So, Maribel has had a bit of a change of direction. Same decor, same brilliant front of house team, new head chef and a considerable shift in the menu. Previously forced to have the tasting menu – when we say forced, we hardly had our arm twisted – we can see it was possibly off-putting for some and potentially cost prohibitive.
New head chef, Harvey Perttola has come up with an a la carte menu that’s more affordable than the tasting menu and should work for time-conscious luncher or pre-theatre diner alike. Don’t worry, there’s still a tasting menu if that’s your jam.
Firstly, the nibbles were some of the best we’ve eaten anywhere in the city. What was billed as essentially a cheese and onion cracker was actually a bit mind-blowing while a zingy wagyu beef tartare enticed a pescatarian to eat red meat. A great start was cemented by warm malt and beer loaf which was super moreish with a rich hoppy flavour.
A starter of creamy burrata and flavour-packed heritage tomatoes would have been perfect if it wasn’t for the addition of strawberry and an elderflower gel. It felt a bit unnecessary. If it ain’t broke and all that.
Then came perfectly cooked monkfish served with smokey charred broccoli, fennel seeds and brown shrimp which was a delicate, pretty and seriously tasty plate of food. Lamb with sheep’s curd, pea puree and lamb bacon was all beautifully done. It would have been great if the lamb jus was richer and packed more of a punch, but it’s a minor gripe.
Chocolate and mint is clearly a winning combo, so we dived headlong into the Manjari chocolate and mint dessert. Textures of the sweet stuff including a mousse light as a feather, a fantastic mint ice cream and pieces of gooey brownie that had our name written all over them were properly dreamy.
We chatted to head chef Harvey who’s just 25 and found his enthusiasm infectious. He’s a proper Brummie, full of energy and ambition doing great things in the kitchen. Go and see.