I’ve lived next to The Village pub in Moseley for five years without ever writing about it. I guess I felt the same way as I did with the other places I drank in, which has something to do with the old saying involving doorsteps and turds and the golden advice which goes with it. I don’t want to upset the pub I live next to, in the same way I don’t particularly want them fawning up next to me whilst I’m trying to have a quiet pint because I said something nice.
But I’ve moved as of a week ago, back to Harborne where all the bitter food writers go to rot away. I can say what I want about The Village now and nobody can stop me. Nobody. Well except my girlfriend who proof reads everything before I post it. You know what? I liked it. I liked the refurb they’ve just finished with the low hanging lights, monochrome palette and clean lines. I like that the staff are drilled at checking whether you’re enjoying the food once you’ve actually started eating it and know not to harass you every single minute. I like that they’ve looked at the small detail and worked at making it all better.
After a well-made negroni we start with lamb kofta, tightly packed, almost like a merguez on a stick, a plate squiggle of something simultaneously spicy and cooling, and a properly-dressed salad. Simple things, but simple things done well. Then gently cooked prawns under a dusting of parsely and chilli, rolled about in plenty of garlic and a little ginger. There is bread on the side to pile it on to should you wish, or you could do the right thing and use it to soak up the juices from the bottom of the cast iron pan. I know what I did.
The main course is defined by the quality of the battered halloumi that replaces the more coventional fish. The chips need a bit of work, and the mushy peas need salt, but that halloumi is worth the niggly details. Soft and moreish, the cheese is essentially steamed within a batter that cracks and shatters in the right places. A more than competent tartare is all the acidity it needs. It’s oddly priced at 50p more than the pescetarian equivalent which means they either need to look at their suppliers, or revisit pricing.
Courses are on the large side and we have no room for dessert, though plenty of room for more wine. As the evening rolls out the bar fills up; first with suits, then with those who dip into Moseley for weekend drinks. The old village hall deserves to be a focal point of the community, and with the recent refit they are once again on the right path. I spent five years of my life looking at this building with only the ocasional desire to wandering inside. I won’t make the same mistake now that I’ve moved out of the area.
I’ll need an A2B to get here in future