The Orangery

Lunchtime boozing in a beautiful new Redditch venture

Image taken from http://the-orangery.com/gallery/

I am guilty of avoiding going out in Redditch as much as I can, whilst my formative years were spent there, as an adult I find it increasingly dull and struggle to come up with any ideas for places to go and eat outside of a handful of tried and tested venues. The Orangery is fairly new and boasts an appealing brunch menu so seemed worth a visit to catch up with old friends.

The venue is incredible, beautifully decorated with quirky shaped spaces and soft lighting and an impressive conservatory style dining space. There is also an option to book a ‘Greenhouse Pod’ which sits among the sculpted gardens, imagine private dining in the Crystal Maze dome and you aren’t far off. I am quite a fan of brunch, to me it means a lie in and a bigger portion of food which is pretty much heaven. My excitement waned quickly when I realised that they only serve it on a Saturday and I was a day late. No pancakes for me= Sad face. The Sunday menu is smaller and having spent the morning dreaming of fluffy pancakes it was hard to get excited about the prospect of a Sunday lunch instead. The rest of the table ordered impressive looking roasts with real Yorkshire puddings and individual servings of braised red cabbage, green beans and carrots in cast iron dishes, although a couple opted for the Lentil and Squash Burger which by all reports was very good. In all honesty, we all had set out with the intention of having a big fry up or sweet treats so our enthusiasm was somewhat limited as I reminded myself to read the menus properly before making future bookings. Feeling uninspired, I opted for two starters instead of a main course and decided that Mozzarella & Sticky Figs would help satisfy the craving for something sweet and soft this was to be accompanied by Potted Beef Brisket, mainly because the piquant brightness of pickles is a small obsession of mine lately. Food service was slow but acceptable considering the number of diners present, we waited around 30 minutes to eat but I was starting to get twitchy by this point, if nothing else it prompted me to order an additional Elderflower Spritz to while away the time and catch up with friends. The mozzarella was of superb quality- fresh, soft enough to break between the fingers into glorious burrata-esque chunks and very delicate in flavour. Huge plump figs were swathed in sticky balsamic glaze and beautifully soft but would have tasted phenomenal had they been served warm, as a plinth on which the glorious cheese could melt. The plate was well dressed but the tomatoes slightly under ripe making them a touch too acidic and firm, with the herbs being a bit of a non-event, forgotten instantly. That cheese though….. I need more of that.

Too eager to get eating to take a proper photo of this…

On reflection, I wish I had queried the menu at the point of order as my expectation of a pot of dark, sticky beef with sharp pickles was a little off. Homemade crackers brought a waft of rosemary fragrance to the table and a satisfying snap as they were broken into small pieces to serve as miniature meat shovels. The brisket itself was mixed with the red cabbage tossed in a thin mayonnaise style sauce, the pickle was too strong for the meat itself and the proportions were off. The meat itself felt more like leftovers from Sunday lunch that had been pulled into small strips and fashioned into an odd, faux coleslaw instead of a small part of a braised joint as I had expected. An afterthought of chopped lettuce and a pot of piccalilli heavy with mustard finished off the dish. It wasn’t bad, it just wasn’t good enough.

To cheer myself up (and because after two glasses of Elderflower Fizz at lunch time I am more impulsive) I ordered a Chocolate tart with Amaretto Cream. I was expecting a pastry or biscuit base but this was much lighter and almost sponge like, which provides some much needed relief from the slab of dense,dark, chocolatey goodness atop it. A light, fluffy cream spiked with a hint on amaretto made for a satisfying pairing but the addition of a crunchy, brittle texture would have been welcomed.

A bit of a mixed experience but there is certainly plenty of potential, the venue adds a sense of occasion often not found in the town where 2 Wetherspoon’s sit within walking distance of each other. Great staff and I am already trying to find a free Saturday so I can go and test out the brunch menu as originally intended.

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