My night with Lulu – a review of Lulu Wild Birmingham

The Hainan Cooler – At the boundary is where we meet – melon flavoured mocktail

Lulu Wild is the newest restaurant in Brindley Place and bought to us by the team responsible for Aluna and Siamis so I had high expectations and I’d heard great things and of course I was delighted to finally be able to visit to try out things for myself. I’m going to tell you all about the decor, the food and more importantly the cocktails. We had a wonderful dining experience and it was very challenging to find any faults from start to finish.

As a party of four we had a relaxed dining experience on a weekday evening, we all agreed that this is the kind of place we would book for a date or a special evening if we we’re trying to impress. The food of course has to take centre stage – I’m told that the head chef at Lulu Wild previously worked at Michelin starred Hakkasan and this quality is evident in the creativity and style of all of the dishes we tried this evening.

Peach Smash – Signature cocktail
Simplify – Bw inspired – Be original

We began our evening with cocktails. As a group we challenged the Lulu team to suggest the best drinks to try, and the passion each member of the Lulu team has for their menus is evident in the recommendations. The cocktail menu is one of the most diverse and exciting I have seen in a long time. We did our very best to sample as many different options as possible with the team making suggestions based on our individual preferences and their own personal favourites.

Dim Sum

We were also advised to try the dim sum and between us we ordered a range to try out. With steamed and pan friend dumplings available in several different flavours we didn’t wait long at all to be served. Again the attentive team took their time explaining to us the different ingredients in each perfectly presented pocket of flavour underneath the bamboo steamers – carefully replacing the lids to ensure continued steaming before we started eating.

Wild exploration – Dim Sum

My personal highlight was the wild mushroom which was deliciously buttery and had those wonderful earthy flavours. The truffle atop being the perfect compliment. The scallop and prawn Shui Mai we all agreed was very special indeed. It was very difficult to be critical but the only tiny detail we mentioned was that we would have liked to perhaps see the pan fried options have a little more of a crisp to them. This of course took nothing away from the flavours and presentation which was a great indicator of what was to come with the main course. We tried more cocktails and a delightfully refreshing pallet cleanser with a pineapple twist before mains.

Roasted chicken in satay sauce

Between the four of us we opted for the Strawberry Sweet and Sour Sea Bass, Rosemary and black pepper Lamb, Kung Po Prawns and Roast Chicken in Katsu Sauce I feel we had the opportunity to sample a good cross section of the menu this evening and we all agreed that portion sizes were ample and that the attention to detail with the presentation and flavour balance was consistent throughout. Again it was a challenge to pick faults with anything we tried this evening – perhaps the chicken was slightly over, but I liked the crispness this gave to the skin so it’s a matter of personal preference with this.

Stir fry Rosemary and black pepper lamb

The Lamb had a warm heat which didn’t overwhelm the dish and the Strawberry and Sea Bream combination was a delicate delight. The fish almost melted in the mouth. As we tucked in to our main course silence descended as we savoured mouthfuls and we realised that none of us had “food envy” because each dish stood out in its own right. We tried two rice and noodle options to accompany our main courses and these deserve their own review.

Singapore noodles

Quite often I find that the side dishes are often lacklustre but I would gladly come back just for the Singapore noodles which were a delight. It was also impressive to see the portion of prawns in the fried rice had no holds barred. If you’re a sea food lover then all too often these kinds of options are lacklustre as you hunt for prawns but this side dish had plenty atop and throughout.

Strawberry sweet and sour sea bass

We had a little bit of time to explore the venue – Lulu Wild has been open for just over a month and is still finding its feet – the upstairs serves as a multifunctional space. A luxuriously decorated dining room with many unique decor features creating photo opportunities and a piano taking centre stage so that diners can enjoy live music on special evenings. The bar is just as well stocked as the main bar downstairs for those all important cocktails and I’m advised that on weekends tables are rearranged after the final food service and a DJ comes to visit.

I am sure I can’t be the only person who likes to visit restaurants just for dessert – sometimes a sweet treat is all you need and Lulu really did save the best until last. Between the four of us we tried out every dessert and there really is something for everyone on the menu. I opted for the most unusual Spiced pear soup which was served with rice balls. I’ve never been able to infuse a pear so well and so I really admire the skill involved. It wasn’t at all what I expected and I was pleasantly surprised.

