AD – Our food and drinks at The Blossom Room were complimentary in return for this review.
Milton Keynes has not been short of new openings in recent months! One of the most anticipated new additions is Blossom Room, which opened in November 2019. The old GBK unit in The Hub has had a £500k refurbishment and upgrade and is now home to the Japanese-inspired bar. Due to a house move and a terribly timed winter cold, I actually missed the launch night of Blossom Room. However, the kitchens were fired up this week and in addition to the extensive drinks menu, food is now being served.
I was invited along this weekend to try the new menu and discover this opulent bar for myself – the first spot ticked off my 2020 hit list! In this review, I am sharing my honest thoughts!
Blossom Room, Milton Keynes
In terms of styling, Blossom Room has nailed it.
The pink, cherry blossom ceiling is incredibly striking. The murals created by local artist, Luke McDonnell are equally beautiful and create a really bold identity for the bar. You may recognise Luke from Stony Stratford Gallery. He also painted the Queen Eleanor mural in Stony Stratford.
The drinks menu is very extensive – you are truly spoilt for choice! A huge range of cocktails and gins feature, as well as wines, beers and spirits. I would have liked to see a few local additions on the menu rather than the big brands given that it is an independent venue, especially as venues like All Bar One and Be At One are nearby.
I ordered a Japanese Mimosa (£10.95) which was a zesty combination of champagne, Midori and lemon juice. So fresh!
Food at The Blossom Room
The food menu features a variety of small plates and platters to share – ideal bar food. However, the ‘Japanese-inspired’ element pretty much stops at the decor. When I heard Blossom Room was coming to Milton Keynes and the theme, I was really hoping to see proper Japanese small plates like sushi. It was disappointing that the menu only featured a few dishes. There is a broad range of snacks on offer but I feel like they have missed a trick with keeping it in theme. It’s more grilled cheese than Japanese.
What I will say is there is a great range of vegetarian and vegan dishes on the menu, including a whole platter which is great – if you’re ina big group the menu will suit everyone!
We ordered six small plates dishes from the menu to share. Let’s start with the most Japanese-inspired…
The vegetable tempura (£4.95) is what it says on the tin – seasonal vegetables in a tempura batter served with sweet chilli dip. The batter was crisp and salty and the vegetables were tender. All things are better deep-fried right!?
Next was Teriyaki Salmon (£7.95), which was bite-sized pieces of marinated salmon cooked in a teriyaki sauce served with fresh cucumber. This looked great on the plate but lacked in flavour. It was a little dry and could have done with some more sauce for flavour and moisture.
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Next up, we have this Mauritian potato and butterbean curry (£4.95 or £4.50 without a tortilla). This freshly made curry was served on a tortilla with spicy piment sauce, crisp lettuce, fresh coriander, mayo and topped with spring onions. This is a vegetarian dish or you can ask for vegan mayonnaise to make it vegan. This was really flavoursome and had a brilliant kick to it. The butter beans gave it a great texture.
The chef used to live in Mauritius and this curry is a traditional Tamil recipe. It’s even won awards! It’s a little bit of a bizarre addition to the menu, and if you’re not sharing with a partner, I’d recommend ordering to separate tortillas!
One of the best dishes was the lollipop chicken (£7.50). Chicken drumettes shaped into lollipops and marinated in chilli, ginger and garlic, then coated in a spicy covering. These were delicious. I felt £7.50 is probably a little steep for two but it’s about the average price for The Hub I guess! It was served with a dipping sauce of soy, sesame, red chilli and spring onions which added an extra kick.
We also ordered a chorizo and black pudding brochette (£7.50) which was an interesting dish – it was more like a brunch vibe but it was good. Spicy chorizo, black pudding and mushrooms were served on top of a garlic brochette with a fried egg on top. I thin Dan enjoyed this more than I did – I wouldn’t usually opt for dishes like this.
The halloumi fries (£3.95) were very inoffensive – you can’t really go wrong with these! These were served hot with a sweet chilli dip. I pretty much always crave salty, cheesy goodies after a few drinks so these are a very welcome inclusion on the menu.
Blossom Room serves a small selection of dessert dishes, so we absolutely had to have some churros (£6.50) which were served with a pot of chocolate sauce. I have to give it to the chef, these were great. Perfectly crisp on the outside rolled in cinnamon sugar and soft in the centre. I really enjoyed these and they tasted really fresh.
Our experience of Blossom Room was a little mixed I have to admit. We had amazing service – our waitress was really attentive. The vibe was good and I love the fact it’s a really bold, independent bar. The drinks menu looks incredible and from videos I’ve seen of it at a weekend, it looks like it has a brilliant atmosphere.
But the label of ‘Japanese-inspired’ doesn’t sit well with me at all when it stops at the decor. It’s clear that it’s designed to appeal to a wider audience, rather than those seeking crafted bar snacks that fit with its theme. I would really love to see the menu evolve to encompass more Japanese dishes as I know lots of you were equally disappointed to see a lack of those dishes on the menu. If you’re interested in the food, bear in mind that Blossom Room is first and foremost a bar rather than a restaurant. The food is a thoughtful addition that will satisfy a craving for sure.
I will return to Blossom Room – likely with a group of girlfriends for cocktails and a catch-up or after-work drinks. It’s very Instagrammable indeed and a good addition to MK’s nightlife.
Have you been to Blossom Room yet?
The Blossom Room serves food 12-9pm and drinks until late. To book and view menus, visit www.blossomroom.co.uk.
If you like to eat, explore and want to discover new places to eat in Milton Keynes, come and connect with local food lovers in my Eat & Explore MK community group on Facebook!