Rudy’s – Best Pizza Central Birmingham?

Rudy’s – Best Pizza Central Birmingham?

Rudy’s! Why have I not reviewed this before? Who knows? This is one of the best pizzerias in town. The best of course being Alicia’s but that is so far away that I seldom go. Rudy’s is an excellent alternative in town centre and is moments away from St Phillip’s. A true gem in town which deserves more visibility.Since deciding to do a review of this wonderful eatery, I returned to Rudy’s again. We have five pizzas below which I hope will make the case for this eatery. Some of them are specials which are no longer available.

The Portobello

SAN MARZANO TOMATO, FIOR DI LATTE, PORTOBELLO MUSHROOM, BASIL, OREGANO, SEA SALT, PARMESAN & GARLIC OIL.

This rather blurry photograph is the Portobello, which combined the beautifully creamy fior di latte with portobello mushrooms, the profound earthy almost meaty texture of the mushroom making for a very satisfying mouthful.

Holly opted for one of the specials which I cannot quite remember. It seems to be close to the Parmigiana whose ingredients are below:

PARMIGIANA*** 9.20 SAN MARZANO TOMATO, FIOR DI LATTE, ROASTED AUBERGINE, PECORINO, BASIL & E.V. OLIVE OIL

Aubergine, fior di latte, peppers, nice pesto sauce, the whole thing was just delicious, balanced, the acidity of the lemon in the pesto contrasted very well with the meatiness and flavour of the aubergine. Terrific pizza.

Cinghiale

SAN MARZANO TOMATO, FIOR DI LATTE, WILD BOAR SALAME, N’DUJA, ROQUITO PEPPERS, PARMESAN, FRESH CHILLI, BASIL & E.V OLIVE OIL

I had the cinghiale which was a boar salami pizza with some rather spicy peppers. The nduja was just delicious and added a richness and almost smokiness to the overall flavour. An excellent pizza. I ate 3/4 of it in one go!

Another pizza from the special menu. This was one with pumpkin, basil and fennel sausage – the combination actually brought tears to my eyes. This was an explosively flavoursome, brilliantly balanced. Quite unbelievable. An autumnal treat.

Overall this is an incredible eatery and I believe the photographs of the pizzas speak for themselves. Do go either in person or a takeaway. They also do cook at home pizzas which I have made use of on many occasions.

 

Il Rustico – Lovely Pizza, Dover

Il Rustico – Lovely Pizza, Dover

When one thinks of Dover, they think of white cliffs, cruise ships, lorry queues and perhaps even the migrant crisis. But one seldom thinks of pizza. But after a wonderful sermon on the feast of All Saints in St Paul’s in Dover, we felt compelled to go to Il Rustico. See below my thoughts on this relatively hidden gem.

I felt quite hungry after the service so thought two courses would be best. We ordered the taglio which can be seen above. A taglio is often a combination of meats and cheeses which one can enjoy with a bit of bread. There was parma ham, some chorizo and salami with some soft pecorino cheese and lovely fresh bread. This was a small portion but helped my parents and I satisfy a small portion of our hunger.

I went for the four cheese pizza, feeling somewhat low and needing a cheesy boost. This was an excellent combination of cheeses, they used mozzarella, parmesan, some blue cheese and also, bafflingly, cheddar. However, while the latter cannot be conceived as an Italian cheese, it did add a rich nuttiness to the pizza and indeed cheddar melts more nicely on account of a higher water content (35.6–38.6% moisture) which helped combine the other cheeses and resulted in a most flavourful pizza. The crust was lovely and thin.

Both my parents opted for the salsiccia pasta, combining lucanica sausage, onions, garlic, wine, tomato sauce and topped with parmesan shaving. This was an excellent, rich and flavoursome pasta. The rigatoni were cooked beautifully, the sauce had the right liquid level and the sausage itself was cut small to help them fit into the centre of the pasta and helped the eater enjoy the fulsome flavour of this delicious dish.

Overall, I would recommend this if you fancy an economical and excellent meal in Dover.

