Anderson’s Bar & Grill

Just as the new year abstinence was beginning to get tedious, an invite to Anderson’s pinged into the inbox. Well, it would have been rude not to wouldn’t it? “The raw kale will still be there tomorrow,” we reckoned.

It was my first trip to Anderson’s much to the disbelief of the Chosen One (CO) who, incredulous at my virgin status continued to bleat on about how wonderful the rib eye was and how I must sample one. Indeed famed for its steak, Anderson’s has a good reputation in the city for its grilled meat. The first thing that struck me about the room was the cosy vibe. Downstairs under the exposed brick arches the lighting was warm, as were the people. A Monday night in January isn’t typically buzzing on the restaurant scene, but this was good. Work colleagues enjoyed a tipple at the bar, young couples looked like they were falling in love, mates celebrated birthdays and families were having a cosy supper as we giggled like naughty schoolkids busting out of new year’s resolution detention.

SILKY SMOOTH

The wine list was mighty fine. I managed to maintain a modicum of abstinence and sipped mineral water meanwhile the CO was in for a penny in for a pound and a glass of Chenin Blanc. Warm bread and sticky roasted garlic was a welcome sight along with plump green olives. Anderson’s didn’t strike me as an amuse bouche kind of place – it was so relaxed, so I was surprised by a silky smooth and hugely tasty carrot ‘soup’ – much more appealing than my vague description implies. It was a fantastic start to proceedings. As the name suggests the grill was a big part of the menu and the array of cuts of meat on offer was impressive. The rest of the menu was like a whistle-stop tour of world cuisine flitting between hearty British fare to flavours of the Orient, Indian spicing and a Greek-sounding cheese dish. The waitress described said cheese, Kefalotyri, as having the texture of mozzarella and the flavour of cheddar. She was spot on. Encased in breadcrumbs and fried, the cheese was served with delicate leaves and tzatziki. It tasted great, but was so large it felt like a tapas dish to share rather than a starter for one.

Asia was the next stop as I tried glazed belly of pork with sesame and a honey and chilli glaze. Sticky, sweet and moist with a heck of a crunch on the skin, it was lip-smackingly good. Again a whopper of a portion that probably could have been halved. As strongly suggested, the friend cracked on with his sirloin on the bone cooked as recommended medium rare with a glass of Jump Stump to wash it down. The steak was a beast of a thing that was in our humble opinion most definitely rare – almost blue in its thickest parts. The flavour was top notch almost inducing a case of food envy as I continued my whistle-stop tour with tandoori salmon. It was perfectly cooked and spiced, served with a wonderfully flavoursome deconstructed saag aloo and a cooling yoghurt dressing.

CREAMY FINISH

Every main on the menu came with either chips or crushed new potatoes with a creamy finish. Neither of these suited my dish, but I opted for the crushed variety out of curiosity while the friend plumped for chips. The crushed didn’t do it for me and the chips were OK. The Jump Stump however was dreamy and rich. Dessert was a dark, dense wedge of chocolate tart with a very cute and tasty chocolate and orange macaroon with two spoons. It was grown-up, naughty and we loved it. What New Year resolutions? The restaurant had got even fuller and more lively. I suspect that by daylight the room might be in need of a bit of TLC, for instance the toilets are on their last legs. However we’d had a great time and despite the odd niggle, a cracking meal. A Happy Monday all in all.

ANDERSON’S BAR & GRILL 30 Mary Ann St, St Paul’s Square, Birmingham B3 1RL. Tel: 0121 200 2515 www.andesonsbarandgrill.co.uk