So on Thursday night we were invited to try out the very new Lobby On Hill Street promising food and drink from its new menu hitting Birmingham later this month….what did we do…..snap their hands off! It’s always amazing to get a first look at a space and to try the food that Brummies will be enjoying in their masses. After a frantic getting ready/what to wear session I was out the door and running on time to get to the venue at 7PM. Now I will say that it was one of those times when maps on your phone lets you down slightly…..walking up and down the road with my phone in my hand was just not proving effective…….why……because the main door of the venue that is set to be over the road from Snobs has not opened yet! After a few minutes we were taken pity on a herded into the venue and downstairs to the bars private drinking area for some champagne and canapes. I noticed the waitress had noted my very positive words on the lite bites and kept targeting me with the tray……I was not complaining! These were not your standard every day bites of tatty finger food….oh no….these were well selected fish and cured meats on a mixture of breads and crackers all superbly presented….and plentiful as stated….I polished off a good few and went back into the upstairs bar where were were lead to the main dining space of the night. The Lobby venue itself!
We were greeted and seated and quickly given a brief idea of what they venue is going to be all about. We were told of the small plates inspired by street food, great cocktails and intimate vibe all set in a space hidden below Smallbrook Queensway. This is the type of space you would take someone and they would be all like…..oh wow I had no idea this would be here! Both the fact the venue is under a hotel and below ground level keep the slick and sharp design of the restaurant a full surprise until you walk down the stairs.
As soon as the initial intros were over we got to the main part of the night……The food and drink! We were split into groups and showed the cocktail we would be ‘learning’/drinking…..our groups offering being the passion fruit mojito….again absolutely no complaints. This was something a bit special…..served in a pretty large goblet style glass with fresh passion fruit and mint, this drink had a truly distinctive flavour and a real feeling of quality. We are not talking some sort of trashy two for one offer cocktail here. This was a ‘we mean business’ offering that you would be rushing back to the bar for a second, third and if you were feeling brave a fourth of! We polished those off and moved onto the food, and a whole lot of it.
Out on the side was the venues food menu in all its glory…..we had been asked to pre select our food options so straight away my eye was drawn toward the squid and chorizo hot pot and the black pudding hash…..you know you do it ….you pre selected itso I want to asses the food envy amount I may be having to go through….but alas…all the food looked great and again was beautifully presented.
The restaurants small plates are going to be going out of the kitchen at three plates for £14 and they are not holding back on the portion sizes…..these are like small mains in other restaurants! The squid and chorizo was flawless with a mention needing to go to the crispy squid topping. Although i found the bubble and squeak slightly soft (but well flavoured) the black pudding was again exceptional and full of flavour. Thinking this was the end of the food we started to chat and have a drink….then the food started to come out again. We were walked through the entire tasting menu stopping off at salt and chilli ribs, prawn tempura, monkfish nuggets, popcorn chicken and possibly for me the most unusual item….the chip butty. Now, we need to give this a mention…on the same menu as monkfish balls and fine meats there is a chip butty….I thought there has to be a reason and this needs to be something sent from above….some sort of heavenly carb-tastic offering that you will be telling your friends about in years to come! It was garlic filled and really packed a punch, I have to say one of the best chip butties I have ever tasted but for me the outstanding quality of the other dishes just out shines it, huge shouts again to the salt and pepper ribs and also the chicken wings. Both were honestly just beautiful and something i’ll be visiting again for…the chip butty not so much but I know some carb lovers in the room were suitably impressed. I need to also give a huge shout out to the chimichurri mayo….I would honestly eat it with every meal……every day….indefinitely.
The whole evening was a real treat hosted by both the managers of the Lobby and the lovely Rachel who did a fantastic job of looking after us and giving all the information we needed as the evening progressed. I also need to mention the amazing live band on the night….chilled almost Frank sinatra esque vibes, I mean when can that ever be a bad thing. When this place opens go get some seriously good food and drinks all served up in a chilled and pretty non pretentious way. Bravo Lobby on Hill Street, bravo.
Daniel Gleeson (Yelp Birmingham)
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