Freelance journalist in Birmingham with a passion for the dynamic theatre, art, food and fashion scene in Britain's 'Second City'.
Published November 21st 2019
Restaurant Based In Atmospheric Brewery Pub
As one of the leading brew pubs in the West Midlands, the restaurant at Brewhouse & Kitchen in Lichfield can be left in the shade by its craft beer and brewing reputation, but there's a lot on offer, as we found out.
The restaurant area at Lichfield Brewhouse & Kitchen
But despite its brewing fame, it also has a large restaurant that overlooks the huge brewing tanks.
The venue is part of the larger Brewhouse & Kitchen family, which is the UK's fastest-growing SME brew pub. Brewery industry veterans Simon Bunn and Kris Grumbell started up the independent pub chain in 2011 and it has grown rapidly in the past eight years to now own 22 pubs and employ 24 brewers.
Along with its masterclasses and tours, Brewhouse & Kitchen is focusing much more on food of late and has moved into fine dining experiences that pair food with beer.
Options include pairing a Chocolate and Cask Ale Fondue with a stout, and as nearly half of Brewhouse & Kitchen's customers are women, that move to have a dining element for couples or friends and families makes sense.
At the Lichfield restaurant, the drinks menu is still much longer than the food one but there is plenty of choice plus offers galore - 5 dishes for £5 each over lunch; Burger Mondays with two for one all day; or Wings Wednesday when diners get a portion of wings and a pint of house-brewed beer for £6.95.
Picking from the lunch menu, which is available until 5pm, there's a lot of starters taking inspiration from around the world. They cost between £4.95 and £6.50 on the whole or there's yet another offer - of three starters for £14.95.
A nice touch is that every food item has a suggestion of what beer goes nicely with it. It's not just comfort food or regular pub grub either as options include Blistered Padron Peppers with Sea Salt (£4.95), Pork Belly Burnt Ends With Beer-B-Cue Dip (£6.25), Halloumi Fries With Pickled Onions And Chipotle Mayo Dip (£5.95) or Falafel and Lentil Salad (£5.50), to name a few.
There's also favourites like Loaded Beer Nachos, Buttermilk Chicken Wings, Baked Calamari and Soup.
Customer favourites feature on the main courses too - a range of burgers (£9.95 including fries); a Fish Finger Sandwich, Chicken BLT and similar, at around £6.00.
On the larger side, there's Steak Frites, Fish and Chips, Chicken and Wild Mushroom Pie with mash, Pan Friend Sea Bass, Mac and Cheese or even Chickpea and Lentil Dahl - all at around the £10 - £13 marker.
The signature dish at Brewhouse & Kitchen, however, is the Beer Can Chicken. Giving that a try, I found it to be a lovely moist chicken, partly because a free-range chicken has been roasted in a special dry rub and steamed over a can of American Pale Ale to keep it even more tender.
You can choose the size of chicken you want from a quarter or half to a whole one, depending on your appetite, and you get to also pick two sides from a long list. The options are extensive and include chips, baked potato, onion rings, mac and cheese, corn on the cob, rice, salad, mushrooms, coleslaw or lemon and garlic broccoli.
I had a creamy mac and cheese that was gooey and satisfying. I also liked the fact the sauce came in a can of ale to pour over the chicken. A little bit of theatre.
Out of the sauce options of Beer-b-cue, Spicy Buffalo and Honey and Garlic, I chose the latter but must admit it was a little too sweet for me and I regret not opting for the barbecue.
My guest went for the crowdpleaser of Legend Lager Battered Cod and Chips (£9.95) that came with chunky chips and minted mushy peas, tartare sauce and a dill pickle. It was large with a real crisp to the batter and big fluffy chips that didn't disappoint.
If you want a meat-packed sharer, there's also a BBQ Platter at £27.95 that comes with half a Beer Can Chicken, Slow Cooked Pulled Beef Brisket, Ribs, Pork Belly Burnt Ends and three sides of your choice.
I know it all sounds very filling, but my tip for you is to save room for pudding as there are plenty on the menu that is well worth holding out for.
It's mainly a traditional British fare to whet the appetite and although there are choices like a Fruit Cheesecake, Coffee Liquor Sundae and Chocolate Orange Brownie Tart (all £5.50 - £6.50) on the menu, I decided to give the Warm Ginger Pudding a go.
Accompanied by Rumbullion rum ice cream, the gooey, delicious sponge of the warm ginger made a delightful mix with the refreshing pineapple and mint pieces around it.
I never realised just how much ginger and pineapple go together and I'll definitely be combining those two flavours again. Tangy and slightly sharp yet also comforting and sweet.
If you are in a group or fancy a sharer for dessert, there is also a chocolate fondue at £8.50, which has a pot of warm chocolate sauce with skewers to dip in mini treats of doughnuts, salted caramel profiteroles, marshmallows and strawberries. A lot of fun too.
The Brewhouse is famous for its beers and it would be amiss not to detail some of those. There is a wealth of choice from its own brews of session bitter, IPA, amber ale and much more plus other guest craft labels.
There's keg beers, American style ales from Brewdog, Beavertown, Sierra Nevada and the like, along with Belgian beers from Duvel, Westmalle, Le Chouffe... the list goes on.
It doesn't just stop at beers either with an array of ciders, gins, wine and the usual spirits.
What's clear is that while Brewhouse & Kitchen is making a name for itself as a fine brewer, it's also got a tempting range of good quality food that makes for an ideal all-round dinner and drinks venue.