When you find yourself setting the alarm on a rare Saturday morning off together and catching a train into Birmingham, you wonder more than once during that journey if it’s all going to be worth it. You wonder less if it’s for a one-off breakfast at a Michelin-starred restaurant. And having done it once, I know if I find myself doing that again, I won’t wonder at all.
It was all a bit of an accident really. Not long ago I happened on a great blog called Birmingham Breakfast Club. How I’d missed it I’m not sure, but at least that situation’s been remedied. Just after I discovered these breakfast-loving bloggers, they announced a rather mind-blowing collaboration that they had organised with one of Birmingham’s much-loved recipients of a Michelin star – Adam’s on Bennetts Hill.
Chef Adam Stokes certainly has a reputation and a half. After starting his career at Hambleton Hall in Leicestershire, he became head chef of Glenapp Castle in Scotland and ended up getting his first Michelin star just before his 30th birthday. He’s since moved to Birmingham where he opened Adam’s in spring 2013. Less than six months after it opened, that went on to get its own Michelin star. Clearly he knows what he’s doing.
And with accolades like this, you know his breakfast is gonna be good. I’m a lover of cooked breakfasts anyway, and have written about the full English on here before, but was fairly sure this would be something a cut above. So, I put my name in the hat and vied with a bunch of other brekkie fans to be part of the gang of 20-odd people lucky enough to get to try a breakfast with a difference.
Luck, it seems, was on my side and that’s what led to Mr M and I crawling out of bed super early last weekend to make our first trip to Adam’s. It’s rather unassuming from the outside, and inside simplicity and class shine through. The restaurant itself is pretty small (though according to its website there are plans to relocate and expand), but I imagine would have brilliant ambience of an evening (don’t worry, I’ve already got plans to get back there for dinner).
It was good for breakfast too, as we sat on three large tables, making for a sociable and slightly less formal occasion. It’s so nice when a restaurant can keep its feet on the ground despite a panoply of success, and the presence of Heinz tomato ketchup and HP sauce on the tables was the perfect evidence of this.
First we were treated to juice (real orange juice, not the concentrate stuff) and tea or coffee. I tried to resist the cocktails, but one sight of some fabulous looking espresso martinis and I couldn’t help but try the Bloody Mary. After all, if anywhere is going to do a Bloody Mary well, it’s a restaurant of this level. I wasn’t disappointed. For me, a Bloody Mary is all about the spice. Nobody wants just vodka and tomato juice with a splash of tabasco – you want that deep peppery taste that comes from just the right combination of seasoning.
As we started to wake up, breakfast began. Baskets of sourdough toast with delicious, real Lincolnshire Poacher butter. In a half-baked effort to not constantly be a glutton, I don’t have butter that often, which means when I do, I relish that creamy, salty taste. I could literally eat it with a spoon (I didn’t though, obviously).
Before we knew it, the main event was arriving. How the chefs at Adam’s managed to produce more than 20 perfectly-cooked breakfasts ALL AT THE SAME TIME, I will never know, but it was bloody impressive. Two Scottish pork and sage sausages, Wiltshire smoked back bacon, thick and salty, sauteed chestnut mushrooms, balsamic roasted tomatoes, and baked beans (which came in a separate bowl).
And for me and Mr M, a few standout items. For me, the homemade black pudding was delicious. I like black pudding anyway, but the sweet, almost fruity taste made it something to really savour.
Mr M, who loves a poached egg at the best of times, was impressed by our poached duck eggs, plus the fact there were two each. Perfectly poached into spheres, they oozed bright orange yolk and were predictably rich. I have to admit, until our visit to Adam’s., I had never realised that one of the many skills on my husband’s CV should be the ability to eat a poached egg without spilling a single bit of yolk. It was a sight to behold, although I’m told he’s not the only one who hates yolk spillage (yes, I’m talking to you Simon Steggles.)
And for us both, the ‘Adam’s recipe haggis’ was a real treat. Oaty, crumbly, spicy and packed with flavour.
For anyone who hadn’t had enough, there was an endless supply of sourdough toast, along with a selection of preserves. Jamie and I had confidently told each other on the journey that a Michelin starred restaurant would probably keep the portions quite small, and we definitley wouldn’t be full when we left. Oh how wrong you can be. We left Adam’s absolutely stuffed, and stayed that way for the rest of the day. We also had one of the best, and most unusual, starts to a weekend that we’ve had for ages.
Now, I’m not a breakfast expert, unlike the organisers, but in my view it was pretty damn good. I’ve got to give an internet pat on the back to everyone at Adam’s for adding to their working day by a good few hours to give us breakfast, and to the Brum Breakfast Club guys for such a great idea. Rumours are, they might be planning more similar events. Fingers crossed for a space on those too!
We paid for our breakfasts at Adam’s, and it was well worth it.