The final weeks leading up to our wedding in August were all intended to be a little quieter on the food and drink front, but somehow my plan of 5 mile runs, hour long swims and 1200 calories a day didn’t seem to happen. After getting back from an amazing weekend in Broadway and stay at The Fish Hotel I felt a detox would be just what I needed to beat the bloat and maybe somehow squeeze into that dress that’s been hanging in my wardrobe since January. I’d heard from a few people how effective ‘the juice diet’ was with people looking for quick results, namely brides to be. I did a little research and came across Juice Programmes online. It may have been a little drastic, but I ordered the 14 day starter juice plan in attempt to shift a few pounds before the big day. The programme cost £194.99 with free next day delivery and was due to arrive on Tuesday.
I already had plans to meet a friend for dinner at Côte Brasserie in Worcester on Tuesday, so the first full day of juicing would have to start on Wednesday. Côte came to Worcester in January 2017 as one of several new chain restaurants to open up in the Cathedral Square development, located next to the famous Elgar statue. I understand Côte first began around 10 years ago and offers all day Parisian inspired dining at its 90+ chain of UK restaurants. I received an invite to try out their Pampelle Spritz summer drink from the July menu and some dishes of our choice from the food menu.
The Pampelle Spritz (£6.95) was a lovely refreshing drink and the ideal aperitif (or apéro if you’re French) for my friend and me to enjoy in the outside seating area of Côte on a summer’s evening. To start I tried the prawn gratinee (£7.95) after struggling to decide between that or the crab mayonnaise. Our server was extremely helpful and suggested the prawns as they were his favourite. Across the table was the charcuterie board (£7.25) which was stacked full of French ham and duck, served with a French style sourdough and salad.
We ordered some french beans (£3.25), gratin potatoes (£3.25) and creamed spinach (£3.95) to accompany the roast seabass fillet (£15.95) and chicken main courses. My friend enjoyed her seabass, and although my chicken seemed a little dry and the mushroom sauce that came with it was a bit lacking in flavour, I filled up on the accompanying veg dishes which were really good. For dessert I opted for the dark chocolate mousse (£4.95) and my friend had the tarte au citron (£5.75). The best thing about my first experience at Côte was the location, as they have one of the prime spots in the city, which is especially ideal on a warm summers evening. The service was also extremely efficient with staff who were fully trained and knowledgeable about the menu. I was grateful to be told that their would be no bill to pay in exchange for sharing my feedback. As much as we had a very pleasant evening at Côte there are so many incredible independent restaurants cooking homemade food with fresh and locally sourced ingredients, it’s unlikely to be a regular visit for me.
On Wednesday morning I remembered to take my Morning Sunrise juice from the fridge to let it thaw out before drinking as my first meal of the day. This is the breakfast juice and it contains carrot, apple & lemon and I was really surprised at how much I enjoyed the taste. In hindsight this was probably a bit of an odd diet for me to go with considering I am not much a fan of fruit juice as find it much too sweet. I didn’t have this problem at all so far with the Juice Programmes cold pressed juices. I had a couple of meetings and a busy day so it was late afternoon before I sipped on the Lunch Munch, this time with apple, lemon & broccoli. Again I found the flavour really palettable and I wasn’t feeling hugely hungry, it was more a case of missing out on the habit of eating something I could chew.
By the time Mr R came home from work I was working my way through the 3rd juice of the day, this one is designed as a snack and contains apple, beetroot & ginger. The Power Pack can also be watered down and treated as a cordial if the flavour is too intense or you’d like to make it last longer. I really enjoyed this one too and by the time I got to the Super Dinner juice (apple, cucumber, spinach) it was almost time for bed. I was tempted to add a gin or a vodka to one of the juices as thought it might make a pretty good cocktail – will let you know later on that one!
