At times in my life I have believed in divine intervention more ardently than others. On Saturday last, for example, arguably one of the more difficult days of my time in Birmingham, I ended up in Coventry quite by chance. Further, once there, the cafe I would go to usually, Rising Cafe, the first place I reviewed on this blog, was closed permanently. Dutifully, as can be expected of me by readers of this blog, I whipped out my Trip Advisor and did a search of the local offerings. I did not fancy a Vietnamese restaurant with many fake reviews, at least not for lunch. The second choice was Gourmet Food Kitchen, in the Coventry Outpost of Fargo Village. Fargo, not the town in Minnesota, is a wonderful place, a sort of arty collective about 15 minutes walk from the centre. I have been visiting for some years but was quite surprised to find this gem of a restaurant there.
Chef Tony stands proudly behind his grill, catering to the 12 covers before him, and regales us with the method behind his madness. He tells us everything we are about to consume is made freshly. Tony cures his own bacon and cuts and cooks it from frozen (as it keeps its form better that way). He tells us he stuffs his own sausages, and smokes his own salmon with cherrywood, rather than oak. Chef Tony also makes his own terrine, and sold me a bit of game terrine which I will enjoy at Christmas when my parents ascend from the South. See my Full English below.
Me: Chef, where is that music coming from?
Chef: I have an Alexa behind that sausage stuffer.
My Full English included bubble & squeak, home stuffed sausage, sweet homemade black pudding, a delightful tomato, freshly made beans (better than Heinz by a country mile) and a fibrous combination of mushrooms and spinach, as well as two slices of excellent soft home cured bacon and two perfectly poached eggs. Some like their bacon cremated, I enjoy it soft and flavourful. This was achieved by Chef by cooking it in an oven rather than frying it. I seldom say this but everything was exquisite. The black pudding was perhaps a bit sweet for me, but this should not detract form this five star feast. The quality and freshness of this food cannot be described. To have chef in front of us telling us about his food with passion was a wonderful experience. Chef Tony has little patience for nonsense and the results of his culinary ethos speaks for itself.
Charlotte enjoyed a beautiful eggs Hemingway with home smoked salmon. Why Hemingway? The ham on the eggs Benedict has been replaced by salmon. So the dish consists of an English muffin (or similar), smoked salmon, a poached egg and on this occasion a whiskey infused Hollandaise which tantalised absolutely. Now, I do not like fish, but this salmon was the absolute bomb. I could not believe the depth of flavour, the richness of the cherrywood being so different to ordinary oak. This was a triumphant dish.
Divine intervention? I surely think so. Were it not for an unfortunate series of regrettable events, I would not have sampled this heavenly feast. I am grateful for my guardian angel guiding me to these excellent places and allowing me to enjoy some sparse positive experiences at this trying time. Please do go to see Chef Tony. He is only open a few days a week so it might be an idea to book beforehand.