The demise of the wine bar Cheval Blanc caused the sturdiest men of Moseley to weep and its most feminine women to tear at the hair of their beards.
But now, three months after the last cork was popped at Cheval, there’s cause for celebration.
For Little Blackwood opened in the same cosy space a few days ago and, after two visits, I’m rather taken by the place.
It’s a restaurant rather than wine bar and kitchen, but has the same relaxed charm.
Many of the old features remain intact, though the old banquette seating has been taken out to create more room.
Little Blackwood’s young chef-patron Ben Taylor and his partner, who works front-of-house, are astonishingly hospitable.
It’s open for brunch, lunch and dinner.
A Sunday morning visit for brunch – smoked salmon and scrambled egg on crumpets washed down with two glassses of fizz – was a very pleasant experience.
And evening visit to eat dinner even more so.
Looking at the dinner menu, it would be easy to run away with the notion that the food is gimmicky, for there are lots of Asian influences and some challenging combinations.
Think again – this is food that’s coherent, flavoursome, good to eat and served in generous portions.
Scallops – from the specials board – were perfectly cooked pillows of oceanic loveliness.
They came with a silky cauliflower puree, a strip of crisp pork and little puffed up globes of deep-fried pig skin.
Opposite a bowl of crab mac and cheese and crab beignet with tomato and chilli gel vanished swiftly.
The braised short rib of beef to which I progressed was a tender, tasty and big bugger.
Pommes Anna were beautifully buttery, kale was good and vegetal, caramelised artichoke puree added richness and a red wine jus was full of savoury balance and depth.
The rack of perfectly pink lamb that my wife ate came with a ratatouille that was lavishly praised, a potato fondant, asparagus and a redcurrant jus.
It was a dish that she finished with great enthusiasm.
Afterwards, for dessert, I ordered from a section called Ben’s Bao Bar – basically small doughnut-like buns each with two flavours.
My chosen combination of coconut and coffee was an absolute delight and I’d happily return to Little Blackwood just to eat a dozen of the things.
Here’s a place that serves hearty but refined food at a fair price – exactly what Moseley needs.
Need to know
We paid just over £90 for two people, including lots of wine.
Little Blackwood is open every day except Monday.
There are vegetarian options.
Wines kick in at £16 a bottle and go up to £40.
145 Alcester Road, Moseley, Birmingham B13 8JP. 0121 449 6344.