Damascena, Restaurant Review

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With a new restaurant opened up on Harborne high-street, and also located in Moseley Birmingham’s City Centre, my mum and I decided to treat ourselves after my hectic term of exams!

Cosy, elegant decoration, buzzing atmosphere and delicious treats on show, we spent a few hours of indulgence in this high quality Syrian restaurant, menu here!

Having visited three times within the week I have lots to recommend! Whether the sweet, chewy, nibble sized backava assortment (above) or the more substantial lemon chicken or falafel wrap below, there is a large array of Syrian dishes to try.

I highly recommend the Tahini Kofta, which is a sort of meat pie, topped with sour cream and homemade, warm pita type bread (delicious!) and presented with their unique Damascena bread, which adds a slight kick to the dish.

The drinks don’t disappoint either, whether you want to indulge in a large, sweet, chocolate bar milkshake, or try a more unique rose water and tamarind juice concoction (very acquired taste!) there is something for the adventurous and the not so much!

I hope this complimentary review compels you to visit a Damascena near you, and makes up for my absence from posting!

-afoodexplored x


The Belfry

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Hey guys, sorry it’s been a while but I’m here to tell you about one of the best massages I’ve ever experienced which was topped off with a delicious cream tea delight!!

We were spoilt for choice on sandwich fingers from salmon, to balsamic onion, all delicately presented, pristine cut for a glamorous spa day! We were thoroughly relaxed in the bustling atmosphere of other relaxed, radiant customers!Of course the sweet treats are what you really go for! Whether the delicate, simple fruit tartlet, the moist frangipani (I even ate my mum’s share.. sorry mum!) or the rich rocky road, there was a good selection. and to top it all off plain and raisin scones, served with petite jars of jam and servings of fresh cream! Yum! Not to mention unlimited teas on offer!

Whether you fancy just a cream tea treat or a spa day of hot stone or salt massage, swimming pools and steam rooms beforehand, the Belfry is truly the place. One of the most relaxing days I have had recently (exactly what I needed before exam season hits!) a definite recommend!

-afoodexplorer x

Gluten Free Tarte Tatin, Recipe Review

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Following my Food Technology coursework, we begun to explore recipes which could suit a larger consumer audience. There seems to be a large range of sellers trying to make perfect puddings for the gluten free audience.

I attempted this recipe using nectarines which provided a beautiful soft texture contrast to the short textured pastry (homemade is always the best!)

If you want to follow the trend of nectarines make sure you cut it with the skin on first!!

Overall, although a little crumbly, a fab pie which still produces a short, melt in the mouth pastry, using gluten free alternatives!

-afoodexplorer x

Burger Shop, Worcester

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So, I must make a quick confession: I”m not normally a burger fan, and much to my mates’ dismay, Five Guys is rarely my go to lunch venue. I much prefer a decadent BBQ burger loaded with caramelised onions. However, being taken to Burger Shop, a very modern, minimalist, contemporary venue, as a suprise for my GCSE results, I was intriued to whether my mind could be changed.We were greeted by knowledgeable staff, guiding us through the menu, before I decided on pulled lamb (below). Definitely the right choice!Being served on trays may put you off, but I would be lying if I said it didn’t coordinate with the contemporary theme or the restaurant.

The burgers oozed (informal I know, whoops!), with flavours seeping into the soft brioche bun, and contradicted, beautifully, with the creamy, flavourful cauliflower croquettes (below right), which, no lie, caused some hand flicking amongst us (!).

Overall, for a non burger lover, the Burger Shop was throughly enjoyable; it is seemingly high end venue, reflected by the precise decor and quality cooking. A definite summer go to, with outside seating, and greenery crawling up the walls, radiating as the sun fills the high arc roof.

-afoodexplored x

Prezzo, Harborne

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Ever feel like you have deserve a treat of andante pasta, delicious ice cream sponge desserts (as below), and some creamy nibbles?

Straight after a tiring day of college, a friend and I headed straight for Prezzo, Harborne and were immediately buzzing from the modern decor in the dominating clock tower of the high street. Greeted by the warmth of light and chatter in Prezzo, even the giggles of families enjoying a quality meal after exhausting days at work, we couldn’t wait to get tucked in!

With an online student voucher on hand, who wouldn’t experiment with the plush crab cakes (above), garlic risotto (below) and creamy Pomodoro, all with the bustling view of Harborne High street, (although Prezzo also accommodates for those wishing for a more sophisticated view of the “square”).

