Adjacent to Victoria Square at the far end of Colmore Row, Nosh & Quaff has made quite a name for itself since its opening in 2015. Serving up comfort food with the volume turned up, the independent eatery invites guests to get dirty with their dishes in a stylish setting.
Part of the Lasan Group – the same folk behind various Brum hotspots including Lasan, Izza Pizza and Raja Monkey – the ethos behind Nosh & Quaff is affordable luxury, and with house specialities including a whole lobster, you get the impression owner Aktar isn’t messing about. Known for emphasising quality ingredients – mainly sourced from local farms and producers – the team behind Nosh offer diners soul food with a twist. Want champagne with your ribs? Knock yourself out. Fancy a Martini with your Mac n Cheese? Of course you can.
The star of the show (and reason many guests make the visit to Nosh) is the whole lobster which, at £25 for a full crustacean, is a bargain compared to rival restaurants nearby. Sourced from the distant shores of Canada (you can locally source many things but decent lobster really ain’t one) I’m told these ugly but tasty chaps are ethically fished and checked to ensure high quality. Served steamed and split down the middle, the 1.5lb whole lobster is served with a garlic and lemon butter sauce for dipping, alongside the claw-cracking tools needed to extract ever last morsel of meat. Fun!
So what’s Nosh & Quaff like inside? Split over two floors this restaurant and bar feels more like somewhere you might find in New York; sleek urban furnishings and exposed brick give a laid back cool vibe, and neon signs adorn the walls. I personally love the juxtaposition of the industrial decor, such as the metal lighting rigs, against the building’s original features, like the ceiling detail and huge arch windows. The venue has real character, and you’ll find a variety of seating options over both floors, making it ideal for a fun date or a birthday party for a gaggle of friends.
Arriving on a Tuesday night I was greeted warmly by a member of staff and shown to my table; I noted the place played great music and had a pleasant post-work buzz at 6:30pm. I ordered a Blackberry Basil Brush (£8.50) from the cocktail list while assessing the food menu and heard my stomach rumble, which I decided must be a good sign. If I’m being honest I could have eaten anything happily; the menu really is a comfort food lover’s dream. Having had the jewel in N&Q’s crown during my last visit, I decided to rule out the lobster, leaving me torn between the steak and the ribs. Much umming and ahhing later I picked the Sucklebuster Ribs (£15.95) and a side of Lobster Cakes to share (£6.75).
As the food was delivered I inhaled the divine BBQ aroma coming from the steaming tower of pork ribs. Served on a tin tray with creamy slaw (I added skinny fries too) this was quite a mass of food to behold, and as I tucked into the chunks of sticky glazed meat – chin covered in sauce – I finally understood their ‘let’s get messy’ mantra. The meat was plentiful and juicy, and each tender morsel melted in the mouth, with the mustard dusted bark being the highlight. My inner animal enjoyed attacking the Flintstones-like ribs, and there was something Neanderthal-ly satisfying about it all. It wasn’t just me making a mess by the way, I saw a man covered in sticky chicken wings sauce too; he looked quite delighted to be honest.
The beer battered lobster fritters were a tasty side dish (not that we really needed the extra food) and the paprika spiked mayo provided some contrast in flavour. Other dining options include gourmet hot dogs (as modelled by my fabulous dining companion) beef ribs, double burgers and chicken wings, as well as snacks and sharers if you fancy a picky dinner rather than a set meal. I saw most of the above fly past me during my visit and it all looked delicious. Be warned: you will leave stuffed, so don’t wear skinny jeans (trust me!)
Having only to been to Nosh & Quaff once before, it’s reminded me what a fun experience dining here is. The Grade II-listed building is beautiful (ask for a table upstairs for some gorgeous views of Victoria Square) and the plentiful staff are enthusiastic and friendly. Don’t forget, if you have an Independent Birmingham card you can get 10% off the final bill.. oh, and the journey to the loo is a bit mental. Enjoy!
Nosh & Quaff, 130 Colmore Row, Victoria Square, Birmingham, B3 3AP
*Disclosure: I was invited to dine by Paul Fulford in return for an honest review. Opinions, photos and grubby hands are my own*