There’s a new pizza joint in town. An all singing, all dancing, watch-it-cook-infront-of-your-eyes pizza restaurant.
Local foodies in the sleepy suburbs of Dorridge, Solihull are in for a delicious treat this winter as The Forest restaurant has a brand new wood-fired oven.
To celebrate their new pizza kiln they now have a fantastic new menu too.
I’m a compete sucker for a wood-fired oven in a restaurant. I love the drama of seeing the flames as you walk past the open stove (or in our case at The Forest sit right next to it) and the joy of seeing food disappear into the flames, moments later to be rescued perfectly crisp and smoke-infused.
Many moons ago the owners of The Forest ran the California Pizza Factory in Solihull. So making pizza is definitely their forte. Their new wood fired pizza menu includes nine mouthwatering options like the CPF Mexican Fiesta, (lime chicken, onions, jalapeños), Tandoori King Prawn (curry sauce, courgette, mango chutney) and Thai Chicken (spicy peanut sauce, grated carrot, beansprouts, peanuts). As well as the more traditional pizza favourites, of course.
The new wood oven isn’t used by the chefs to only make pizzas, other dishes on the menu are smoked in the flames too, such as kiln roasted shell-on king prawns and wood-smoked, homebaked bread.
If pizza isn’t your thing (not sure how you got this far down the blog post, but hello!) the venue has just undergone a fancy new refurbishment. The bar and restaurant is stylishly chic and contemporary however it’s a very warm and inviting space. The Forest is the perfect place for a lazy lunch soiree or a put-your-heels-on date night. Situated literally a stone’s throw from Dorridge railway station, getting there couldn’t be easier.
Alongside the new kiln pizza menu you’ll find all the usual favourites – homemade faggots, The Forest burger, fish dishes, and mouthwatering steaks.
To start we ordered the kiln roasted shell-on king prawns, hot-smoked right in front of our eyes. We also shared salt and pepper squid. Both cooked to perfection and incredibly tasty.
I then ordered the roasted wild seabass with clam chowder, chorizo and samphire. Which was delicately decorated with edible white pansy flowers. It was a taste sensation with flavours of the chorizo bursting through in every bite. I’m not a fan of warm grapes in dishes, but the combination of creamy clam chowder and crisp, roasted fish quickly made up for that. A very wise choice for a cold, winter’s evening.
My husband ordered the grilled lamb cutlets with charred sweetcorn puree, broccoli, herb spaetzle, feta and lemon. I’m assuming it tasted utterly amazing, as within minutes his plate was totally clear. Not a scrape of food left to be seen.
There is a really tempting blackberry bombe and blueberry ripple ice cream on the desert menu. However, alas, we were just too full.
After a few glasses of prosecco and a gin cocktail with fresh raspberries, we opted for the perfect after-dinner alternative to coffee and dessert. An Affogato – a shot of espresso to pour over vanilla ice cream. Few things are as simple yet so fulfilling.
I have to quickly mention the tea selection on the menu, I’m digressing slightly as we didn’t order any, but if you’ve not tried Birchall tea yet you’re missing out. The Forest stocks all the Birchall infused teas. The lemongrass and ginger is a personal favourite of mine!
Anyway, back to business.
We had a lovely evening at The Forest and despite being a cold, rainy Wednesday evening it was busy, not too busy, but bustling enough for a warm vibrant atmosphere. The bar area also offers the perfect place to move onto and relax after dinner with a night cap.
Are you now day dreaming about doughy, wood-fired pizzas and delicious home cooked food with that unique, smoky flavour? Yep, thought so. You need to head down to The Forest to see their wood oven in action, all fired up. Don’t just take my word for it…
To book a table visit www.forest-hotel.com or contact reservations on 01564 772120