It’s a celebration of all things local at Lichfield’s award-winning Pom’s Kitchen, as Amy Norbury discovers
In recent years, Lichfield seems to be undergoing something of a renaissance as a destination for foodies. The city’s annual food festival is a huge celebration of all things tasty, while the area is a haven for fantastic suppliers and makers. At the heart of the independent food scene is Bird Street favourite Pom’s Kitchen, which opened in 2015.
The restaurant has recently undergone a stylish makeover, and were were delighted to be invited along to experience the new look and sample the new menu.
Pom’s is a champion of fresh, seasonal produce and local suppliers; as soon as you walk in you can’t miss the wall which rightly shouts about their local credentials and support for independent businesses. They even go as far as to offer restaurant vouchers for anyone who wants to bring in their own homegrown fruit and veg.
We were greeted by a friendly waitress and shown to a table with a great view of the open kitchen, where we could watch the chefs work their magic.
First order of the evening was something to sip on while we debated dinner options. My husband plumped for a Longhorn IPA from Warwickshire-based brewers Purity, while I perused the cocktail menu.
That was, until I happened upon the gin selection. Lichfield-based Fifth Spire is the house speciality gin and is offered as its own ‘perfect serve’ with Fever Tree tonic and a wedge of grapefruit as well as is a variety of specially-created cocktails. It’s a personal favourite, and my gin of choice at home, so I delved a bit deeper through the fantastic array of gins on offer.
For any gin fan, Pom’s gin plank – which offers three spirits and one Fever Tree mixer, plus garnishes tailored to each selection, for a very reasonable £12 – is a must. I opted for the Nelsons Rhubarb and Custard, as well as the rather potent and juniper-rich Sheep’s Eye and the berry-heavy Sharish Blue Magic, as well as a second bottle of tonic to see me through the evening. It’s a great way to try some of the new and more unusual gins which features on Pom’s menu.
Our eyes were immediately drawn to the sharing platters, and we opted for the Pig Board to start our evening’s feast. This selection of Forest Pig cured meats includes coppa, chorizo and salami, garnished with pickles, parmesan, rocket and Bore St Bakery sourdough with oil and aged balsamic for dipping.
The platter was perfectly proportioned, offering a tasty selection of meaty goodies and some lovely accompaniments, including bread that was so good we fought over the last piece.
Moving onto the main event and my husband was keen to try the much-lauded Russell’s of Shenstone steak, which comes from some of the best free-range farms in Staffordshire and is aged for 28 days to ensure a quality cut. He opted for the 8oz fillet, priced £24, which is served with slow roasted tomatoes, portobello mushroom, onion rings, chunky chips and classic béarnaise sauce. Not being a huge fan of béarnaise, he asked if they were able to whip up a blue cheese sauce instead. It’s not on the menu but the chefs were happy to oblige.
The steak was, he assured me, a thing of beauty. Cooked a perfect blue with just a sear on the outside, it was succulent, tender and full of flavour – a real quality piece of meat. The chips were fluffy and golden, with a crisp coating, and perfect for dipping into the rich sauce. One very happy diner indeed.
I’d been looking at the fish dishes – the huge classic fish and chips looked amazing, while the fillet of sea bream served with crushed new potatoes, tenderstem broccoli and a cream sauce was also tempting. But it was the Pom’s signature hanging kebabs which won the day. These impressive kebabs of either marinated chicken breast, king prawn or grilled halloumi are a hugely popular option it seems – almost every single table that evening had at least one as part of their order.
And when it arrived it was easy to see why. My king prawns, priced £15, were enormous, and perfectly cooked to retain their sweet, juicy flavour. With the shells still on they can be a little messy, but it’s well worth the effort for the delicious reward. The kebabs also include roasted veg, as well as pitta bread, skin-on fries, tzatziki and chilli jam to create a seriously hearty meal.
Since I’d been torn between the king prawn and halloumi kebabs, we also ordered a portion of halloumi bites, priced £4, to satisfy the craving for cheese. These were incredibly moreish and we had no trouble polishing off the lot. The accompanying sweet chilli jam was deliciously spicy, and the deep-fried halloumi was wonderfully firm without any hint of the notorious squeakiness.
After such a satisfying feast, I sadly had to decline the offer of dessert. Instead I settled for a Pom’s espresso martini made with Fifth Spire cold brew coffee liqueur, which was the perfect way to end a delightful dinner.
My husband, however, had no such trouble finding room for a little sweet something. His tuck shop cheesecake, priced £6.50, was a fun twist on a classic vanilla cheesecake, with an Oreo biscuit base and thick, creamy vanilla layer topped with an array of old-school sweets, served with ice cream, chocolate sauce and a whole Oreo for good measure.
The cheesecake tasted just as good as it looked, and he delighted in every single sweet treat, from the jelly strawberry to the cola bottles and strawberry laces, as well as the obligatory lollipop. It put a huge smile on his face, just as good food should.
And that’s what Pom’s Kitchen is about; great food, using great produce and supporting local suppliers, all coupled with exceptional service. As we headed back into the brisk autumnal night we reflected on what was not only a fantastic meal, but a fantastic dining experience.
When it comes to quality and value, Pom’s Kitchen certainly delivers.