Canary + Kitchen ticks all the hidden gem boxes. Out of town? Check. Only eight seats? Check. A style of cooking that’s unfamiliar and not seen much in this region? Blimey, pass the hidden gem washing up powder, I’ve just jizzed my hidden gem pants. Cheap corkage – or should that be cork cage – and a chef that serves up the dishes himself? I’m not sure I can take this anymore. Line it up. Add it to the all important blog pieces with titles like “ten restaurants half an hour away from Birmingham”, and “restaurants called Canary + Kitchen that you’ve never heard of… until now!”. We can’t claim it Brum, it belongs to Worcestershire. I know because it’s round the corner from the in-laws in Aston Fields; the trendy bit of Bromsgrove near the train station that has a disproportionally large amount of restaurants and bars for the area.
Enough about them. Back to Canary + Kitchen, a hidden gem I just reckon, just maybe, possibly highly likely, that I’ll be going to so frequently I’ll one day be able find it without an OS map and a compass. Behind the stove is Michael Rossiter-Eaglesfield, a self taught chef who has a love of Asia. He was once on Masterchef but didn’t do great on his own account. Now, via a successful delivery business over lockdown, he has a little place of his own. It’s very good.
The menu is a tasting menu for £60 per person, no choice as such, though a dietary requirement amongst us means that we have a mish-mash of both the old and current menus. First a bruschetta of sorts with fermented beans and kewpie mayo; a rich, umami-packed bite. Then creamed corn spiked with cayenne pepper, on a paddle of chicken skin that is best eaten by snapping the handle off, folding over the shards of biscuity skin and eaten like a sandwich. Bhel puri appears from the latest menu containing more clean hits than a Tommy Fury fight. The raita might be a touch thin, but it doesn’t really need it. It’s a superb bhel puri rendition.
A really excellent skewer of chicken yakitori is followed by doenjang jjigae, a dish I’m so unfamiliar with I’ve just checked the spelling twice to avoid being cancelled for the fourth time. It’s a soybean paste stew that is salty and umami and loaded with complexities. There are others on the table who appreciate it more than I do. It’s then on to char sui pork belly, all lacquered and rich, slowly cooked to that texture that’s somewhere between thick cut bacon and jelly, and served up simply on a creamy, coleslaw-like salad. We take the ends home when offered for possibly the greatest sarnies of all time.
The savoury courses finish with ox cheek braised in master stock, with star anise braised carrots (a Kerridge recipe I also use from the BBC website) and celeriac purée so rich I dread to think of the fat content. It sums-up the cleverness of the kitchen; Meat and two veg reimagined with the subtle use of eastern spice. It’s damn right outrageous.
We’ve flown through it, decimating champers, whites and reds along the way. The table is merry; I’m trying to get us to go to the pub quiz over the road whilst the Sauternes is being cranked open. Desserts are a tiramisu which lacks intensity and a tarte tatin that happens to be the third of that fortnight and very nearly as good as the one this handsome fucker makes. There’s a tiny charge for corkage for the table that needs to be per bottle and and a bill that’s far too cheap for this quality.
Now this hidden gem thing. It needs to stop. It’s lazy and is always places that aren’t in the city centre and normally labelled so by the type of goons who get their dinner for free and, heaven forbid, are paying for once. There is nothing hidden about Canary Kitchen other than it’s current media presence. And that won’t be the case for long. It’s class and therefore only a matter of time before you too make the trip.
Birminghams best food podcast returning for season 2. Listen to season one here.
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