I was meeting up with friends in town on a quiet Thursday and wondering where to eat. I worried that they might already have beaten me to the pub of choice so I decided to risk eating there. I'm not usually a fan of "pub grub" fearing the ping of the microwaves and the stodgy chips, but I have vague memories of a wild boar burger I've eaten there before indicating an actual kitchen so decided to risk it.
The pub in question is The Old Joint Stock, and anyone who knows the centre of Birmingham is probably familiar with its lovely architecture and unique little theatre space. Typically I had arrived first and could have risked a trip to Chinatown, but I spotted something of interest on the door menu so was already set to order.
I went for the Chicken & Chorizo Pie (white bean & onion ragout, tomato cream sauce), which is hand crafted and comes with buttered greens, mash and gravy - and looks a little like this.
Naturally our benchmark here is the Pieminister range, but I'm willing to be a bit more forgiving when out and someone else is controlling the presentation.
Digging in we find a rich tomato sauce, and huge chunks of both meats. The chorizo is very recognisable and strong, but a little sparse for my initial liking. I can see what flavour they are going for here and it is something more delicate with the chorizo acting as an occasional pop of flavour. It works very well. The greens are well selected and seasoned enough to be inviting, but not so much to mask the flavour. The mash is light and fluffy and is complemented well by the thick, thick gravy.
Much to my surprise I really enjoyed the meal and wouldn't have swapped it for any of the usual places I walked past. At £12.95 it's restaurant prices for restaurant food, but I did get to eat it at the giant stone octagonal table while waiting for the rest of my party so the value is there. It is also a very filling portion - I certainly didn't feel short changed.
When we come for our usual drinks here we like to move on to more exotic foods when the urge takes us, but I may just have to suggest we eat here more often.