Hotel du Vin & Bistro, Church Street

Lunch sometimes feel like a bit of a necessity to get you through the afternoon – mere sustenance.

Then there are times when it becomes something enjoyable, an event to be savoured not rushed. I was hoping for the latter as we approached Hotel du Vin for a bite. As its name suggests the wine list at Hotel du Vin is a particular focus. Featuring 200 wines from more than 20 producers it’s epic both in size and, more importantly, quality. The list not only includes the giants of champagne such as Moet and Bollinger, but also a small-scale family producer called Lenoble. They also serve Laurent Perrier by the glass which is a rarity. I regretted bringing the car almost immediately.

CHEQUERBOARD CHEESE

Although the a la carte menu sounded delicious, we thought we’d give the summery alfresco menu a whirl. I was so intrigued by the hen’s egg poached in red wine that I had to have it. The blushing appearance of the egg was a bit strange, but actually it was really good served with a salad of crunchy leaves, pancetta, baby onions, mushrooms and a zingy dressing. JC had the watermelon and feta salad which was presented like a chequerboard with pine nuts, mint and a refreshing balsamic dressing. My main course was the standout dish – a beetroot and goat’s cheese tart that was so delicious we stole the recipe for our summer food feature on page 26. JC’s chargrilled chicken with citrus and watercress salad was good, but could have done with a touch more dressing

JUST THE TICKET

The new potatoes on the other hand were a triumph. The fries were great too. There were a few hearty-looking dishes from the a la carte menu that whizzed past our table like the rump of lamb with chorizo boulangere potatoes or the beef bourgignon that looked sensational.

Waitress Becky recommended her two top desserts, so we went with those. The mint chocolate tart was stunning and the crepe suzette soufflé was light and airy with a sweet citrusy sauce. Had we not been in competition with the ticket-happy traffic wardens of Brum, we would happily have whiled away a few hours in the bistro. Lunch was lovely, but I think the restaurant lends itself to dinner. It’s intimate, atmospheric and definitely shouldn’t be rushed

Hotel du Vin & Bistro, Church Street, Birmingham B3 2NR, tel: 084473 64250 www.hotelduvin.com/locations/birmingham