Four long years of blood, sweat and toil was rewarded one fine summer's day...
But before we donned our gowns and got all nostalgic, we went for lunch at Adam's in the heart of Birmingham.
This restaurant has been on our radar for a fair while, with amazingly attentive staff, an elegant modern yet natural interior with simple furnishings, and artistic plates & bowls that would feel at home in a ceramics exhibition. It's the brain child of Adam Stokes, previously up in Scotland, he's brought his love of quality local ingredients and culinary flair to the Midlands for a limited time only. His talent is unprecedented, receiving a Michelin star just months after opening.
We opted for the five-course tasting menu to sample his wonderful cuisine that's been raved about.
An amuse bouche of some clams & green goo that totally escapes my memory now.
Our first course was smoked rainbow trout, tarragon, jersey royals and gherkin. I felt I could taste the adventures of swimming in the wild waters of the Atlantic of this Anglesey fish. It was my favourite of the day, gently spices, beautifully smoked and a nice sharp gherkin.
Next was lamb sweetbreads, baby artichokes and pearl barley. Ells & I thought it had slight curry undertones and was warm to the lips with a nice crunch to the batter and a chew to the barley.
Then reg johnson's chicken, red endive, field mushroom and smoked halibut. This dish polarised our family, Mumma Q loved the combination, Ells said the chicken was perfect and I was slightly underwhelmed - wishing there had been more fish and jus!
After a palette cleansing shot of something delicious I've now forgetten, we moved on to the desserts.
First, the raspberries with lemon verbena, meringue and almonds. Soft sherbet sorbet, tangy raspberries and crisp meringues - so pleasantly refreshing and bursting with the taste of summer. Mumma Q now wants to try and make Lemon Verbena sorbet with our herb that's dominating in the garden currently!
The final dish was the absolute 'piece de la resistance'; a crescent of dark chocolate mousse, light ginger sponge, earl grey gel and melted barley. We approached this dish with trepidation, as on paper it reads as such an odd mix of flavours and textures. And we had nothing to fear, this was delicious, with the tang and the richness and the crunch all dancing around on your palette together.
As a farewell nibble, there was red pepper jelly with caramel & coffee chocolates. Fruity & fresh followed by bitter & smooth - the ultimate palette cleansing duo!
Everything we ate was very well cooked and presented, and a special effort was made to explain the contents of each dish in detail. We would love to go back to sample there winter tasting menu or attend one of the special event evenings.
We had a wonderful ladies lunch, and the waiters are ever so informative and attentive. This restaurant is well-worth a detour to the midlands to indulge the foodie in you.
Definitely book ahead, even several months in advance, as it's understandably popular and, bonus, there's plenty of street parking outside.
21A Bennett's Hill
Tel: 0121 643 3745
Ah Graduation. The big day.
The celebration of:
the hours spent doodling at the back of lectures,
the late nights cramming before class-tests,
the frantic typing up last minute alterations before deadlines,
trawling the library and wiki for references that match,
the entirety of Easter break spent indoors battling software,
the crisis dissertation meetings
(and that's just the academic side of life!)
I'm not going to be all soppy and say how much I'm going to miss university life and all my friends, which is obviously true, but there are many awesome things on the horizon to look forward to.
I've been fully immersed in the 'uni bubble' and would recommend my campus home to anyone, having been fortunate enough to be involved with volunteering, working, sports, societies and a pretty full on degree. It's no surprise that we were voted as No. 1 UK University by The Times & Sunday Times for 2013/14.
To people getting ready to leave home for the first time and move to a new town to start up at uni - GOOD LUCK, you're about the have the best few years of your life! With your friends right on your doorstep 24/7 and so many activities to get involved in, you'll never want to leave. Even if it turns out you don't madly love your degree, or you get lumped in a halls with a bunch of strangers, you'll find your niche and a way to make the most of it.
There's so many opportunities right available to you, please make the most of them. You won't realise how great it all is, until the years have flown by and you're all gowned up saying a teary farewell. I'm secretly really jealous and would be back there in a flash!
To the rest of us graduates moving up and out into the big bad world - WELL DONE! We made it, thanks to hundreds of pints of coffee and bars of chocolates and reassuring chats with friends and family (Mumma Q, you're simply the best) - somehow, we've done it!
Don't be scared, and don't be afraid to try something outside your comfort zone, or in a different area entirely! It could be much better suited to your skills and abilities and you'll only know if you try. As they say, everyone is a beginner once and we all have to start somewhere.
Me? I'm going back-to-basics to undertake Army Officer training for a year before continuing with my dream job. I hope you all find something that challenges you and makes you happy to be alive every given day.
Thank you Birmingham, it's been a blast.