I remember the first time I stepped into a Bistro du Vin back in 2011. I’d graduated the year previously in Politics and International Relations and had no intent or desire to work in the field. An oyster guzzling, cheese hoarding, wine lover with a hunger to learn more about the hospitality industry, I applied for the role of event coordinator and supervisor at the Bistro du Vin Soho venue. Not my first hospitality rodeo and certainly not my last, I still believe that du Vin was a catalyst for where I am today.
I will always have the Hotel du Vin spirit etched in my skin. I remember staying at the Hotel du Vin in Brighton and the marvellous roll top bath experience in the hotel room. Oh lord, everyone must have an in-room roll top bath experience. I associate Whisky, steak tartare and Blackbird by The Beatles with Hotel du Vin.
Fast forward to 2017, fine wine, quality food and knowledgeable staff are still as important to me.
Last week Bistro du Vin at The Hotel du Vin on Church Street, Birmingham launched their Spring Summer menu. The new menu also includes a fixed price menu at £17.95 for two courses and £20.95 for three courses, rivalling the prices of other restaurants on Colmore Row.
The Spring Summer menu launch coincided with one of the rainiest days of the year. I kid you not, it was torrential. Have you tried to catch an Uber from Hagley Road Five Ways on a Thursday in the rain?! Damp and cold, the sparkling wine reception was a welcome sight.
Our hosts for the evening General Manager Tony Elvin and Sales Manager Kirsty Nicholls, welcomed a small group of us with a sparkling wine blind tasting. 4 sparkling wines – Champagne, English fizz, Cremant and Prosecco.
Just a quick reminder that Champagne must be made in Champagne France to be called Champagne.
Now we’ve got that out of the way, Champagne, Cremant and English sparkling wine are made in the ‘Méthode Traditionelle‘, translating as the traditional method of making Champagne. If you see this term on a bottle, remember that it has been made using the same methods as developed in Champagne! Expect a similar style of wine.
We blind taste the 4 wines and most people liked the English Nyetimber Classic Cuvee. Not surprising, as the golden nectar made with exactly the same grapes as Champagne are grown on a similar chalky soil.
Persistent fine bubbles and complexity on the nose. The mouthfeel is very much reminiscent of freshly baked tarte tatin. Blind tasting this and you could say it was Champagne. The elegance, intensity and length make for a damn fine wine. I really must pay this vineyard a visit! Nyetimber I salute you.
Bubbles complete, we move in to the bistro for dinner. Lots of wine available to match the the new season’s dining menu. The theme for the evening is Pinot, I love Pinot in all it’s forms. I especially love a heartier Pinot Noir, however an Eastern European Pinot Blanc or Pinot Gris from Trentino Alto Adige excites me also. Don’t get me started on the wines from Alsace..
I order the Severn and Wye Smoked Salmon, served with real smoke. A visually inspiring dish, it’s also the smokiest smoked salmon I’ve ever tried, very tasty. The soft boiled quails eggs are a welcome addition to the dish, with a juicy bite of acidity from the capers and cornichons. The portion size is very generous too. Lots of seafood on the starters, including Roasted Tiger Prawns and Scallop Ceviche.
Everyone around me has chosen the Rack of Yorkshire Dales Lamb, served with a pea bean and goats curd salad. It looked really nice and the lamb tender and pink. As much as I love meat, in the Summer I prefer to eat fish. I have chosen the Butter Poached Cod, served with Lyonnaise potatoes, smoked salmon and cabbage. It’s probably on the heartier side of Summer dishes, however with the temperamental weather in the UK it still works well. Creamy sauce with a perfectly cooked white flaky fish with hints of salmon.
Continuing with white wine for my main course, I quickly sample a few of the red Pinots including a Pinotage from South Africa and a Hungarian Pinot Noir. The Moon River Pinot Noir from Hungary is light, refreshing and could be served very lightly chilled. No oak, fresh, juicy red cherries. I also try a Provence rose, a blend of Cinsault, Syrah and Mourvedre. Salmon hued, dry and well balanced. If I’m drinking rose, this is how I like it.
I order the Pineapple and Coconut Kulfi with a Tropical Fruit Salad. The Kulfi was OK, however the tropical fruit salad had fresh pieces of chili in and with no forewarning on the menu, the chili was a very big surprise. With that said, the other desserts around the table looked good, including the Crepe Suzette, that was made at the table!
It was lovely to be back at the hotel of wine again. Delightful food and wine under a romantic French backdrop. I was really impressed with the wines by the glass list and the wine list on the whole. I look forward to going to one of their wine dinners soon.
I was a guest of Hotel du Vin and Delicious PR and all food and drink were complimentary.
As always, my writing and my honest views.
Wine Press Girl x
Bistro du Vin, Hotel du Vin 25 Church Street, Birmingham B3 2NR