Mouthwateringly good evening in Harborne
Many moons ago, we spent a leisurely afternoon at The Butchers Social devouring plates of incredible chicken wings, it’s fair to say that we were pretty upset to discover it was closing imminently and that the pop up would be no more. (Note: It has now reopened in Henley) Fast forward and needless to say it’s taken longer for us to go and visit it’s intended incarnation as the Harborne Kitchen.
Our party of six grabbed some drinks at the bar before taking to the table, I opted to try the homemade HK Honeycomb gin and whilst the barman repeatedly gave me a serving suggestion I chose to ignore it – he was right, I was wrong and my drink was far from desirable. Lesson learnt.
At the table we debated the menu options before settling for the 3-4 course menu for the table, as wine arrived (which turned out to be both delightfully good quality and affordable) we tucked into some snacks and bread- the highlight being crispy, salty fish skin with a bottle of vinegar spray.
Between us we sampled most of the menu, I opted to start with the baked celeriac with a dark, savory broth topped with pickled pear and an incredibly good gorgonzola mouse that lingered in the mouth. Jordan went for the confit chicken with artichoke, damson jam and hazelnut we opted to share our plates throughout meaning I got to sample the best of both worlds. Crispy skin, thick sticky jam and a light touch of jus with succulent chicken kicking off the meal with a symphony of flavour.
Moving on, I was instantly drawn to the hake and mussels. A large wedge of fish served with papery skin intact, pickled mussels with salsify accompanied by leek and potato sauce served at the table. Expertly cooked hake was tender and flaky, plump mussels were lightly pickled for balance. It’s the kind of dish that makes you pick up the last slice of bread to mop up the last drop of flavour clinging to the plate. On the other plate came a braised blade of beef that collapsed at the slightest suggestion of a pressure from the fork, a croquette of bone marrow both crispy yet buttery smooth and a slice of ox tongue providing the full range of meaty textures and flavours. Rounding off the dish was a silken smoked mashed potato , earthy salt baked beetroot and a touch of red wine sauce. Autumn has arrived and both dishes provided a warming, comforting introduction to the season without being too heavy or riding straight into the winter classics.
Moderate portion sizes, being sensible about the amount of extra snacks and bread consumed and what in all honesty is probably just indulgence we decided to both have the cheese plate and a dessert after all we were gifted a voucher as a wedding gift so we might as well make the most of it. Whilst we were expecting a traditional cheese board, this came served as a small sampler which though diminutive in size, packed an incredible amount of flavour in 3 mouthfuls of savoury goodness. Mature Cheddar, a light Camembert mousse and an aged Parmigiano were delicately served with the appropriate accompaniments.
Finishing off, I opted for the dark chocolate, Sichuan pepper and coffee- this was suitably rich and a perfect way to top off a good meal. It was velvety smooth and luscious without being too sweet. In contrast, the honey parfait with milk ice cream served as more of a sweet palate cleanser. Neither of them stayed on the plate long enough for us to remember to photograph them.
Dinner was excellent, amplified by the impeccable service that was both attentive yet not intrusive, the atmosphere laid back but still with a sense of occasion. The 6 course menu is probably more suited to us but as a larger group this worked perfectly as we were still the last ones to leave
175-179 High Street, Harborne, B.irmingham, B17 9QE.