Dinner for Two at The Stable by Izzy Owen

After what seemed like a particularly long and tiring week, my friend Alice and I were feeling more than ready to indulge in delicious pizza and cider by the time Friday evening came around. After a couple of cocktails to say cheers to the weekend we headed down John Bright Street to The Stable.

At 7pm the funky restaurant was already buzzing; we noticed that as well as a restaurant The Stable is a popular spot for after work drinks. We were greeted by the lovely Arta who showed us to our snug table in the corner and recommended some things for us to try from the new menu, which includes an impressive selection of vegetarian, vegan and gluten free options.

After much deliberation we decided to try the Vegan Garlic Bread, The Sooper Dooper salad, The Bute Island Blazer vegan pizza and the Billy The Kid vegetarian pizza. The Stable also offers an extensive range of artisanal ciders, so we decided to share a cider tasting board. Arta put together a board for us of five unique ciders.

The ciders we had were: Strawberry Blonde, a still, fruity cider; Robinsons Flagon (this one was our favourite), a fizzy, chilled cider that had the perfect balance of sweetness and dryness; Cornish Blush (Vegan!), a fizzy raspberry cider with a subtle fruity taste; Devon Red, a sweet cider with a honey-like flavour; and finally, Rapscallion (exclusively made by The Stable) a, dry, tart and fruity cider.

We played a game to see if we could recognise the ciders with our eyes closed, to make sure our first impressions were right. We both did very well and only got a couple wrong. We underestimated how sweet the Strawberry Blonde was and decided it would be a good one to try for someone who is new to cider (not fourth year students).

Shortly after our garlic bread, pizza and salad arrived. If this image doesn’t make your stomach growl with jealousy then you can’t call yourself a true pizza lover… Pleasantly surprised by our willpower and restraint, we tried the garlic bread and the salad before diving head first into the pizza. Shocking, I know! The garlic bread was SO thin, which was fantastic because it didn’t curb our hunger for the pizza. Refreshingly, the garlic actually tasted really garlicky, so hats-off to the chef and jog on to the vampires.

The salad was absolutely delicious, I loved the sweet, tangy dressing combined with the crunchy vegetables, and the little pieces of avocado hidden within were a welcome addition. Alice and I agreed that you would need to share a pizza with someone if you chose the salad as your main course though, because otherwise you would just get pizza envy and that isn’t fun for anyone.

Billy The Kid’s crispy base it topped with mushrooms, caramelised onions, goats cheese, spinach and crunchy hazelnuts

Moving on to the main event; the focal point; the star of the show: the pizzas. What I love about the pizza at The Stable, is that they do a commendable job of using the Italian style and technique, a crispy base, thin layer of tomato and so on, but then they combine fun flavours and toppings to reveal delicious creations. The Italians may take a little more convincing where the toppings are concerned, but for me, as long as it’s pizza, pretty much anything goes. Except for meat. Or pineapple…

Billy The Kid’s crispy base it topped with mushrooms, caramelised onions, goats cheese, spinach and crunchy hazelnuts. You wouldn’t think that this should work, but it does, and it tastes great. This is perfect for when you don’t want a pizza covered in gooey cheese and want to kid yourself that it’s healthy because it has green stuff on it. I would have preferred a higher mushroom to caramelised onions ratio, but what can I say, I’m a fungi fanatic.

The vegan pizza we tried, The Bute Island Blazer well and truly stole the show for us. I must admit to being a little dubious at first, as vegan pizzas are notoriously hard to get right. This one though, melted (ha) away those concerns completely!

I loved the addition of fresh red chillies and again, the occasional mushroom, but the best thing was the vegan mozzarella. It actually tasted of cheese – and tasty cheese at that! I was thoroughly impressed and will insist on taking every vegan person I know here just so I have an excuse to eat it.

The Stable also has a dessert menu, but to be totally truthful, we were stuffed with pizza so we popped our leftovers in a box and headed for home. I want to say a special thank you to all the staff at The Stable for being so welcoming on the evening of our visit and giving us some great recommendations. We will definitely be back!

Article by Isobel Owen for Grapevine Birmingham