The Church, Jewellery Quarter | FOOD

5 Mar 2017

I'm a sucker for gems found in the rough, a dodgy looking store front which turns out to make the best Chinese within a 9 block radius is completely my jam - it's the unexpected joy of finding something that throws you off radar.  When I was in the Jewellery Quarter area this week I appealed to my friends for food recommendations and the lovely Naomi suggested making a trip to The Church.  

I rocked up at, what can only be described as, the rough area of Birmingham and Google Maps directed me to a pub with peeling paint from the window panes and a hanging sign that had seen a better time.  I pushed through the front door and instantly changed my mind, the bar looked something reminiscent of a set from the Peaky Blinders and there was sweet soul playing over the speakers into a low lit room that smelt deliciously like chicken.  

My date and I sat down on a small corner table against some beautiful stain glass windows and were approached with a bottle of water and some menus.  The menu was limited and offered only a few meals, all with a Southern American feel to them - Gumbo, chilli's, fried chicken and burgers - so we very quickly chose our mains and waited eagerly for our soul food to arrive.  
We had both chosen the soul food fried chicken; two buttermilk fried chicken breasts with sides of mac'n'cheese and ham hock greens.  In addition, because we were feeling particularly ravenous that night, we'd added on some naked fries and the peel stone garlic bread.  It barely fitted on our table when it arrived but crikey, it looked good!

The buttermilk fried chicken melted in your mouth, it was perfectly crispy with a hint of cajun and paprika in the batter but a succulent and juicy chicken breast in the middle.  The ham hock greens weren't wilted and wet but firm with a smoky flavour from the ham hock, the carrots were slightly roasted which gave a sweet edge to them. The mac and cheese was light and not overly salty, for me it could have had a stronger cheddar edge to it - maybe some extra mature cheese in the mix or parmesan sprinkled on top - but was tasty nonetheless.  
The soda bread garlic bread was crispy and packed with garlic taste, I mean I seriously considering ordering some more to take home with me - that with some left over chicken?  That's the stuff of lunch dreams...
We sat in silence for a good ten minutes eating our food, it was the kind of meal that you communicate your appreciation in grunts and moans.  We'd complete underestimated the joint and in return it had delivered us some seriously tasty treats!

Now, let's talk about cost.  Something as 'Pinterest worthy' as this place, with it's vintage soul and bottle collections, would cost you a pretty penny in central London... especially if the food is exceptional.  However, you will be pleased to know that for our meal plus two drinks it came a mere £32 plus tip. Bargain!

I'll be back here for sure, the chicken is already calling my name back to it's sweet soul home...

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