I couldn’t resist a sneaky late lunch booking to go and check out Adam’s, a well regarded 1 Michelin star place in Birmingham while I was in town. I’d been impressed with nearby Purnell’s, the night before, so was interested to see how one of the city’s other starred places matched up.
Upon arrival I was shown into the main dining space which is very classic with a degree of formality. The same can be said for the accurate service.
At lunch they offer three different menu routes. There is a full a la carte, set lunch or tasting menu. In addition today there was the option of a bonus course of steak tartare. I was clear I would add the tartare but it took a moment or two to decide that the set lunch looked like the way to go. I did this while sipping a good glass of manzanilla but otherwise contented myself with sparkly water rather than further booze.
As is customary, things got underway with snacks. The first one I missed the description but the second was a rather dense gougere filled with smoked applewood cheese.
A second snack course was much more pleasing with a zingy red cabbage gazpacho, horseradish ice cream with sorrel, topped at the table with pipetted olive oil. This was fresh and lively.
Bread was a nori and mushroom brioche swirl and was very good.
The first menu course was hot smoked salmon with brown shrimp topped with a nori cracker all served in a beurre blanc sauce. The latter was uneven and at times gloopy but the fish was well prepared and the little shrimp a joy.
The undoubted star of the show was the aged beef tartare. With bone marrow giving the beef incredible meaty notes and fun little pearls of Lea & Perrins atop the meat, this was right up there with the best tartares I’ve ever been served.
We were back down to earth with a slightly mixed chicken main course. The breast was flavourful but the confit leg was oddly dry. Accompaniments of charred leeks and mushroom ketchup were fine but a touch ordinary.
The dessert restored us to the path of righteousness with a chocolate log filled with a black forest mousse. This was topped with brambles and shards of tempered chocolate with pistachio and milk ice cream on the side. This was delicious stuff although in the same way that the rest of the meal was characterised by little annoying inaccuracies, the tempering on the chocolate shards was a little off.
Overall, it’s a challenge to give Adam’s a reflective score as it was full of highs and lows. The tartare was stratospherically good and the gazpacho snack beautiful, but there were silly mistakes across much of the rest. The setting and atmosphere exude Michelin standard but the food needs work to make the whole experience rather more even and satisfying.
Blythe scores Adam’s
4/5 for food
3.5/5 for presentation
4/5 for service
4/5 for setting
giving an overall 15.5/20
I ate: set lunch
I drank: manzanilla, sparkly water, espresso
I wore: maroon shirt
Total bill: £74.53