Fleet Street Kitchen is the child of a much larger group that has played a big part in Birmingham’s bar scene on the famous Summer Row, from the ever-prominent Mechu to the VERY exclusive (and members only), Lexicon. Town & Country are big in the game.
The biggest feat of Fleet Street? Their food. I know, shouldn’t that be every restaurant’s biggest feat? Yes, in essence it should, but FSK really, really, REALLY focus on the produce, so much so that you question, how much do we really know about the growing, sourcing and miles of our meat, fish and vegetables served in restaurants?
There is a celebration of simplicity; great, honest food served in a casual, up-scale environment – the best kind of restaurant. I have visited FSK before and when I have a great experience twice in a row, a blog post is definitely in order. Gotta love consistency!
The interior is a designers dream; or rather, the product of fantastic designers. A wonderful mishmash of textures and styles that work incredibly well together. There are shutters and sheer white curtains which reminds me of an upmarket club lounge somewhere near the coastline of the East Hamptons, whilst the wooden chairs and marble table tops are more reminiscent of a quirky pub.
The restaurant opens up when you head towards the left as you walk in; it’s no wonder they’ve created so many different ‘zones’; they have the space to do so.
Vibrancy is prominent here, especially with the cleverly showcased ingredients and produce. There are rows of vegetables on the chef’s counter, accompanied by infused oils, as well as a charcuterie and bread stand with salami’s that have been hung there since the day FSK opened. It would be very strange for a restaurant with FSK’s philosophy to not showcase their ingredients.
Which brings me nicely to the culture of this restaurant.
Fleet Street Kitchen (FSK) was founded on two simple principles: that ‘The best parties are always in the kitchen’, and the finest food is served ‘Farm to Table.’
You’d be a fool to argue.
Sustainable agriculture, proper farming practises, seasonality and locality are celebrated here and taken very, very seriously. This philosophy forms the very concept and is at the heart of everything they do. They source their produce from (in their opinion) the most trusted farms around the UK. In a time where many food practises are questionable, and in one where diners are increasingly more aware of the food they are eating, FSK couldn’t be better placed (or better timed.) All of their ingredients and produce are sourced according to their philosophy, including their meat and fish, and majority of their vegetables are heirloom and open-pollenated. PLEEEEAASEEE educate yourself on heirloom veg. It’s magical.
Most of our favourite chefs celebrate tirelessly the beauty of simplicity when it comes to ingredients. Simplicity doesn’t just mean ‘basic’, it also means fewer miles and the least amount of fiddling.
Fried Calamari and garlic Äioli
Calamari should never be so rubbery that it actually feels like rubber (ergo, you cannot swallow it). You can pretty easily tell apart fresh squid and the frozen crap you get in some pub chains (resists the urge to mention name). Size is a big tip off; think about the shape of a squid and the rings it produces when sliced; they should look like onion rings and get smaller in size progressively, as opposed to tiny, thick rings that look like Hula-Hoops. The squid should be white and firm in texture, again, not rubbery – you must be able to chew through until it reaches a softer texture in the mouth. – I believe I am ready to do a PHD in calamari ?.
All a big tick for this dish at FSK. A deliciously light and crispy batter and a beautiful garlic äioli with a fresh squeeze of lemon – a great favourite to kick start any meal. The portions are fairly large here; one is enough to share between two.
A special on the board. Beautifully filleted and presented sea bass and not a bone in sight! Strong and sweet flavours came through the sultana puree and caramelised onions which complimented the tempura asparagus and soft white fish wonderfully.
Sticky Toffee Pudding
STP (can I call it that?) is not featured on my blog nearly enough. It’s my go-to sponge in any restaurant. This is by far one of the yummiest, stickiest, and all-around gorgeous sticky toffee puddings out there. Definitely my favourite in Birmingham so far!
Here we have a restaurant that is doing food right. Not only do they have an aesthetically beautiful space, they also have a beautiful concept that foodies (or anybody) can truly enjoy. It’s a rarity in Birmingham for a restaurant to be so steadfast in their goal of delivering sustainably sourced and produced food, and I will be returning again soon. Keep up the great work, guys!
Service – 8/10
Price – ££
Ambience – 7/10 (better when busier)