Mango Pudding

The mango pudding we all agreed was a refreshingly light option which is in direct contrast to the chocolate parfait – both accompanied with the smoothest fruit sorbets which were a real treat to savour. The highlight had to be the petit four selection – a little showcase of excellence including macarons, a white chocolate, coconut and lemon bon bon and more. I have to give a special nod to the peanut butter flavoured ice cream and the brittle too. These were simply delicious and I will be coming back again specifically for the experience of this taste.

Petit Fours

The food menu I feel is concise but well rounded and offers plenty of choice. This allows the team to have really paid close attention to each dish on the menu at Lulu Wild and each demonstrates high standards and is a showcase of modern Chinese Cuisine and the incorporation of fresh quality ingredients. I am really impressed after this evenings experience and I wish the team the best of luck with this new venture. I can’t speak highly enough of the quality of the food and the attentiveness of the team. Lulu Wild is a very welcome addition to the Birmingham food scene

Thai in the city – Rosa’s Thai Birmingham review

Rosa’s Thai kindly invited me along to sample their menu and so I asked my mum to join me so that we could be “ladies who lunch” and we took ourselves in to the city centre. Rosa’s Thai is situated in Chamberlain Square, and I have to admit it’s been a while since I ventured in to the city and so I was slightly disorientated at first. If you’re a Brummie then you’ll know what I mean when I say it’s located where the old library used to be. This redeveloped location is thriving and Rosa’s was experiencing a busy lunch time service, which is no surprise given their express lunch two course offer and the quality of the food.

We were warmly welcomed and offered a choice of tables, eventually opting for a booth, and then spent some time pouring over the menu. We ordered Thai iced teas and the pumpkin crackers to enjoy whilst we decided. If you’ve been reading my recent food blogs you’ll know I’m a huge fan of small plates and starters and so we really went to town with these. Summer rolls, sweetcorn cakes and Satay Chicken all sounded mouthwatering and so we ordered them all and were delighted with the portion size, having four on each plate meant we could share everything.

The sweetcorn cakes were the favourite – absolutely bursting with flavour, subtly seasoned with kaffir lime leaves and red curry paste. Not too spicy and incredibly moorish. The chicken skewers were tender and the summer rolls as fresh as you can get. Each starter came with generous amounts of dipping sauces too and these were a sheet delight to experience. I want to come back if only to try the other starters on the menu.

The team at Rosa’s created a relaxing dining environment, extremely friendly and proud to share information about all of the dishes on the menu, I always ask for advice because I have so much difficulty choosing when everything on the menu sounds amazing, and because I’m trying to be healthy at the moment I eventually opted for a salad and added the pork skewers whilst mum opted for the butternut squash curry. It’s great to see so many vegetarian and vegan options on the menu which have been given just as much thought as the meat dishes.

Mum ordered steamed coconut rice to try with the curry and this worked well, packed full to the brim with chunky vegetables all cooked to perfection and with a great balance with the addition of chilli – you can ask to tone this down if you’re not a fan of the heat.

My salad packed a real punch when it came to the heat, and I’m obsessed with the cashew nuts. These need to be packaged for sale as a snack because they were so delicious. This dish was served with sticky rice which had a nutty flavour which was moorish too. I have to say the Tamarind dipping sauce which accompanied the pork was my favourite thing about this plate, I had to pour the entire bowl over my skewers and savour every mouthful. I adore coriander and this made my day.

Thank you to Chef Saiphin, affectionally known as Rosa, the founder of Rosa’s Thai – born in Thailand and raised in the East End this brand was established on the site of a popular east end “caff” and out of respect for its previous owner (and not being able to afford a new sign) they kept the brand name and made it what it is today. The passion for food shines through every single mouthful of food we had the opportunity to taste today and I’m delighted to be able to explore the website to find out how to attempt to cook Thai food myself at home with Rosa’s recipes . There’s absolutely no substitute for this authentic cuisine and I highly recommend a visit – perhaps we will see you there?

To book click here

Medicine in the Mailbox

This week I had the opportunity to head out to Medicine in the Mailbox and I took along my mum so that we could be ladies who lunch, I have to say it’s been a while since I’ve been able to do this and so it was a real treat for both of us. We were offered a choice of tables with the restaurant having several different areas each with a slightly different ambience. I knew that the first incarnation of the brand was based on the Medicine Bar in Digbeth which I recollect from my student days, although my memories are somewhat hazy.

