RESTAURANT REVIEW – BIRMINGHAM – The Village, Moseley

    thevillagemoseley.co.uk

 It’s a Sunday afternoon and you’re sick of going to the same self-service carvery your parents used to take you too. All those sad shrivelled vegetables and large cardboard ‘yorkies’ filled with lumpy gravy. A quick scan of Google produces a multitude of choice, and purely for location to begin with, I clicked onto ‘The Village’.

The website is smart and instantly gives the impression that they offer much more than your standard meat and two veg dinner usually on the Sunday menu. To make life easier, you can book online straight from the website. There was only one slot left when I booked so this gave me another confidence boost in choosing the right place. Busy = Popular. Popular = Good (hopefully!)

After a quick glance at the electronic menu, I was sold! There are alternative menus specifically for those with intolerances. Top-marks so far!

You walk through the door and instantly feel at ease. The décor has a vintage twist and there’s character popping from every corner. The only things missing were waiting staff in braces and barmen in bowler hats. Maybe there’s an idea…

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A quick glance around the room gave me a good indication of the clientele. The room was full of all types of people. It’s suitable for families, friends, and couples… There are sections for large groups, seating at the bar, café area and intimate tables. Depending on the day and the time, the atmosphere changes and the purpose of the restaurant changes too I imagine. Friday night drinks after work, first stop on a bar crawl, Sunday lunch stop with the family. It seems to cover all ground.

Once seated, a cheerful member of staff handed us clipboard menus and took a drinks order. Hot chocolate in jam-jars and tea in cute patterned cups. Great touch! Even a piece of homemade cake on the saucers to start off the feast.

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Unfortunately, there were a couple of choices we picked off the menu that the kitchen didn’t have; roast beef lunches and the steamed mussels. Apologies were given and we changed the order. To begin, the homemade chunky hummus w/ balsamic glaze and fresh pitta was by far the most delicious starter. Each dish was well presented with generous portions. I ordered the whitebait along with 2 others in my party. They were perfectly cooked and beautifully crispy. The pate was velvety with just enough to satisfy until the main course. We didn’t have to wait too long either as it came promptly considering how busy they were.

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(Pate)
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During the wait, I found myself raising my voice to be heard over the music. Saturday night before heading for drinks, or a quiet Sunday lunch with family? Hmm. We all gathered around one side of the table like campers huddling for warmth. It made dinner more intimate but the noise levels weren’t very appropriate for a lazy Sunday afternoon lunch.

A second lot of drinks were ordered and the main attraction arrived. 3 waiting staff served a table of 6, but not once during the meal were we approached asked if everything was ok. The steaks came first piled high with delicious looking huge onion rings. I’d order the steak just for those! Both meals were requested to be cooked ‘medium’ but came out ‘rare’. Not an issue for the people eating them, but they were not cooked how asked.

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I chose The Village because of the Sunday Lunch option and sadly I was left disappointed. As were the other 2 people in my group who ordered them. A great selection of vegetables were served in bowls for the middle of the table, which I cannot fault. It was the meat that let the meal down. The chicken was completely dry and overcooked. My partner had to leave over half of it. Even the gravy couldn’t save it. The pork was a slight improvement but still chewy and flavourless. A member of staff who we assumed to be the floor manager was flagged down and my partner gave some feedback on his meal. A quick uninterested sorry was given before she scurried off to carry on what she was doing. This left my rather annoyed at the service after such a good start.

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It seems as though the regular everyday menu is much more practiced and I advise meals to be chosen from that. The goats cheese tart was full of flavour and received high praise.

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Overall, I believe top marks could be rewarded if a little more attention was paid to small details.

I will visit again as I think a second chance is deserved and I can see the potential. Next time, I’ll visit on a Friday or Saturday evening for dessert (they looked simply delicious) and drinks as I think this will be when the bar thrives.

Price – Reasonable (Roughly £110 for 6 people – Starters and mains)

Service – 6 out of 10

Atmosphere – 7 out of 10

Food – 7/8 out of 10


TOTAL – 20/21 out of 30

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Are You ‘Honestly Healthy’?

I haven’t read many UK blog posts this week where the first sentence hasn’t gravitated around the lovely weather and how you should be enjoying it. Well… thanks to being stuck inside an office where the sun has decided it doesn’t want to shine, I’m left dream up the hours spent outside, drenching myself in Vitamin D and eating homemade fruit ice-lollies. There’s always the weekend to look forward to I suppose! Oh wait… what’s that BBC Weather? Rain you say…? Welcome to the UK ^_^

There’s going to be a little twist on today’s blog. I will be focusing as always, on one particular beautiful meal I prepared and ate; but at the same time, adding a little review of the wonderful and beautifully photographed book it came out of.

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If you’ve never come across Natasha Corrett (Honestly Healthy) before, I highly recommend looking her up and reading about her way of thinking when it comes to food and lifestyle. Natasha produces some beautiful dishes that are utterly nutritious and wonderful for the body and mind.