Please, Sir! Splendid Burgers, Broadstairs

Please, Sir! Splendid Burgers, Broadstairs

When my folks brought me to Broadstairs, I searched for the best eatery. Please, Sir! came up as number one. My critic senses were tingling, I simply knew this was the place to go. What confirmed my opinion was that all those in attendance wanted to not eat there because of some bizarre attachment to eating with the sea in sight. See below how I was absolutely correct. I wagered with father that if this was not the best burger he had eaten in months I would pay for dinner in full as well as lunch. Deal.

Holy
Steak patties, American cheese, pastrami, pickles & English mustard.

Yoikes. Please, Sir! were the first restaurant in Kent to do smash burgers, according to the owner Steve who was kind enough to explain us the concept of a smash burger and the fact that the restaurant chooses meat from the back of the cow rather than the front for maximal flavour, at the cost of fat content. This made for an exquisite burger. Originally made by putting the meat on horses and squishing it down while men were riding around, Pastrami is an interesting meat! It has flavour such as smoke, spicy black pepper, and the sweet citrus tang of coriander. Mixed with the lovely flavour of the patty and acidic pickle, this was a marriage made in heaven. Father told me it was indeed the best burger he had had in a considerable time, followed by a swift “damn it” under his breath. You see, good taste can be economical!

Mighty
Steak patties, bacon, crispy onions, Monterey Jack cheese & BBQ sauce.

I opted for the Mighty which seems like an ordinary combination of standard burger ingredients and indeed it is, but the quality of the ingredients is the excellent part. See the thick cut bacon, thick goopy cheese and smashed burgers, with beautiful buns topped with sesame seeds. Just perfect. I have difficulty to describe the depth of flavour but I can assure you I finished with a satisfactory grunt.

Unbelievable
Steak patties, American cheese, sriracha mayo, lettuce.

Finally Nick opted for the Unbelievable which very much lived up to its name. The flavour profile contains: sun-ripened chiles, garlic, sugar, salt, and vinegar, giving it a hot-sweet-sour-salty flavour. The combination of this with the beautiful beef, cheese and lettuce was just sublime with Nick who nodded in approbation.

Overall this was a stunning establishment. The milk shakes were also a thing of profound beauty which I recommend, the Kinder Bueno White being the best, I believe. Really lives up to Steve’s description. Do go if you are in Broadstairs!

La Grotta – Carb Refresh – Bristol

La Grotta – Carb Refresh – Bristol

It may surprise you to know that I did not have a good time in Bristol. I had cycled 100 miles to get there and was not in the best shape having to do a full working day the following day as well as an hour presentation to dozens of people. No matter! La Grotta was highly rated and from the descriptions looked like the sort of place I might enjoy a hearty Italian meal. This was absolutely the case. And to top it off it is in the centre of Bristol.

To begin I had a lovely arrancino. This is a cone of rice, with tomato sauce, breaded and invariably with a glob of molten mozzarella in the centre. This after a long cycle and seemingly longer walk from Montpelier to Bristol centre was just right. This is a staple of Sicilian cuisine but is eaten across Italy, and indeed in Bristol. The one at the Grotta was no exception. It was exactly what I hoped it would be. The sauce mingling well with the coagulated rice, held together by a lovely thin crust of the bread crumbs which was not too thick.

Although the crust was good, I am afraid to say La Grotta could have done better on the margherita pizza test. They have, as you can see, used grated cheese instead of sliced mozzarella… and there is a distinctive green sweet leaf missing from the top. The best margherita pizza  have a few pieces of basil scattered about just after the cooking is finished. This was not the case here. In this instance I was so ravenous that it did not much matter. The dough was good, nice and thin and even, cooked through with no soggy bits, which was ace.

Also, ever keen to be green, I had some rather buttery garlic broccoli with the meal, this helped counterbalance the relatively unhealthy carb overload of the pizza!

Overall I had a good time, I was well attended to, and the waiter was as keen a cyclist as me which was a big plus.

