A dark chocolate mousse with lovage and salted caramel we were both in absolute heaven with this dish. Dark and rich with just enough salted caramel to add a naughty sweetness to the smooth chocolate and a hint of basil-like herb from the lovage and sorrel took this dish to another level for me. The Aleatico wine was my favourite from the wine flight and I could have happily enjoyed it on its own but with this dessert it was absolutely divine – a triumph of a course.
Last but not least, our 9th course was a strawberry and hibiscus plate with almond nougat-like strands. Fresh and light after our chocolate last course it was served with an English Demi-Sec Champagne that was surprisingly delicious and made for a fantastic take on a true British classic pairing – the perfect final course to our epic meal.
Milk Chocolate with Caramalised Orange and Dark Chocolate with Rose and Raspberry
Adam’s pushed us to try new and incredible flavours without going over the top with the gourmet experiments making for an exquisite dining experience. We left feeling excited about what we’d eaten and full to the brim of rich flavours and beautiful wine without a doubt in our minds that every single penny we’d handed over for our evening was well spent. Our bill came to just shy of £330 (£165 each) for two tasting menus at £80pp, two wine flights at £55pp, £7.50 for two large still bottles of water and our aperitifs plus a well-deserved service charge.
Adam’s tasting menu isn’t something you’ll be eating every weekend but for a special occasion I couldn’t recommend a better place to go in Birmingham. With faultless service and impressive but accessible gourmet dining we thoroughly enjoyed our evening and will certainly be back to experience Adam’s food again.
You can find out more about Adam’s and book a table on their website here.
Have you visited Adam’s before? What did you think of the menu?
Tweet me @xameliax or leave a comment below #adamsrestaurant
Looking for somewhere to stay for your visit to Adam’s? Take a look at my review of The Rotunda Birmingham just 5 minutes walk from the restaurant.
21a Bennetts Hill,