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Review: AnneXe, Birmingham

AnneXe is tucked away in Birmingham, right at the top of Corporation Street, and after my very first visit to it I feel it’s a bit of a hidden gem! Well, it was certainly hidden to me as I know very little about it, but since going and posting some photos on Twitter and Instagram after our meal, lots of people have commented to me how much they love it, so it obviously isn’t hidden to a lot of people, just a gem!

The restaurant serves French and Italian food, and it has a lovely traditional feel to it, with dark wooden tables and chairs, white linen tablecloths, red linen napkins and traditional artwork on the walls. There was even a black and white movie playing on low, projected onto the back wall. The staff were also fantastic – so polite and seemed to really enjoy their jobs.

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The menu was interesting and varied, but kept those core mediteranean flavours and favourites at its heart. A lovely Focaccia arrived first, warm and glistening. I chose the Pheasant, Venison, Rabbit & Pistachio Terrine to start. This was a lovely coarse terrine, with a delicious fig chutney and the brioche was meltingly soft. A lovely way to start. Lee had the Warm five spiced Confit Duck SaladPickled cucumber – fennel – dates – pomegranate – cashews. This salad really had everything – the textures and flavours were excellently balances with the crunch of the nuts, sweet sharp pomegranate seeds, sourness of the cucumber and then the warming shredded duck.

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The brilliantly executed food continued with our mains. The 8oz Rib Eye served with wild rocket, balsamic onions & parmesan, hand cut chips & peppercorn sauce for Lee and the special fish of the day for me – Pan Fried Seabass Fillet with Green Beans and a Tian of Tomatos, Capers and Pine Nuts, with a side of Garlic Sauté Potatoes. We could find nothing to fault in either dish – it was rustic hearty cooking at its finest. Small details, like my fish having a beautiful crisp skin, and the beans being cooked Al dente, which can often be done so badly were all spot on, as was Lee’s perfectly cooked steak and delicious peppercorn sauce.

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My pudding didn’t quite hit the heights of the savoury courses, but it was quite passable Chocolate Indulgence; Hazelnut crocante cheesecake – Malibu hot chocolate shot cocoa brownie, stracciatella ice cream. Lee’s cheeseboard had some nice cheeses, in keeping with the French and Italian theme, but could have done with coming out the fridge earlier.

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Never-the-less, this didn’t detract from a really enjoyable meal all round. I would really recommend AnneXe for an excellent rustic Mediterranean meal and am including it in a Bloggers Guide to Birmingham, which is being compiled by Millennium Hotels.

Disclosure: This meal was paid for by Millennium Hotels as part of their Bloggers Guide to Birmingham Campaign. All views are our own

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Competition Time! Win a place on a Tapas Cookery Masterclass with Omar Allibhoy for you & a friend

A fan of Tapas? Enjoy Spanish Food? Looking to expand you culinary repertoire? Or even have a bit of a crush on Celeb Chef Omar Allibhoy? If you answer YES to any or all of the above then the following competition is perfect for you!

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In conjunction with Olive it!, Omar Allibhoy, the face behind the excellent Tapas Revolution restaurants, is bringing a couple of exclusive tapas cookery classes to Birmingham, which I have been lucky enough to be invited to attend, and can also bring one of you guys the chance to win a place on the once in a lifetime course for you and a guest! For those of you that don’t know, an outpost of Tapas Revolution will be opening in the new Grand Central Development in Birmingham later this year!

Olive it! is a culinary concept that aims to bring a sparkle to traditional olives by incorporating them into your cooking in new and exciting ways! Olives are an essential ingredient in the Mediterranean diet. Versatile and full of flavour, olives also have important nutritional properties and the black variety are a source of iron and vitamin E.

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On Friday 10th April at 12.00pm – 3.30pm, you and one guest will experience hands-on tuition in an atmospheric and professional cook school in Birmingham, at The Orange Kitchen Cookery School. In this exciting cooking course you will be inspired to get creative in the kitchen and learn how to make a selection of delicious tapas with the ‘master of tapas’ himself.

