The Wilderness: Yeah, Yeah, Nomad
So The Wilderness, formerly Nomad, in Birmingham is hot. Why the name change? A letter arrived from The Nomad (as in, north of Madison Ave) Hotel, stating that they'd take legal action if the Brummie version didn't drop the name. Let's be clear, this is one of my favourite hotels in NYC, and I wouldn't mind if they were picking on another big dog, but this is a 26 cover place in Birmingham. Chill out lads.
This little story makes it even more likeable. The Wilderness is teeny tiny but full of big loving vibes; and it's worth venturing out of the big schmoke for. Offering a tasting menu-only, it's great if you're indecisive or simply want to indulge in the pleasure of your company.
I'm with my amazing friend Cormac, raising a glass to his 30th birthday, and the lashing rain is even more encouraging of a long lunch. Loubie, who I've spoken with a few times on the phone, welcomes us with open arms. Cocktails are pre-batched and ice-free, all very White Lyan circa 2013, and that is no bad thing. I steer clear of the drinks pairing with lunch as there's a brut nature cava and a few Spanish wines I've got my eye on.
The beet and chicken liver kicker is dish of the day. It's a perfect example of underselling and over delivering. Mackerel with pear and blue cheese is almost saved by sexy tarragon but still dies a lonely death; fish and cheese (esp blue) is a no-no in my book, and this proves it. Sticky crispy pork belly comes on a splat of parsnip purée, and both are beautifully contrasted by tender squid. Halibut with cauli is all a bit too beige and boring, but I do love a bit of charred veg. We finish with five keen ants all queuing up to hump a savoury brûlée. Nothing to see here! Protein packed and oh-so-Instagrammable, fancy that.
So, I mentioned we gave the tasting menu a whirl, but I missed off that at £40 for six courses, The Wilderness is superb value for money.
Five Very Kerri things about The Wilderness
- Six Cs for £40. Bars
- Undersells and overdelivers
- Wines with a story to tell
- Badass coffee