Is this the strangest restaurant in Birmingham?

Now I’ve eaten in some strange places.

Places with walls decorated with dildos wearing wigs.
A fish restaurant housed in a former public lavatory.
Warehouses, factories, council offices, strip clubs and telephone exchanges all converted into restaurants.

But – hand on heart – I’m not sure that I’ve ever eaten anywhere as odd Ana Rocha
It’s part art gallery, part antique shop, part bar, part restaurant and wholly bizarre.
I rather warmed to the place as I walked down a corridor past contemporary paintings, past collections of old Rolex watches and posh bric-a-brac, past gold and silver thrones and finally into the main room.

Here is an interestingly-lit space (thus the red glow of my pictures… apologies) again bursting with antiques and collectables, with a at the end a bar and restaurant area.
Had old man Steptoe decided to tart-up his yard by engaging the services of one of those interior designers who flounce across our TV screens in velvet jackets and frothy self-regard, the result may well have resembled Ana Rocha.
I warmed, too, to the efficient and friendly service that I received.
But that warmth dissipated once the meal began for, while the decor around us was over-the-top, the food was distinctly underwhelming.

The food

Ana Rocha’s owner is Spanish and the place serves hot and cold tapas and plates of cured meats and cheeses from that country.
And, in all fairness, the board of meats with which our meal began was impressive.

For £16 we got sweet tender ham with a good salty snap, rustic rounds of salami, chorizo with a proper bite of paprika and that hearty Spanish beef tenderloin, lomo.
Bread smeared with oil and tomato was enjoyable.
The tortilla de patatas that emerged next from the kitchen was fine, but the mayo dip that accompanied it was spiked with so much garlic that I fear I won’t be snogging many vampires for the next couple of days.
Garlic also featured rather too prominently atop the patatas bravas, which needed a little more frying and a lot less chilli.

Padron peppers – those small green capsicums which are generally mild but occasionally fiery – were tasty little green grilled torpedoes.
The meatballs we ordered were pleasant things – firm, flavoursome and engagingly misshapen.
The heavily reduced sauce in which they wallowed, however, put me in mind of something produced industrially as an ingredient for ready-meals.

The allure of the only desert that was being served – which seemed to be a combination of coconut cake, ice cream, sorbet, coffee and a cocktail – we managed to resist.


What a pity the food failed to impress because the wine – a well-balanced Hito Ribera del Duero brimming with dark fruits and spice – was a snip at £24.95 and thoroughly delicious.
Indeed, I was very impressed by the variety and value of the wines on the exclusively Spanish list.

Need to know

Expect to spend around £35 a head for tapas and drinks.
Ana Rocha holds themed nights featuring music and more.
It’s accessible for the disabled.
There’s on-street parking nearby.

Ana Rocha
48 Frederick St, Jewellery Quarter, Birmingham B1 3HN. 0121 236 6222