Buffalo & Rye review by Nick Byng

Birmingham has a lot to offer the foodie these days, the variety is growing by the week, and with so many new chains arriving in the city, it could be easy to forget the local independents, who first took a punt on opening way before Brum had the cred we see today. One of those is Buffalo & Rye which sits next to its sister venue Bodega.

As part of the Bitters ‘n Twisted family, Buffalo & Rye prides itself on cool decor with a reliable level of service and food quality. It is American Inspired serving Dirty Burgers, Slow Cooked Meats, Ribs, Dogs, Whisky, Bourbon, Craft Beer & Cocktails. The top quality meat is source from Aubrey Allen butchers which they smoke, grill, slow cook or fry to create delicious and flavoursome dishes – much of the food is made in-house.

I have had the pleasure to have eaten at Buffalo & Rye twice before, and on this occasion I was reviewing for Grapevine Birmingham.

We arrived very early and were among the first to dine that evening, which was nice because it’s usually very busy. The first thing that strikes you about Buffalo & Rye is the friendly relaxed demeanour of the staff, yet they are always professional and attentive without being annoying. This seems a theme with all Bitters ‘n Twisted restaurants.

Buffalo Prawn Lollipops & St Louise Ribs

To begin I ordered a Smoked Apple Negroni cocktail, which consists of Bombay Sapphire Gin, apple smoked Campari & sweet vermouth. This was strong and striking and was a great accompaniment to the sweet sticky food I was to order, it refreshed the pallet perfectly and it had a decent kick to it. My guest ordered a Scarlet O’Hara, which is made from Southern Comfort, cranberry juice and fresh lime juice, this too was enjoyed and lasted throughout the meal.

We decided to share plates, and while neither of us are huge burger fans, we both agreed the full rack of St Louise Ribs would suffice as a main before our theatre show.

All the food arrived together and it was quite a sight. Baby back pork ribs smoked for 6 hours with, a dryrub to create an incredible tasting crust. Served with a selection of pickled vegetables and Cajun fries.

The manager explained they were trying a new way to make the ribs even more succulent during preparation. Apparently, meats that are not fat laden can dry out easily during the cooking process, so the clever dickies at Buffalo & Rye are now softening the meat beforehand by loading a tray with vegetables, pork stock, and cider, the ribs then soak up the juices for a few hours, before being put in the smoker and covered in their glaze then then cooked in a BBQ sauce – wow!

The meat fell easily from the bone with one bite – it just wasn’t something that could be rushed.

I can be one of the first to tell you, the taste was superb, they tasted equally as sticky, soft and sweet as they looked. The meat fell easily from the bone with one bite – it just wasn’t something that could be rushed. I would order these again without hesitation 10/10. The Cajun fries were delicious too, and they were polished off within no time at all, salty, crispy and fresh.

Also on the table were Buffalo Prawn Lollipops. Crispy smoked prawns tossed in house blended buffalo hot sauce served with avocado and tomato. The crispy spicy batter was actually very hot which was nice to have a bit of additional heat after eating the sweet sticky ribs. The avocado cooled things down enough to enjoy the Peach & Smoked Mozzarella Salad, which was fresh and tasty – Fresh peaches, house-smoked mozzarella with peppers, tomatoes and mixed leaves, honey mustard vinaigrette. As a side note, I did notice the burgers and dogs had some great vegetarian options too!

To finish we decided on more cocktails, I chose Jim’s Cherry Cola. Jim Beam Bourbon, Cherry Heering, lemon juice and cola syrup which was a complete contrast to the Smoked Apple Negroni, and a suitable option to wash down the chili, sticky, sweet tastes lingering from the meat feast. My guest ordered the Mixed Berry Cosmopolitan, which was created from Absolut Raspberri, mixed berry, Kool-Aid and orange liqueur, I didn’t even need to ask how this tasted, I think the way she grasped the glass tightly and was carefully guarding it tells you all you need to know – it looked like the pacific ocean in a glass!

Before our departure, we were treated to a new cocktail which Buffalo & Rye are about to put out as a special. It’s called Surf’s Up and contains Bombay Sapphire gin, homemade big wave golden ale syrup, Cocchi Americano vermouth, lemon juice and orange bitters. This was a great way to end to a cool, authentic dining experience which left us both feeling on a high before we nipped off to the REP, where we were late for the show and had to be ushered in through the staff entrance, worth it though! Definitely will not be the last time I eat here.

Review by Nick Byng for Grapevine Birmingham.