Cote of many flavours

An evening at Cote in Solihull has set up Holly Heywood for the festive season.

A chilly night in December is certainly reason enough to visit Cote for a heartwarming dinner complemented by warm and attentive service.

Arriving at the Solihull branch, we were pleased to discover a door curtain keeping the winter draughts at bay. This attention to detail continued throughout our visit, during which we forgot the minor inconveniences of daily life and settled in to enjoy the dining experience.

A bowl of herby olives kept us occupied while awaiting our starters. I elected to go for the Christmas menu, beginning with parsnip soup. This came with chestnuts, shredded pear and parsley, plus a generous glug of white truffle oil. Christmas had arrived in a bowl. My dining companion chose steak tartare: rich, flavourful, studded with cornichons and mustard and complemented with an arsenal of seasonings including a bottle of Worcestershire sauce so large it could have demanded its own table.

For mains, I chose the turkey paupiette. This came wearing a bacon wrapping and was stuffed with pork and apricots. It can be a challenge to make turkey succulent, but this truly was. The accompanying vegetables were well chosen, and included red cabbage, beans, broccoli, carrots and a cranberry jus. By this time, I was feeling totally festive.

My companion moved on to the Breton fish stew. It’s always a good sign when a bowl for shells appears, and this was soon piled high with the remains of crustaceans. There were plump mussels and prawns, sea bream and squid, all placed in a sauce with white wine, tomato and chilli. Accompanying this was a side of ‘proper’ chips; fluffy, crisp, filling and perfectly seasoned

The member of our party with space for dessert chose a salted caramel tart with vanilla ice cream that saw him complaining about what he calls the unfeasibly small portions in modern puddings in between drooling with delight a every mouthful. Ignore the complaint – he was well satisfied.

If you have food allergies or intolerances, the team is very happy to flex the menu and ingredients to meet your needs. For example, I had a bowl of crispy frites instead of dauphinoise with my main course. This was managed with a smile and a quiet confidence that made me secure in my safety, and I would be happy to recommend Cote if you have food allergies.