Brunch at The Wilderness
I had checked out the website and I knew they offered food that was not the run of the mill fare. I read seasonal, foraged, but I must have missed the bug bit.
It was only when Laura aka Full to the Brum asked if there were any insects in the cereal boxes and the waitress declined to answer that I thought I would investigate.
My husband, Phil, had already started to enthusiastically tuck in to the fourth course of caramelised milk mousse and tipped the contents of the cereal packet and had not noticed the bugs. I decided to tell him. I thought it was only fair.
It seems odd to start a post about a breakfast with the final course. However you do need to know that The Wilderness does bugs. Sometimes.
It also does bloody good food and drink.
Let’s go back to the starters
So as Maria says, let’s start at the very beginning, a very good place to start. Do-Re-Mi.
Coffee and tea on arrival and a cocktail of English mead wine, forest garden honey and Spanish Cava. A little bit of fizz is always a good way to start brunch.
Then as an appetiser, eggy bread with tansy, an edible flower, reindeer moss, forest garden honey, reindeer moss, bacon, eggs and baked coffee and sea buckthorn. In a little pot there was homemade fresh yoghurt.
Small but perfectly formed, this was a lovely start to a brunch. I love yoghurt and honey and bacon and egg and eggy bread and here they were all on one plate, with reindeer moss. I like reindeer moss now. Together the individual flavours complemented each other beautifully.
This was followed by a plate of pearl barley and spelt kedgeree with sea buckthorn and poached eggs. The sauce had a hint of cumin to it.
The pearl barley evoked memories of family suppers our parents or grandparents cooked. Fellow brunchers reminisced about hunting for the pearls on our plates and the comfort of good old fashioned, home cooked food. To serve a kedgeree replacing rice with spelt, with the twist of the old school pearl barley, was a very clever use of ingredients. If the plan was to get us to recall memories of food from our childhood, this did the trick.
The egg was perfectly poached, the sauce beautifully spiced and for a brunch, just the right balance of breakfast and lunch.
Between courses we were served a mimosa and fresh apple juice. Cleansed the palate marvelously.
And now back to that Caramelised Mousse with a crunchy topping. And toys. A course that got people talking.
The mouse was light and cream. The crunchy cereal was honeycomb coated. As were the bugs. It was lovely, and it was fun to include some toys in the packets. It was as if the team behind The Wilderness were saying, ‘we take our food seriously here, but not too seriously, go ahead have some fun’. And we did.
Brunch is my favourite meal. Sharing food with like minded people, who love food and writing about food and being actively encouraged to take photos of food. What’s not to like?
I already knew award winning blogger Full to the Brum, and it was lovely to meet James and Ellen aka Eat with Ellen and Ryan aka Brummie Gourmand. In addition to eating great food we also talked about food and blogging and learning how to use proper cameras and the pros and cons of the iPhone to take photos of food. It was a very social brunch.
This was my first time here and I thoroughly enjoyed the food and the company. The menu changes constantly, and with advance notice, The Wilderness can usually cater for pescatarian, vegetarian and gluten-free diets. Always phone to check first.
The bugs were crickets and had been added to the crunchy honey concoction that is a Nomad secret recipe. Probably. You will not find them in any cereal packet you buy at the supermarket. The boxes used by Nomad are for serving purposes only. Although I have heard of infestations of moth pupae in porridge oats. But not at Nomad.
I ate them, Phil pulled his to the side of the plate. They were dead, crunchy and sweet. I still would not eat live insects, although I may have once accidentally swallowed a small fly. I have never pulled wings off anything.
I paid for the brunch and was not asked to write about it or say good things about it. But it was good, otherwise I wouldn’t say it was. And I like writing about food, meeting other bloggers and eating.
Nomad is no more. It is now The Wilderness. Apparently there is another place called Nomad something in America and they didn’t want to share their name. So the Birmingham Nomad changed theirs.