I thought I’d never been to Revolution before. That’s even what I told Taylah (https://birminghamstudentfoodie.wordpress.com) who invited me to come and try out their new menu. But oh, I was mistaken!
As soon as I walked in, I knew I’d been there before. August 2003 to be precise! I was 17 and it was the summer of the crazy heatwave when temperatures were over 30 degrees all month. I can remember being in Revolution, in the blistering heat, massively regretting choosing to wear trousers that night. I also recall some old guy groping my bum outside the toilets at about 2am in the morning. Eurgh.
It looks a bit different these days: a hell of a lot nicer, but with the familiar long bar down the one side, and large, blue leather booths on the other.
The booth felt HUGE just for the two of us, but they would be so much fun if you were to pile in with a load of friends on a night out.
If you’re ever taking part in a pub quiz, and need someone to win you the ‘guess the intro’ music round, pick me. Here’s the music they had playing that night…
First up, cocktails! Taylah told us how they have a special cocktail menu featuring a different brand of vodka each week/month? I can’t remember. But while we were there it was Ketel One, a brand I’d never actually heard of before.
The Candy Apple Cosmo was right up my street. It was very similar to a classic cosmopolitan, but with apple juice substituted for the usual cranberry, which made it much sweeter. Topped with candy floss, and served with a jar of the stuff on the side, it is very gimmicky, but I got the impression very early on that this bar is all about just having fun.
Matt had The English Windmill, a blend of Pimm’s, Ketel One, apple juice, mint, cucumber, lemon & lime and lemonade. It looked really cute. And tasted pretty damn good.
Shots before we’ve even had the starter? Oh go on then!
They tasted EXACTLY as they should. I had the Bakewell Tart which was just delicious, and Matt had the Cream Soda, which I can’t tell you about because he downed the shot in one.
The menu, which you can see here, is really casual: starters that can be ordered just as snacks, sharing crates packed with all sorts of lovely things from beef sliders to wotsits, and then streetfood options like burritos and wraps.
I can’t resist a bit of goat’s cheese. So to start I had the Crispy Goat’s Cheese Bons Bons, and Matt had the Spicy Pork N’Duja Balls.
SO good! The balls were crisp, and packed full of soft, melting, creamy goat’s cheese. They were served with fresh red chilli slices, pea shoots and balsamic pearls that burst when you ate them. The spicy n’duja balls reminded me of the Etna pizza from Pizza Express – maybe it’s the same type of spicy sausage? They were awesome.
For mains, I decided to go BIG. The Triple Overload consists of (deep breath) a beef burger, buttermilk chicken, pulled pork, smoked cheddar, triple brioche, Armageddon sauce, garlic sauce, viper fries and BBQ crackling puffs. WOAH. Pretty epic.
I liked it because it was funny to have something quite so big brought to the table, but it could have tasted better. I like the different textures, and the different flavours did work well together, but some of the individual elements let it down. The buttermilk chicken needed more seasoning, the garlic sauce left an artificial taste in my mouth, and I thought I was going to break my teeth on some of the BBQ crackling rocks. Don’t get me wrong, I ate every last bit, but with just a few tweeks this burger could be really something!
Matt said that his Hot Pulled Pork Burrito was hands-down the best he’s eaten in Birmingham. The soft tortilla wrap was bursting with guacamole, black beans, smokinnaise, spicy red rice and cheese, and served with tortilla chips and dips.
Our third round of drinks consisted of a Hobo Mojito: Sailor Jerry with sugar, mint and passion fruit topped with pineapple juice and served in a tin can, and a Rodeo Peach Smash: Wild Turkey Bourbon and Teichenné Peach liqueur shaken with lemon purée and mint then topped with Red Bull. Very nice.
I love puddings, I mean, who doesn’t?! But I wasn’t overly keen on the offerings on their dessert menu. The only thing that caught my eye was the New York Cheesecake, but they were sold out. Damn it! Instead I tried the Chocolate Fluffwich: Soft dough, Nutella chocolate, marshmallow fluff, sweet batter, blueberry dip. Hmm. It was ok. VERY sickly sweet. Essentially french toast filled with chocolate spread and marshmallows. WARNING: don’t order this if you’re on a date! The blueberry sauce stained my lips black, and I had black bits ALL over my teeth – attractive!
Matt tried the Banoffee version: Soft dough, caramel, marshmallow fluff, banana, sweet batter, strawberry dip, which he absolutely loved. But then this type of dessert is more his thing, so maybe he was a better judge.
Overall I felt that the different courses didn’t really flow. The starters were very refined on flowery plates, with delicate pea shoots and fancy balsamic pearls, but then the mains were served on greaseproof paper on a board, with chips in a rustic enamel can, and the puddings were just on plain plates. It was like having your starter made at The Botanist, your main from TGI’s and your pudding from the pub.
The quality of food though was pretty decent for a bar. I wouldn’t go here just for the food, as cocktails are obviously their main thing. But then again I would definitely order a selection of the small plates/starters with drinks, as they really were superb. And the menu, well it’s just fun! It does partner perfectly with the crazy cocktails and shots. Where else would you find a burger with popping candy?!
I don’t want to sound negative about Revolution, because I actually really enjoyed my night out! In fact, we’re already planning to go back next week for my sister’s 19th Birthday! I think that Revolution is one of those bars that with a big group of you, all on the shots, and ordering some food on the side, you’re guaranteed to have a really fun night.
I was invited to sample Revolution’s new menu by the lovely Taylah Catlow. All food and drinks were paid for courtesy of Revolution. All opinions in this post are my own.