Thursday was no ordinary day as it was my hen party. The plan was to meet the girls on the train and head over to Birmingham for lunch at Michelin star restaurant Adams. One of my friends was as keen as I was to get the party off to a good start so she brought a Magnum of Prosecco from Bottles Wine Bar for us to drink on the way. The 9 of us arrived for our 12:30 pm table in the private dining area of the restaurant and were all ridiculously excited to sample the tasting menu put together by chef Adam Stokes and his team.
I’d specifically chosen to go to Adams after taking Mr R there for his birthday lunch in April 2017. The experience was truly unforgettable and I wanted my friends who hadn’t been to have as an amazing time as we’d had. The tasting menu (£90 per person) sounded incredible, although we did ask the kitchen to swap out one of the courses as most of the group weren’t keen to try the veal sweetbread. This is something I always feel terrible about asking as I understand the work that goes into creating each dish to compliment and follow on from one another, but as a diner it’s also important to enjoy the whole experience fully. I sincerely hoped we didn’t cause any offence and we were all extremely grateful for the vegetarian alternative which everybody loved.
The menu kicked off with a couple of snacks. First up was the tuna tartare, dashi, seasame soy followed by a beetroot meringue filled with smoked goats cheese, apple and the beef cheek with onion ketchup, crispy onion. We also had some homemade bread with butter and whipped pork fat that I’d remembered from my previous visit last year. There was an option to add in an extra course of hand dived Orkney scallop (£12.50) and we took it.
Every mouthful was savoured and all 9 courses plus the gorgeous snacks (and an additional cheese course) were every bit as outstanding as I had recalled. My friends were all incredibly impressed by the food and service at Adams as well as the value for money. Although we opted for the tasting menu at £90 per person there is also a 3 course set menu available at £39.50 if you’re looking for something a little lighter. I’m fully aware that there are other Michelin star restaurants in Birmingham to try, but I really am a huge fan of what they do at Adams and we’re already planning our next visit.
It had been suggested by the restaurant that we go to Be at One Bar after our lunch. It became very quickly apparent that this wasn’t our kind of place, but we could understand why it may have been recommended for a more conventional hen party as there are lots of 2 for 1 deals and packages that would be ideal for larger groups. We stayed for one round of buy one get one free’s and then headed back over to Waterloo Street for our more conventional wine drinking at San Carlo Fumo.
The group was now five and we decided to catch the train back to Worcester (apologies to anyone who was on that train). It was my hen party and I was not yet done, so I dragged the remaining few to HANBAO. for a cocktail and by then it must have been 10 o’clock and the attention was back on to food. There’s a new chippy in town with a difference and this was the ideal opportunity to give it a try. Dam Chips opened very recently on The Tything and they pride themselves in not only cooking the Amsterdam way and claimimg to cook the best chips you’ll ever have, but there are also over 20 sauces to dip them in.
After dragging the party all of the way to the far end of Lowesmoor before remembering that Dam Chips was in fact located on the far end of Lowesmoor, we turned around shoes in hand and walked back through the city centre. The owner Kevin and his son were serving and prepared our cones of chips. There were a variety of sizes to choose from, costing between £1.75 and £4. For an extra 25p-£1 depending on which portion size you choose, you can try as many of the sauces as you like, and we did. It may be unfair of me to judge the food in the state I was in, but I can wholeheartedly tell you that at the time these were absolutely the best chips I’ve ever had.
Our next and final stop of the night was at Bolero on Foregate Street where the night ended with more drinks and some great chat outside the front of the bar. Mr R aka my hero picked me up and made sure I got to bed safely albeit at 2 in the morning. It was a good job I didn’t have to work the next day – oh wait…! The hangover made my 2nd full day of juicing far easier, and I managed to continue through with the plan until Saturday evening when I caved in favour for dinner at Feli’s Restaurant. Sunday was much the same as the temptation of chewing was too strong by the time I finished work, as was the prospect of wine and gin to wash it down with. Here’s for a much better week and another feeble attempt to fit into my wedding dress!