[Disclosure: We paid in full at Adam’s – well, my pal Laura of Bite Your Brum paid for me as a treat, but there was no invite here]
Adam’s in Birmingham is a lot of things. A mainstay of the city’s Michelin dining scene. The kind of place that can turn humble ingredients – like the simple chicken dish on the day I went for lunch – into something superlative.
It’s also an exercise is precision. Meticulous attention to detail runs through every part of the Adam’s experience, from the greeting when you arrive to the interior of the restaurant and, of course, the food.
Every single element is ‘just so’, and while some might drag the hackneyed phrase ‘military precision’ out of their synonym search online, I deliberately haven’t used it here, because this isn’t a paint-by-numbers, robotic way of doing things. It’s a precision borne of passion, pride, experience and care and while everything is as smooth as smooth can be, there’s a warmth here that often comes with less posh places.
Adam’s opened in 2013 and quickly earned itself a Michelin star. Since then its moved venues and become one of the jewels in Birmingham’s hefty crown of culinary gems.
If you go there are various dining options – a tasting menu for £130, a la carte options on certain sittings, and a pretty good value lunch menu available Tuesday to Friday at £55 for three courses or £75 for five courses. But what you really need is a friend like Bite Your Brum who finds an additional deal to make it even better value, and treats you to it for your birthday.
It’s the real deal – but if Michelin Stars send you into a tailspin fearing you’ll have a Julia Roberts Pretty Woman moments and be sneered at by snooty waiting staff then fear not. Yes, it’s formal, but there’s also a degree of warmth to accompany the ‘just so’ precision here.
The lunch menu is simple and seasonal, as the best lunch menus tend to be. But that doesn’t mean you don’t get all the joyous touches, like a perfectly-executed savoury macaron to nibble on, or slabs of brilliant bread with even more brilliant butter.
The shameful time it’s taken for me to write about this means the menu has changed, but the ability to elevate simple ingredients runs like a thread through our whole meal.
A grilled vegetable salad is fresh and well dressed, but it’s the egg yolk and chicken skin that take it from salad to Michelin-star starter. Laura’s chalk stream trout starter pops with flavour as well as colour, and in both dishes the use of textures reminds us that decent food is never just about the taste, but the look, feel and everything else in between that touches your senses in some way, shape or form.
That memorable chicken main is next. The skin is a heady combination of chewy and crispy, the meat itself tender and dense. There’s crunchy asparagus, a sauce/gravy and all the trimmings but the chicken is so good you could probably just eat it on its own. And if that’s not enough, a crispy chicken wing is served on the side. Because at Adams they get that this is often the best bit.
Dessert is a peach cake that’s summery, simple and as delicate as it is full of flavour. Bee pollen adds floral notes that transport you from the heart of Birmingham city centre to an English garden far away.
If I hadn’t been so tardy in writing this, I would undoubtedly have found more words and more intricate descriptions. But in truth, you don’t really need them. Adam’s is great – it’s a mainstay in Birmingham’s fine dining scene and for good reason.
No, it’s not casual. No, it’s not cheap. But the food is excellent and despite its Michelin star and excellent reputation, there’s a warmth to accompany the precision that makes it one of the best places to eat in the city.
[We paid in full at Adam’s. It was nothing to do with the blog. Just two mates having lunch]