Nathan Eades and Grant Hill* are two chefs who created Epi Restaurants in 2013. It started with a few pop-up dates at The Courtyard Café in Bromsgrove and leading on from the success of this they have now taken up a semi permanent residency there every Thursday, Friday & Saturday from 16th January to 29th March. Alongside this they are doing a few pop up dates at the Kitchen Garden Cafe in Kings Heath, where we went along on the 27th Jan to check them out.
They both a have a background in working in fine dining restaurants, and aim to bring a ‘unforgettable dining experience, leaving the fuss and pompous feel at home’ Each of their pop menus offer different and interesting flavour combinations, and if the comments of some other people we know are anything to go by, we were in for an enjoyable meal. Both chefs have a keen interest in wild food and foraging, and are keen to use local artisan suppliers which is something I’m very keen on. The menu for the night we attended read as follows;
Lamb, Shallot, Walnut
‘Fish & Chips’
Pork, Broccoli, Almonds
The fish and chip course really intrigued me when I first saw the menu, I’m a bit of a sucker for new takes on classic dishes!
I wasn’t that keen on the surroundings of the Kitchen Garden Cafe, it was a bit chilly and the service was a little hit and miss but overall friendly.
The first course was lamb croquettes, with shallots 3 ways – pureéd, charred and in a sponge. I really enjoyed the pureéd shallot and the charred shallot, but I felt the croquettes were a little greasy and under seasoned and the shallot sponge was very hard and dry.
Next up, was the much-anticipated fish and chips! The presentation did not dampen my excitement as it came in a full on fish and chip wrapper complete with brown paper bag. Nothing like a bit of theatre to get you more intrigued! The hake was perfectly cooked and flaked apart beautifully, and I loved the potato cannelloni, which was lovely and crisp. It was accompanied by a crackly piece of fish skin, tasting of that delicious salt and vinegar combo and the curried split peas were good but just verging on the spice being overpowering for me, although my husband thought the spicing was just right
Moving on, and most defiantly my favourite course of the night – perfect juicy slightly pink pork, with a fantastic broccoli puree – I think sometimes pureés can be very bland and tasteless and not taste of the intended ingredient at all, but this was one of the better ones I have tasted and looked vibrant on the plate. There was also some charred purple sprouting broccoli, sweet pear ( an interesting alternative to the classic apple), a fantastic crisp potato galette and some flaked almonds that added texture. The jus lacked a little depth and I wasn’t too keen on the white powder that adorned the top (burnt butter combined with tapioca starch apparently), I didn’t feel it added to the dish, which I feel every element on a plate should. Overall quite a sophisticated and accomplished dish though.
I wasn’t looking forward to the ‘tiramisu’ pud, because I don’t like coffee, but luckily for me apart from one small coffee element, the rest was lovely. A milk ice-cream and amaretto mousse and crumb being the highlights for me.
We really enjoyed out night at Epi’s Pop Up restaurant. The food was great quality and cooked with care, precision and passion. I hope Epi continue to do well and get the accolades they deserve.
To purchase tickets for their pop up, visit www.epi-KGC.eventbrite.co.uk.
*Since writing this review, Grant has left the company, but Nathan intends to continue the good work.
Have you been to an Epi Pop up? I would love to know what you thought.
Disclosure: We paid for our own meal, and all opinions expressed are honest and our own