This year I seem to have socialised over food a lot more than previously, so I thought it was worth listing places I’ve eaten in 2017 (in the UK) in case there is anywhere that people are not aware of. I suspect most of these will be in Birmingham or London, as that’s where I spend most of my time.
The Goat Tavern, London – I can’t actually remember what I ate here (it was right at the start of the year), but I did quite enjoy this pub, and their menu has quite a few things I’d like to try on it.
Bratby Bar, University of Birmingham – I don’t eat here often (although I’m there at least once every couple of weeks for drinks it seems). The food is basic, and the three times I’ve eaten here (a very greasy pizza and and two underwhelming jacket potatoes) I’ve not really enjoyed the food that much, although eating there sometimes beats not eating there, which is something I’ve also done a couple of times recently.
The Green Man, London – Nothing too spectacular about this one. It’s a perfectly decent pub that happens to do food, unfortunately it didn’t have a great deal of choice for people who don’t want to eat meat, and as such it didn’t really inspire me to want to eat there. I ended up having a salad and some sweet potato fries, which was about half of the food on the menu that I could actually eat, although I note the menu now looks loads better, so I might have to give it another try at some point.
TGI Fridays, Birmingham – This is where we always seem to eat when we meet my family, and it’s a place I didn’t particularly like before I stopped eating meat, and one that offers an even more limited choice of food now. The last time we went there there was a fire in the kitchen and we got our meal for free – hopefully the next time (in 2 weeks) will be less eventful, although I can pretty much guarantee I’ll be eating the same thing as last time.
Saint Christopher’s Inn, London – Another London pub, but this time one that had plenty of choice, and was probably the best brunch I’ve had in London ever. I had eggs florentine, which is one of my go to breakfast dishes anyway, and which was perfectly cooked and beautifully presented. Definitely somewhere I would go back to if I ever find myself in that part of London again.
That pub in Peterborough (people who were there will know where I mean) – Sometimes when you’re traveling you just have to take a chance on a place. The food wasn’t bad, but the pub itself was full of people who just stared at us the whole of the time we were there, and I’ve never been more glad to leave a pub. Not one to go back to, although I can’t actually remember what it was called so maybe I’ll just have to never go back to Peterborough to make sure.
Bottega, Resorts World, Birmingham. This was probably my favourite place I’ve had dinner at this year (sweet and sour cauliflower and rice on both occasions), but it’s since closed so I can’t really recommend it any more.
The Noble Room, University of Birmingham – I’ve eaten here a few times this year, and I’ve always found the food really good. It’s also a really convenient place to get a cooked main meal if I’m not going to be eating dinner until late. I think this has probably replaced Bratby Bar as my favourite place to meet people for lunch on campus now.
The Knights Templar, London – I’ve only eaten here once this year, and it was only a simple veggie burger and chips, but the KT is generally the only Wetherspoons pub I’ll go anywhere near, and it’s where I often spend my evenings if I’m in London for a conference. I think this is another one that’s all about the people and very little to do with the food, but I do still recommend it as a good place to meet small groups of people who are traveling from all over the place. It’s also within walking distance of where I usually stay when I’m in London, which gives me the unprecedented experience of being able to get from the pub to where I’m sleeping on foot. This did lead to a rather late night last time I was there.
Yakinori, Birmingham – This is down the road from our office, and provides the occasional Friday treat. It does really great bento and sushi, and the portion sizes are very generous for the money. I generally have battered pumpkin, with (separate) katsu sauce and rice, but nothing I’ve had from here has been less than wonderful and I’d highly recommend it.
Boston Tea Party, Birmingham – This has just opened in the city centre, which means I can have my all time favorite brunch (sweetcorn hash – which contains poached eggs, halloumi and avocado) without having to go to Harbourne. I’ve eaten here twice this year, including once with my family (who really liked it, and they are notoriously picky about places to eat). This is somewhere I definitely want to go back to soon, because my calendar says I’ve not been there since July.
The Pitcher and Piano, Reading – I’ve eaten here before when I was in Reading for a course, and decided to go back there when I was visiting this summer. I mainly choose this pub because it’s got very efficient air conditioning, and has Hobgoblin on tap, but it also does a decent veggie burger and never seems particularly busy.
Jamie’s Italian, Birmingham – A fairly regular place to eat, which for some reason I didn’t visit until June this year. I like Jamie’s a lot, and always manage to find some new pasta dish to go with the inevitable veggie plank (served on a plank, propped up by tins of tomatoes), and large glass of some sort of Italian wine. I’ve eaten here with family and friends, and it generally seems to go down well, although it is a little pricier than most of the places on this list.
The William Blake, London – Somewhere else I’ve eaten loads of times, but I’m still not completely sold on their food, and it’s very much a case of eating there because I’m hungry and can’t be bothered to move rather than a comment on the quality of the food. They do decent drinks though (including tea and cocktails), although it can get a little rowdy in the evenings, so probably best for lunch rather than dinner.
Cafe Soya, Birmingham – Definitely the best place to get oriental food if you don’t eat meat and fish, and one of the best menus for vegans that I’ve ever seen. I’ve never had a bad meal here, and I’ve also never finished a good meal (at least without taking half of it home).
The New Masala Merchant, Birmingham – Probably one of the best Indian meals I’ve had for a while, but it was unfortunately coupled with by far the worst wine I’ve drunk for a long time due to us relying on the local off license for alcohol. If I ever go back there I’m bringing wine from home, but there is certainly nothing about the food that I would change, and I actually had a really pleasant evening there.
Not Dogs, Birmingham – I love the idea of this place, and I really enjoyed the hot dog I had here directly after my most traumatic opticians appointment this year. I couldn’t recommend it to people who don’t like fake meat though.
The Stable, Birmingham – This is a new find, but I’ve had two very enjoyable evenings there recently and would highly recommend it. They specialise in cider (including a cider tasting board) and pizza, both of which they do to a very high standard, and they also have a vegan menu as well as several decent vegetarian options. It’s also right next to New Street station which makes the journey home easier than a lot of places on this list.