They do a great trick at Sorrento Lounge. Dishes are wielded out at the same time to the table, some may be cold, others not as advertised. There will be components missed. They lay them down and ask how everything is that very second, before the damp aromas have risen and the reality sets in. No time to say “I’m yet to try to them, but they look disgusting”, just straight out of the way and on to the next customer, never to be seen again. It leaves the customer in a void, staring into the dimly lit space knowing that having already parted for this clusterfuck of badly cooked food there is very little that can be done about it. I knew I’d lost my money purely by looking down at the table. I was already mourning its loss.
And this, one of the absolute worst meals I have ever eaten in my entire life, is completely the fault of Moseley. We did this to ourselves. This low-lit, gauche, adolescent shit-pit excuse is the latest of places that filled the Halfords void. We were meant to have Boston Tea Party, a place I care little for but at least displays good ingredient ethics and does a very nice scone, but No! we said, its a chain, all 22 of them, and Moseley does not want chains here, even if they have good ingredient ethics and very nice scones. Instead we ended up with Prezzo, a tartier Pizza Express, with a list of half decent things on cheese and tomato smothered cardboard. They fucked-up my order with Deliveroo when I was hungover and I never forgave them after that. Prezzo took liberties at building a nice little terrace when they wasn’t allowed and Moseley went “fuck off our land, we don’t want chains in Moseley”. And so they did. Now this. All walls covered in artwork and tables with candles because presumably they don’t want you to see what you are eating. Part of the very Lounge Group that owns five in Birmingham, and dozens, if not hundreds, elsewhere. We don’t do chains in Moseley. Not unless they change the first name every time. Fucking dimwits.
Sorrento is named after an old hospital in Moseley, the irony of which is not lost on me considering I would rather die than come here again. We order a total of nine dishes, consisting of six tapas and three side. The six are to tapas in the same way Citizen Khan is to comedy. Six pathetic little microwavable dishes containing various bits of food that very nearly bring me to tears of sadness. ‘Animals have died for this’ is the best I could muster for pulled chicken and chorizo. Torn shreds of a tired old bird in a claggy sauce that had me reaching for the insipid red wine. And then there is the courgette and red peppers with fingernail sized pieces of halloumi bobbing in a chilli oil that faintly smells of dead fish. It is supposed to be chargrilled. Bullshit. The only heat applied here has come from a 850w metal box. It is frankly an insult to every single chef who has ever tried to apply his trade with any integrity.
You’ll have to believe me as to how bad the potatas bravas was. Colourless blocks of soggy spud with two sauces they’ve failed to warm up correctly. The red one has the uncooked notes of tomato puree that is my only indicator of its intended flavour. The white one, absolutely no idea, but I hope its not the bodily fluid of whatever horny teenager in the kitchen they’re paying the minimum wage to operate the pingy thing in the corner. By comparison the sweet potato fries are almost edible, albeit only once something called salt is applied. And then there’s the broccoli, not microwaved enough so that the stems are still raw. With this are soggy bits of garlic and chilli, proving that the kitchen here can fuck just about anything up.
We allegedly get crispy porky belly bites that are soft grey lump of fat sat in a puddle of dirty water. It looks like the contents of a post colonic irrigation and tastes far worse. I do something I’ve only done once before and spit a piece back out after the fat gets trapped in my throat. Buttermilk chicken are really sub-standard chicken dippers, pork and beef meatballs solid bits of off-cuts that would be better driven off a tee than ate. A side of macaroni cheese has the nuclear yellow tinge of a Russian assassination attempt. I eat some hoping to end it all. It doesn’t work. I just get burnt lips and overcooked pasta. A second glass of wine doesn’t sedate me, it just makes me more angry.
We don’t have dessert because we have bread. Two loaves worth of fucking bread that they forgot to bring with our food. I try to stop the lad who dumped it on to our table to tell him how bad this is, but he is gone. Of course he is. With dishes at around £4 each some would say this is value, and to those idiots I would gladly drag them 20 metres to Zindiya where similar prices buys skill and love. A final word; my girlfriend, the far nicer side of our relationship, says that this is the worst meal she can recall eating. She’s right. There is nothing redeeming about anything to do with Sorrento Lounge. It’s cynical and nasty, working on a small plate premise that will quickly see a bill adding up to a price point well above what it is worth. And this glossy wank stain of a restaurant is on my doorstep. People of Moseley, this is all your fault. We could have just taken the nice scones.