I tire of another restaurant chain replicating, so it was refreshing to see a recent addition to Birmingham City Centre's eateries that is a family run independent business.
The Pickled Piglet, Gas Street, B1 2JT
Opening earlier in 2013, I did not not need much persuasion for a mid week treat from my mate Jen to try out The Pickled Piglet. I was conscious that despite it's proximity to Brindleyplace, the canal leisure area in Birmingham City Centre, I'd heard very little about a new tapas restaurant.
Situated on Gas Street, just off Broad Street, it is directly accessible from the canal-side walk that weaves its way to the Mailbox complex.
Scenic stroll stop off?
The Pickled Piglet is a beautiful listed building with pared back predominantly white interior and lovely wood floors. Elegant large industrial windows offer lots of light, and in danger of sounding like an Estate Agent, really offer a selection of lovely spaces to savour a meal. It is also trusting that the kitchen is open and transparent downstairs.
On a warm Thursday we arrived impromptu. Immediately seated I'd thought The Pickled Piglet was just tapas but it also offers mains and toasted sarnies, and interestingly or confusingly, I can't decide, bills itself as a 'coffee bar & kitchens'. I did query that it felt dead uncomfortably hot upstairs, so we moved downstairs, but the staff were very accommodating. It was quiet, initially a bit too quiet with just a couple of other tables of diners, but then we let the food speak and boy did it.
We ordered a tad randomly from the tapas menu, embracing expectations to taste a bit of everything and share all. There's a large list of small tapas plates that all sound appealing, saffron & honey belly pork anyone? But we plumped for a special offer which was a restricted but interesting selection of 3 tapas and a bottle of house wine for £19, then topped up with bread and fries separately. We noted that unusually the house red wine was most definitely not just drinkable, it was sublime, and well chosen.
The Pickled Piglet advertises only serving welfare assured meats and fish & vegetables from the Birmingham Market on a daily basis. We savoured amongst other tastes, shredded pork and pickles and scallops, apples & smoked bacon and hand cut chips and homemade breads. I am a (very) lapsed vegetarian so always notice whether the menu offers veggie options for those with more will-power than me; dried tomatoes & chick pea chilli, caught my eye.
Pickled Piglet sample menu when we visited. Look out for specials
On their website it reads that 'In 2011 Mark & his wife Chrissy decided to sell their country pub and move back to the heart of Birmingham where they first met to open "The Pickled Piglet ". I'm glad they did. Eating at The Pickled Piglet feels unhurried and individual. The food was quality and hit the spot for both of us. The menu appears to offer variety both for budget conscious and throwing caution to the wind. They have introduced 'Monday steak day' and 'Tuesday fresh fish day', so look I forward to popping back and trying. I think if you just called in for drinks you'd be welcomed, but beware you would be tempted by a plate or two.
If you fancy trying The Pickled Piglet I suggest jumping on the bus, jumping off on Broad Street or train from any central Birmingham station, in order to try the delicious house wines. But if you are going to visit by car you could park in either the Mailbox or Brindleyplace multi-storeys and stroll to Gas Street in ten minutes, or park on a street meter right outside if you're lucky. However you travel, I suggest you make the effort to click here for The Pickled Piglet website