Jamaya (Solihull) Review

My Rating: 4.6/5

Family Friendly: Yes

Address: 45b Mill Lane Arcade, Touchwood Shopping Centre, Solihull, B91 3QW

Parking: Yes, Touchwood Car Park (parking fee applies)

Payment: Cash and Cards accepted

Jamya interior

Jamya interior

My friend suggested going to this relatively new restaurant the other day and I’m so glad she did. It’s located in Touchwood in Solihull town centre, where they serve authentic Jamaican food and everything is halal. As soon as we walked in the door we were welcomed by Hassan who was a friendly host and reassured me that the food was halal.

Jerk Pit Feast Out

Jerk Pit Feast Out

We decided to choose from the ‘Sharing is Caring’ section of the menu and opted for the Jerk Pit Feast Out, which consists of a whole jerk chicken, festivals, gravy and 2 bottomless soft drinks.

What is a ‘Festival’ – a fried dumpling, despite its slightly sweet taste it is often served as a side dish with jerk chicken and it goes so well. I was apprehensive at first but I loved them! They went so well with the chicken and the gravy.

There are 3 spice levels to choose from – Mild Jerk, BBQ Jerk and Proper Jerk. We opted for the proper jerk hot chicken and it was just right for my friend’s palette who is not used to spicy food. We also ordered a side of cassava chips. The chicken was cooked to perfection and was finger licking good. The best chicken I’ve had in a long time! It was succulent and juicy, and the skin was crispy just like I love. I have to admit this was far superior to Nando’s peri peri chicken.

The ordering system is pretty much like Nando’s, you order at the till with your table number and the waiters bring the food out to you.

My only criticism of the place were the drinks – they were a bit flat but it was quickly rectified once we let the staff know of the problem. The staff ensured we were enjoying the meal.

As well as chicken, you can order buffalo wings as well as fried wings, burgers, wraps, and vegan options. There were limited dessert options and a kids menu. Drinks wise they serve soft drinks, Jamaican juices, frozen cocktails and alcoholic drinks.

Jerk Pit Feast Out

Jerk Pit Feast Out

Cassava Chips

Cassava Chips

My Rating

My 4.5 rating for Jamaya is based mainly on 3 criteria, but I factor in additional observances such as cleanliness, location etc.

Food: 4.8/5

Service: 4.6/5

Atmosphere: 4.0/5

 

 

Farro’s (Birmingham) Review

My Rating: 4.5/5

Family Friendly: Yes

Address: 402-406 Stratford Road, Sparkhill, Birmingham. B11 4AD

Parking: Yes – but limited. Easy street parking available nearby; try Beach Rd, Alfred Rd or Fulham Rd for proximity.

Payment: Cash and (thankfully) Cards accepted

Farro’s is new to Birmingham and the 2nd restaurant of its branded Grillhouses, the first being in Nottingham. Opened on the 16th August 2019 it serves a blend of Portuguese and Italian inspired food – and they do burgers and steaks too.

Farro’s is located in an imposing converted pub right at the junction of Warwick Road and Stratford Road in the Sparkhill area of Birmingham. For those of you familiar with Brum you might recall the once mighty ‘The President’ buffet restaurant was on this site for many years before it closed and dereliction followed. I’m glad to say the site has been refurbished and the blight of broken windows and dumped rubbish is gone. The exterior is bright & breezy with a large new courtyard complete with a Birmingham Bull, a kindred spirit to the one outside the Bullring perhaps?

farros board

We parked on a side street as the main car park is relatively small and was already full. As we arrived into the lobby we were swiftly greeted by the front of house manager who took our name and advised us that being a Saturday evening and having requested a table for 5 we’d have to wait up to 30 minutes. Happily the wait was shorter than expected but it did give us time to absorb the atmosphere and observe the hive of activity represented by the waiting staff flitting from kitchen to service to tables and back again.

Once ushered to our table we were provided menus and quickly realised that ordering was exactly Nando’s style. Bottomless drinks as standard with a single refill area.

farros menu

Menu

Starters

We had the lamb chops which were succulent, perfectly cooked if a little towards the rare side on parts but still downright tasty. Served with a nice mint sauce.

farros lamb chops_

lamb chops

We also punted for the garlic bread with mozzarella, which was generally well received but seemed to lack a bit of garlic for something with garlic in the name!

Mains

Avoiding the build your own burger and steak options this time around we opted for the following:

The Sizzler (mixed chicken & beef in small strips), presented on a hot platter and cooked with onions and peppers it was literally sizzling when it arrived on our table and remained piping hot for a good while afterward. I

farros sizzler chicken beef

sizzler – chicken & beef

found the beef to be lovely (although my husband complained he had to work at it) and like the chicken it was flavoured nicely with the juices from the onion and pepper mix.

The Sizzler menu has great flexiblity as there were chicken, beef, lamb & prawn only options with the ability to mix any of them.

The peri peri chicken we had was also piping hot and we had to let it cool a little before tearing into it. We opted for medium spice (I would go up a spice level next time if eating with the family, it simply wasn’t a medium for us) however the flavour from the rub was excellent and gave it the edge over many other peri peri restaurants.

farros peri peri full chicken

peri peri chicken

I would have preferred if the chicken skin was crispier, but that’s my personal preference. It came with a side of chips but we also ordered an extra side of sweet potato fries which were the best ones I’ve had so far. They were perfectly cooked. Delicious.