It was actually hard trying to decide where to sit because every corner of this restaurant is so beautifully decorated. Medicine as a brand reclaims abandoned spaces and turns them in to something beautiful. A new format of social space. This dining space literally feels like it belongs on a Pinterest board, the rich colours, wooden features and the houseplants create a wonderful backdrop for a meal. Eventually we chose to sit in a quiet corner and began to ponder the menu.

I opted for a cocktail whilst mum had lemonade and our expectations were surpassed immediately, before we even had the chance to try any food. Fresh and zingy with excellent sized measures. I could certainly come back enjoy several of these cocktails on a warm summer evening in this setting, it’s just such a welcoming space and feels so relaxing.

The restaurant delivers table service and so we ordered our meals from a waitress who was happy to offer advice and give recommendations on the menu. It was difficult trying to decide what to go for but eventually I opted for the watermelon and chicken salad whilst mum chose a grilled halloumi burger.

What a spread! Everything about this restaurant is well considered, the plates and table wear is just as beautiful as the decor which adds to the experience but the food really is the star of the show. With everything freshly prepared it really makes a difference and flavours come pouring out of every mouthful.

The grilled halloumi burger was on a bouncy brioche bun which was smothered in smashed avocado with chilli jam and a tomato salsa, and came with a thumbs up from my mum. It’s great to see exciting combinations of food and flavours in vegetarian options which often get overlooked. I thought this was extremely reasonably priced at seven pounds.

I was most intrigued by the fried buttermilk chicken and watermelon salad on the menu. Two of my most favourite foods and I have to say I’ve never tried them together so this was a first for me. The watermelon salad was a delight. Fresh and juicy fruit cubes with mint and a sweet dressing with pomegranate seeds made for a really refreshing burst of flavour. The star of this plate however, was the chicken.

If you follow me on social media you’ll know that chicken is basically considered a main food group in our household, I’ve grown up having the opportunity to eat home cooked meals – my aunt’s recipe for fried chicken is based on a recipe from St Kitts and I’ve never been able to sample chicken which measures up to these standards. After the first bite at Medicine I said that this tasted like Auntie Maxine’s and it just got better and better. The coating crumbled nicely and the chicken breast inside was tender and juicy. If I was being picky my only request would be for more of the honey hot sauce for dipping.

I’m really impressed with the experience we had, the food really did live up to expectations and now I feel like I need to head out to the other venues, at New street and come back to sample the bakery as I’ve heard many great things, this really is one of the best places to eat in Birmingham. You can order for collection from both the Mailbox and New Street venues, explore the menu and book tables online via the website

JAQKS chicken – food review

This new chicken shop is based in the awesome venue that is the Cube in Birmingham, and I have to say I was surprised to find out there was a chicken shop based in such a prestigious food venue, however having being given the opportunity to sample their wings I can see why they’re sharing a space in a building with Marco Pierre Whites flagship restaurant.

I visited with Arlo, he wanted some chicken wings and now that Lockdown has ended I thought it was a great idea to take him to eat out somewhere informal just to see how he gets on as it’s been a while since he’s been in a restaurant. This kid loves his food so I don’t know what I was even worried about, the service style is simple at JAQKS, they have paper menus which Arlo enjoyed poring over choosing his meal based on the pictures and of course the huge boards up behind the counter are there to glance at if you’re heading in after an evening in many of the surrounding bars.

Arlo opted for a simple kids wings and chips and couldn’t wait to get the box open, wings with a subtle spiced coating and a crumbly crunch to them. Served with fluffy on the inside chips. What more could you possibly want from a chicken shop?

I opted for a Korean Burger meal which came with a huge portion of chips. The chicken in the burger was tender and juicy, the sauces on the chicken were oozing out in a non greasy way so this was easily demolished. The best thing about this is that the meal came with two sauces to try, and you’re really spoilt for choice with the many options available. There’s something for everyone.

Of course meals come with a drinks refill if you’re eating in and this delighted Arlo. The restaurant is immaculately clean and there’s plenty of space, but the real delight is that food is available to order online from Deliveroo and Uber Eats to satisfy your chicken cravings. I don’t know if it’s just me but I often feel the need for dirty jumbo wings and JAQKS really do hit the spot.

