*For an indulgent lunchtime treat that won’t break the bank, you can get 25% off on High Tea at Robata Bar & Grill from Sunday to Thursday between 2pm and 4pm. Available between 10th November and 24th December. Be sure to book in advance, quoting Christmas High Tea Offer by calling 0121 273 1027.*
What do you do when you know you’re going to be on your feet for the best part of the day at Birmingham’s NEC?
1. Wear comfy shoes.
2. Wear layers, so you can peel off if warm indoors and pile on when braving the now exceedingly chilly outdoors.
3. Make a memorable pit-stop to reward yourself for the hard work you envisage undertaking.
I was scheduled for a trip to Birmingham’s NEC, and if you’ve ever been, it involves a lot of walking and waiting around (I was in town for the Mind, Body and Spirit Festival over the weekend).
It was going to be a long but fun day, which is why I had booked myself into the Robata Bar & Grill at Resorts World for a spot of High Tea.
What exactly is High Tea? It’s a variation of afternoon tea; in this instance, we were to have Pan-Asian, European and Australasian small bites. As with any Robata grill, food was to be cooked on open flames (think of it as a posh barbeque).
I love Japanese and Pan-Asian cuisine, and I couldn’t wait to taste the fusion of cuisines in this very special High Tea.
Having made our way from the NEC hall to Resorts World Birmingham which is less than a five minute walk from the other side (Piazza), we entered the grandiose concierge area waiting to be seen. It’s a bar, restaurant, grill and plush hotel all rolled into one.
After a warm greeting by Team Leader Kristel, we were placed at a window table with a gorgeous view. It’s a beautiful space, cosy yet expansive. I loved the décor and pot detail on the shelves, check them out here.
The floor to ceiling windows make for stunning views across the lake, especially when sunny. It’s a great space for people watching too, as the restaurant appears to be elevated from the ground floor. We were handed a menu and having ordered our drinks (mandarin and kumquat Bellini for me, Asahi Schooner for my partner) proceeded to take in the breath-taking views outside.
The food was staggered in waves, the first of which was served with ginger and lemon iced tea. Presentation of this was sublime. The teapot itself was pretty as a picture (I want one) and the flower studded ice in covetable glasses set the scene well.
Robata grilled chicken Yakatori (chicken thigh, soy marinade). Light and fragrant soy marinade. Tasty skewers of meat, would have liked to see more marinade.
Prawn and tofu ball (minced king prawn, tofu, chilli, ginger, panko crumb coating). Beautiful ball of food with a hint of wasabi coming through well.
Duck Long Bao (shredded Cantonese duck leg, hoisin, soft steamed bun). Pillowy bread bun, decent hit of aniseed coming through on the five spice.
Good so far, would have liked to see some sort of dipping sauce with both the fried ball and Long Bao.
Avocado Maki roll (traditional soft rice wrapped in nori, avocado and wasabi). Delicious umami taste of this generously sized sushi bite.
Squid ink tapioca cracker with beetroot cured salmon and grapefruit gel (crisp cracker, beetroot cured salmon, grapefruit gel). Heaven on a plate, the beetroot lent the delicate salmon a nice earthy hit. Grapefruit gel married well with the fish. Note: the kitchen had run out of the tapioca cracker, so the inventive chef substituted a lovely buttery fried bread (which tasted just gorgeous).
Yuzu lime curd tartlet (Graham cracker tart, yuzu lemon, lime curd). Zingy, light and refreshing; the perfect bite in between a sweeter offering.
Hazelnut chocolate delice (glazed hazelnut, chocolate layered mousse cake). Positively decadent with a dense, truffle-like interior.
Spiced strawberry trifle (layered trifle, compressed strawberries, spiced biscuit crumb). An absolute joy to plunge my fork into. Compressed strawberries were intense, light as air cream was moreish, and the spiced crumb a delicate kiss of spice. My favourite of the lot, I loved it.
Orange blossom scone, orange curd. Simple yet beautiful. Oven warm and fluffy inside, these scones were a real treat. The curd brought a subtle tang to the party, making this another winner which I fell in love with.
To round off, I had a latte, whilst my dining partner had Newby of London tea. Here’s the gorgeous teapot and Silver Needle tea in all its glory. I loved it so much, I’m looking into reviewing it for an upcoming blog, so if you like tea, keep your eyes peeled.
The food is very reasonably priced from just £19.50 per person. Hat tip to Team Leader Kristel, Assistant Manager Kate, Cherelle, Christian and Niamh – they are the dream team who will charm and ensure you have a most excellent dining experience. I am already planning my next visit (I blame that orange blossom scone).
Star Rating 1-10 (1: “I’d rather eat my own shoe, I hated it that much” – 10: “I’d pillage for a meal here”.)
Value for money: 9.5
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Address: Resorts World Birmingham, Pendigo Way, Birmingham B40 1NT
Tel: 0121 273 1027