We also ordered the lasagne which was not as creamy as you normally get in other places which is a good thing, often the béchamel sauce overwhelms everything else layered into a lasagne. The kids found it easier to eat as it wasn’t too heavy.

farros lasagne

The margherita pizza was stone baked and it was enjoyed by all. We didn’t try any toppings on it but the kids rated the pizza as one of the best they’ve had so far, next time we’ll go all out! We always prefer the stone baked pizzas to the usual you get from your local pizza joint, which is one of the reasons we miss La Favorita so much.

farros margherita pizza

The general atmosphere of the restaurant was nice and buzzing, it is quite spacious overall with plenty of seating and good separation between areas. The music was in the background so you could easily hold a conversation without shouting at each other. Male and female toilets are in separate areas but below ground level down a flight of stairs, they were clean and had a dedicated wudu area as well as a separate prayer room for men and women. There is a disabled toilet available on ground level.

Desserts

Although we didn’t order any desserts this time, the options to chose from were quite limited. The usual waffles, sundaes and old school desserts feature on the menu. It would have been nice to see Portuguese and Italian desserts on the menu such as Pasteis de Nata (Portuguese custard tart) or Tiramisu.

Drinks

Bottomless drinks to choose from as well as juices and mocktails. Cold water, ice and a mixed option available too. I had the Pina colada which is my favourite mocktail and it did not disappoint.

My Rating

My 4.5 rating for Farro’s is based mainly on 3 criteria, but I factor in additional observances such as cleanliness, location etc.

Food: 4.6/5

Service: 4.0/5

Atmosphere: 4.8/5

 

farro's steak options

farro’s steaks options

farro's exterior

farro's ordering

farro’s ordering

farro's entrance

farro’s entrance


Cinnamon French toast

Fancied something different for breakfast this morning so decided to make some French toast, all syn free when you use the bread as part of your healthy extra B choice and the milk as part of your healthy extra A choice. I topped it with fresh berries but you can use anything you like – jam, fromage frais, honey etc. just remember to keep track of the syns you add. Enjoy x

Serves: 1

Syns: FREE, using healthy extra choices

Time Taken: 15 minutes

Difficulty: Easy

Cinnamon French Toast

Ingredients

  • 2 slices of wholemeal bread (from a 400g loaf)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 1/2 tbsp sweetener
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

French toast ingredients

Method

Beat the eggs with the milk, sweetener and ground cinnamon.

Place a slice of bread in a shallow plate and pour half the egg mixture to it. Let it soak for a minute and then turn it around to soak the other side. Repeat for the other slice.

Spray low cal cooking spray oil to a frying pan and cook each slice of bread at a time for around 2-3 minutes on each side.

Serve with fresh fruit or any other toppings of your choice.

Masala Chips

These have got to be the best masala chips I’ve made so far! Really simple to make and very low in syns too. I normally cook my Slimming World chips in the actifry but if you haven’t got one, you can make them in an oven too. Click here for the chips recipe.

Serves: 2

Syns: 1 syn per serving

Time Taken: 30 minutes

Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients

  • 3 baking potatoes, peeled & chopped
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp garlic granules
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne chilli pepper
  • 1 tbsp Sriracha sauce
  • 1 tbsp ketchup
  • 1/2 tbsp soya sauce
  • 1 tbsp water

Method

In a bowl mix together all the ingredients (apart from the potatoes) to make your masala sauce. Keep aside till needed.

Cook your chips. In the last 5 minutes of your chips cooking, take them out of the oven/actifry and mix into the masala. Pop the chips back into the oven/acyifry to finish cooking.

No-Bake Cheesecake

A super easy dessert you can whip up in a few minutes. My family love this cheesecake and now they can make it themselves with this recipe! This isn’t a SW friendly recipe, you can however work out the syn values yourself by working out the syns for all the ingredients and dividing by the number of servings you get.

You can top the cheesecake with pretty much anything you want. When I am pressed for time, I add chopped chocolate (as pictured), or grate a couple of digestive biscuits over it. Other toppings I love to add to the cheesecake are: fresh strawberries pureed and sweetened with a little icing sugar and crushed meringues (best to do this just before serving), crushed oreos, Ferrero Rocher, mango or passion fruit. What do you like to top your cheesecake with? Comment below with your fave toppings.

You can vary the biscuits you use for the base to include your favourite one – if I am making an Oreo flavoured cheesecake, then I’d use Oreo biscuits for the base and I would also add crushed Oreos to the cream mixture too.

Enjoy and feel free to tag me in your creations x

No-Bake Cheesecake

No-Bake Cheesecake

 

Ingredients

  • 250g digestive biscuits (crushed)
  • 100g butter (melted)
  • 600ml cream cheese
  • 100g icing sugar
  • 284ml tub Elmlea double cream
  • Vanilla extract

Method

Make the biscuit base first – crush the biscuits in a blender or you can crush them by hand. I usually get my kids to do it as they absolutely love bashing the biscuits with a rolling pin! Place the biscuits in a clean bag and bash it with a rolling pin until it is finally crushed. Add the melted butter and mix well. Place the biscuits in a flan dish and place it in the fridge for at least 15 minutes to firm up.

Mix the cream cheese with icing sugar (don’t overmix as the cream cheese will turn runny). Mix until the sugar is evenly mixed. Add the Elmlea cream and vanilla extract and mix till it makes soft peaks.

Add the cream to the biscuit base and chill. Add topping of your choice before serving.