* Complementary meal
Despite the weather being anything but summery at the start of August I was looking forward to trying the latest lunch menu at Maribel. Even though I needed an umbrella to get there.
Truth be told this was my first visit to the Brindleyplace restaurant. I’d heard somewhat mixed reviews when it had a different chef leading the kitchen, and with so many new openings in the last year it inevitably dropped down my list of priorities. With a young chap taking the wheel in recent months, it seemed an interesting time to finally pay Maribel a visit. As you’d expect from a fine dining restaurant the dining room is smart, with shades of slate and comfortable chairs. It feels clean and crisp, although a little cold, with minimal decoration. As far as visual observations go, what I remember most now was that it was absolutely empty at lunchtime..
Arriving at 1ish the restaurant was notably very quiet, which considering the well-priced lunch menu is quite surprising on face value. As well as a newly spruced a la carte menu, there’s a 3 course set lunch/early evening option for £27.
Warm from the oven beer and malt loaf with yeast butter got my belly rumbling just in time for the classic prawn cocktail starter. This was quite large, with the kind of prawn-to-lettuce-ratio that makes you instantly happy, although the sauce wasn’t anything that special. I was just about satisfied with my retro pick until I saw the beetroot with goats cheese – a far more dainty dish that looked more in keeping with the restaurant’s aesthetic.
Smoked celeriac risotto next, with sautéed wild mushrooms and enough umami flavour to make me pretty certain I’d chosen the right main. The cod with dhal looked delicious and filled the air around our table with an inviting scent. I’m told the additional dashi broth poured for you at the table added depth of flavour but did detract from the presentation, creating a slurry around the dhal.
Like the prawn cocktail before it my tiramisu was sizeable, yet light enough to not leave you feeling the pinch of your waistband. Delicate but tasty, I’d ditch the foam on top which adds very little, for me at least. Raspberry tart to end for my friend, with a fresh ginger kick and a light crisp base. She definitely got the lighter end of the deal re dish selection on this occasion but we both enjoyed the three courses.
Maribel is a well-priced and pleasant option for a pre-theatre meal – less so for lunch as it’s just so quiet, from my experience at least. There’s also a tasting menu for around £65 a head if that’s more your scene. In a sea of chains, this is a nice addition in Brindleyplace, although I’m not sure it can survive the long term if it’s not getting bums on seats for lunch. We shall see.
Maribel, 6 Brindleyplace, Birmingham, B1 2JB
Disclosure: I was invited by the team at Maribel to dine in return for honest feedback. All words, opinions and images are mine.