Venue: The Boat Inn, Lichfield, WS14 0BU; website
Choice: Venison (£19.95) Chooser: Head chef
In dining terms if Birmingham were the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros — and essentially it is — then North of the city would be North of the Wall. Bleak. Desolate. Emphatically not worth the journey. Step forward local chef Liam Dillon who, in years past, has been cutting his culinary teeth at Story (of best restaurant in the UK fame) and Noma (of best restaurant in the world fame). Sort of acceptable CV, then. The result? Bold, ballsy cooking including pig's head and burnt apple, fried guinea fowl thigh with quail’s egg, pigeon with dandelion, langoustine in a tongue-bathingly blissful bisque and a venison dish that deserves a plinth in Victoria Square. The depth of flavour in this deer was deeper than a Barry White scuba dive, and the meat's sidekick — a yeasted cauliflower — might sound off-putting, but it was nothing short of show-stopping. Liam Dillon might be serving some pub classics to sate the Boat Inn's old-guard, but mine the menu for the most daring dishes. Trust us, there's gold in them there hills.
(Pic: Jas Sansi)
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