A chef to watch in 2017

Fine restaurants do not exactly litter North Birmingham and its hinterlands.

Which is probably God’s way of punishing an area whose inhabitants are inclined to support the Villa.
It is true that there are a few decent places to eat – Delhi 6 and the Butlers Arms, for instance.

To that number add the Boat Inn, a large roadside pub in Lichfield.
And it’s one to watch go from strength-to-strength.
At the helm is local lad Liam Dillon, whose impressive CV includes stints at the legendary Noma and with Marcus Wareing.
A recent visit as a guest of the hospitality recruitment consultants Tonic Talent revealed a chef who we’re sure to hear more about.
There’s poise, confidence, skill and guile about his cooking, but also playfulness.

Liam with Tonic’s Conrad Brunton.

A snack of crisp beignets of moist, flavoursome pigs’ head came with a burnt apple puree and was a delight despite the porcine skull that lay alongside.

Succulent guinea fowl thigh came with a tiny quail’s egg.
Great chunks of bread came with Marmite butter that even Marmite haters might find hard to resist.
Langoustines were sweeter than a Blues’ win over Villa and came in a bisque with fantastic depth.

Venison came with turnip tops, grains and a yeasted cauliflower puree that was a sort of hipster nectar.
A honey and lemon dessert made me wish I’d been born a bumblebee living in Sicily.
I’m loath to venture beyond Spaghetti Junction to the badlands of North Birmingham.
Liam’s cooking may cause me to reconsider.
For information about The Boat, go to www.theboatinnlichfield.com
For information about Tonic, go to http://www.tonictalent.com