The New Inn is a place of comfortable contrasts located in the heart of leafy Harborne: a playground for medical professionals in addition to a reassuringly loyal following of residents who have patronised the pub for generations. This combination of local families and upwardly-mobile urbanites all blend harmoniously together to enjoy an easy juxtaposition of city culture and laid-back village living.
The New Inn embodies these vibrant contrasts within its own walls; a city high street location that feels more like a country inn featuring a huge sprawling beer garden suitable for the whole family. A fine array of local ales worthy of any village pub, as well as a dazzling cocktail menu worthy of any city centre night spot.
Its interior design feels warm and welcoming, featuring tartan-lined walls, oak and leather furniture, and consciously-kitsch contemporary style, while also embracing its Victorian heritage with bold geometric tiling on floors and ceilings. It’s not surprising therefore that the clientele is a well-balanced and diverse blend: couples of all ages are present here as well as companionable groups working their way through the impressive drinks menu from the sanctuary of cosy corners and comfortable booths.
Moules Mariniere & Aubrey Allen Flatiron Steak
The menu at The New Inn has a strong lineup of dishes; there are no weak players here, nor are there too many options. Here we have a perfect balance between choice and simplicity that has a dish to please everyone, including pub classics, vegetarian and seafood options for even the most discerning diner. The meals are generous in both size and flavour, visually impressive and yet unpretentious, arriving in large comfortable bowls that seem to welcome us with the same cosy abundance that is evident all around in the country-style decor.
My starter of Moules Mariniere boasted perfectly-cooked and generously-proportioned mussels bathed in a sea of the most delicious white wine sauce I have ever had the pleasure to taste. Creamy, rich, moorish; this sauce was a seriously good companion to some seriously succulent mussels and it would have been a crime not to soak it all up with the accompanying sea-salted focaccia, which was all the things an excellent focaccia should be: gently seasoned and slightly crispy on the outside with a moist chewy labyrinth of air holes within. I was impressed. In fact, I’m still dreaming of that starter now.
the first cut revealed a tender pink centre with a firm and flavoursome outer edge
My main course was the Aubrey Allen Flatiron Steak served medium-rare with skin-on fries and a delicious drizzling of homemade peppercorn sauce. It passed the first test; the first cut revealed a tender pink centre with a firm and flavoursome outer edge. Baby forest mushrooms nestled in the sensationally tasty sauce, and a sweet roasted tomato with greens added a pop of colour to another beautifully presented plate. This was classic comfort-food heaven.
The staff were welcoming with a highly professional and easy-going manner; not in your face every five minutes but always close on hand to offer excellent service and plenty of culinary inspiration if needed.
When I asked for a recommendation from the dessert menu, our waitress was enthused to suggest The Chocolate and Amaretto Mousse, which turned out to be a sweet velvet-smooth mousse finished with a flourish of crunchy honeycomb, so utterly divine that the thought of sharing suddenly seemed a really bad idea. An after dinner cocktail (Salted Caramel Martini) was a luxury that was delicious enough to be a dessert in its own right.
There’s undoubtedly something special about The New Inn. Here you have a location right in the heart of Harborne’s city streets that feels like an escape to the country, with a wide range of beverages and simple but outstanding food so full of flavour and visual flair that you may just decide to settle in for the whole night.
Review by Lisa Cooper for Grapevine Birmingham @lisacooperartistry