It’s not often you’ll find me in Birmingham, lesser still Moseley, a suburb of south Birmingham. But a breezy three hour drive from London and you’ll find Michelin-starred Carters of Moseley. It was seeing chef and owner Brad Carter on Saturday Kitchen that inspired the trip and I’m bloody glad we bothered.
It’s a simple dining room; small service bar at the front, kitchen with open window at the back, generously spaced tables for two in between. We get a warm welcome. Staff seem jolly. The music is quite loud. It’s fun.
There’s a set tasting menu of 4 courses (£45) or 6 (£65). Snacks are first. Chicken liver mousse, all rich and thick, is topped with ‘cereal’. It’s a homemade granola just sweet and crunchy enough to cut through that irony liver.
A Porthilly oyster cooked in beef fat arrives in its shell tied back together with string. The texture is delicate while you’re smacked round the face with beef fat. It’s pure heaven.
You usually get house cured meat at Carters of Mosley but Brad found this Mangalitsa pig from Weisner’s Charcuterie and it was so good he had to serve it. I don’t blame him. The fat is incredible and melts away as it hits your tongue.
The only thing we don’t like is a thick wedge of raw kohlrabi, stained green from pine oil. I’m yet to meet anyone who can make kohlrabi taste delicious. It’s such a dull ingredient.
Grilled potato bread is a marvellous thing. The dough is made using just yoghurt, strong white flour and 10 day fermented potato. It’s like a crumpet but even more comforting if such a thing is possible. It comes with pork fat butter. I think I’ve found my dream restaurant y’know.
A lollipop of corn on the cob comes drenched in bone marrow. More fat. More deliciousness. The corn has been torched meaning each kernel has texture and intense flavour. It’s also fun to eat it with your fingers.
Red mullet topped with potted shrimps comes on a giant plate. Some of my friends would laugh and say “where’s the rest?!”. I think it’s artistic. There’s a dollop of cauliflower purée which is the perfect addition.
Best of all is a thick slice of Tamworth pork topped with soft, buttery cabbage and Beaver Dam peppers. The meat has been smoked then cooked over charcoal. There’s just enough fat to get you excited yet not enough to make it sickly. This is simplicity at its finest.
A dessert of fig leaf ice cream and Lichfield raspberries is only let down by a pointless raspberry powder-dusted wafer which covers the bowl. It’s bland and cardboardy and ruins the presentation beneath. The ice cream and raspberries are lovely.
Carters of Moseley reminded me slightly of Ynyshir where the use of meat and fat is at the forefront of the cooking. That kind of food gets me really excited. The staff are all so lovely too which makes a three hour drive for lunch worth every minute.
Would we go back? Yes