For someone who doesn’t eat meat, the fact that most restaurants now offer at least one veggie option is great news. Nothing, however, will beat the feeling you get when, in an exclusively vegetarian restaurant, you look at the menu and realise you can order ANYTHING. Such is the feeling in 1847, an independent veggie restaurant in the beautiful Great Western Arcade in Birmingham. When I’d been to review 1847 before, I found things a little hit and miss, so when I was invited back for a bloggers’ meal, I was interested to see what would be served up this time round. Read on to hear how the evening went…
Upon arrival, we were welcomed with a glass of fizz and shown the dining area upstairs. This set up suited far better than the main restaurant down-stairs, which has more of a cafe style and is slightly cramped. Garlic and smoked olives were already on the table, and we were soon brought out focaccia and hummus, which was gorgeous and fresh, and just enough to keep us going while we chose from the new menu. The servers on the evening were very friendly and helpful, and each course was brought out promptly. The menu itself is full of seasonal comfort flavours, such as parsnip, mushroom and blackberries.
To start, I went for the grilled baby gem lettuce, butternut, dates and ricotta. One thing I love about 1847 is that you can have a three course meal and yet remain feeling healthy and not overly indulgent. This dish however took it slightly too far; if you’re trying to prove, which owner Damien Davenport is, that vegetarian cuisine can be exciting and adventurous, maybe don’t serve up two pieces of lettuce on a plate. Don’t get me wrong, they were nice pieces of lettuce, and the whipped riccotta and dates helped lift the charred leaves – but I have to admit I would have been pretty disappointed had I paid £8.50 for the starter.
When my main came, however, things quickly improved. I ordered the spatzle, roast squash puree, smoked mushrooms and whipped feta. This was a hearty, comforting dish packed with rich, winter-y flavours. The spatzle (soft egg noodle) was something a little different, and provided a great base for the roast squash and feta. I wasn’t quite sure about the un-cooked mushrooms, however, and I couldn’t help thinking that the usual earthy quality of cooked mushrooms would have gone beautifully with this dish. That being said, I very much enjoyed this main, and would certainly order it again!
There were three choices for dessert on our specially prepared menu for the evening, and personal taste meant I opted for the least adventurous of the three: chocolate brownie, dehydrated chocolate mousse and soaked red wine blackberries. This was a gorgeous chocolate dessert, which had some great highlights that saved it from being a ho-hum chocolate brownie. The dehydrated mousse, which I at first couldn’t imagine, was crisp yet airy – like an aero but with the texture of honeycomb. The wine soaked blackberries and the basil garnish gave a nice contrast to the chocolate indulgence, and the brownie itself was spot on.
Overall, this visit to 1847 was a similar story to my first review – was it faultless? No. But was the overall experience a good one? Definitely. The new menu experiments with some interesting ideas, and the fresh, seasonal veg, gorgeous colours and flavours, and stunning presentation all add to the overriding sense of quality. 1847 is certainly worth a visit, and with mains ranging between £12.50 and £13.50, this quality is great value for money for a fine dining restaurant. Thank you to everyone at 1847 for having us, see you again soon!