The Warehouse (Birmingham)

So; I've been to The Warehouse approximately a million times since 2006. Despite having been countless times since I started the blog; I don't think I've actually dedicated a post to it.

As I seem to have become a lazy blogger who posts restaurant reviews rather than actually creating new recipes; having been again last night I thought it was about time.

The Warehouse is a vegetarian "somewhere between posh cafe and low end restaurant" in the centre of Birmingham. Their vegan desserts are usually a little disappointing, but starters and mains very good. It's not overly expensive - 2 people can eat 3 courses each for around £35.

It's very close to The Bullring, in a fairly undeveloped former industrial area (Digbeth). On-road parking is free on Sundays and if you're willing to walk 5 minutes; there's spaces further away from the centre that are always free.

There's an all vegan shop downstairs (One Earth), which is alright but doesn't take cards (and I rarely carry cash). In the evenings you have to ring the doorbell to be let in, as the building itself is also shared with Friends of the Earth.

The decor's cheap and cheerful, with a changing selection of art work for sale displayed on the walls - none of which so far I've been tempted to buy. Service is very good and waiting times generally reasonable (though we did wait an hour recently when we went Saturday lunchtime).

The vegan choice is probably more than 50%. Sometimes though the vegan option looks rather pathetic compared to the vegetarian version (almost always the case with their desserts). There's no particular focus on one cuisine - there's always a curry, a few mexican dishes and a random selection of other things. They've "light bites" (burgers, sandwiches, tortilla wraps etc) as well as full main courses.

The closest place I've found on my travels similar to The Warehouse is The Whale Tale cafe in Lancaster (similar price, choice, quality, building etc).

Anyway; I'm aware that you probably don't want to read my waffle and would rather look at some photos, so here's what we had last night....

Starter was a selection of pates, served with an ungenerous amount of tortilla:

The green and black pates appeared to be pretty good green/black olive based concoctions. The orange one was seriously gorgeous - we assumed it'd be pumpkin/butternut squash, but seemed to be more carrot and sesame seed. We're not entirely sure what it was, but it was delicious all the same. I wish restaurants wouldn't scrimp on the amount of bread served with such dishes - you end up having to eat half the pate off your knife.

I've not had a curry at The Warehouse before, but I'm glad I've tried now. I'm a bit of a skeptic when it comes to giant dishes with tiny centres, but the overall portion size was OK.

I'm not sure what's going on with the crispy noodles, and the rice tasted like it'd been cooked a few days ago, but the flavour of the curry itself (thai red) was very good indeed.

Sarah had a "light bite" of tortillas filled with refried beans and melty vegan cheese, with wedges. It's not really my cup of tea, but good value for money at £6. We decided not to trust the creamy accompanyment.

I mentioned that the desserts are generally pretty disappointing, and last night's was no exception. For the record - I make far better sundaes than this. It was alright, but not worth £4.95 by any means. The menu made it sound a lot better than it was!

The best dessert they do is carrot cake, but you can buy it downstairs to takeaway for half the price.

I mentioned that I've been loads of times before, and I reckon I'll be be going many times again. It's by far the best place of its genre in the Midlands, and is consistantly good. I've taken various omnis to it in the past and am more confident than I am with some places that they'll produce good food.


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