Adam’s, Waterloo Street

A joint birthday celebration called for the Adam’s treatment – our first trip since head chef James Goodyear joined the band.

If you don’t like fancy, it’s probably not for you. If you do like fancy, stick around. From start to finish – and we finished so late we probably outstayed our welcome – we were charmed. Credit to the staff who were still happy (on the outside at least) as we quaffed another Calvados. On the inside they were no doubt planning dinner service and hoping this was the last.

We hate the term fine dining – it sounds pompous, and Adam’s is not pompous. It’s classy, inventive, warm, special. Once inside and beyond the bar area, it doesn’t feel like Brum. You could be anywhere. To be clear, we obviously love Birmingham but there’s something a bit magical about Adam’s décor that’s transformative. That sounds knobby, but we’re not sorry.

We’ve sampled enough tasting menus to know that we prefer ordering our own food, so one of us ate from the set lunch menu and one from a la carte. We criticised one of the nibbles last time we visited, but not this time. The preamble to lunch was a hit. The signature beetroot and goat’s cheese macarons are a regular for a reason. They hit you with flavour then dissolve on your tongue like magic. There was a wondrous ox tongue nibble that was too good to start analysing plus a mussel with a punchy pickled cucumber sauce that was truly delicious.

From here on in with a slug of Burgundy in our brains, we probably should have been making notes, but we were having too much fun, so we’re picking our stand-out dishes among a collection of gorgeousness. Number one and it doesn’t sound stand out, but trust us, was lightly salted cod with mushroom, artichoke ad dashi broth. This was packed with flavour and we could have slurped the dashi broth on its own – sharp, salty, sweet all at the same time, I guess that’s balance, something you can’t put your finger on. Just sheer enjoyment.

Next was goosnargh duck breast and liver with granola, beetroot and blackberry. Again, this was about balance, rich tender meat, sweet granola, sharp blackberries. Really clever. There was an incredible chicken dish plus a leek parcel with black truffle, hazelnut and custard that blew our socks off. The cheese board was immense and pudd was a triumph. Our only gripe and we’ve said it before, we urge restaurants to pick a new name for whipped pork fat. Can’t touch the stuff. It’s like calling butter churned bovine breast milk or similar.

The wine list is quite punchy price-wise, but we found a very good Rully premier cru at the more sensible end of the list and we can wholeheartedly recommend the Calvados. Go.

ADAM’S, New Oxford House, 16 Waterloo Street, Birmingham, B2 5UG. Tel: 0121 643 3745