Christmas in pubs can be a trial for a grumpy chap. All those part-time drunks awkwardly wearing Santa hats. All that joyless mirth. Chirpy blooming Yuletide music.
Thus I was predisposed not to enjoy this week’s lunchtime visit to the High Field in Edgaston, for the place was packed with groups having festive works meals.
I felt better, however, once I’d chucked on to a nearby (empty) table the Father Christmas headwear that lurked on each seat.
And better still when I ate, for the food wasn’t bad.
There’s a likably versatile menu at the High Field, with lots of lighter dishes, sharing deli platters, soups, sarnies, roasts, steaks and other substantial dishes that tick plenty of food trend boxes.
But the card isn’t long or complicated and ambitious so doesn’t set alarm bells ringing.
Being a dainty fellow, I chose from the lighter dishes.
Smoked haddock croquettes had a pleasant texture and just the right degree of smokiness. The mustard creamed leeks that came with them were pleasant.
There was much to like, too, about a dish of scallops with Clonakilty black pudding hash cake, cauliflower purée and bacon.
The shellfish itself had been beautiful cooked – nicely browned on its surface, moist within.
The hash cake might have benefited from more black pudding but was enjoyable and the cauliflower was a rich, smooth delight.
But the garnish of bacon was so overcooked that it was black, bitter and brittle and resembled something that might have emerged from a furnace rather than a kitchen.
A side order of chips was adequate.
Located in a refurbished old white-walled office building in the heart of Edgbaston opposite Simpson’s, the High Field is a light, airy and spacious place with an almost art deco vibe.
There’s plenty of outdoor space in summer and upstairs private dining rooms.
On a day when Christmas trade was thriving, excuses could have been made had service been tardy. But it wasn’t. It was swift, friendly and efficient.
A sensibly priced wine list kicks in at £16 a bottle and is varied and appealing. If you want to venture to its higher levels, check out the gorgeous Palazzo della Torre, Allegrini, 2010, which I think is a snip at £32.50.
There’s a good range of well-kept beers and lagers, too.
Need to know
One of those places where you can spend a little or splash out – you could spend £8 on a sandwich and chips or £27 on a steak.
The place is child-friendly.
There are vegetarian options.
There’s parking on-street or in a P&D behind the pub.
22 Highfield Road, Edgbaston B15 3DP. 0121 227 7068.