Does the new-style Edmunds hit the target?


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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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