Ask anyone in Brum for suggestions on where to go for a cosy, comfortable, consistent and special meal and they’ll most likely suggest Hotel du Vin. It’s synonymous with fine wine and fine dining. From celebrations, birthdays and anniversaries, to it simply being #ThirstyThursday, because Thursday. All bases are covered. It’s where I celebrated moving to London for a new job 6 years ago and I remember the staff being so friendly and warm then, that I recently visited Meat Shack where the lady who worked there remembered my friend and I celebrating, all those years ago. If that’s not great service, I don’t know what is.
However, it’s not just celebrations that are catered for here, the restaurant, Bistro du Vin has revamped the menu and has made the food even more accessible for a mid-week lunch or post work bite and new GM, Barry Sherwin, previously of Gusto, is pushing the Hotel du Vin agenda forward with ease and passion.
Based on Church Street, Bistro du Vin @HdV serves up classic, hearty French/British home-style cooking that relies on seasonal produce and comfortable, hearty dishes.
It’s cosy, comfortable and seriously romantic. Think Victorian period features from the fireplaces and flooring to the lighting. Wine bottles and dripping candles adorn every surface and I’m a big fan of this lovely, warm aesthetic.
The menu has been revamped and carefully crafted to appeal to a demographic that transcends the suits of Colmore Row and puts Hotel du Vin on the map as the place to go to enjoy a mid week lunch as well as a long and lazy dinner.
We start with creamy Sauteed Mushrooms generously piled on top of lightly toasted brioche. The sauce is full of flavour and complements the sweetness of the bread nicely. The mushrooms retain a bit of bite and firmness here, where elsewhere, so many places get this simple veg wrong.
On to the mains and there is so much choice across the main menu and the fixed price menu, that the struggle is real. I opt for the Gloucester Old Spot Pork Belly, a well-cooked piece of meat, encased in the most divine crunchy, crackling. You know the kind, piping hot, salty and best eaten with your hands like no ones watching. On this occasion, they are, so I use a knife and fork with difficulty, I definitely won’t be next time. The mousseline is whipped into creamy, light dollops in a rich jus that elevates the dish to pure indulgence. Veg is shared amongst us and it’s just as well because the portions are big and hearty here, the kinda portions where you need a nice lie down after eating. The best, in my opinion.
Desserts and drinks
We finish with a beautiful vanilla Crème Brulee that has that perfect caramel topping to crack into. With the aid of the brilliant sommelier, Stephan who has recently joined the hotel from Georgia, we try a selection of fantastic wine with the most interesting and unique being a light Chilean, organic white and a chocolatey, spicy dessert wine from Paraguay which are already on my hit list to track down.
Hotel du Vin is, as you’d expect, a perfect experience. From the delicious food and drink to the attentive and helpful staff. This is a restaurant to celebrate in sure, but equally you should frequent it more than than that, come in mid-week, grab a table and enjoy it now.
*I was invited along to try the food and drink but didn’t have to write about it. As always, my opinions are my own*