Wandering happily through Moseley’s farmers’ market we were offered a leaflet and – on looking at the giver – had a pleasant surprise.
For some years Holly Jackson was a gracious presence in a Shirley restaurant – enhancing the fine fare with courteous and careful service.
That fine fare, we learnt, had been the work of Brad Carter, the chef, who eventually left after being asked to lower his standards and use inferior ingredients, in order to enhance profits. As he said, basically he was being asked to forget all his training and he refused to compromise.
After leaving Brad kept in touch with Holly and eventually – to the great pleasure of those they had known in Shirley – they were recently offered a chance to realise their dream by setting up ‘Carters’ on Wake Green Road in Moseley – a new independent small business.
With great care and attention to detail they offer a ‘modern British classics’ menu, everything made in-house, as one can see through the large window at the back of the restaurant where the work of the kitchen is on show. Brad values British food highly, so dishes including free-range meat, wild fish & local produce are on Carter’s seasonal menus. Organic meat and fish was also on the menu that day. On the website Holly and Brad explain:
Our focus is on classic creations with a modern twist. Great Britain offers some of finest ingredients to be found anywhere – from Scottish beef to Cornish fish. We source all our vegetables as locally as possible and our fruit from the counties around us.
Local sourcing is also the keynote in choosing both colleagues and equipment. Their young colleagues, like Brad, have been trained at Birmingham’s celebrated School of Food, and even the cutlery and crockery has been manufactured in Birmingham, by Heritage. It was good to hear this – and also that the firm, Heritage, based in Green Lane, Small Heath, supplies the Ritz and the Dorchester. As one of Birmingham’s best-kept secrets its achievements should be duly celebrated.
Carters’ approach is flexible and those walking in with smaller appetites or shorter pockets will happily be served with any item on the menu. People working locally can come in at lunch-time and get quicker service from the ‘Market Menu’.
They have a Sunday lunch menu of remarkable variety and reasonable price; a ‘quintessentially English’ afternoon tea on Saturday and seasonal events, such as their Extra Special Mother’s Day lunch on Sunday April 3rd.
Festive in the evening
This encounter was inspiring and is presented here as an Antidote to gloom because it records an instance of one upturn in the local economy which only happened because two members of the younger generation have been seen over time to work to the best of their ability, refusing to compromise their standards, showing flair and enterprise and persevering for years against the odds.