Eating out, no matter how often or seldom you do it, is always still something of an adventure. Many of us like to stick to what we know and love and therefore don’t stray much beyond our favourite local eating spot. I hope that in my columns I will persuade you to try the unfamiliar and sometimes even the exotic as I work my way through the great variety of culinary experiences Birmingham has to offer.
At any rate there was no confusion of any sort in the kitchen of this culinary haven, the offshoot of serious eating house Opus in Cornwall Street. Not that this is in any way a lightweight; while it is definitely a café, it is a very serious café with light and airy food which is easy to eat yet complex and utterly fulfilling as a culinary experience.
We had ample but not large portions of bread with a nicely balanced olive oil while we decide on our main (and only) course and talked shop. By coincidence, we both chose the same dish, the Fillet of Cod with Spiced Orzo, Wilted Spinach, and Lemon Tahini Yoghurt. Under normal circumstances that would be a terrible mistake for a food writer but on this occasion I had not been intending to write about the experience, simply savour it, which I most certainly did.
The Cod, for such a butch kind of fish, was light, delicate, just melting in the mouth. The lightly spiced Orzo and the Lemon Tahini Yoghurt binding it bringing a wonderful mixture of North and South shores of the Mediterranean to Oozells Square, a perfect complement. This was, on the face of it, uncomplicated lunchtime food but clearly cooked with thoughtfulness, care and, might I suggest, love. Since the days of wine at lunchtime have largely gone, we were content to have sparkling water but I imagine a light, not too complex sauvignon blanc from the Adige would have been a perfect accompaniment.
This was the second time I have taken lunch at the Ikon since Opus took over the kitchen and I shall certainly be back. The price for two? I have no idea as my colleague was paying, and a gentlemen, especially one who cannot keep his own appointments diary, would never dream of asking, but somewhere in the region of £29 including two coffees. Pretty good value for such excellent cooking and courteous, friendly service.
#KnifeandFork by Big Enn who can be contacted on @NcherryNorman
Photos courtesy of Café Opus.