Omar Allibhoy will take you on a culinary journey where you can explore the exciting flavours of the Mediterranean and learn how to make a selection of beautiful and mouth-watering dishes that will impress friends and family.

This tapas cookery class with Omar Allibhoy is a perfect way to experiment with flavours of the Mediterranean and will leave you fully equipped to host your own tapas party! Each session ends with a mouth watering feast of all the food prepared, accompanied by some carefully selected wines.

So to enter for a chance to win this fantastic prize just click here

—————-> a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck!!

 Terms & Conditions

  • The competition will run from 3rd – 10th March
  • The winner will be drawn at random and need to provide me with their contact details within 72hours, or a new winner will be drawn
  • The winners details will passed on to the PR compnay organising the event who will provide all further information necessary. 
  • The winner will gain a place for them and a guest on the cookery course at the time and date stated above.
  • There is no cash alternative
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Captivating Catalonia & Torres Wines

The Catalonia region of Spain, found in the far north-east of the country, separated from France by the Pyrenean Mountain Range, is arguably home to some of the best food and wine in Spain. Within the area is the second largest city; Barcelona, the most populated part of the region, Girona and Tarragona. With a landscape ranging from stunning beaches on the Costa Brava coast, the flat lush plains and vineyards right to the soaring heights of the Pyrenees, there is something for everyone. And food and drink to suit everyone too!

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It was on the rugged beautiful coastline of the Costa Brava that my memories of Catalonia began, camping near the coast as a teenager with my family. Back then I wasn’t quite the foodie I am now, but that doesn’t stop the memories of the food flooding back. The region produdes high quality meat and seafood, as well as rice, wild mushrooms, cheese, and of course, wine from the vineyards. The staples such as Pan Con Tomate (bread with tomato) is a joy to eat, sometimes topped with meats or cheese like the ones we tried below. All the better if your eating it overlooking the amazing coastline.

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Other traditonal dishes such as the Suquet de Piex (Catalan fish stew) is hearty and delicious – starting like so many Catalan dishes with a ‘sofregit’ of garlic and tomato and ending with a ‘picada’ – sauce of ground almonds, parsley, garlic and breadcrumbs. My mouth is watering just remembering it!

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Image courtesy of the Telegraph

The Creme Catalana is a variation on the famous Creme Brûlée, and maybe the most famous dessert of the region.

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The restaurant scene in Barcelona and the surrounding area is fantastic at the moment with both high end Michelin Restaurants and laid back tapas bars. Tapas is certainly not an integral part of the Catalan region but the culture has long been embedded into Barcelona; particularly Pintxos – popular in the Basque Country. I long to spend another lazy holiday in the area trying them all out!

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All this talk of food, and we have barely mentioned the WINE! The area has a huge winemaking heritage, and was even the birthplace of Cava in the 1870s! There are many winemaking areas in the region, the largest and most productive being the Penendés. We were lucky recently to receive a couple of bottles from this wine growing area to sample – and believe me they took me right back the hustle and bustle of the Barcelona bars and staring out to sea with a crisp cold glass of white in hand.

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We tried the Grand Vina Sol and the Gran Coronas from the Torres Winemaker – a family business dating back three centuries. Both wines were so drinkable, but I adored the red – deep in colour and full of dark berry aromas it was fantastic.

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I would urge you to think about this fantastic area of Spain when planning your next holiday – there’s so much to do and see, as well as the fantastic food & drink – you won’t be disappointed, and you can even take a Gastronomic Holiday! Theres loads of information on the website of the Catalan Tourist Board so you can plan your trip to perfection!

Disclosure: This post was written in conjunction with the Catalan Tourist Board, and I received the wine free of charge, no other compensation was received. All views (and memories!) are of course my own.