The Craven Arms, Birmingham – An Unexpected Find

The Craven Arms, Birmingham – An Unexpected Find

One of the surprising things about returning to a place you once lived in is discovering just how many good things you had hitherto overlooked. Prior to my recent visit to Birmingham, I thought I had a comprehensive idea of all Brum’s best establishments for the imbibing of strong liquour. As always, I hadn’t reckoned on Cedric pulling something extraordinary out the bag when least expected. Upon his first mention of the Craven Arms in fairly glowing terms, I was intrigued. Not long after, a cursory google search convinced me we were in for a winner. With a single-minded resolve not unbefitting the grand old name of Jenkins, I determined the Craven should be the first building I entered upon exiting New Street station. Once I arrived, I was not disappointed. 

The Craven Arms | Black Country Ales

The Craven Arms is owned by Black Country Ales, a very fine brewer of ales with a number of pubs across the Midlands including the Wellington (arguably Birmingham’s very best pub).  While the Craven does not quite compete with the breadth of the Wellington’s cask ale selection (11 pumps to the Welly’s 16), it has one chief characteristic that venerable establishment cannot hope to match: the Craven is never rammed to the rafters. Situated ever so slightly off from the city centre, behind the Mailbox and towards the Peace Gardens, the Craven Arms is a great place to enjoy a pint in relative peace. 

And let’s face it 11 pumps ain’t half bad. The beer is generally very good too. On my first visit I had a pint by Black Country Ales called chain ale and a pale ale by Green Duck called Revolution (but don’t worry I didn’t get up after drinking that last beer and start singing the “Internationale”). On my second visit I opted for a pint of pig in the wall, a nutty brown mild, once again by Black Country Ales. On each occasion I ordered a pork pie with my pint, a pub snack I was delighted to find they served at the Craven. There really is no finer comestible on this earth to be enjoyed with a pint of beer than a pork pie. 

Pig On The Wall - Black Country Ales - Untappd

It was splendid to once again visit this city I used to call my home and may call my home again someday. If I do move back, I know I will be spending many more a happy hour in the Craven.  

Luben’s Pizza Folkestone – Divine Dining, South Coast

Luben’s Pizza Folkestone – Divine Dining, South Coast

Ever oscillating, I took it upon myself to visit the South coast. During my short time in Dover and its environs, I had the opportunity to go to Luben’s pizza in Folkestone. This was the first time my immediate family had been in the same country for over 12 months so we took the opportunity to have a good time and eat many carbs.

Seitan Pepperoni

Seitan Pepperoni w. Vegan Mozzarella
I have fallen in love with seitan, no not the devil, but the flour and water based meat substitute. Matthew has been making it for some time and we have had it in wraps and as a substitute for chicken. I was quite impressed to see this as a choice at Luben’s. This pizza was exquisite, perhaps a little dry and could have used more sauce but otherwise really quite excellent. The dough was perfect and the vegan cheese was very nice indeed.
Spicy Nduja, Pepperoni, Piquillo Pepper, Red Onion, Fresh Rocket & Buffalo Mozzarella // Moons Green Pepperoni, Buffalo Mozzarella
Of course the actual pepperoni was divine for other reasons. This was beautifully distributed, had a good amount of buffala mozzarella which was hot but not melted, as it should be, and well sauced. Again the dough was a thing of beauty. This was an alarmingly flavoursome pizza.
Father and Celia shared the Nduja pizza which was one of my favourites. The Nduja has an acidic flavour with a chili-forward bite. This mixed with the pepperoni and sweet but heatless Piquito pepper and the freshness of the rocket made a pseudo explosion of flavour in the mouth. This may have been my favourite of the night.
The dough ball sharing plate, served with a trio of dips; (garlic butter, aioli & pesto) was also quite good, soft and supple enriched by the dips.

Father and his oddly held cutlery enjoyed the wonderful salad which does not look like much but was equally explosively flavourful.

Overall this was a high quality restaurant in a beautiful street of Folkestone, moments from the sea front. We enjoyed our time there very much and I hope to go again before long.