I was sat at the counter of a very good restaurant recently, having a chinwag with a very good chef, whilst he hand delivered very good plates of food to me to be consumed by my very nice face. We spoke about the usual stuff: who is doing well, who is treating their chefs like shit, where those chefs should go to work next, and what’s-his-face repackaging his little empire for what’s probably the second time in four years to avoid paying his debts. What’s that? It’s his third time in four years. He really is a bastard. I joke to the chef bloke about the time random men used to send him pictures of their dinkle to him on Instagram, and he says he’d welcome those times back over the same Instagram influencers messaging him the same shit over and over and over again. Always the same rubbish of can’t wait to try your food or I really must book in soon nonsense spouted by those whose only form of originality is a misplaced gif or emoji. They should book in, he says, because he isn’t going to bow to it. He tells me if he had free meals to hand out they’d go to supermodels, not some beggar with an inflated opinion of themselves and a kooky look just like the other kooky lookers on Kooky Look Street. He’s single-handedly reinvented the wheel of this crushing shit-show of freebies. Invite supermodels. Please. They are much easier on the eye. And the ears. 


There are no supermodels in Land, nor are there any influencers. It’s probably for the best. It’s not the place to come for free meals, not when 4 courses with snacks come in at £36, or 7 with the same for nine pounds more. I’d argue that if you’re not willing to pay that kind of money for this standard of meal you shouldn’t be allowed in restaurants. Get out. Piss off. Try blogging about your McDonalds that you eat whilst sat on the kerb. Anyway, back to Land and its obscenely cheap prices. Given the quality of cooking on display it’s one of the great bargains of Birmingham. We drink a good bottle of wine and leave with a bill of less than sixty quid apiece.


They get their snacks out for the lads. First one is a pea and mint tart, delicate and fresh, followed by a chip of sorts, all layers of compressed fried spud dusted in a dandruff of malt vinegar powder and dotted with black garlic. Like the most pungent, naughtiest bit of potato. Then focaccia, a work of art by itself, bright with peppery olive oil and softened tomato, to be applied with a green olive tapenade that works better here than any butter. Not that you’ll find butter here at all, given that the cooking is plant based. Oh Simon, dropping that little nugget in at the end of the third paragraph. Well, you’re here now and you’re invested. Better carry on with the reading. 


First of the five courses is tenderstem broccoli, lounging on a beautiful ajo blanco of sorts, with a sharp salsa verse full of anise notes to cut through the fattiness of the almond. A linseed tuille is there for more than just texture, adding a buttery nutty note. Everything on the plate is used to enhance the tenderstem. It’s extremely clever. Then smoked kohlrabi, cooked to a just a little bite, dressed in ponzo and seasoned with furikake. Miso adds umami and slight lactic notes. It’s rich, but very, very good. They get flavour here, how to pull a dish together cohesively. 


Flavours and inspirations are pulled from everywhere. The first course from the Med, the second from Japan, and this, a main course of sorts, from Eastern Europe. It’s my least favourite course, possibly because the white onion at the base is so sharp, but also because the main component – a potato dumpling dressed in wild garlic – lacks the finesse of the rest of the dishes here. We finish on the best course of macerated strawberries with strawberry sorbet, pistachio powder and rose sugar tuille. It is exceptional in balance, with a trace of vinegar loitering and just a hint of floral rose. It is good enough for the Michelin guide and a genuine moment of the year. I’m considering going back for it. 


So, what else is there to say? I could start with the dining room, as striking as any in Birmingham, with less covers than before to put more emphasis on quality. And the staff who exude a quiet confidence that pours from the open kitchen at the back all the way through to the front-of-house who know their product inside out. I’ve told you it’s cheap, well, as cheap as this kind of experience could ever be, and I’ve highlighted that this is a really excellent restaurant serving really excellent food that happens to contain zero animal. You can work the rest out for yourself.