Last week saw the opening of Nosh and Quaff, a much anticipated independent restaurant specialising in lobster and cold beer. As it is the new venture of Lasan‘s head chef Aktar Islam, foodies across Birmingham have been expecting big things. I was invited to the launch event before the restaurant officially opened to try the ‘nosh’ on offer and find out whether such high expectations would be met. Read on to find out what we made of the place!
The first thing that hits you about Nosh and Quaff is the vision and image of the eatery – which is unlike anything else is Birmingham. A far cry from Lasan, Nosh and Quaff is all about down-to-earth grub, summed up in their tagline #LetsGetMessy. When seated you are presented with a napkin and a bib, and cutlery is only provided when asked for. This makes for a cool and relaxing vibe, and there was definitely a tangible buzz at the launch event. The only thing that took the edge off this ethos was the décor. The lobster-red leather seating and industrial light fittings were just as you’d expect and looked great, however it jarred with the classical surroundings of the grade 2 listed building. Also, this may well be the pickiest point I have ever made in a review, but I really wasn’t appreciating the double-denim-disaster uniform of the servers!
Before I get started on what we made of the food, I’m going to get the night’s negativity out of the way. Quite frankly, the service was not up to scratch. We were sat at a table with no menus and weren’t brought them for a while, our drinks order was forgotten about until another server had to come and see if we’d ordered, only then after a good while later for a different server to bring over the wrong order. The food wasn’t any better, as we had been sat at our seats for nearly an hour and a half before anything was put in front of us and again, it was the wrong order. When the right order did come it was quite simply cold, but we didn’t send it back as we were just so glad to have some food! That being said, I think these mishaps shouldn’t worry anyone thinking of going to Nosh and Quaff too much – it was an incredibly busy launch event and the servers were a brand new team who understandably hadn’t settled in yet – on a normal night I’m confident these kinds of things will have been ironed out, and the staff were very apologetic.
Now for the exciting stuff: the food! The boyf and I ordered a lobster and the truffled Mac and Cheese burger and decided to split them in half and share. Unfortunately I was a pretty shoddy blogger, as since we were so starving by the time the food came I completely forgot to take photographs of the presentation in all it’s glory – but take my word for it, it looked awesome. The lobster really blew us away. Served in two halves with a garlic and lemon butter dipping sauce it really was the star of the show. Though the sauce was divine, the tender lobster meat could easily speak for itself and was grilled to perfection. The mac and cheese burger was gorgeous, stacked with abalone mushroom, watercress and pickled shallots. As a veggie, it was great to have a veggie burger option that we’d never had before, and it was safe to say no bean burger could ever compare.
The mains were served with chips, a (pretty pointless and undressed) salad, and for sides we ordered sweet potato fries and even more macaroni cheese. The mac and cheese was served with chives and was well seasoned and the chips went down a treat. We’d both had better sweet potato fries, but overall the spread in front of us at Nosh and Quaff was as good as we’d hoped, and we’d recommend it to anyone. The Boyf went for the whole Nosh and Quaff shebang by washing down his lobster with one of the many craft beers on offer, and confirmed that his choice of a Samuel Adams was the perfect accompaniment to his food.
We were also big fans of the dessert. In a number of my recent reviews I’ve been sorry to report that the dessert was an average end to a good meal, but I’m pleased to say this was not the case at Nosh and Quaff. The Boyf and I went for the sharing sundae, which was a classic combo of beautiful chocolate, strawberry and vanilla homemade ice-cream, served with frozen berries and selection of toppings such as meringue pieces, chocolate crumbs and flaked almonds. If you have a sweet tooth then the chocolate sauce is an absolute winner, and finished the already lush dessert spot on.
Overall, I can say with confidence that Nosh and Quaff is the exciting addition to the Birmingham food scene that we had all hoped it would be. Though the servers struggled under the pressure of the launch event, this was quickly forgotten once we’d tasted the awesome food and I can only imagine it will take them a matter of days to properly get into their groove. Nosh and Quaff is right at the end of Colmore Row where it meets Victoria Square, and they also do a limited take-away menu if you fancy treating yourself to a fancy lunch on the go. Thanks so much to the lovely lot at Nosh and Quaff for inviting me down, we can’t wait to go back and have it all over again!
*The food and drink at the Nosh and Quaff launch event was served complimentary. This does not affect my honest opinion.