There are some things that are beyond the forgiveness even of one as saintly as I.
Supporting Aston Villa is among them. Being Boris Johnson is another.
I used to think that serving food on wooden boards fell into the category of sins beyond redemption.
But a visit to the newly-opened Craeft (bugger that name – it’s causing havoc with my autocorrect) has convinced me otherwise.
For this place strikes me as one of the most likeable and interesting new gaffs to open in Birmingham in recent months.
And the sharing platter I ate with my wife as a starter was a particular highlight, despite the wooden board on which it came.
Craeft is in the same space that once housed the Pickled Piglet and remains in the same ownership.
The decor has been spruced up to be a little more contemporary, but it remains intimate and welcoming.
The menu, however, has changed drastically – offering a far more casual style of dining, with many dishes showcasing the traditional techniques of fermentation and pickling.
It’s food I want to eat – bold on flavour, buzzing with invention, rich in detail.
The sharing boards allow diners to mix and match cheeses fish and meat from a range of options.
The black treacle salmon we ate was nicely textured stuff with rich, sweet notes.
Molasses and mustard-spiced ham was succulent, tasty slices of pig.
But the real thrill came in the accompaniments – gorgeous pickled onions, radishes and cucumbers, little dots of various relishes, soaked golden sultanas and slices of spelt, seaweed and charcoal breads.
I’d happily choose more items from the options and make a full meal of one of these platters whilst getting gently sozzled on the enticing range of unusual craft ales that the bar-restaurant serves.
A word of advice for beer-drinkers here: try, too, the cheddar straws and homemade pickle that are served as bar snacks, for they are nibbles of the highest order.
But back to the main menu.
There are tapas-sized dishes and more substantial plates from which to choose.
The beetroot-glazed slow-cooked lamb that I selected was a flavoursome chunk of meat so tender that it fell apart as my fork sank in.
The beetroot glaze gave intriguing sweet and earthy aspects to the dish.
A mound of fermented cabbage was vibrant in flavour and colour.
There were fried sage leaves to add crisp texture and herbal notes.
Lynn’s hanger steak was cooked perfectly medium-rare and came with a rich, smooth onion puree and huge portobello mushrooms.
It was a dish that she who is usually no big fan of steaks raved.
A side order of fermented chips was interesting.
These skin-on fries had a concentrated taste and a slight chewy texture thanks to the fermentation.
Again, these would be a fabulous nibble with a beer.
Another side order of “bloody” cauliflower steak was the night’s eye-catcher, for it looked in shape and colour like an outrageously undercooked bit of beef.
But, despite its marination in beetroot liquor, it was unmistakably cauli in flavour and yielding texture.
The dish was given an almost jammy quality by a deep beetroot puree that accompanied it.
These were all deeply satisfying an substantial plates of food and neither of us managed dessert.
Which is a shame because the sweet options were tempting.
But not a shame in the sense that it provides a perfect reason to return to Craeft.
Need to know
Our bill came to £55 for food, a beer and glass of wine.
The menu is flexible enough to snack or indulge.
There’s a brunch menu from 11am to 3pm.
There are veggie options.
It’s open Tuesday-Saturday from 11am to 11pm.
Food is served until 9.30pm.
Here’s the main menu
The Cottage, 22 Gas Street, Birmingham B1 2JT. 0121 448 0993.