Prezzo seems fit for many, whether a romantic date, family celebration, or student stress relief, tables of two or booths of 8 can be booked here: go treat yourself with dazzling decor and smiling staff. For a good price, why not indulge away from the usual pizza express (well that’s what I needed anyway)!

-afoodexplored x

Zindiya, Moseley

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This up and coming street food restaurant is ideal if you are in need of a little spice( menu Here). Can you handle it?

Although it is slightly cold in there, during these (snowy?!!) winter months, so bring some layers(!!), this urban indian restaurant does heats the tongue!! Maybe this is me being uncultured, but there was an array of new tapas style dishes to try!! Doesnt everyone love tapas, or is it just my excuse to try more things on the menu?! Whoops! Above is my recommendation to contrast with all the spicy dishes, a refreshing, mild dish with a bit of crunch. The chicken tikka kebab below, I had heard of, of course, after watching Scarlett Moffatt on Im A Celeb rave about them; after trying this chilli tenderness, as recommended by the smily waiter, I understand why it is her favourite. However, my personal favourite was the Khati Roll, served on naan like bread (but higher quality) and bursting with flavour.

The low lighted interior replicates perhaps the urban street but what brightens up the place are chic lighting hanging from walls, and bold graffiti adorning the walls.

Seating even groups of 25, this place is ideal for a party get together, even for evening tea- did you ever think cardamom would make it into your typical British scone?! Find the evening tea menu here.

Book here!

-afoodexplored x

The Hairy Biker’s Trout Almondine (Recipe Review)

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Just a quick recipe review as I have not done one in a while. My mum has introduced me to a new favourite dish of mine, the Trout Almondine (menu on link) as instructed by the Hairy Bikers. 

The sour capers, and strong citrus flavours add flourish to the otherwise delicate, more subtle flavoured trout. Although I have not tried it, fish can always be replaced with others to experiment with flavour and texture; perhaps salmon, for a more lean cut, or even sardines with rice to add saltiness to the strong flavour concoction of this recipe- just a few idead to get your imagination rolling!
 A quick evening dish, cooked in under an hour, which can of course be served with a variety of vegetables for all those vegetable obsessed cooks (like my mum!) out there.

-afoodexplored x

Harborne kitchen (the Revamped Butcher’s Social)

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Finally(!!) as promised, I have managed to dine at the new and improved Butcher’s Social! (Now named Harborne Kitchen) What a treat visiting a restaurant, on the verge of michelin star status, for my dad’s birthday.

Entrées: the fluffiest, (I know… what a formal description) lightest butter ever (almost like a foam), accompanied homemade sourdough bread; a required dense accompaniment to the butter. The bread, I was informed, was produced using lager?!

Starters: fish skin sticks (a better version of pork crackling in my opinion… I’m sure this was nothing to  do with the novelty of spray on rose vinegar accompanying it); a  velouté (above, far right)- a coriander creme fraiche kind of dish- smooth on the tongue.

Mains: Deliciously tender pork balls (above); soft, lightly salted chicken; homemade ravioli, filled with soft fish filling(below); it was all refreshingly washed down with the unique seedlip “Garden” mocktail,   cleansing my tastebuds.

To accompany the sweeter, (reminding me of haribos)”Tropical” mocktail…dessert! Whether the soft crumbly venana layers (below) or the lavender infused honeycomb delight, the desserts did not disappoint.

To conclude, a very high end restaurant, ideal for treating the family to some meticulously prepared dishes, all served with genuine smiles and enthusiasm. Choose between the constantly improved set or choosing menu, and enjoy a wonderful night.

-afoodexplored x

Stuffed Pepper Recipe Trial (Sardegna twist)

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Having just spent a week in Sardegna, Italy, I cooked this Mediterranean Stuffed Pepper Recipe, (click words for link to recipe) with a Sardegna twist (photo above).

Fregola pasta (originated from Sardegna) replaced the cous cous, which was meant to be inside the lightly fried, juicy peppers; subtle tasting, soft mozarella complimented the dish, despite bitter feta cheese having been recommended in the recipe: the olives provided the required sourness instead.

I would use this dish to accompany a refreshing side salad, or as a main dinner dish, depending on the size of peppers purchased; as you can see, the ones we bought were rather large! Two halves were perfect for a single portion.

It’s a simple, quickly prepared dish. A combination of a variety of textures, colours and tastes; a dish which is very adaptable to accomodate different tastes. Highly advise you to consume under the blissful summer sun, either on holiday or in the comfort of your own home.

-afoodexplored x