Craeft and Craft are not the same place. I’m not a moron so I’d already figured this out, but, according to the friendly chap I spent a few hours chatting to in the former, not everyone has got the memo yet.
While Craft is offering a take on fine dining within the ICC, Craeft is the reincarnation of The Pickled Piglet – an independent that suddenly shut its doors one day and reopened with a new hat on earlier this year. Offering relaxed dining, this two story bar-come-restaurant sits yards away from Gas Street canal. It also sits yards away from Broad Street, but don’t hold that against it. The kitchen is headed up by a lady who knows her menu inside out and really loves what she does.
It’s colourful and bright, a theme that’s also reflected in the dishes delivered to our table during my tapas binge recently. The focus is on ‘olde English’ style British food – and making sure whatever you order looks absolutely gorgeous. You can create your own deli boards or order from a vast selection of small plates. I did the latter which is not the cheapest way to do things, but it is a pleasurable experience.
The cured salmon platter included three variations presented beautifully with pickled vegetables and bouncy home baked bread. I particularly enjoyed the dill and lemon and the black treacle salmon slices. Mussels in a mead and cream sauce were rather luscious, with lots of plump morsels in a dreamy sauce. Little bit sweet and a perfect for dipping that leftover warm bread – take my money.
Pulled beef and potato croquettes gave me all the feels; proper comfort food but in bite size fried chunks. The salt cod fritters were even better, especially when slathered in the tangy lemon aioli accompanying them. The courgette tart proved decisive, with me loving it and my husband merely offering ‘nah’ as a response. I’m a tart for a tart though so I think I know better this time and he won’t care enough about it to argue. The presentation again was pretty, with lots of effort made to build boards that are full of colour.
Unsurprisingly my visit also included chips.. because I ruddy love chips. These skin on beauties had a satisfying crispness and were sprinkled with a seaweed salt that gave some pep to the humble spud sticks. Despite not remotely needing it, I ended with a slice of the sublime oat and treacle tart with clotted cream. Think a sweet flapjack tart but sexier than a Victoria’s Secret model. It looks beige but tastes brilliant.
My visit also included some tasty beers from a small but delightful selection in the fridge to the right of the bar. They’re reassuringly expensive, for want of a better phrase, but I did really enjoy the Peaches & Cream from Tiny Rebel. They’ve got some nice sours available too.
The bill hit way over £50 which is probably a bit expensive but was due to my plate choices and beers – you could order cheaper items and still have a lovely time. There’s also a brunch menu available with plenty to offer if that’s more your scene. The venue is covered in artwork by local artists (available to buy), the food is well executed and beautifully presented, and there’s lots to like about the place. Add it to your list to try.
Craeft, The Cottage, 22 Gas Street, Birmingham, B1 2JT
Disclosure: I paid for food and drinks. Words and photos are mine as usual.