1847, Great Western Arcade

My name’s Shelley and I’m a meat eater, so when an invitation came to sample the vegetarian delights of 1847, I wasn’t sure I was the right woman for the job.

However, in the interest of open mindedness I agreed and took a vegan pal along for the ride. Bit of background on said vegan pal. In the two weeks before our lunch, Tarina had been offered chicken, feta and egg as vegan alternatives in standard restaurants. Unbelievably in 2015 in our wonderfully foodie city, this is a typical occurrence which drives her bananas.

One of a group of four 1847 eateries in the UK, the Birmingham restaurant is simply styled with natural materials and a distinct Scandi vibe. The lunch menu is pared down too with four starters, mains and desserts, but they were pretty exciting even for me. We were very happy diners as we slurped a superb glass of vegan house rosé. Quinoa falafel with baba ghanoush, yoghurt and watercress was a great starter. The perfect size, it was tasty, fresh and lighter than a traditional chick pea version. Puy lentils with roasted carrot, spring onions and garlic tofu was pretty as a picture and while it looked a bit like a side dish to me, Tarina loved it.

My main course was a stonking good dish with three generous chunks of battered halloumi sat on a delicious pea puree (or emulsion) and little blobs of zingy lemon curd. It was seriously good and I noticed a few suits at the next table had popped in just for this with a glass of something cold. Tarina enjoyed caramelised cauliflower, wild rice, bulgar wheat and red mustard frill which wouldn’t have appealed to me, but she polished off the lot happily. Strawberries with almond cream, apricot and thyme soup looked gorgeous and tasted lovely too and the rich triple chocolate brownie with blackcurrant coulee, a punchy ginger gel and crème fraiche was delicious. The veggie leaning is an aside here and it’s simply a fantastic restaurant serving tasty, inventive food which happens to feel good for the body – with the exception of battered halloumi although that’s so damn good it’s irrelevant – as well as the soul.

1847, 26 Great Western Arcade, Birmingham B2 5HU.Tel: 0121 236 2313 http://by1847.com