One of the best things about ‘working from home’ is that I’m not confined to an office, and I often take my laptop to random locations around the city to work remotely. I enjoy being able to change my working environment on a daily basis, although I must confess I do have some favourite go-to spots. The REP is most definitely one of them.
I find the space creatively stimulating and it’s excellent for people watching. Another reason I like The REP is for its on sight restaurant/bar, Marmalade, which I’ve use for client meetings and also visited several times with friends for pre-theatre cocktails, so I was delighted to be invited to try the new menu.
Meeting on a Monday evening in June, the blogger event was designed to give guests a glimpse into the summer menu additions, as well as some of the new cocktails to compliment the food. Arriving at Marmalade I was reminded how charming the contemporary venue is, combining a snug bar area with a larger open plan restaurant, and I was given a Kaffir and Tonic (£7) from the seasonal cocktail menu to kick things off. I’ve never had Kaffir lime leaf liquor before (don’t pretend you have either!) but I found the drink rather lovely.
Our host from Bitters’ n Twisted (the same folk behind Bodega and Buffalo & Rye) informed us that the food would be served buffet style allowing us to sample a little bit of everything, including starters and mains from the summer menu.
Soon enough a selection of sharing boards and bite size appetisers appeared, along side two new cocktails to try. Starters included a Herritage Tomato and Goats Cheese Salad (£6.25) and Rabbit and Ham Hock Terrine with Orange Marmalade (£5.95).
I’m a huge fan of soft goats cheese so I was delighted by the dish, enjoying the combination of tangy cheese and juicy tomatoes – a real summer day dish. The terrine was delicately flavoured but still packed a meaty punch, although I wasn’t a fan of the additional sweet jam.
We were also treated to the Fish Sharing Platter (£14) designed for two, which included potted smoked mackerel, tequila cured salmon slices, fried calamari and rollmops, with a selection of pickles including caperberries and olives.
I really enjoyed the combination of fishy flavours on this platter, especially the mixture of salty, creamy and pickled tastes. I can imagine enjoying this little feast on the Marmalade terrace with a nice glass of crisp white wine come August.
The two long cocktails to accompany the starters were the sweet Cherry Orchard (£7) and the margarita-esq Paloma Faith (£7). The latter was much more to my taste – it packed a booze wallop – and was a truly tasty cocktail; very pretty too.
We were then invited to try four main courses including fish, meat and veggie options. First up was a Trout and Smoked Haddock Fishcake (£13.50) which was served with a poached duck egg on a bed of wilted spinach. I’m all about ‘yolk porn’ (as I explained to my fellow bloggers who all seemed both mildly amused and somewhat bemused) so was delighted to see the runny sunshine yolk ooze all over my crispy fishcake as I cut into it. Combined with the dill beurre blanc sauce it was a rich and decadent treat, and one I could happily have again and again.
Next we tried the Chicken Supreme (£13.75) which came with crushed purple potatoes – they look a bit odd but are the most wonderful colour – and chicory glazed in a mustard and cider sauce. Whilst the free range chicken was cooked beautifully and the dish looked totally perfect for the season, I found the sauce a little sickly and almost sweet. I really enjoyed the additional chicory though, which is something I had only tried once before this event.
The next dish was the Teriyaki Salmon (£14.75) that came with pickled cucumber ribbons and wild rice. Succulent fish combined with a wasabi butter made for a really lovely summer supper and I can imagine this will likely be a best seller for the venue during the warm months. The fish fillet was cooked to absolute perfection too, and I would happily eat it again tomorrow.
Finally, I tried the Sweet Potato Thai Curry (£11.50) which represented the meat and fish free menu option. Chunks of soft sweet potato were joined by sugar snap peas, pak choi, and coriander rice to form a hearty yet light summer meal. The green curry sauce was fragrant and pleasant although I’d personally prefer a bit more of a spice hit – that’s absolutely down to personal taste though, I like my curry to blow my head off.
The evening was rounded off with a My Fair Negroni cocktail (£8) *warning: this is rocket fuel* and an unexpected treat in the form of Affogoto (£3.50) which provided a fabulous end to a great event. I love this type of pud as it’s the bridge between coffee and dessert; a really delicious, light conclusion.
Other summer desserts on the menu include Raspberry Frangipane (£6.25) and Goosberry Fool with Ginger Crumble (£5.75).
You can book a table, find out more about Marmalade or view the menus here. Don’t forget there’s a two course pre-theatre meal deal available too (including many of the summer dishes above) for £18.50, and the cocktails above are all on the After 8pm Happy Hour menu at £4.50.
Marmalade, The REP, Broad Street, Birmingham, B1 2EP
*Disclaimer: I was invited to attend the Marmalade menu tasting by the fab folk at Bitters’ n Twisted in return for an honest review. The meal and drinks were complementary but all opinions, words and photos are my own, as always*