‘When you acknowledge, as you must, that there is no such thing as perfection, only the idea of it, then the real purpose of striving toward excellence becomes clear, making people happy.’ – Thomas Keller
A creative wave is gripping Birmingham, lead by a cadre of determined individuals intent upon pushing the boundaries of food and drink beyond anything we’ve previously experienced. One such man is Robert Wood: former head bartender and manager at The Edgbaston Hotel, former head bartender at 40 St. Paul’s, and now proprietor and bartender of his own Smultronställe. Having engaged, guided and shaped Birmingham’s bar scene for over a decade, the time came for Robert Wood to walk his own path – and with that freedom to express his own personality and individuality without constraint came a bar concept that has shaken the foundations of Birmingham’s cocktail scene (terrible pun definitely intended).
With a literal translation that means ‘place of wild strawberries’, Smultronställe is a hidden 8-cover bar that doesn’t advertise its location and generally doesn’t accept walk-ins. The rules are simple: you book at seat, you’re given the location and from this then lead into your bar experience. This is a bar that has to be discovered, a destination, a mecca, for cocktail connoisseurs and fine dining aficionados to journey to on a most holy of pilgrimages. A place to indulge in a totally new and unique drinks concept in Birmingham (one, indeed, only pursued by a handful of people in the world). A peaceful haven in a bustling city that offers Birmingham’s avid food and drink enthusiasts a medium through which to enjoy the very best produce and diverse spirits at their finest. It is not a place to just pop in – a visit to Smultronställe is an acceptance that you are about to undertake a culinary cocktail journey unlike any other, a personal voyage amidst the total tranquility of this bar. It’s about you, your chosen companion(s) and the drinks.
And if you’re in, you’re in it for the long haul.
‘Every new innovation in cocktail making over the last ten years has come from the kitchen. Approaching drinks from the midset of a culinarian opens up a whole new world.’ – Robert Wood.
The tasting menu is the foremost expression of a chef’s cuisine, and it’s no different when it comes to drinks. Robert Wood has curated three very different tasting menus, yet one thing remains constant – an unwavering dedication to showcasing and serving THE very best cocktails in Birmingham. Indeed, all seats are situated at the bar, thus creating a micro-environment, which means that your engagement and attention is solely with the drinks and with the bartender, Robert Wood, as he leads you on this special voyage.
Having been open for a whole year (congratulations, Smul!), this landmark has heralded a new chapter, or rather a new menu. Where previously there were two, now there are three tasting menu options available (plus a special IB deal of course, but we’ll get to that in a minute). So let us guide you through your options.
The first tasting menu, Terroir (literal translation: ‘of the place’), is a 7-course menu which celebrates a single ingredient. During your two-hour stay, the Terroir tasting menu will showcase the diversity, beauty and flavour of a single ingredient through both pure and creative forms.
Menu option two, Degustation, is a 4 or 6-course Omakase (Japanese meaning to entrust the chef) style menu which is not bound by seasons, but celebrates the very best produce available and focuses on the progression of flavour. Each course is wonderfully delicious in itself but also sets up beautifully for the next. Months of painstaking dedication and preparation have gone into perfecting each individual cocktail and also the menu as a whole.
The final, fabulous option is the Bon Vivant menu and is one which will excite all of you foodies of Brum. Since they opened last year, Robert and his partner Kyndra (a trained chef) have been looking for a way to incorporate food into their offering, and they have found it. This exclusive 6-course cocktail and food pairing showcases luxury ingredients such as fine aged rum, grower champagnes and sake alongside caviar, fois gras and truffles. This is definitely the one for you if you enjoy the finer things in life. Prepare for your senses to be dazzled by six courses of pure indulgence and pleasure.
Trust us when we say that you’ll be hard pressed to find a more memorable cocktail experience in the whole of the UK than on your very own doorstep here in Birmingham. All hail Smultronställe.
Independent Birmingham Membership Card Offer
Now here’s something rather cool. Not forgetting all of you wonderful IB cardholders, there is also an exclusive menu option just for you. Following on from the highly successful “IB Wednesdays”, your IBcard can get you a special Prix Fixe menu, perfect for a mid-week treat. For only £40 you could be enjoying a 4-course food and drink menu, available on Wednesdays and Thursdays. This is an ever changing menu of delicious bites designed to sit alongside Smultronställe cocktails. Aside from the Bon Vivant menu, this is the only way to enjoy food and drink pairings at Smultronställe, and is available just for our loyal cardholders.
Find out how to book a table below – and then go on ahead and book a table. You can thank us later.
How To Book
Bookings can be taken up to 3 months in advance and can be made via email: email@example.com – your experience lasts around 2 hours. No-shows will be blacklisted.
A number will also be available to text for those looking to book a table on the same day, subject to availability. For more information, you can visit their website or follow them on Twitter and Instagram