Rico Libre. It’s been around for a good five years in Digbeth, starting with one chef and one waiter. Over the years, it’s fair to say its grown in many ways, making a big impact on the city for its fantastic quality tapas and regularly featured on TripAdvisor as the number one tapas restaurant in Birmingham. Despite being hidden down the side streets of Digbeth, this is testament alone to the food being knocked out here.
A few months ago, Rico Libre opened their restaurant at Kanteen in The Custard Factory to provide a fresh new evening food offering from Wednesday to Saturday. To see two independents align their vision and food in this thriving part of Digbeth makes me very happy, particular now that Rico Libre is in Digbeth prime territory for frequent footfall. It just makes total sense. And you can still BYOB. Win.
Rico Libre’s menu is concise and carefully crafted with a mix of meat, fish and veggie tapas and is perfect for sharing, the usual 6-7 dishes between you is plenty.
Gambas Pil Pil- Juicy king prawns in chilli and garlic oil are meaty and generous with plenty of flavoursome chilli and garlic to mop up with warm toasted Garlic Flatbread. These bad boys are marinated all the way through and are divine.
Grilled Halloumi is soft and gooey with caramelised onions and peppers which surprisingly works really well.
Lamb Chops from the Specials board are cooked to perfection, meaty, marinated well, slightly charred and full of flavour. They disappear quickly and I remind myself to order two portions next time as one portion isn’t enough. Pork Belly arrives on top of a slice of sweet potato and is nice enough but a little lacklustre. I’d have liked the fat to be a bit more crispy and the meat a bit more tasty.
All bases are covered but I do miss having a choice of a side salad or veggies to complement all the meat and fish. We order a Moroccan style spinach and potato veggie dish on top of sourdough which is lovely but another variation of fresh salad/veggies would have been very welcome. I mention this to the restaurant on the night, who actually advise that they can serve salad if you ask for it, so definitely a reminder for next time.
We finish with Crema Catalana which is rich and creamy- very similar to crème brulee which is a lovely end to the tapas we enjoy.
Rico Libre is as good as it was in its previous location, if not better since my last visit. The tapas is authentic with a tasty twist, whilst the service is friendly and homely. This is a place I can see myself returning to on the regular for guaranteed delicious food and BYOB as we get closer to Christmas.
*Thanks to Rico Libre, I was invited to try the food complimentary. As always my opinions are my own.*
Address: Kanteen, Digbeth, Gibb Street, Birmingham B9 4AA