I’m sure I’m not the only person for whom ‘Revolution’ brings back memories of drunken nights of cocktails, vodka, and trays of weird and wonderful shots. Unable to handle the hangovers from those kind of nights these days, it’s been a long old time since I’ve been to a Revolution, so was definitely intrigued when I was invited to sample their new menu.
Birmingham’s Revolution is on Broad Street, home to partying galore, and not the first area I’d head to for a bite to eat. But my trip was a bit of a lesson to never judge a book by its cover. My, how Revolution has changed. Light and bright inside, there was nothing of the late night atmosphere that I remembered from years gone by. Okay, so maybe it is like that on a Friday or Saturday night. But on the Wednesday night I went, it was more reminiscent of one of the many bars you can find now that puts food high on the agenda than the vodka-pushing, shot-boasting weekend party venue that fills my memories.
Don’t get me wrong, they still do cocktails. Lots of them. Classics, some in funky receptacles like tins or cans or jars, and a few I’ve just not seen elsewhere, including a massively-tempting Peanut Butter martini, complete with a Reese’s Cup. I avoided it, mainly because I knew I was having pudding, but my pal and I thought it would be rude to reject such a great selection of cocktails. She actually used to work at Revolution (it’s made her VERY specific about the vodka she drinks) and was impressed by the expansive menu of cocktails they do.
We both opted for a Pornstar Martini – passionfruit and vanilla vodkas mixed with passionfruit, sugar, and orange juice and served with a shot of fizz by the side. Is it wrong that I felt it appropriate to at least have some form of shot on my return to Rev.
Cocktails in hand, we checked out the food menu. It’s as you’d expect for a place that’s more bar than restaurant – burgers, pizzas, sandwiches, sharing platters and main courses like rack of ribs, fish and chips and steak and chips. But there’s a few surprises too, like lobster ravioli and panang chicken curry. And that’s before you get to the autumn and winter specials – including a rather tempting lamb shank shepherd’s pie.
Feeling pretty hungry, I decided it was time for a burger. I don’t have them very often and there was a tempting selection, from the Bourbon Bad Boy – double burger with BBQ sauce, smoked cheddar, streaky bacon, tomatoes and onion rings – to the Smokin’ Bacon, topped with cheese, chorizo ketchup, streaky bacon, ‘smokinnaise’ and Wotsits. Yes, wotsits.
Alas, I didn’t feel quite this adventurous, and didn’t think I’d manage a double-stacked burger (saving room for pudding, see), so on the helpful waiter’s advice went for the Blackened Chicken burger. Pan-fried slightly spicy chicken with tomatoes and mayo in a brioche bun.
Never before have I seen so much chicken packed into a burger. So much so, that I could take a piece out and eat it separately and still have a full burger with what was left. It was tasty too, and quite nice to have a burger that was quite simple, without 5,000 fillings all competing to get noticed by your tastebuds. It came with fries and red slaw – the former were great, crispy and well-cooked and though there was nothing offensive about the latter, I probably wouldn’t rush to try it again.
My friend went for the Bean Dreamin’, a sweet potato and bean burger, with houmous, vodka salsa, beetroot and pea shoots. As a vegetarian, she was slightly concerned at first that there wasn’t a huge selection for veggies. But when her burger arrived, she was more than happy with her choice, saying it was one of the best burgers she’d had in a while. Special mention went to the vodka salsa, which she said added a great tang.
For dessert, there was plenty to tempt us, from the Nutella Fluffwich – marshmallow fluff and Nutella baked in sweet dough, to the Gnocchi Dolce, stuffed with hazelnut and chocolate mascarpone. But it was the Salted Caramel Chocolate Fondue that won. A bowl of warm melty, caramel-ey, chocolatey goodness, with an array of vehicles to get it to your mouth – dough sticks, strawberries, bananas and marshmallows. Imagine a Rolo that’s been melted into warm loveliness, and this is it. Word to the wise though – melted rolo and whole marshmallow can be a bit much, even for me. In future I’ll stick to the dough sticks, strawberries and banana.
Despite helpful offers of more cocktails or coffees from our waiter, the fondue finished us off and we called it a day. I have to say, I was really impressed by the food at Revolution. No, it’s not really a restaurant experience, so if that’s what you’re looking for then you’re going to the wrong place. But if you want to enjoy some decent food and possibly a nice cocktail in a friendly, relaxed atmosphere, you should give it a go. I’d written Revolution off as a place for my past, but turns out there’s plenty of food for me to work through to keep it in my present for a good while yet.
I was invited to try out Revolution’s new menu. These views are my own and I wasn’t obliged to write a positive review.