I often write about food on this blog, reviewing places in London but I should really pay more attention to my own city as Birmingham has plenty of great places to eat. The Birmingham food scene has a pretty good reputation. It's the only UK city outside London, Dublin, Edinburgh and Cardiff to have 4 Michelin stars (yay, go Brum!) While, I've yet to eat at any of the Michelin starred restaurants, I intend to visit them all...so watch this space. I recently visited Annexe, a little French/Italian inspired restuarant which I found after searching for decent places to eat that weren't the usual run of the mill. It has amazing reviews on Trip Advisor and my cousin and I decided to see what the fuss was all about. The location isn't far from the city centre (about a 15 minute walk from the Bullring shopping centre) and located opposite the iconic Victorian Law Courts. As you walk in, the decor really hits you, it has a nostalgic, vintage French cafe vibe with black and white films projected onto screens and walls. It's a pretty cute set up. It's cosy, has plenty of ambience and the staff are attentive and friendly.
Let's talk about the food! The starter was lovely - the fritti perfectly crisp, well seasoned and there wasn't too much mozzarella for it to be overly noticeable. I could have eaten two of them.
Porcini mushroom, polenta, sage and mozzarella fritti, sauted spinach and nutmeg with truffle oilFor my main, I opted for the slow roast pork belly. When it comes to a menu, pork belly is always a safe choice but quelle horreur if they don't get the skin nice and crisp! I needn't have feared as it was perfectly crisp and the meat really tender. Everything worked so well with the coarse grain mustard jus which was sweetened by the honey from the roast vegetables.
Slow roast pork belly with pancetta, honey and sesame roast roots, tarragon and course grain mustard jus
The dessert was good but not exceptional and the brioche was tricky to eat out of the cup. However the pear sorbet was my favourite element by far as it was refreshing and really delicious with the gingerbread crumble. The food on the whole at Annexe was pretty good and I'd certainly make a return visit. On a side note - we got 25% off the whole bill as my cousin is a Gourmet Diners Club member which made the meal unbelievably good value, it's paid membership but if you know someone who is a member, bring them along! I'd love to bring more friends here as the vibe was quite eclectic and cool. They also have 'show nights' which are meant to evoke the golden era like the Moulin Rouge, Old school Jazz and Film Noir. All the more reason to come back...