These wings are cooked to perfection and they really go to town with the sauces, there’s no short measures and it’s a delight to get stuck in to these, you can order in threes or sixes in five different flavours, from BBQ, to Jerk, with Peri Peri, Buffalo and Korean in between.

Thanks for giving us the opportunity to come along, we will be back very soon because Arlo has been asking for more chicken wings every day this week!

Yakinori Solihull – restaurant review

Yakinori is a Midlands based Japanese restaurant with (at the time of writing) four branches now open across the region. We were kindly invited to try a meal for two at the Touchwood shopping centre branch in Solihull. I originally came across the Pokénori bowls on Instagram and they caught my attention as I’ve been searching for salad inspiration now I’m on a bit of a health and fitness journey.

Yakinori has a menu which has so much variety – unsurprising for a Japanese restaurant as there’s simply so many awesome dishes which spring from this cuisine. I chose to visit with my sister for a girls night out and we agreed to order different items off the menu with the intention of trying each other’s, and we ended up sharing everything as it all looked and tasted great.

The first thing we both ordered was bubble tea, the menu had a variety of soft drinks, including juices plus a selection of Japanese beers but neither of us had tried Bubble Tea before (I know, we must have been living under a rock). All I can say is that everyone needs to try these at least once. You can customise your drink with flavours of the juices and the bubbles, and the sensation of flavour when the bubbles burst in your mouth is nothing short of fun. These drinks were sweet and refreshing served cold but not too heavy or overpowering for the meal. I’ll be popping in just for a tea every visit to the mall.

The restaurant itself was bright and cheerfully decorated, with an open kitchen and a dedicated section for collection of take out orders – which was busy all night, and there was a queue for “walk in” tables so I highly suggest booking a table to avoid disappointment. The sound system was playing chart music and there was a buzzing atmosphere, yet the tables were set to accommodate social distancing and we felt extremely comfortable during our visit.

The style of service is ordering at the table with a waitress, and as standard they bring out the usual condiments and chopsticks. We did request cutlery and this was no trouble at all. Throughout the evening the team we encountered were all extremely friendly, happy to recommend dishes, explain the menu and ordering process and checked back but without any feeling of intrusiveness.

I opted for Shichimi Chilli Calamari to start, served alongside Edamame. Laura chose to order the Duck Bao Buns and these came out as and when they were ready, alongside a Miso Soup which is included with the Bento Box Main. The team bring our dishes as and when they’re ready and this for me is ideal as I absolutely love small plates and a sharing style of eating.

I have to applaud the attention to detail with all of the dips and extras. The Yuzu dressing with the Calamari was light and had that unusual citrus tang, a perfect accompaniment to the Calamari prepared in a Tempura batter and served with Asian Slaw which was zingy. Slaw is one thing which often falls far short of the mark but this was clearly freshly prepared with a crunch and a burst of flavour.

The duck Bao buns were a delight,the fluffy steamed dough makes these a great but filling option. One was enough for me, a £6.95 portion comes with two buns demonstrating great value for money. The marinated crispy duck was so great we went for this in our Pokénori salad bowl.

Pokénori is a fusion of Hawaiian bowls inspired by Japanese cuisine. The unique Yakinori style of ordering means that there’s countless different combinations and that each bowl is unique to the customer. You can choose the size of bowl, then a base, a protein, up to four salad ingredients and then two dressings, and then add extras too. If you’re the kind of person who struggles with decision making then don’t worry as there’s some awesome signature bowls to choose from on the menu too.

We opted for Udon noodles, with duck, carrot, cucumber, spring onions and coriander. We got our dressings in little pots on the side to really savour the different flavours. This went down a storm. The duck was marinated to perfection and crispy but not tough in texture. The noodles were light and fluffy, and all of our salad was fresh and crisp too.

The star of the show however was the Bento box we ordered “ultimate chicken” was the description on the menu and it arrived to the table in a very generously sized box with a lid and the aromas radiating out when this was lifted were mouthwatering. Bento boxes are great if you want to sample lots of different things – with sticky rice and more of the Asian Slaw working well with all of the different flavours of chicken. We had chicken Katsu Sushi and chicken Katsu in sauce – the sauce was great, rich and light. It had no hint of oil or grease residue which you often get with Katsu.

