The midlands is fast becoming a hotbed of Michelin star restaurants. One of the newest additions to the collection is Adam’s Restaurant based in the heart of Birmingham – just around the corner from another starred favourite of ours, Purnell’s by chef Glynn Purnell.
We dined at Adam’s for my birthday back in December and still the memories of that great meal are still very much alive. The website images show a smart, chic dining room with food to match the level of prestige. Reservations were easy to secure online for a midweek lunch with a full choice of menu’s available.
The only problem…and it is a nice problem….is that the Frankfurt German Christmas Market is on throughout December in Birmingham city centre so travelling from the Bullring to Adam’s on Waterloo street means you have to run the gauntlet of tasty food and premium beer – it’s a tough life doing this sometimes.
We managed to resist temptation long enough to get to Adam’s without filling up on currywurst. Straight away your coats are taken and if you wish to take a pre-meal aperitif there’s a swish brand new bar area to relax at – the result of Adam’s opening at this site in January 2016 making it one of the city’s newest restaurants.
As we took our seats at the table I spotted a birthday card from the team which was a really nice touch. The seating arrangements here are great with both of you facing outwards rather than straight at each other which results in excellent legroom and a much better view of the restaurant. Adam’s also isn’t particularly hot on a dress code so feel free to leave the jacket and tie in the wardrobe at home.
All the scent of the German Market had us craving for beer so we opted for a couple of Estrella beers and a tasting menu each priced at £85 ($109.91 US) which seemed reasonable for the quality of ingredients on there. First up though Adam tried killing us by way of amuse bouche. An incredible four different dishes all in quick succession beginning with steak tartare and egg yolk caviar then onto crab salad with apple. Next up a beetroot and goat’s cheese macaroon finishing with a roast chicken dinner croquette – all were delicious aside from the croquette which for me had a heavily concentrated flavour, almost like eating a stock cube.
Insane generosity from the chef was greatly appreciated, you can tell Adam’s isn’t a place that’s looking to sit back and polish it’s star. With that the tasting menu commenced. First onto the table was the rather plain sounding leek and potato with brown shrimp. The cynic in me was expecting a soup but alas not so, the dish was more of a salad with leeks, crispy crouton, salad leaves and brown shrimps on the base, very fresh and tremendous flavour.
Veal sweetbreads are a bugger to get hold of for a decent price and maybe it’s for this reason that you don’t see them on restaurant menus this side of London. I had to tip my hat to Adam for 1) using them and 2) giving such a generous portion. When paired with smoky chorizo and a slightly acidic jerusalem artichoke puree it just works so damn well. Brilliant cooking.
Much like the leek dish at the beginning the description of our next plate of food didn’t get me going. Pollock with turnip, chives and roasted lemon. Pollock isn’t a restaurant fish, normally banished in favour of cod but in this case it came simply dressed with all of the described components on top of the fish. Pressing my fork into the fish confirmed already that the texture was beyond perfect, perhaps the work of a sous-vide. When taking the first bite I couldn’t wait to go back in again for more. It’s a dish setup to lower expectation but blows you away once you dig into it.
By this point we realised that neighbouring tables had opted for the a la carte menu’s and were showing considerable intrigue at our plates. A good mix of clientele were present on our visit with no loud groups meaning you can enjoy a meal in peace which is always a plus. I had given up predicting the dishes as the descriptions just didn’t do the plates justice. The next dish continued that theme – venison with red cabbage, barkham blue cheese and minus 8 vinegar.
Beautifully presented yet again with rose pink venison in amongst a gel of minus 8 vinegar and nuggets of blue cheese. Clever cooking on display again with a flavour combination that I never would have considered before with the blue cheese just giving that slight tang balanced by the sweetness of the gel, as for the venison it was like butter, top notch.
The whole thing i said about the descriptions not doing enough to heighten anticipation? Scrap that for this dish – Scallop, celeriac, eel, apple. Enough said, you just know this was going to be great, and it was. Hand dived scallops, the freshest around which were enormous! Pair that with smooth celeriac puree, diced apple and an eel croquette and you have a winner. Possibly my favourite dish overall.
A nod to another midlands-based Michelin starred chef on the next plate perhaps? Duck with plum ketchup, soy and granola sounded very much like a nod to Sat Bains’ dish of duck with muesli. I was expecting a big hit of the plum flavour from the ketchup but for me this dish was washed out a bit by the sauce/broth that accompanied it, pleasant to eat but after being treated to seriously big flavours this dish didn’t quite hit the same heights. The duck was cooked beautifully and the dish looked striking in appearance.
Time for the first of two puddings beginning with a plate of rhubarb with ginger beer, almond and caramel which came arranged in a pretty line across the plate. Bright pink rhubarb laid across almond crumb, salted caramel mousse and ginger beer jellies topped with a meringue shard – this looked seriously good.
It sounds fairly simple on the menu but the flavours and textures are just incredible on this plate. Ginger beer jellies just add that fresh hit to counter the rich caramel all of which go perfectly with the rhubarb and almond. This also rivalled top spot in my favourite dishes on the menu, absolutely brilliant.
With the finale approaching my final dessert came with a lit birthday candle on top which was much appreciated along with the card at the beginning of the meal. Aerated chocolate, like they do at The Fat Duck, similar to an aero bar topped a set pave of chocolate with a chocolate mousse and marmalade somewhere in between. Yes, you guessed it, it was superb and a perfect way to round off our lunch.
The next part of the meal just summed the thoughtful nature of Adam’s up for me. Two macaroons, exactly the same in appearance, arrived at the table. Our waiter then said “You started with the savoury macaroon’s, now these are the sweet ones” and sure enough these were amazing made of a raspberry shell and vanilla cream. Homemade chocolates then followed before we sadly had to pay the bill and leave this great experience behind.
I can’t really speak highly enough of Adam’s. Just look at the stunning food that they serve and the relaxed yet professional service that you are given. This has great potential for further accolades – adding to the mountain that they have received already despite only being operational since 2013. Adam and his team can be extremely proud of their beautiful restaurant and giving me a birthday to remember.
Opening Times: Tuesday – Saturday 1200-1400
Nearest Railway Station: Birmingham New Street