As a year not short of culinary joys draws to a mince pie-fuelled conclusion, many dishes will linger in the memory.
But one will rank above all others – the amuse bouche of chicken liver cereal that’s I’ve eaten twice at Carters of Moseley, rightly awarded a Michelin star this autumn.
It demonstrates chef-patron Brad Carter’s evolution from a very good cook to an outstanding and exciting one for it displays a confidence to use few and humble ingredients to create food that’s full of bold flavours and contrasting textures.
Toasted cereal and nuts – and dried fruit rightly not over-rehydrated and therefore retaining firmness and rich taste – are scattered on top of a chicken liver parfait that’s light, creamy and full of depth.
I’d happily eat this bowlful of loveliness tucked up on my sofa in my beer-stained Thomas The Tank Engine onesie but, happily, other courses were to follow when I ate lunch there.
Currently priced at £32 a head, the four-course lunch menu – five courses if you count the amuse bouche – represents stunning value.
Home-baked bread of impeccable quality came with home-made salted butter and a sort of superior pork dripping so fine that the risk of cluttered arteries seemed a small price to pay.
Almost raw mackerel was zingy with freshness and acidity and came with thin slices of pickled turnip and borage, adding verdant freshness.
My wife’s starter was a exquisite parcel of pasta stuffed with minced pheasant and served with a glorious squash puree.
An intermediary course of soothing, restrained parsnip broth came with dates and hazelnuts and was, like the amuse, comfort food of a very high order.
The Cornish monkfish was that was centre-stage of Lynn’s main course was indecently fresh and perfectly cooked and came with an artichoke puree and vividly green blitzed kale with smoked bacon fat.
But it was, I think, bettered by the gorgeously rare venison that I scoffed and which came with earthy white beetroot, luxurious celeriac puree, a seductively deep bone marrow gravy and enlivening red sorrel leaves.
A dessert of ice cream, wafer-thin crisp biscuits and a rich buttery burnt sugar sauce caused me to slump sated in my chair, thinking how blessed Moseley is to have such a place on its doorstep.
Situated on a small row of shops just outside Moseley Village, Carters is a small place that’s plainly but attractively decorated.
Young, informed, friendly and helpful staff make a visit to Carters an unstuffy, relaxed event.
Service is correct and efficient, but it’s the kind of place that retains warmth and a sense of generous hospitality.
Wine kicks in at a very reasonable £23 a bottle and there’s a good range of craft beers, too.
Need to know
Vegetarian menus are available.
The restaurant is closed on Mondays and Tuesday.
Check out the fantastic Sunday menus.