I love a bargain. No scatch that, I live for a bargain – especially an edible one.
There are plenty of eateries all across the city centre that offer lunchtime specials, but in my experience many of them tend to shrink down the portion sizes or offer very limited choices. For that reason I was quite delighted when I discovered the Wildwood £10 lunch offer today.
Like many people who enjoyed the bank holiday weekend a little bit too much *so.much.gin* I was finding the idea of cooking lunch for myself and my weekend houseguests somewhat unappealing. So I was more than happy to venture into Brum to find some sustenance that didn’t require me using an appliance or having to do the washing up. Umming and ahhing about where to go, I remembered that I had seen a board outside Wildwood – one of the latest restaurants to pop up on New Street – with an offfer for two courses plus a drink. Happy days!
Having dined off the main menu once before when it first opened in April, I knew Wildwood would offer a decent selection of food – ranging from filling pasta dishes to healthy salads – and the restaurant itself would be light and airy (I couldn’t cope with a cramped, dark pub today). It was a great choice, and with only a handful of tables taken up when we first arrived – half an hour after it opened – we were seated and served quickly.
We decided to order from the £10 lunch menu, as it allows you to indulge in 2 courses (starter/main, main/dessert) plus a drink for less than the cost of most of the main meals. For £13 you can have all 3 courses, however we didn’t feel this was needed today.
From the starters available our group chose the garlic and rosemary flatbread, the bruschetta and the calamari. Arriving promptly the dishes were visually very pleasing and smelt lovely, and most notable was the generous portion sizes.
With diced tomatoes and basil piled high, the bruschetta pomodoro was fresh tasting and a delicious nod to the Med flavours we all love. A healthy glug of olive oil ensured the toasted bread supporting the juicy topping was moist and tasty.
The garlic and rosemary bread (an enormous portion which could’ve easily served as an appetiser for 4) was stone baked and had balanced flavours; neither the garlic or herbs being overpowering.
A less carby starter, the fried calamari rings were light and crispy. The batter had a satisfying crunch and the squid was delicate, with no chewy, rubbery texture which can often be off putting. The Cajun mayo wasn’t particularly spicy, but did add a bit of character to the dish. And again, a very healthy portion!
For the mains the table decided on the house burger, the spaghetti bolognese and the hot pepperoni pizza – high fives again to the kitchen for providing excellent sized meals – which arrived swiftly by our smiling waitress. Having had a really disappointing burger at Byron this weekend (controversially I really don’t rate Byron at all; service and food was naff on Sunday) I was hoping this one would be good and I wasn’t disappointed.
Aside from having to pay £1.30 extra to add cheese (bit cheeky!) I was really impresssd with the flavour and quality of the meat, and the rock salt and rosemary fries that accompanied it were crispy and fresh. I also got 3 massive pickles on the side which (as a proper pickle fiend) made my day.
The pizza (they are BIG) had a stone baked base and a fairly generous amount of toppings. One small observation was that it lacked seasoning, but that’s down to personal taste and was easily rectified using the black pepper and salt grinders on the table.
The bolognese pasta dish was a little bland and didn’t look quite as exciting as the other mains, however it was plentiful and the sauce was lighter than some you may find in Italian restaurants. It could perhaps have been richer, with the meat sauce itself lacking any real depth that perhaps a slosh of red wine or more tomatoes could have provided. A passable pasta dish but not a bolognese to rival one may find in a restaurant that specifically deals in Italian food.
The drink choices included house wines or 330ml bottles of MORETTI beer, as well as the usual array of soft drinks you’d expect. Being that a beer would separately cost just over £4 (tip: the food at Wildwood is well priced – the drinks generally less so!) it’s undeniable the lunchtime meal deal is remarkably good value for money.
My only reservation about the £10 lunch menu would be that the choices on both starters and mains are carb heavy – there are no lighter options such as salads or fish. Now I love dough, bread and pasta as much as the next person, but sometimes for lunch I (like many people) want a healthier or less stodgy choice. It would make sense to me for an additional main perhaps to be added that allows customers to make a slightly more virtuous choice if desired.
Wildwood itself is a beautiful restaurant that feels modern, clean and relaxing. The restaurant is essentially split into two halves, and there are both booths and tables available depending on the size of the party. The staff are polite, attentive and personable, and the dining experience overall is very pleasant.
One slight gripe would be that the overall theme (visually and in terms of food) of the restaurant – part of a UK wide chain – is a bit confused; is it an Italian, is it a grill? It’s lovely either way, but as my fellow diner said after we left, “It’s nice I just don’t think it knows what it’s meant to be.”
I’m definitely going to return to Wildwood and would have no hesitation in recommending it to those looking for a cheap lunch or an evening meal. The setting is ideal for a girly catch up or a date, and there’s enough on the main menu to please everyone, even if the lunch options aren’t up your street. They also do a cracking selection of cocktails, including a very refreshing gin fizz made with real lemons.
The £10 lunch offer is available Monday-Friday 12-5pm.
Wildwood, 66 New Street, B2 4EU
*This post is not affiliated with any brand/company mentioned within. All views are my own*