Dear loyal reader,

Interested observers often ask me what it is like being friends with Cedric Conboy. To this I can only reply, with the utmost respect, that it is a wild ride. Not only do I now find myself charged with the task of writing a guest restaurant review, but I am also scheduled to participate in a podcast on Graham Greene’s novel ‘the Power and the Glory”. Two things I would never have expected to be doing before I met the proprietor of this charming weblog.

Now Cedric, as the title of the blog implies, is full of suggestions, many of them outstanding. So, when I found myself in Solihull in need of a bite to eat, I wasn’t surprised to find Cedric popping up on the old Whatsapp, simply brimming with marvellous ideas. The place I eventually decided upon, having received a good dose of wisdom from the oracle, was the Beech House on the Warwick Road. A fine establishment if ever I saw one.

But first dear reader, if you would permit a sentimental aside, Solihull is a very dear place to me. You see, this was the part of the world, where my grandparents decided to settle down and raise their three children. My grandpa has recently passed away, but although his body has left this place, his memory remains. Solihull will forever stand for me as a reminder of the decent, kind and gentle man who for many years called this his home.

Now onto the drink and grub. I think it is fair to say, knowing him as well as we do, that although many accolades and praises can be levied at the door of Cedric Conboy, it would be a step too far to describe him as a real ale man. No, I imagine, if he were to find himself sat down in the pleasant and polished environ of the Beech House, he would order something decidedly fruitier. This being my time to shine, I decided to order a pint of Mad Goose. A champion beer.

For the main course, I ordered the salmon, which came with new potatoes, broccoli and a delicious lemon sauce. Excellent stuff, and if I had the descriptive abilities of Cedric, I might be able to do it some justice, but alas I am lost for words. Suffice to say, it was all cooked to my liking. For a desert I opted for the cheese course. This came with three cheeses: a cheddar, a stilton and a goat’s cheese, as well as red onion marmalade, biscuits, two slices of bread, grapes and celery. I have but two complaints. Firstly, the slices of bread were too large and secondly there was no butter. We seem to have become as a nation embarrassed by butter at least as far as restaurants are concerned. Perhaps we consider ourselves too good for it. This I think it is fair to say is an iniquitous practice matched only by the antics of Sodom and Gomorra.

Finally, I have been commissioned to give some introduction to the atmosphere at this charming spot. It was not what I would call heaving. No in fact, to be precise, in the place at that time there were seven other people. Still, this is most likely due to the time I chose to attend: a weekday luncheon. The staff were courteous and attentive. I enjoyed the setting, and the kitchen was open-planned so I could observe the cooks’ work. Furthermore, I enjoyed having a peek at the wood-fired oven (installed for the pizza). The napkins were a particular highlight. All in all, a splendid place to spend one’s hard-earned dough.