Some restaurants simply know what they’re about.
They don’t seek to dazzle with adventurous combinations of ingredients, complicated modernist cooking processes or presentation that requires OCD levels of precision.
Instead they keep things simple, trusting the tried and tested to deliver satisfaction and pleasure to punters.
Such a place is Anderson’s Bar & Grill, long-established and tucked away in a gorgeously atmospheric cellar below St Paul’s Square in the Jewellery Quarter.
The menu concentrates on brilliant quality steaks, including rare breed beef, though other meats and fish are served.
None of the dishes will raise eyebrows with their novelty – they’re very much in the tradition of grill houses.
Expect starters featuring smoked salmon, fishcakes, chicken liver parfait and the like.
Main courses such as steak, surf and turf, chicken and roast stone bass.
Sweets including cheesecake, chocolate brownies, lemon meringue pie.
Saturday night found the place packed, showing that there’s a big appetite for unfussy but skilfully-prepared good-quality grub.
There’s a sureness of touch at Anderson’s. A confidence. But the kitchen is capable, too, of delicacy.
The starter I ordered was a pleasing combination of gently flavoured whipped goats’ cheese with crisp baby gem leaves, nice acidic artichokes and a sweet and herby dressing.
Opposite, Lynn spoke highly of her smoked salmon with dill mayo, lime, capers and basil.
Next, though, came a main course that will remain in my memory for a long time.
The steak I ate was among the best I’ve tasted in years – a plump rump from a Hereford/Angus cross.
The meat had been well-hung so that the texture was tender and it had that almost blue cheese tang that comes from proper ageing.
It was cooked beautifully – a seared crust, full of scorched intensity, concealing a perfectly medium-rare interior with adequate veins of fat to keep it moist.
Chips served alongside were crisp outside and fluffy within.
A bowl of sautéed green beans were punchy with garlic.
My wife’s roast chicken with a caramelised onion puree and thyme and shallot jus was equally well-received.
The first two courses were generous, but the lure of a chocolate brownie proved too great to resist.
I’m glad I’m a man of weak will for this dish, too, was a thing of beauty – rich and gooey brownie enlivened by the tangy flavour of cherries and served with ice cream and honeycomb.
Service throughout was friendly, informed and efficient.
Many new steakhouses have opened – and are about to open – in Birmingham but I’m not sure any really rival Anderson’s – an old favourite that has never let me down.
Need to know
We paid £120 for food, aperitifs and a good bottle of Lebanese red.
There are vegetarian options, but I believe this is an area they plan to expand.
They serve Sunday roasts.
Anderson’s Bar & Grill
30 Mary Ann Street, Birmingham B3 1RL. 0121 200 2515.