A couple of weeks ago myself and Mom were invited* down to Rico Libre to see the new location and try out the new menu. I’m a big fan of tapas on holiday and so I jumped at the chance to test out how well we do it here in the centre of Birmingham. Rico Libre is now situated in the heart of the custard factory, so just a short 10-15 minute walk from Birmingham city centre. 



Between us we ordered 6 dishes which was the recommended amount. Initially we weren't sure if this would be enough as we are big eaters but I think anymore than 3 dishes each would have been a bit of a struggle.

After a fairly intense look at the menu, I finally decided on my three. I chose Pollo Marbella (chicken breast with white wine, chorizo, and cream), Pisto (Spanish Ratatouille), and Tortilla de Patatas (Spanish Omelette). The Polla Marbella was nice, though the taste of the chorizo was a little strong for me after a while, the Pisto was delicious, if not a little on the spicy side of things, but the Tortilla de Patatas was the real winner for me. It was larger than the other dishes and really was my favourite of the night. I would also recommend the Pisto as both myself and mom thought it was very tasty, but it is a little spicy and if like me you can't hack the heat, you may struggle with this one.


Mom on the other hand went for Pan de Barra (bread with Kalamata & Halkidiki olives and balsamic oil), Pescado Blanco Frito (deep fried fish in a light batter), and the grilled beef served with a five bean salad. The Pan de Barra was perfect, we both love olives and thoroughly enjoyed nibbling on them as we sipped our drinks. The fish I'm almost certain was moms favourite dish as the portion size was quite generous and she said the batter was lovely too. I will admit though that the beef, as beautifully presented as it was, just wasn't really our cup of tea.

A lot of the dishes were very different to the kind of tapas we’d tried in the past so some of them we loved and some of them just weren’t to our taste, but that’s always the risk when trying out new foods. Sometimes it's nice to give new things a go even if they aren't something you'd be in a rush to try again.


After finishing off our meals we decided to have one small desert between us, and I will admit, it was quite small. We chose the Mousse de Maracuya (Passionfruit mousse in a chocolate cup). I think mom only had one small spoonful, but in all honestly was more than happy to finish it off as the mousse was incredibly tasty with a really great texture to it, and the chocolate cup, well I wolfed that yummy little casing down in no time.

Drinks wise we opted for a bottle of Peach green tea and a can of San Pellegrino as Rico Libre isn’t licensed and we didn’t know this beforehand. I do wish I'd done my research before dining as I'd set my heart on a glass of Sangria which I thought would be readily available in a Spanish restaurant, but as they cannot sell alcohol this would never have been possible. I would definitely recommend taking your own wine/ beer etc. as that way you can drink whatever you like and obviously it keeps costs down a little which is always a bonus.


As for the service, I did think this was a little on the relaxed side of things, especially for a weekday. I did have to ask for things a couple of times, but I will say our server was incredibly friendly and once we had requested something, nothing was too much trouble for him.

So my verdict? As I said previously not all of the food was to my taste, and if I’m honest I did find some of it a little on the pricey side of things. Dishes range from £3.50 all the way up to £7/£8 which can very quickly add up when you are ordering a few items. That being said it is a little independent place set in one of my favourite (and one of the most instagrammable) parts of the city and it offers an experience unlike any chain restaurant you dine in. It's clear that the food is cooked fresh and the ingredients used are good quality, you wont get microwaved tat here.

Are you a fan of Tapas? Where is your favourite place to eat Tapas in Birmingham or even the UK?



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* Our meals were complimentary however all opinions are my own 

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RICO LIBRE - TAPAS IN THE HEART OF BIRMINGHAM*

Krakow, an absolute dream of a city, where do I even start? I had two very jam packed days in Poland's former capital and my god I cannot wait to share it all with you! Whilst I only had a very short time wandering around the streets of Krakow, I got A LOT done!



So here are my Krakow recommendations...


Things to see


Wawel Castle - The most slapped together patchwork castle I have probably ever seen in my life, but one with such a unique beauty to it. I didn't actually have time to go inside but the grounds are free to wander and full of fantastic photo opportunities.

Smok Dragon - A dragon sculpture at the foot of Wawel castle near the river. No spoilers but hang around for 5 minutes and you might be pleasantly surprised. 





Oscar Schindler's Factory - Whilst I don't think going inside is a necessity (most of the original factory was gutted and no machinery or artifacts remain) I do think it's worth a trip just to see the outside of the famous office building.

If you do want to say you've been inside Oscar Schindler's factory however, and you are short of time or cash, the Museum of Contemporary Art next door is housed inside the actual former factory, just don't expect too much as it has been completely refurbished inside.




Cloth hall shopping arcade - This gorgeous vintage style shopping arcade can be found within the cloth hall in Krakow's main square. It is very touristy, but it's also very beautiful and totaly instagram worthy. 


St Mary's Basilica and Bell towers - The odd bell towers at the front of St Mary's Basilica are probably the most photographed thing in Krakow, but for a good reason. The unusual towers are really quite incredible to look at, day or night. If you do visit in the day however, you are likely to be treated to a short trumpet solo, every hour on the hour. Its tradition apparently. 

The Barbican and remains of the city walls - Walk 2 minutes north east of Krakow's main square and you will find, Florian's gate, the remains of the city walls (and lookout towers), and a beast of a building - the Barbican.


Things to eat


Try out Pierogi at Van Gogh's Cafe - It would be a crime to visit Krakow without sampling the famous Pierogi (stuffed dumplings). They come in a range of sweet and savoury flavours so there is something for everyone, plus they are incredibly purse friendly.

I chose to lose my Pierogi virginity at a tiny little Van Gough cafe (Pierozki u Vincenta) in the centre of the Kazimierz district and I'm so glad I did! I opted for the Russian Pierogi (potato, curd, and onions) as these are the originals and probably what I would recommend if you are trying Pierogi for the first time. 





Breakfast at Milkbar Tomasza - I ate breakfast each morning in this cosy little cafe and thoroughly enjoyed it every time. Not only is it dead central, but its cheap as chips, and the omelettes are cracking.

Snack on a obwarzanek krakowski (ringed plated bread) - When in Krakow, especially around the old town, you will find street vendors selling these strange bagel-like breads on every corner. It's just bread but its bloody good bread.

Things to drink

Try a Plum Beer at House of Beer - Ever tried a Plum Beer before? Nope? Well neither had I until I strolled into the House of Beer in Krakow's old town. Every type of Beer imaginable is on offer here so take advantage and try one of everything, you're on holiday after all...



Taste Marcowe at Bierhalle - A word of warning, I wouldn't recommend spending too much time in the Bierhalle, the food is average and it's a total tourist trap, that being said I wouldn't judge you if you nipped in for one drink. I tried Marcowe which is a Bierhall own beer. It's pretty strong, and has quite a perfumy taste to it, but bloody hell was it a cracking beer. 


Things to do


Climb the tallest bell tower of St Mary's Basilica - Got half an hour to spare? Climb the tallest of the two bell towers. For your efforts you'll be treated to a fantastic view across Krakow and the chance to take some great snappy snaps. 



Take a free walking tour - Pretty much every small to medium city in the world now offers a free walking tour (or 7) and Krakow is no different. During my time I hopped onto 3 free walking tours and I would recommend all of them:

1. Free old town tour - Exactly what it says on the tin,  2.5hr tour of the oldest parts of Krakow city.

2. Free holocaust traces tour - A tour of the Kazimierz quarter and the former Jewish Ghetto.

3. