Cocktails and Tapas at Nuvo

The only time I’d ever been to Nuvo before was with my Mum at the start of the year, and admittedly I hadn’t been too impressed. It just didn’t suit me at all – I love somewhere you can sit and relax with some great cocktails, a good selection of music and an easy but fun atmosphere, like the nearby Revolution. Whereas I just couldn’t relax in Nuvo and unfortunately the cocktails didn’t wow me enough to overlook this! So I hadn’t returned to Nuvo since…until I was asked by DesignMyNight Birmingham to review their cocktails and tapas, and me and James went along to try it out at the start of September.

Nuvo was really quiet on the Thursday night we visited and lacked much atmosphere, and it was the opposite of the lively night it had been when I first went. So admittedly it felt odd being there for dinner, which wasn’t helped by us being seated in one of their champagne booths  which was uncomfortable and meant we had  to lean over all night to reach our food and drinks.

Cocktails:

After quickly browsing their pretty extensive cocktail menu, I opted for the fruity and refreshing Bahama Mama which was really enjoyable. I later had a Classic Mojito too which was okay but slightly too sweet, and I didn’t end up finishing it all.

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I’d taken a tough critic along with me (a cocktail bartender!), but James also liked his Junebug. So overall I was more impressed with the cocktails than I had been first  visit, and we were off to a good start.

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Tapas:

Our waitress recommended that we order 10 dishes to share between the two of us; we went for 8 but it was way too much and we didn’t finish most  of the dishes as we were just too full. Each dish was a generous size and I thought that it was decent value for money at £4.95 per dish. However I think the menu could benefit from more variation, and an extra selection of daily specials, as some of the dishes were just too similar.

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To start we were brought some Bread and Olives to enjoy whilst we waited for our food. A selection of 4 arrived (2 plain, 1 olive and 1 sun-dried tomato) and each was still warm and soft. The sun-dried tomato bread was really tasty and went well with the accompanying balsamic oil.

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When I’ve eaten tapas in Spain (and even in some tapas restaurants in the UK), they’ve brought out each item at different times (i.e. whenever its ready) and I prefer it this way as it means everything is hot and fresh when you come to eat it. Whereas at Nuvo all of our food was brought to the table at the same time (admittedly we didn’t have to wait very long for it at all),  and so this meant that the last few dishes were slightly cold when we came round to eating them.

We started with the Crispy Pork with Apple and Saffron Puree. I hadn’t been expecting the crackling-like strips of pork that arrived on the table, and as I’m not a huge fan of crackling I wasn’t that keen on these. They were crunchy and crispy as they should be, but lacked flavour. However the Apple and Saffron Purée that came with it was really tasty and moreish!

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Another pork dish and this time it was Pork Belly Fried in Sea Salt and Cayenne. The pork wasn’t too dry, but again it was lacking flavour and nothing to shout about.
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I’d had high hopes for the Grilled Halloumi Cheese with Warm Tomato Salsa. And the salsa didn’t let me down as it was flavoursome and had a nice gentle kick of chilli in the background. Unfortunately the halloumi was far too salty and once we noticed the ‘squeaky’ texture common to this cheese we just couldn’t finish it.
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My favourite tapas dish has to be Croquettes. So I was sorely disappointed with Nuvo’s Homemade Meat Croquettes of the Day which were too rich and creamy, and quickly became too sickly to eat.

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At this point we were both getting quite full and quickly realised our error – we’d left all our ‘favourite’ dishes until the end, but no room to fit them in! So regrettably we only got to try a little bit of each of the following dishes, which proved to be the best ones! The Cajun Spiced Chicken Skewers were tasty, tender and nicely spiced. They were just the right size too, and I wish we’d ordered extra of these instead of some of the other dishes.
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The two potato dishes – Parmentier Potatoes in Traditional Bravas Sauce and Spanish Parmentier Potatoes Topped with Aioli – were both equally great, with crispy cubes of potato that we couldn’t stop picking at. The spicy bravas sauce was flavousome, however the aioli was far too garlicky and rich.

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Our final dish of Smoked Chorizo Sausage Al Vino was just how it should be – the chorizo was juicy, meaty and spicy, and you could taste the hint of wine in the background too.

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Dessert:
We were completely stuffed at this point, but we somehow found room to share the Churros with Strawberry & Orange Coulis. And I’m so glad we did as they were delicious! The churros were fantastic – sweet, soft and fluffy inside, and just yummy. What was meant to be a strawberry coulis tasted more like raspberry to me, but it was my favourite out of the two dips; the sharpness of the raspberry offset and complimented the sweetness of the churros, so they weren’t too sweet at all and we managed to finish them all between us.
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Overall:
So was I won round by Nuvo on my 2nd visit? Unfortunately not on this occasion! Although the service was fantastic, there was just no atmosphere when we visited and it was pretty much dead all night. The setting didn’t suit a dining experience too, with a poor choice of music and uncomfortable seating . We enjoyed most of the dishes, but I doubt I’ll return here again for food as there are places I prefer nearby. If I’m already there drinking cocktails, I’d consider ordering a couple of plates to pick at (especially the churros!) but won’t go out of my way to dine here again.
Disclosure: I was invited by Nuvo to review their venue for DesignMyNight Birmingham, and all food and cocktails were complimentary. But as always all opinions expressed are honest and my own, and I was not required to write a positive review
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