The firecracker Karage chicken was special – the heat was mouth warming but not overwhelming, and the sriracha Mayo worked really well in combination. When we finished the Bento box we had to admit defeat and end our meal. We were so impressed with the food that after our review we ordered take out for the kids at home as we really wanted to try the sushi too (and I’m advised that this was demolished). The entire menu is available to order for collection or via deliveroo from their branches in and around Birmingham including Selly Oak, Grand Central and Bristol Park street.

In addition I also noticed that Yakinori offers a discount of 20% to students and NHS employees. Thank you kindly to the team for giving us the opportunity to review your restaurant and a special shout out to Grace and Tara who were amazing!

Kouzina – Selfridges – A review of the Street Kitchen Brothers new Greek restaurant

Kouzina Birmingham (1).jpg

Kouzina opened its brand new restaurant in Selfridges Birmingham in May of this year and I was invited along to a special evening to celebrate their launch. Nothing could have prepared me for the feast which I was about to experience. With holidays abroad still being off the cards, I’ve been proactively experimenting with all sorts of cuisines to transport me away to warmer climates and for an evening I felt like I’d been transported to the Greek islands.

Upon arrival I was seated at a table by friendly members of the team. There’s nothing like a Mediterranean welcome, you almost feel as though your coming to visit old friends in their home. You can’t miss the venue, it’s on the ground floor of Selfridges and the open kitchen is central and decorated beautifully.

I was taken to a table which was set simply but beautifully with blue rimmed plates and simple fresh flowers, and invited to order a drink and so I opted for an iced tea. Upon reflection the next time I visit I will not drive so that I can enjoy the Ouzo. I made sure to try every fruit flavour of the iced tea, and they were all as refreshing and light as each other.

It was revealed to that the Street Kitchen Brothers themselves had created the menu for the evening, a full four courses showcasing the best from their menu and also creating some extra dishes, inspired by trips to Greece where they research the ingredients and recipes to create the most authentic cuisine. If you’re lucky these might appear on the specials board on the day of your visit. To be quite honest with you I was glad that I didn’t have to choose for myself because the whole menu sounds amazing.

Meze was first, and the flat breads were served with a selection of dips and olives. I have to say that I couldn’t place the flavouring of the houmous at first – delicately balanced with cumin this went down a storm and I had to remember to pace myself and prepare for the rest of the meal. I was glad that I chose a loose fitting outfit because I wanted to taste and savour everything. This kind of food is my favourite and it’s even better when it’s on small plates to share. I always fill up on starters though and you could visit for a small plates style meal with friends and swap and share the entire starter menu if you wanted to.

The starters were bought out to us on a platter, and I tried one of everything. I said out loud that I hoped Kalamari would make an appearance and as if by magic my wish came true. A Greek salad, halloumi, sausage and pork were served alongside and every single mouthful was beautiful. Ten delicate flavours and spices shone through but were in no way overpowering. It was wonderful to be able to sit back, chat and enjoy the atmosphere with a live musician playing. I’ve really missed eating out and I vowed to myself there and then to do this kind of thing more often.

Then the main courses came out and I almost regretted having filled up on starters but I sat up straight in my seat and made some space to go ahead – the main course dishes were lamb served with roasted new potatoes with a citrus zing, beef in a rich shallot jus, and the creamiest moussaka I’ve ever had the privilege to try. We also had a side of Orzo which was surprisingly light and complimented everything really well. As I mentioned these were special dishes prepared for the evening and showcasing perfectly just what the Street Kitchen bothers can do.

It was lovely to have the time to talk to the people behind the scenes – the Street Kitchen Brothers are genuinely nice people with a fascinating story to tell about their business and origins – family recipes being handed down through generations, a street food business taking the Midlands by storm and now opening a restaurant in the iconic flagship venue that is Selfridges, but pausing to recommend the best places in Greece to visit for food. These guys know their craft and the passion they have for Greek cuisine shines through in their food.

Desserts I have to admit got the better of me, the sweet and sticky orange cake was a delight but I had to request a doggy bag to bring it home. As I write this blog I’m sitting with my feet up and have put Mamma Mia on Netflix to continue my Greek Island day dreams, I’ve already called my mum to ask when she’s free so I can take her out and go back for more Greek food!

If you’re unable to make it to Selfridges in Brum then keep your eyes peeled as the at home meal kits will be available for national UK delivery very soon from Kouzina

Thank you so much for inviting me along to such a wonderful evening, and I wish you all the best in this new venture, I have a feeling it’s going to be an enormous success.