For the past week I have been recreating some of the recipes from this book and reading up on the Alkaline Diet. As you all know, getting the right balance of goodness is vital for your health and wellbeing. A lot of the recipes taste naughty so it feels like a real treat when I sit down to tuck into these easy to make dinners! And if you read my last blog, you’ll all know that I like my food to be quick and easy!

As well as mid-week clean eating after work, I have been taking the leftovers for my lunch and making the smoothies/juices from the beginning of the book for my breakfast. Fruit and veg jam-packed into a smoothie after my morning runs are just what I’ve needed on these warm ‘summer’ mornings 🙂

It’s unbelievably easy to eat this way and Natasha Corrett certainly shows you how. As I have mentioned before, meat free days are so good for your health, for the planet, and for your wallet!

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The Spicy Smoothie could do with a very generous grating of ginger because for my tastes, it’s not spicy enough. But it’s delicious. You can almost feel the good it’s doing my body! It’s starting to become one of my firm favourites. I always make them the night before and freeze ready for the next morning. It saves time when I get up and it keeps them fresh and cold ready for drinking.

The Skin Boosting Smoothie is an acquired taste but it works wonders! Just add a little agarve or honey to sweeten and take away the sharpness. A week of drinking these and my skin will be glowing!

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I am still working my way through these liquid wonders, so when I feel satisfied, a Blog post will pop up all about Smoothies (within this book and beyond) and why I love to drink them!

I can’t resist a really good veggie burger so going straight to the recipe for Spicy Bean Burgers was a natural selection. The textures, the flavours, the goodness… Oh my. That feeling of biting into something so heavenly really makes a weekday evening that little bit more bearable. I’d start preparing them as soon as you get home if you want to eat before 9pm! Don’t forget that the mixture has to cool down before you can handle it and then the burgers need to be chilled in the fridge (or freezer) before cooking. They will fall apart otherwise!

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(Mine didn’t look like that I can assure you! I’m a messy cook! But I bet they tasted just as good!)

I like to make use of what I already have in the house (to be economical), so as always; my variation is always slightly different to that in the original recipe. If you would like any of the recipes, please do ask and I am more than happy to pass them on. But I highly recommend buying the cookbook! Or any of Honestly Healthy’s books for that matter!

I would post a photo of what my burgers looked like… But… I was really hungry and forgot to take a photo. There were only a few crumbs falling from the side of my mouth when I realised my terrible error! How am I meant to write a blog about food if I’m always too eager to shove it in my cakehole?!

In my opinion, the only thing I would change is to add more chilli and spice! This comes down to preference and I love strong powerful flavours in my veggie burgers. The other half had his in Brioche buns but I opted for a rocket and tomato chutney salad.

Not forgetting the sweet potato wedges though! Also featured in the book. They do list Cajun spice as the marinade but I happened to have a packet of BBQ Fajita seasoning that I used instead. I can still taste that oven-baked nugget of perfection now… NOM!

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be adapted in anyway you like once you’ve got the basics cracked! I personally don’t think you can beat risotto stuffed full of roasted butternut squash. The only change I made was to stir in a little cream cheese right at the end for extra luxuriousness! It really does serve 4 people generously as well! Not just 3 mouthful portions like I find a lot of recipes… Maybe that’s because I eat like there’s going to be a food shortage and I need to store fat and energy? Well that’s the reason I’m telling myself anyway!

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Chicken would make a good addition if you are looking for that further protein after a workout or long day at work. On this occasion I added beef meatballs for the boy and a generous handful of freshly chopped herbs. I’m already looking forward to leftovers for lunch tomorrow! Would it be naughty of me to have an extra nibble now….

And finally I come to the last recipe I have tested so far! Another one of my favourites. I do like warming comfort food, even in the warmer weather! I can’t help but be addicted to carbs! The call my name… who am I to ignore?

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(For once it looks like the photo! Nearly…)

Whilst making this, I was coming up with lots of other variations! Such as adding sun-dried tomatoes or roasting the fresh tomatoes first until they blister before stirring into the lentils. I’m drooling just thinking about my next delicious bowl!

With this recipe, I added many handfuls of spinach and a big bunch of parsley. Being able to taste the herbs and savour their freshness is very important to me. Not to mention the B vitamins present in the parsley that protect the heart.

Mushrooms are one of my favourite ingredients, so it was only right the percentage of mushrooms was higher than any other ingredient! And only the best earthy, nutty mushrooms will do else the flavour and texture gets lost.

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Eventually, I hope to have ticked off all recipes in this wonderful book! Natasha has really inspired me and shown me that eating healthily is exciting and fun. This book has also given me much more knowledge and developed my creativity when it comes to cooking and coming up with my own recipes. I hope to teach others that eating healthily is easier than they think and it can become a lifestyle you crave.

In August, I am going to Jamie Oliver’s Feastival for the second time, and I have just learnt that Natasha will be there. I cannot wait for the possible opportunity to tell her how much of an inspiration she has been and how through her recipes, she has encouraged me to move forward and think about a happy body and mind.

Until next time!

Love and Lemons xxx