My Food Place of the Week: Rico Libre

Located in the back streets of Digbeth, on Barn Street, is this unassuming restaurant that serves Breakfast and Tapas.
I cannot believe I haven't heard of this place before, especially as it is ranked number 2 on the list of Birmingham Restaurants on Tripadvisor.

We choose Patatas Aioli, Patatas Bravas, Grilled Aubergine with red mojo sauce on rustic tomato salsa, Saltfish, Potatoes, Spinach and Rice, Pescado Blanco Frito and Pan De Barra.

The Grilled Aubergine was fantastic and the sauces on top and at the bottom of the dish were a perfect accompaniment with the aubergine, which was also very well cooked and warm. This was gobbled up very quickly and was a personal favourite of mine.

The Patatas Aioli and Patatas Bravas are warm cubed pieces of potato that have been fried and then have either a Aioli or Bravas sauce (image shown is Patatas Bravas) put on them. Aioli is a type of mayonnaise that is egg based and Bravas is a tomato based sauce. This dish was quite tasty and I think they may have been double fried to make them soft on the inside and crispy on the outside, however they had become a little hard because of this but the sauce softened them a tad. It was still quite tasty but basic. I'd advise just getting one of these because it is basically the same dish and I would favour the Patatas more because the tomato sauce was really well seasoned.

I wanted to try the Saltfish because it is a new fish to me and I liked what they had paired it with. I found the dish lacking real flavour and it had become a little too salty with the pairing of spinach in the dish. If this saltfish had been paired with the red mojo sauce that was added to the aubergine, I feel that would have been an amazing combo.

The Pescado Blanco Frito, which is described as Deep Fried Fish in a light batter, was spectacular. I seriously couldn't get enough of this and was glad it came in a slightly bigger portion than the rest of the dishes. The batter was perfect, light enough so you could actually taste the fish and crispy enough to enjoy it. The lemon wedge was a great idea, as lemon juice on this made it even more delectable.
I want 10 portions of this dish!

Lastly we had Pan De Barra, Fresh Bread with Olives, Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinegar, and this was great to add to the meal. Even though it is just a addition of MORE carbs, I blame you mother, it was great to add olives to the potatoes and the bread was great to soak up the sauces in the dishes.

There was two of us but we ate like queens of brunch, even adding tea to our meal and I have to say their tea selection was great too.

Food - 4/5
There was some ok dishes and some amazing dishes, it is all about trying it all out and finding the best ones for you. You can see there is some real passion behind these dishes and I love how different the selection is. Take note Fumo!

Dairy-free options? - 5/5
Nearly everything was dairy free and they were very good at helping me choose or altering a dish for me.

Service - 5/5
Attentive, friendly and make you feel comfortable.

Atmosphere - 4/5
The restaurant was quite relaxed and comfortable as we arrived, even though we were the only customers in the restaurant. But as it filled up, it become more atmospheric but still remained comfortable. I have to say the posters on the ceiling were one of the things I quite liked about this place. Also it reminded me a little of The Warehouse Cafe because it has a warehouse feel to it but this is because it used to be a diner before becoming a informal restaurant.

Cleanliness - 3/5
The tables were clean, as was the floor and everything that you could see in the dining area but my mother commented that the toilets were in a bad state. I don't know about you but I normally think that the cleanliness of the toilets in a restaurant reflects how clean their kitchen is, hence why I have given it a 3.

Location - 4/5
Definitely a place where you will need to use SatNav or Google Maps the first time you visit the restaurant but parking was easy.

Value for Money - 4/5
Altogether the meal cost just under £30, this included 1 starter, 2 teas and 6 dishes. I found this to be quite reasonable for how much you get and how full I was.

Is it worth trying? Yes, everyone should go here at least once.

Pros
Informal, great food, parking available and amazing service

Cons
Toilets are unkempt and hard potatoes.

As you can see the good outweigh the bad here and that means I will definitely be returning soon.

Have you tried this place? What did you think?

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