Last week I trotted over to Kings Heath with Lee in tow to visit Nomad, currently in residency at the Kitchen Garden Café. They’ve been there now since April and have recently extended their run there until the end of August. They’re currently looking for their ‘forever home’ in Birmingham so watch this space!
Our visit was hotly anticipated. I’ve loved owner Alex Claridges cooking and style since I first ate his food at Bistro 1847 so was itching to see what he was doing now he had free reign over everything.
Nomad has even pulled together their own small but perfectly formed wine and beer list which Lee happily dove into. He had tried a Flensburger Pilsner at the start, then a lovely glass of red (sorry I forgot to write down what it was) and then with dessert he chose a chocolate stout which he said was delicious.
Looking at the menu I was excited, it sounded well balanced but experimental a the same time. The food at Nomad relies heavily on what’s grown in their own allotments and foraged foods so changes on a regular, sometimes daily basis.
We started with ‘Tomato’. The name simple, and the dish at the same time simple and complex. Presentation wise it may have been the best of the night for me, although the intricacy shone throughout. A small bowl of delicately cut tomatoes, creme fraiche and foraged leaves was covered with the clearest of tomato waters – the taste of which was sublime. The tomato really stood out with hints of garlic and shallot coming through.
A word here as well for the beautifully sourced crockery that was used all the way through. No gimmicks, just gorgeous and different ceramics that helped the food the shine. Next up we had Hay Smoked Rabbit, Carrot Cake. The three elements to this dish were truly outstanding. The smoked rabbit element and carrot coleslaw were inspired and the carrot cake possibly the best I’ve eaten. I would have like something crunchy to add another dimension to the dish as well.
After this came Lee’s personal favrouite course of the night. Globe Artichoke, Seared Lettuce, Egg Yolk, Nasturtium. He felt this was perfectly balanced and let the simple ingredients really sparkle. Dehydrated grated egg yolk is a revelation!
The last of the savoury courses was Wild Sea Trout broad bean pea and pearl barley. A perfectly cooked piece of trout lay atop a risotoo made with pearl barley peas and beans. Bits of salty seaweed punctuated the risotto with hits of the flavour of the sea
A small palate cleanser was set to challenge us. A sorrel ice cream and flecked with raspberry and topped with wood ants? Surprisingly not disgusting and actually added an interesting citrus crunch!
The next course for me was a bit controversial. Mostly because it contained Sea Buckthorn. A bit of a marmite ingredient for me and I think it’s fair to say you probably love it or hate it. This dish named ‘Sea Buckthorn Meringue Pie’ came with a carrot terrine, sea buckthorn parfait and gel and soft sweet italian meringue. I loved the meringue elements, the cacao nibs on the terrine and enjoyed the parfait itself but just couldn’t get on with the texture of the terrine. I know other diners there that night (hi Laura!) loved it, so I think its more of a personal taste preference thing. I totally get the concept of the dish though and would much prefer to be trying experimental things like this menu and having one dish that I didn’t like as much to eating 3 boring courses at certain chains.
Lastly, and probably a perfect end to ANY meal.Doughnuts.With Chocolate Soup. It was gooooooood! The soup made with incredibly good quality bitter chocolate was excellent with the sweet dough.
Thanks so much to Alex, his team and the uber enthusiastic waitresses for this brilliant night out. I can’t wait for Nomad to find it’s perfect permanent base, but in the meantime get yourself down to Kings Heath for this fab foodie experience.
Disclosure: Thanks to Nomad for inviting us down to try the menu. We paid for our own drinks and weren’t obliged to write a review, positive or otherwise.