Does the new-style Edmunds hit the target?

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There can be few better ways to spend 19 quid than to eat the two-course menu du jour at the new-style Edmunds in Brindleyplace.

As culinary bargains go, this was a blinder.
Two dishes were served – four, if you include the separate choices of she who sat hungrily opposite – that were luxuriously wonderful.
Edmunds has reinvented itself as a bistro, but it’s not compromising on quality and Didier Phillipot remains a chef of exceptional ability.

The decor

The look of the place remains much the same.
In fact, the only difference I could detect was the disappearance of the spiral chandeliers that once hung above the dining room.
It’s a smart, comfortable and contemporary space, with windows overlooking one of Brindleyplace’s tucked-away squares.

The service

The service, too, remains little changed.
It’s courteous, informed and friendly.
We were squeezing in an early dinner before heading to a rather impressive performance of Henry V at the nearby Crescent Theatre and dishes arrived promptly.

The food

There’s a greater simplicity to the menu compared to the days when Edmunds was striving to acquire a Michelin star.
It’s styling itself a bistro but don’t expect modest fare such as salade frisée aux lardons, steak frites or moules à la marinière.
This is cooking that retains sophistication and ambition and which sings of Provence.

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It’s doubtful there’s another chef in Birmingham who conjures up those flavours more vividly than Didier Phillipot.
My starter showcasing whipped, sweet, mild goats cheese was a perfect example of his gentle but confident touch.
It came with glazed figs, a scattering of lightly-toasted hazelnuts and almonds and thin batons of the Provençal chick-pea flour flatbread soccer spiked with sesame.
Notes of honey and balsamic were reined in to create a dish of deft balance and contrasting textures.

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Opposite, precisely cooked lamb sweetbreads came with Paimpol haricot beans, a generous scattering of trufles, girolles and a truffle dressing.
This, too, was a triumph, bursting with bold autumnal flavours.
A main course of monkfish cheeks came beautifully presented with a cylinder of nicely-textured ratatouille, a deeply-flavoured smoked aubergine purée and a vibrant courgette and basil puree.

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Olive croquettes were scattered on the plate and there were tiny dots of red pepper puree and aïoli the power of which belied their small stature.
Which is a nice sentence for a short-arse to be able to write.
Opposite, succulent free range guinea fowl came with girolles, butternut squash purée, parmentier potato, pine kernels, blackberries and well-balanced jus and was well received.

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Yet again, here was a well-crafted dish delivering flavour and texture.
No time remained for desserts – there’s a modest £5 supplement – but a plate of well-crafted petit four provided a classy post-dinner sugar rush.

Need to know

The £19 two-course menu du jour is available Tuesday-Friday from 12-2pm and Tuesday-Saturday from 5.30-6.30pm.
Desserts are £5 extra.
There are a la carte and a tasting menus, too.
The place is accessible for the disabled.
There’s a multi-storey car park close by.

Edmunds Bistro de Luxe
6 Brindley Place, Birmingham B1 2JB. 0121 633 4944.
http://www.edmundsrestaurant.co.uk

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