Byzantium or just Tapas for my Mum?

Hidden away in the suburbs of Birmingham, Kings Heath to be exact, is Byzantium, a Greek, North African and Spanish tapas eatery. I was invited along to the launch of their upper room and it was my first to this restaurant. I was surprised that I had ever overlooked this place, especially as I have been to Kings Heath many times before but never come across it. The launch of the upper room allowed me to get acquainted to a small selection of the food that was available at the restaurant but I was invited to try out the restaurant properly, with a sit down meal with my mother.
From the outside the restaurant, you would most likely overlook this place, as it looks small and dark, but you would be making a grave mistake. We arrived to the restaurant on a Thursday, thinking it would be quiet and not knowing what the atmosphere would be like, as I had been in the upper room all night the last time I visited. As we were waiting to decide what to order and to quench our hunger a little, we ordered the Flatbread, Olives and Zaalouk. These three dishes went really well together. The flatbread was tasty, warm and seasoned well with olive oil and parsley, it was soft yet crispy.

The chilli in the Olives, gave it that kick that was hot but not ridiculously so. When you first taste the olives, it hits the back of your throat but it not a bad hit, it's just surprising. But the sourness of the olives, as well as their meatiness, just seemed to work well together. Such a simple idea that worked really well.

Apologies for the bad lighting in these pics, it is really dark in the restaurant, this adds to the relaxed atmosphere but is a bitch for taking a good photo. Anyways, moving on to the Zaalouk, which is a babaganoush style dish made from aubergines. It was smoky but had a creaminess to it, it melted on your mouth and you could taste the organic aubergine. A must have!

As you all know by now I love Hummus, so I was curious to try Byzantium's version of it. It was a tad different to what I am used to, as it was quite runny and garlicky, but had paprika sprinkled on it. It wasn't something I would try again but it wasn't inedible.

Next up on the tapas wishlist is Tortilla con Queso, tortilla is a favourite of mine from my time in Barcelona so I now try it wherever I go, whenever it is on the menu. This was a favourite of mine of the dishes we tried at Byzantium. The layers were great, I liked how it was soft and crispy at the same time. And that garlic mayo and caramelised onions just excelled this dish to the next level of pleasure. I scoffed this with no issues. Only issue I had was with that salad, I felt it was pointless.

I love me some aubergine so I also ordered the Aubergine Parmigiana, which is sliced aubergines that are roasted in a tomato and basil sauce. Normally finished with parmesan but as I am intolerant to dairy and parmesan isn't halal, they very kindly held the cheese. I think the cheese would have made this dish and without it, it was a little lacklustre. Not a standout dish and I prefer the Zaalouk instead.

Last, but in no means least, was Patatas Bravas. This has to be the best version I have tried of the dish. The potatoes were deep fried beautifully, perhaps twice, and were the right size and that sauce on the top was to-die for, especially as it contained thin cut yellow peppers that added a subtle sweetness. I am salivating and remembering the taste of this dish on my tongue, it was just so good!

Overall, I cannot slate any aspect of this restaurant; the food, the service and the atmosphere cannot be faulted. I would not hesitate to go back to Byzantium, actually let me check my diary for the best date.

Pros
Fresh high quality food, that is easily altered to suit dairy requirements
Great location in the heart of Kings Heath
Service was friendly and knowledgeable
The best Patatas Bravas that I have tried

Cons
Some dishes lack speciality when dairy is missing

Have you tried any of these dishes at Byzantium? Do you agree with my opinion?

Find out more here - http://www.byzantiumtapas.co.uk/

**Many thanks to Byzantium for the meal and amazing service. We cannot wait to return.**

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