50 issues. No biggie.

CARTERS: THE UNSTOPPABLE AWARDS MACHINE

Two weeks ago every single Birmingham restaurant was snubbed by The Good Food Guide and the collective groan of incredulity was heard as far north as Copenhagen. A week later, Carters of Moseley struck back by claiming The Good Food Guide’s Readers’ Restaurant of the Year, a huge award in an incredible four years of accolades. We spoke to head chef Brad Carter and front of house honcho Holly Jackson to find out about their rise to foody fame and plans for the future.
THEN... 

Brad: "It took a while for people to get on board with what it is we do. When we launched people would come in expecting white linen table cloths. That's just not us. We're high end, but casual. No standing on ceremony. You can come in in your jeans or in a three piece suit and feel perfectly at home. At first that was a stumbling block, now that’s what makes us work.
Holly: "The key was being true to ourselves. If something doesn't work instantly it's easy to say: “Let's just jack it in and do the same thing everyone does,” but that’s not how we work. We weren't willing to bend or to conform if it didn't fit what we wanted to be."
Brad: "Another issue back then was footfall. People had no idea we were here. Word of mouth soon changed that."
NOW... 

Holly: "Where we're at now is very different to launch. The menus are much simpler - minimal choice, maximum impact. The food on the plate is more complex than it was four years ago - we only plate up the very best ingredients for that time of year.
Brad: "Some ingredients we can only get at their best for a week, but we're open for five of those seven days so we'll sure as hell get those ingredients in and make a dish for those days. We never let things go stagnant. It’s easy to be in a guide book and run on a conveyer belt of dishes you've done since day one. Do a dish for seven years and you should be bloody good at it. That’s not us. That doesn’t drive me, or Holly. If I was doing the dishes now that we were doing when we opened, I’d be a brain dead robot."
NEXT...

Holly: "Plans for the immediate future? Keep evolving this little venture. What do we dream about? I'd love to open a coffee shop. If we did something else it would be totally different to this. Same level of quality, totally different product."
Brad: "I used to work in Menorca. Tapas is an amazing way to eat. So sociable. A fully-fledged, city centre tapas restaurant is something I’d love to do. I also often wonder about a hotel, here in Moseley. We get customers who drive a long way to get to us. If we had the option of some rooms, we'd be the total package. Now's probably not the time, but maybe one day."
Carters of Moseley; 0121 449 8885; cartersofmoseley.co.uk

THIS BOOK 
THAT STAGE
 

GCSE flashbacks aside, Of Mice And Men is a colossal book. As such we'll be first in the queue for tickets to see the stage production at The Rep. The John Steinbeck adaptation arrives five months after Michael Gove axed the great American novel from the school syllabus, along with To Kill A Mocking Bird and The Crucible, in favour of British books. Because as if being 16 isn't hard enough, now you have to do it while reading Dickens. Tickets start at £7

DO I HAVE SOMETHING
IN MY HAIR?


Don't worry love, we've all been there. A remarkably cool exhibition has opened at The Photographers Wall, on the mezzanine level of the Library of Birmingham. Entitled Square Pegs it's about not quite fitting in - told you we've all been there. Check out some other brilliantly bizarre images from the exhibition over on our Facebook, before ensuring you toddle along and see them in person. Square Pegs is free (the price is right) and is on until December 1.

MOVIE CHOICE: 20,000 DAYS ON EARTH


An unusual hybrid, part documentary on Aussie doom merchant Nick Cave as he records his latest album, part quasi-fictionalised account of his storied career, taking in Berlin, heroin and Kylie Minogue. There are staged scenes a-plenty - a trip to Cave’s ‘psychiatrist’ is in fact the first time the two men met, and a visit to his archives in Brighton has to be made up, given the real archives are in Australia. Why settle for the wind-up then, when a VH1 Behind the Music would be a lot more informative? Well, whether he’s watching Scarface with his kids or turning down his bandmate’s esoteric cooking, Cave’s charisma and dry wit shines off the screen, the music is sensational, and Cave’s monologue on how much he fancies his wife is worth the admission fee alone. Also, instead of disappearing up its own backside, the real/unreal conundrum lends the film an energy missing from more conventional talking head docs, which after all trade in their own less honest form of myth making. Isn’t the legend always much more interesting than the truth? Times: Electric. Trailer
Venue: Bistro 1847, 26 Great Western Arcade, B2 5HU; bistro1847.com 
Choice: Cream of celeriac, pearl barley, pickled kohlrabi, bramley, blue cheese beignet, charred onion (£8)  Chooser: Alex Claridge, Development Chef 

You may want to sit down. We’re about to use the “v word” for the first time in our 50-issue history, and we’re not going to apologise for it. Bistro 1847 is proudly vegetarian and its new grazing menu happens to be quite spectacular. Packed with beautifully crafted plates of food and bold combinations, the cream of celeriac, pearl barley, pickled kohlrabi (kohl-who-be?), bramley and blue cheese beignet was Development Chef, Alex Claridge's, top pick. The crunchy zinginess of the kohlrabi
(kohl-who-be?), combined with the deliciously creamy pearl barley and bramley jewels is an accomplished and thoughtful combination. The blue cheese beignet is perfect. And when it implodes, everything its gooey molten centre touches becomes perfect. If you’ve got room for dessert try the Allotment Aero. Now, go forth and find out what the hell kohlrabi is.
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"Maybe ever’body in the whole damn world is scared of each other." - John Steinbeck, Of Mice And Men

WORDS: Katy Drohan, Andrew Lowry / Imagery: Emmanuelle Brisson, Jack Spicer Adams 

Copyright © 2014 Birmingham Publishing Group Ltd, All rights reserved.



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