The most confusing relationship I have ever had with a restaurant has to be with Mediterranean eatery “Noels” by The Mailbox in Birmingham. When they invited me to try out their new Summer menu, I was a bit apprehensive due to the fact my last visit was a disaster and the one before that was barely average.
I’ll admit when it first opened it had promise but two disappointing meals in a row left me feeling frustrated with the place and I had almost added it to my ‘never again’ blacklist. However, something was telling me to give them another chance so when Noel’s reached out to me a year after my last visit, I gave it a third shot.
Please note that this experience was gifted, and this is my honest opinion.
I visited on a Tuesday lunchtime and it was gravely quiet. I was shown to my table and given a menu straight away. You can’t deny that Noel’s is a beautiful restaurant; chic interior throughout with pops of floral. They must get a bit frustrated with the number of guests taking photos for the ‘gram’ – I, of course, was one of them! I ordered a cocktail to start, opting for the Cherry Pop that many Instagrammers will fight over, and surprise surprise, it was pretty good!
For starter I ordered the hand-dived scallops with cauliflower purée, vin blanc sauce, caviar and salmon roe for £13.95. Cooked perfectly, fresh, and full of flavour – a great start. It took around 10 minutes for the starter to come out and the staff were pretty quick with drinks. I ordered another cocktail with my pan-fried monkfish tail in a basil and lime sauce for £23.95. I ordered the Rose Gold Gimlet which was gorgeous and very sweet! Another stunning cocktail almost too pretty to touch!
The monkfish was cooked to perfection but I could do with a bit more of a kick to the sauce! The monkfish comes on its own and for £23.95 I expected some carbs or veg but you have to order separately. I opted for the asparagus with parma ham & parmesan at £5.95 and chips at £3.95, both were great pleasant enough but when you add it up it meant the main dish was around £34 which was pretty pricey.
I was quite stuffed after my main but I was eager for a sweet fix! So, I went for the petit fours for £6 and a flat white…and if you watch my stories you’ll know what happened with me and the flat white. The petit fours were very nice, small but sweet and were just enough – I am not really a sweet fan so I could only polish off three. Perfectly fine but I feel given how much Noel’s is charging it really is lacking with that extra special quality.
Staff are polite and easy to talk to, they really made the experience for me as during my last visits the staff have been less then friendly. They always checked up on me, asked me if I needed any more drinks, they were really attentive but still gave me my space.
Overall it seems that there has been changes at Noel’s in order to improve the service and quality of food. The scallops are a must and the cocktails are fabulous here. The only negative for me is value for money. Noel’s is competing with others in the city centre that can offer the same or better-quality food for a lot less. However, I can see they are trying to improve things and this latest visit was definitely the best by far. No restaurant should be hung drawn and quartered over one sub-standard visit, or even two. I finally feel at peace with Noels and I am pretty chuffed to say that I will be going back again.
I recently went back to Noels due to this visit being an AD/Gifted experience I wanted to see if the experience would be the same, and it was. I recieved great customer service, food was very good and overall it was a very enjoyable dining experience. Yes Restaurants can change, they can improve! I believe in 3rd/4th chances – Call me a fool, I dont care because it was worth it.