It was a night we headed to King’s Heath to check Moon Duo’s gig at Hare and Hounds. So, why not starting the night with a couple of drinks at Fletcher’s and then go straight to Byzantium for the dinner.
When in King’s Heath, you just make the most of nice bars and restaurants around. And it did sounded like a good Monday night plan to me.
Byzantium is a teeny -tiny little spot in king’s Heath that promised a unique dining experience. The first impression was that II have arrived in the cosiest restaurant in the area. It’s small. But it didn`t make me feel cramped or uncomfortable. Cosy is still the best word to describe the ambient.
I like the décor. It’s discreet and elegant with a touch of Mediterranean vibe indeed. And I am not just talking about Spain.
As soon as you have your table sorted, menu is in your hands. I have spotted the good selection of drinks straight away but after some many drinks earlier, I stuck with an inoffensive Spritzer. I also asked for a Negroni, but as they ran out of Campari, that was the night of white wine, lemonade and tonic water drinks. That was okay!
But let’s talk about the food! Food has influence from the Ottoman, Levantine, Italian, and Maghreb cuisines at this place. Exciting to say the least. The menu is fulfilled of nice vegetarian options.
We have started sharing a huge Mediterranean flatbread – grilled and served with olive oil and parley. The garlic version of this was divine and I guess it’s a very popular starter in the restaurant.
Tapas time! More vegetarian portions to share. Byzantium you are doing this right. I was lost in some many option. As I once was recommended by a waiter that three to four tapas are the right number to go for it, I didn’t want to be greedy.
So, I have asked for a Zaalouk – Moroccan Pan-Fried Aubergine and tomato dip with cumin and coriander. I have to say that my obsession with aubergine was taken to another level here. Even knowing that cumin can be a tricky ingredient, this wasn’t overpowering. I like the combination of flavours and I do need this recipe. Zaalouk, I heart you.
Another right choice was the Aubergine Parmigiana – grilled in a tomato and basil oil sauce finished with melted mozzarella. Needless to say, it was delicious.
We kept asking for more with the Champinones Rellenos – Mushrooms stuffed with tomato and roasted red peppers sauce topped with grilled mozzarella and some Italian Croquetas – made of Cheese, onion and spinach served with onion jam and aioli.
I have saved some space for some Patatas Aioli – Crisp potatoes served with garlic mayonnaise, but we played the sensible ones, skipping the dessert. Another visit soon?
Flavours and smells in a small and cosy restaurant like Byzantium are spread everywhere quite quickly.
I think it makes the food experience more intimate. It’s like visiting a friend that decided to cook to you and other bunch people that you never saw in life, but you can share the space with all of them, just in the name of good food.