Being a non-Brum dweller, I’m usually last to the party when it comes to the must-see, must-visit, must-eat, must-drink places in the city. I’m getting gradually better, but one of the places I shamefully have to admit I’ve spent far too little time in is the Jewellery Quarter. Jamie bought my engagement ring from there, and we went back to get our wedding rings, but since then it’s been somewhat lacking in my life. I see regular Facebook statuses about the cool nights friends have had there, so I know it’s one of THE places to go. I just haven’t quite made it. Well, until last week.
Lucky for me, I was invited to try out the new menu at the Rose Villa Tavern, part of the Bitters’n’Twisted group, with a bunch of fellow bloggers. As if I was going to miss that! And with the food described as ‘USA diner-style’, it wasn’t difficult to convince Mr M to come along. Thanks to a bit of logistical tomfoolery, we managed to meet up and head there on a weekday evening. The Rose Villa Tavern is unmissable as you come up the street, and has that great vibe of a classic British pub scrubbed up so it fits into 2015 as well as it fitted into 1919 when it was first built.
We were late, which is becoming a worrying trend for me, and arrived to the impressive sight of food-fans fighting over chicken wings as they supped on drinks in a corner of the pub. Only when I tried one did I understand why. Forget greasy, sticky wings that you might be used to. These had been deep fried so they were crispy and crunchy, but without the ooze of grease that you can often get.
The RVT’s new menu is stacked with American classics. We see food like this around a lot at the moment, it’s clearly in vogue and incredibly popular, but that doesn’t mean it’s always well-executed. The blogging gang were treated to tasters of all sorts, from the burgers to sub rolls filled with slow-cooked pork or beef, and chilli cheese fries.
Slightly weary and very hungry, Mr M and I decided that rather nibble on lots of things, we’d just act like we were out for a normal bite to eat. I’d been thinking of burgers ALL day so that was where I headed, as did he. There’s plenty to choose from, from a simple ‘House’ to a ‘Double Meat Treat’. I went for the ‘Bacon Cheese’ with classic fries while he opted for the ‘American Meat’ with sweet potato fries.
First things first – they were HUGE. Well, mine was anyway. I’m an idiot, because I didn’t read the bit that says ‘two 4oz beef patties’ . Talk about schoolgirl error. They were great though, meaty and well-seasoned, with crispy well-cooked ‘candied smoked’ bacon on top, as well as melty, sticky, oozy cheese. It was delicious.
The only problem was the sheer size of it, and this isn’t a problem unique to the RVT. Sometimes burgers get so big that they’re not really a burger anymore. I want to be able to grab it in both hands and take a nice hearty mouthful. I haven’t got a small mouth, by anyone’s standards, but there was no way I was getting my jaw around this bad boy. So then you end up having to dissect your burger and eat it bit by bit, which kind of defeats the object. Then again, that’s a pretty small complaint in the grand scheme of things, and some might say I should have just ordered something smaller. Fair point.
Mr M’s was definitely a messy dish. He had just the one patty, which was apparently ‘mustard-rubbed’, with pulled beef brisket on top. Again, the burger was great and the brisket was mixed with rich, tangy barbecue sauce. He’d been attracted to his choice by the addition of tarragon mayo which he said added a nice herby creaminess, while jalapenos gave the whole messy mound a bit of crunch.
Obviously we finished both, despite being horrendously full. Mr M washed his down with a couple of pints of cider and while I, as designated driver, was off the alcohol, I got a chance to try one of RVT’s cocktails that was kindly tweaked to be alcohol-free. And very nice it was too.
I’ve heard plenty of people rave about the Rose Villa Tavern, and I can see why. It’s a vibrant place with a great atmosphere, good food, and top-notch drinks. It may not be the cheapest place in the world, but there’s plenty of deals to be had. Two burgers and fries for £10 on a Wednesday? You’d be a fool not to.
I’m chuffed that I’ve finally discovered the Jewellery Quarter (I know, I know, what a Philistine) and I can confidently say that now I’ve seen one of its treats I’ve realised that a return visit is of the utmost importance.
So come on Brum-fans, where else is good in the Jewellery Quarter? You say it, I’ll go!
While we were invited to the Rose Villa Tavern for the complimentary blog event, we decided to order and pay for our own burgers and fries. We paid for our drinks too.