Folium is a contemporary British restaurant which opened its doors in November 2017 and from day one proved to be a great addition to the fine dining community of Birmingham. Co-owner and Executive Chef Ben Tesh gained experience working in restaurants like Turners and the world’s renowned Noma in Denmark (World’s Best Restaurant of 2014). His cooking style is simple, refined and elegant focusing on the quintessence of ingredients and flavours in the search of the perfect balance, the execution of the dishes is to a very high standard combining usually up to four ingredients of the finest quality. The restaurant decor is modern, minimalist and harmonious with a unique style in the cutlery which feels like elegant wooden paintbrushes instead of the usual silver or metal, this slightly elevates the dining experience making it pleasant and refined. The adventurous menu is on a mission to send you into unknown territory based on a Set Tasting concept that can be five, seven or nine Course Tasting for dinner and up to three courses for lunch using the finest ingredients in season. The culinary experience starts with an amuse bouche and perfectly crisp crusted sourdough with home made butter followed by the first course of the Tasting Menu: Potato foam on a bed of smoked eel and crispy chicken skin, it’s a massive flavour bomb with the smokiness of the exquisite ell matching perfectly the creamy foam and to end in harmony crispy chicken skin for texture.
Second course has been presented as a perfectly cooked cod on a bed of parsley and mussel coulis with crispy cod skin and oyster leaf. Although the ingredients worked well and there were executed to perfection in an immaculate presentation I am not a massive cod fan, this particular combination and the fact that for my palate the dish was over-salted resulted as the least appetizing for me personally.
The third dish was this beautiful perfectly cooked pork shoulder with a combination of sea kale and seaweed to give a pleasant kick of umami finished with a bold hollandaise sauce made with a lot of love and pork fat, it’s a sturdy, unapologetic piece of work.
The first dessert was a perfect palate cleaner: Sheep yoghurt, spruce ice-cream finished with lemon thyme and aerated white chocolate, this is where everything starts to get more interesting, this dessert was a joy to eat that leaves you chasing the last smear about the plate, hopelessly. Everything was so perfectly balance, so beautiful combination of ingredients, an amazing role play between sweetness, acidity and textures that is hard to find even in a Michelin Star establishment.
Chocolate mousse with jerusalem artichoke ice-cream, cobnut crystals and crispy rice paper was the second dessert. The richness of the mousse matched extremely well the intensity of the artichoke ice-cream creating a toasted- beurre noisette type of flavour and the cobnut crunch was needed to cut through that silky ingredients. Simply perfect.
The food menu can be accompanied by a Wine Pairing which will make your experience even more memorable, otherwise there is obviously a wine and cocktail list available. The service is attentive and professional, the food is introduced with passion and knowledge creating a pleasant atmosphere. The five delicate and exquisite masterpieces in his tasting menu will rest artfully within the recess of my memory to cherish a decade, a first experience that abounds moment of emotion and physical abandon.
Some great restaurants are anticipated with sweaty expectation. But every now and then a place like Folium comes seemingly out of nowhere and delivers plates of food you just can’t forget.