After many dormant years, The Jewellery Quarter is beginning to thrive. 1000 Trades pop-up kitchen is at the heart of that burgeoning food & drink scene. With its guest restaurant menus, some of the best food in Birmingham, is sneaking along under the national radar of cuisine coverage.
1000 Trades have been winning, with their popular pop-ups for some months now, and we went along to find out what all the fuss is about. On this occasion I was joined by a friend for a night of ‘The Funky Lobster’.
Firstly, forget you are in Birmingham, imagine instead you are walking into a cosy seafood restaurant situated in Brixham, Devon, or a trendy fishing port in Cornwall.
Seating is well spaced out within 1000 Trades, with a relaxed atmosphere and low level music, which is conducive to good conversation. Decor is modern and industrial, with highlights of Birmingham’s manufacturing past adorning the walls. After a quick chat, and drink, at the bar, we are seated within full view of the busy kitchen.
I sadly missed the El Borracho pop-up, knowing how delicious their food is, I had high expectations for the latest 1000 Trades cuisine offering.
Crayfish Terrine to Curried Monkfish
The meal begins with fresh bread, and oil, crunchy crusts and a fresh taste. The starters also arrive quickly.
First up is Scallops Nduja with a smear of pea and cauliflower. This cooked to perfection, tender with a slightly crispy crust, the pea and cauliflower, compliment the scallops, and prepare us for the Salmon Gravadlax, which is served with wasabi, lemon and beetroot.
The star of the starters is definitely the Crayfish Terrine, served with avocado, dill, beetroot and basil. This was a supreme little dish and one which we both could have eaten again. The tasty crayfish were humbly encapsulated in the mould, the terrine was not overpowering in taste, and melted in the mouth with every bite. I couldn’t imagine this being improved on at all.
Whilst the Funky Lobster Tail looked extremely impressive, I opted for the Curried Monkfish with lemon, carrot, edamame, radish and buerre noisette. I tried a similar dish recently in a high-end Indian restaurant and was looking forward to comparing the two.
Without doubt this was superior, the fish maintained its firm yet flaky texture within the mildly spicy, creamy, rich curry sauce. This is something I would return to order again, without hesitation. The curry could be the star dish of any menu, but Funky Lobster seem to have more than one dish that could easily stand out as their signature.
I was lucky to taste my dining companion’s Garlic Ribeye Steak, with crab infused pasta, hand cut chips and tomato. I am really quite fussy with steak, and any hint of tough chewiness and I’m peeved, but this was succulent and full of taste, the portions I tried were soft and delicious. The crab pasta was a stroke of genius, as it allowed the steak to creep onto, what is, after-all, a statement meu.. that seafood can be inventive, and also, served extremely well in the most land-locked city in Britain.
As if all this wasn’t good enough, we finish with a cheeky side of Popcorn Shrimp, with dip tartare, and a choice of Mary Rose, or Jack Daniels BBQ Sauce – guess which we opted for.
This concluded a brilliant meal with gastronomic flair, the desserts looked equally as enticing but we were full, and more than satisfied. Awesome work by the chef, his team and 1000 Trades. Funky Lobster now sits happily alongside my other ‘best seafood’ experience at Wright Brothers in Soho, London.
Review by Nick Byng for Grapevine Birmingham.