De La Vie’s is a new addition to the Bearwood dining scene that has recently opened. It occupies the site previously used by the Ruby Chinese restaurant on Barnsley Road, just off Hagley Road, Edgbaston. There’s some parking on site in their car park plus free, on street parking too. The new proprietors have clearly done a lot of work on the decor of the restaurant and whilst the basic layout remains the same, the finish and feel is very upmarket. Seating is a mix of bench seating, or tables with cosy velvet chairs, plus some larger tables for groups. There is also a pleasant bar seating area.
De La Vie’s is a grill restaurant specialising in steaks and meat dishes, but vegetarian options are available. It describes itself as a dry aged steakhouse and lounge bar. They aim to serve the finest Hampshire beef, cuts including fillet, rib-eye, T-bone and tomahawk. Obviously quality steaks aren’t cheap, so this might be a destination restaurant for a birthday or anniversary celebration, indeed the decor and the feel of the restaurant lends itself to this sort of occasion.
A wide range of drinks were available: there’s a champagne list, a reasonably extensive wine list and cocktails, plus a wide range of spirits. For beers there’s a good selection of lagers (both on tap and bottled), a couple of pale ales, but no Guinness, stout, bitter or cider.
We decided to go straight to the main event and have something from the grill. Whilst we were waiting for our meal we were served complimentary olives. I think a rib-eye is the one of the tastiest steak cuts and a good test of a restaurant’s ability to cook steaks well. I picked the smaller of the two steaks on offer, the 12oz which is large enough for most people, even those like me who have a healthy appetite. It was cooked as I requested (medium), and the grill flavour complemented the good quality beef. As I expected it was a lovely piece of beef, with no waste or sinewy bits. My steak arrived cut into strips which certainly made it easier to tackle. No specific steak knives were provided, but to be honest it wasn’t necessary. The steak came with chips and was served with a chimichuri sauce. I loved the chips: they were crisp on the outside and fluffy inside. The sauce wasn’t my thing and I don’t think you really need a sauce with steak if the steak is good enough (and it was). One point to note is that there is nothing else served with the steak, no garnish or vegetables, apart from the chips and the sauce, so we ordered the grilled vegetables as a side order.
The grilled vegetables were very tasty and the grill certainly adds extra flavour. I did think it slightly odd that underneath the hot vegetables was a bed of lettuce (mostly rocket). I think I’d have rather just had more of the vegetables.
My companion picked out the Koobideh from the Kebab section of the grill menu. It’s described as a delicious chef’s special with ground dry edge beef and lamb, combined with the chef’s specially selected herbs and onion. Again it’s grilled on charcoal which adds to the flavour. As you can see this does come with a fairly extensive salad garnish, as well as the grilled tomatoes. If you chose this meal I think you could do without any sides. This was a lovely, flavoursome kebab meal, but it probably doesn’t feel as special as having a steak and seems a bit pricey for what it is.
After all that meat we were quite full, but wanted to try out one of the puddings so we had one to share. They only had three of the six puddings on the night we went, so there was a limited choice. We picked out the 7 Veli Chocolate, which is made of layers of chocolate and hazelnut covered with chocolate ganache. It came served with chocolate ice cream. This was a delicious end to the meal and the portion size was perfect for sharing.
The service was friendly and attentive. We did have a small issue with the bill, but it was quickly sorted out. Often the mark of a good restaurant is how they handle any problems, and on this account De La Vie’s did well.
I can see me returning to De La Vie’s for a bit of a treat or a special occasion, or if I just fancy a charcoal grilled, quality steak.