Food review: The Bohemian, Wolverhampton
If you’re after a lunchtime pizza or after work drinks in the city centre then try The Bohemian. Emily Bridgewater enjoys a slice of the action. . .
After a period of economic downturn, the emergence of new independent shops and restaurants is always rather exciting.
Previously boarded-up, vacant premises start showing signs of life again – and this is certainly what’s happening in Wolverhampton.
The variety of places to eat in the once-tired city centre has suddenly taken a turn for the better; the best options are no longer a Big Mac Meal or a Greggs Steak Bake.
Perhaps that’s unfair. Made in Thai has long been trustworthy for authentic south east Asian cuisine, while nearby Rosso e Nero serves up satisfying Italian food. The Hungry Bistro is another charming independant eaterie if you want to avoid the usual pub chains, burger joints or branches of Costa.
Traditionally you’d have to go out of town, at least to Chapel Ash, to find food worth writing home about.
However, the handful of choices has now increased to include The Hooded Ram, an Indian street food and ale house in Lichfield Street; Nutmeg in Farmers Fold serving Middle Eastern fare; Zuri Coffee in Lichfield Street for Asian snack food, and Wok & Go for speedy Chinese food in Victoria Square (and yes, it may well be a chain but it’s still a break from the norm).
Then there’s The Bohemian, which is strictly a cocktail and craft ale bar but also serves food.
And so with a leisurely mid-week lunch in mind I headed over there with my two colleagues.
The Boho is a lively and quirky bar, with an industrial feel, furnished with reclaimed wood furniture, exposed lightbulbs and graffitied wall panels.
We grabbed velvet-covered seats in a booth, which encircled a heavy wooden table; it was lovely and private and could seat a decent size party. Three was the magic number though, on this occasion.
Pizza is the main event at Boho and there’s a raft of tempting topping options, and they’re amusingly named too with ‘Meat the Focker’ ‘Caio Down’ and ‘You Feta Believe It’. If there’s something that tickles a bunch of geeky journalists it’s daft food puns; earn yourself an extra half mark, Boho. However, if none of those pizzas float your boat then you can ‘make your own’ with up to four toppings. Choices feature the usual meat/veggie bits and pieces, as well as more interesting options such as chipotle, goat’s cheese, onion chutney and guacamole.
There are tasty side orders too including Cajun-spiced fries and stonebaked garlic bread with Jack Daniels, barbecue fresh chillis and buffalo mozzarella.
I ordered at the bar, enquiring about the tobacco onions.
“They are slices of onion, dipped in flour and then fried,” said the barman.
I relayed this to my colleague who quipped: “So, basically they’re onion rings.” We ordered some anyway.
I chose a ‘make your own’ pizza with mozzarella and sweetcorn, which probably wasn’t my best idea because it was a bit dull. I’d prayed for pools of white hand-torn mozzarella but alas, it was not to be, and it was just a blanket of yellowy cheese. It was pleasant enough though.
It came on a big wooden board with its own pizza cutter leaving you the choice at how to cut it up – a nice touch.
Meanwhile, my friend said her ‘Aloha’ pizza was a retro delight featuring ham, pineapple and with gorgeously stringy blobs of melted mozzarella. She said the sharp sweetness of the pineapple took the edge off the salty, well-cooked thin pieces of ham.
Impressed by the base, she said it was neither overcooked nor too doughy.
She washed it down with two glasses of Prosecco – the first, she said, was a bit on the flat side, although the second had the right amount of fizz. Our male colleague flexed his masculinity and went for ‘all the meats’, a cheese and tomato pizza topped with medium rare steak, prosciutto, ham, salami and pepperoni. He was fairly impressed, saying that the cured meats tasted like hand-cut deli meats rather than slices from a plastic packet. He was, however, disappointed that the steak was overcooked.
“Perhaps when they say ‘rare’ they mean it’s from a unusual cow,” he said. Very funny.
He complimented his meal with a couple of pints of Boho Blond, a golden ale packed with fruity flavours.
The tobacco onions were a revelation. In essence they were onion rings but without the batter. They were lovely and sweet with a deep caramelised flavour. Where the name tobacco onions came from we’ll never know. Maybe it’s ‘cos they’re smokin’?
Unfortunately, the Cajun-spiced chips weren’t such hot stuff. They were woefully undercooked and raw potato isn’t nice. The Cajun coating tasted bitter, as if it had been added – rather heavy-handedly – as an after thought.
“I think these could have been really good,” said our male colleague. And he was right; hand-cut door-stop sized wedges that are nicely spicy and crispy with a fluffy interior would have been spot on. Not this time though.
Worth mentioning is the vast array of condiments on offer from the Nottingham-based The Sauce Shop. Choices include a lime and coriander, and smoky chipotle ketchup.
There wasn’t time – or room – for dessert, although the options sound delicious. Next time, I’ll be going for either the churros with dips, or baked American cheesecake. There’s also a dessert pizza if you haven’t had your fill, and some indulgent cocktails if you’d rather consume your calories in liquid form . . . peanut buttertini, anyone?
The bill came in at £50, which included a bottle of Peroni, two glasses of lemonade and the other drinks mentioned.
Service was polite and unintrusive and we all agreed it was an ideal spot for lunch or after work drinks.
Bohemian rhapsody? Mamma Mia, let us go!