Given that I’m going to spend November confined to my four walls, I’m kind of pleased I had the ridiculous October that I did. I started it on holiday, went to several starred restaurants, filmed a showreel, helped launch a restaurant, started a business, and flew to Italy to eat in what’s widely regarded as the best restaurant in the world. I drank a lot of wine. A lot of negronis. I was living my best life, as the kids say.
Quite possibly the culinary highlight of this was a solo lunch at Adam’s. It was a happy coincidence; I’d planned on cycling into town for a meeting but blew a puncture on the way. I ended up taking a taxi in, had a glass of wine in the meeting, and decided to chance a walk-in for a nice bit of lunch at a place I’ve been meaning to revisit for over a year. They found me a table, I order a bone dry martini and away we go.
There’s an ease to Adam’s that feels special. The service is graceful and concise. Everyone, from the kitchen downstairs, to the front of house knows every dish inside out. Textbook gougeres appear alongside a beef tartare wrap full of ginger notes. Then bread, sturdy crust and crumb full of chew, and two spreads; one a whipped pork fat studded with bacon and another a butter I don’t cheat on it with. I can’t do that to bacon.
It’s clear that the present one star rating from Michelin isn’t enough for them, and if any restaurant within Birmingham is going to make the jump to a second star, it’s here. The precision that the guide look for at that level is everywhere. A salad of tomatoes arrives cloaked in a jelly disc that ripples like body parts under a duvet. It’s clean yet distinctly Japanese thanks to the shiso, ponzu, and dashi. Then a dish of eel, apple, and caviar which wouldn’t look out of place in Paris. Smoked eel bound in creme fraiche, discs of apple, dots of purée, and a fat quenelle of caviar. A sauce of finger lime needed to cut through all the richness. On the side is a tempura of eel dressed in teriyaki. A stunning dish that offers something different with every mouthful. Loved it, loved it, loved it.
Suckling pig is a big comforting dish of belly and loin, with a hash of potato, silky potato purée, spring onion, roasted onion, pickled onion, a gastrique, and a sticky sauce that they were happy to fetch more of when I took the bread to the last of on the empty plate. More impeccable cooking on the two proteins; one a pale pink, the other slow cooked to the point that the fat becomes the glue to bind skin and meat together. Completely different to anything I’d eaten prior in this lunch, yet rooted in the same faultless workmanship. It probably didn’t need the loin, but maybe that’s just me.
Given I’m the best part of two bottles in by now, dessert is a bit on the hazy side. It’s a cylindrical fig parfait, bound tightly in an orange jelly, orange sorbet, pistachios candied and as an airy El Bulli style sponge, figs, and a chocolate cremeux. I didn’t leave a scrap so it must have been good. Petit fours are washed down with more wine.
The bill is the wrong side of £150 for one and worth every penny, so much so I offer to take my girlfriend back the following day, though she turns me down as she has something called a job. It’s a simply brilliant lunch full of detail and flavour. Adam’s have come along way since I first had the roast chicken Bon Bon in a makeshift dining room on Bennett’s Hill. Eight years on and they feel ready to make the next step up.
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