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Love's labours are certainly not a loss.

Byline: Paul Fulford

STEVE Love is a chef with a fine pedigree, having worked with such culinary luminaries as Alan Ducasse, Claude Bosi and Gary Jones.

Of course, possessing an impressive CV is one thing and delivering the goods is quite another.

But on the evidence of a visit to his newly opened restaurant Loves, I've no doubt that we have in Birmingham a chef of immense talent.

The best food is, I think, defined by an imagination that doesn't run riot but nevertheless mixes and matches sometimes unusual ingredients and techniques while still respecting each component's integrity.

It is also defined, I believe, by a lightness of touch.

Love's food delivered in bundles on the Saturday night I ate their with my wife and two friends.

Thus a butternut squash foam was wonderfully light yet possessed a beguiling depth of flavour that was perfectly complemented by a spot of goats' cheese.

My next course - unceremonially entitled Beetroot and Tuna - was even more spectacular: a joy to the eyes and palate.

Cubes of beautifully fresh, tender tuna came dotted with a tiny speck of what tasted almost like orange curd.

Alongside lay raw, cooked, pickled, jelly and sorbet versions of the vegetable - all different in texture and flavour.

One particularly memorablecomponent featured a white crumbly and salty cheese wrapped in the vegetable.

And a shot glass of beetroot foam - again with enormous depth - added another dimension.

A main of vennison - Bambi has never tasted so gamey - was also a triumph.

It came with a garlic-infused green cabbage and sassy but not crude pickled cabbage.

Among its partners were fondant potatoes, a jus of impeccable balance and a splash of melted Valrhona chocolate that added interest and a hint of bitterness.

The shared cheeses - with banana bread, various crackers and condiments - were in tiptop condition.

I progressed to another dish with an understated name - Pineapple and Coconut.

This was a grown up dessert with limited sweetness but delightful flavours.

Poached pineapple sat atop a porridge made of coconut and complemented by a sorbet.

My companions ate various complex and deeply satisfying dishes, each member of our party singing their choices' praises.

We shared a bottle of New Zealand pinot noir and various soft drinks.

Here is a restaurant which is up there among Brum's best. Expect to hear far more about Steve Love.

Verdict How much? pounds 198 for four Vegetarians? Choices Child friendly? OK Disabled access? Fine Parking? Restricted Go back? Can't wait Value: pounds pounds pounds pounds Food, decor, service: HHHHH JYOTI This family-run Indian veggie restaurant understandably has many fans. 1045 Stratford Road, Hall Green.

0121 778 5501. BUONISSIMO Small place offering wellcrafted Italian dishes. 1 Albany Road, Harborne. 0121 426 2444. SABAI SABAI Bright, funky place offering vibrant Thai food. 25 Woodbridge Road, Moseley, 0121 444 0999. OPUS Smart, modern British food in a swish restaurant popular with the business crowd. 54 Cornwall Street, Birmingham.

0121 200 2323. BYZANTiUM Book in advance at this small place serving homely but skilfully done tapas. York Road, Kings Heath.

444 5444.

CAPTION(S):

Five star: Steve Love and his wife Claire.
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Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Date:Sep 24, 2009
Words:521
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