Located within established restaurant Craft is Birmingham’s latest fine-dining venue. 

Brought to the second city by groundbreaking chef Andrew Sheridan, alongside restauranteurs Emma and Sam Morgan, About 8 offers a memorable and truly outstanding dining experience.

Sticking with a theme, the menu at About 8 features eight dishes for £88, with an optional drinks pairing consisting of eight separate and perfectly matched tipples. The courses, representing Andrew’s career to date, are aptly titled - Square Root Of 8, Lucky 8 and 08-10-2006, to name but three. 

The restaurant is open from Wednesday to Saturday and provides one sitting at, yes, you guessed it, 8pm.

An open kitchen takes centre stage, with the surrounding bar made up of 16 individually lit place settings.

The number eight is etched into the tabletop, and sophisticated neon lighting floods the room. The atmosphere is relaxed and in no way pretentious. Andrew's guests are, in fact, part of the dining experience. The chef, who has twice been a contestant on Great British Menu, explains each dish, and both he and his friendly and knowledgable team engage with guests throughout. The personal touches here really do add to the overall enjoyment and help to create a warm and friendly ambience. 

Focusing on British cuisine, Andrew cooks food that he likes to eat. Following a taster of a fluffy share-and-tear bread and cultured butter, the first dish, V8, was presented to us. 

One of the most aesthetically pleasing dishes of the evening, due to its bursts of colour, V8 came in two parts - a sweet vegetable broth and a tomato & pesto tart served with a variety of herbs. Although sounding relatively simple on paper, don’t be fooled. The intense, sweet flavours were fantastic and left us thoroughly excited for what was to follow. 

The second offering of the evening, Oxidised, is Andrew’s take on a dish I absolutely adore. Featuring cep and beef tartare - from an 80-day-aged dairy cow - encased in two slices of brioche cooked in beef fat, topped with earthy truffle and microplaned cheese, it was nothing short of a triumph and was delivered with exceptional culinary precision.

The next dish was one of the evening’s highlights and a real joy to eat. Titled Square Root Of 8, it featured soft salt baked celeriac and celeriac pieces in a stunning smokey celeriac broth; a mouthwatering, elegant dish that boasted immense flavour and contrasting textures. Delivered with excellent technical ability, it was without a doubt the nicest celeriac dish I’ve ever tasted.

Next up was the hugely inventive Lucky 8 - Andrew’s take on a bacon sandwich. Featuring moist treacle bread, topped with pork parfait, pickle, smooth lardo and melted cheddar cheese, the dish was delicious, comforting and a perfect showcase for Andrew’s skills. 

Eight Days A Week pays homage to Andrew’s Liverpool roots. Comprising scallop, apple and sorrel, served atop a creamy sauce, the dish was divine both in taste and presentation. The freshness from the scallop and apple, allied to the sorrel’s citrus notes, made for a stunning flavour combination. I could’ve eaten it three times over!

The evening’s show-stopper - the main course, named Resurrection - came in the form of a beautifully cooked venison Wellington. Each element provided a truly wonderful melt-in-the-mouth experience. From the perfectly cooked meat, to the buttery puff pastry, the creamy foie gras and the rich, intense jus, it was one of the nicest dishes that I’ve had the pleasure of eating for quite some time.

The first of two desserts was titled 08-10-2006 and featured a wholesome carrot cake served with a sweet candied walnut, a light orange cream cheese and tasty carrot jam. 

The second, 8.01, a mint chocolate dish comprising mint liqueur, crémeux and sorbet, sat inside shards of set chocolate mousse. Served with a drinks pairing of ever-so-tasty chocolate-fortified wine with hazelnut-infused oil, it made for a fantastic end to an exceptional evening.

Andrew Sheridan boasts an innovative cooking style and presents cuisine showcasing big, bold and downright exquisite flavours. As far as dining experiences go, this one was pretty perfect. From the exemplary cuisine to the contemporary setting, About 8 ticks all the boxes and then some!

***** Lauren Foster