Tapas extravaganza for a weekday Birthday feast in the quiet streets of Edgbaston
The Birmingham food scene continues to expand into Edgbaston, bringing much needed dining options to the affluent local market. Whilst longstanding residents Simpsons cater for the higher end consumer, El Borracho offers a mix of affordable dining options combined with an array of exceptional dishes that bring an air of indulgence to the menu.
As big chains such as Las Iguanas expand in the city centre, a more refined, authentic option can be found in this more personable venue. The decor is laced with original pieces in fitting with its traditional styling and whilst replicating the vast range of regional delicacies will always need to be balanced with the tried and tested plates known by holidaymakers it blends those well known favourites with some more unusual items to hold the attention of the more experienced diner.
Relaxed service suits the tapas style dishes and languid atmosphere but whilst we relish the opportunity to sit back and relax over a G&T (it was my birthday after all..) its clear the that some of the diners are not accustomed to this style of dining as they fidget and whisper with impatience.
As our table began to fill with small plates, a bowl of well seasoned fried padron peppers were the first to fall victim to our hunger only to be rapidly followed by Croquetas de Jamon, oozing with thick, rich bechamel and hunks of soft ham. Typical menu staples of piquant meatballs with salsa, Patatas Bravas slathered in aioli and Gambas al Ajillo dripping with butter were all commendable if not a little predictable. As expected the highlights of the meal were those selected from the primary menu, Conejo a la Catalana – Rabbit with apricots,raisins,pine nuts & spinach sang with notes of sweet sticky Marsala although it was eaten with caution to avoid the irritation of tiny bones. Standing head and shoulders above the rest of the dishes came Carrillera de Tenera- melting beef cheeks swathed in a deep red wine sauce and a generous helping of mashed sweet potato
After whiling away a good few hours over tapas the natural conclusion to a meal is inevitably churros- soft, fluffy and dipped in an unforgivingly indulgent bitter chocolate sauce it is far superior to any birthday cake in my opinion. Perking up with a speedy espresso and returning to the normal place of life, we had already began planning our return visit before we were out of the door- after all, the discovery of two ‘pre-order’ dishes including a whole roast suckling pig is an opportunity not to be missed, especially so close to home