I hold my hands up, I’ve never eaten a meal at Hotel Du Vin before. I know, how dare I call myself a Birmingham Food Blogger when I’ve never even had a meal in one of the most beautiful French styled bistros in the city centre! Luckily enough, I was recently invited to try HDV’s new Spring/Summer menu with a group of other bloggers and of course, I jumped at the chance to try some of the new dishes from the menus. I had my eye on the Yorkshire Dales Lamb even before I had sat down at the table, I was very excited to eat some delicious food and drink some red wine after walking from work to Hotel Du Vin in the pouring rain.
The evening began with a blind champagne tasting which was a pretty great idea and the perfect way for us bloggers to chat and mingle. The truth is, I had no idea I was so bad at tasting alcohol! In my defence, I’m not a huge fan of champagne, but it was a fun game all the same. We had to guess which glasses held some English sparkling, Prosecco, Champagne, and French Cremant.
After the blind tasting, we were taken through to the restaurant where we were offered copious amounts of wine throughout the night. My personal favourite is red wine and I ended up drinking the Australian Pinot Noir which was incredibly deep and fruitful. Once seated, we were given both the Summer a-la-carte and fixed price menu and was told we could order whatever we liked the look of. The Summer fixed menu comes in at two courses for £17.95 or £20.95 for three. I couldn’t make a choice as it all looked so amazing, ranging from scallop to duck egg starters, with grilled halloumi and burgers for mains, but I took the plunge and asked for the Seared Galician Octopus with Braised lentils and salsa verde to begin. I believe I was the only person at the table to order it so I was curious to see how it would be presented.
Considering there was around 10 of us around the table, the food came in such good time. Before our starters, we were also offered a selection of breads to try, my favourite being the tomato and seeded which paired with my red wine really well. As for the octopus, it was simply divine and perfectly presented. The flavours of the lentils complimented the tenderness of the octopus. I really love seeing all the intricate details of my food so I absolutely loved observing the octopus tentacles in the dish. Certainly not one for the squeamish but it was really, really delicious. I would certainly order this again.
To the right of me, my dear friend Positive Fridays ordered the Roasted Tiger Prawns (£7.95) and they looked gigantic. I like that they still had their shell and heads on, because watching people pick apart their food pleases me more than it should. They smelled gorgeous and I could detect a hint of chilli. To the left, my wonderful friend Adam shared one of his scallops with me. They were delightfully tender and cut open so easily. The saltiness of the lime juice, salt, pomegranate, chilli and coriander certainly gave the dish a good ‘kick’. I do think however, that my octopus was the best starter at the table.
I waited in anticipation for the main course after opting for the Rack of Yorkshire Dales Lamb, pea, bean and goats curd salad. Coming in at £26.95, this is one of the most expensive courses from the main menu but would have been worth every single penny. I admire the way the meat was cut into sections and placed on top of one another on the plate. It was pink, tender and perched on a fluffy goat’s curd with vegetables. A perfect combination of flavours, textures and presentation, this was the winning dish of the night for me.
The dessert next to me came out first, and I watched in amazement as the chocolate bomb split open whilst the gooey hot caramel was poured on top. It looked quite sickly and I didn’t really fancy anything too heavy after a filling main meal, so instead I went for the Pineapple and Coconut Kulfi with a Tropical Fruit Salad which I think was the wrong choice. The Kulfi was a bizarre weird texture, not so much ice cream but not a thick dessert either. The fruit salad hid small pieces of chilli inside which was a little unexpected too.
With that said, the desserts on either side of me looked appetising, especially the Crepe Suzette that was brought and made at the table by a member of staff. Saying this, I really enjoyed the Royal Tokaji 5 Puttonyos – a tantalising, sweet wine paired perfectly with desserts. It consisted of fruits, cinnamon and orange peel. Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed my meal at Hotel Du Vin and I’m still shocked I haven’t had a meal there before, it’s a really gorgeous place to dine at and would love to go back sometime in the near future.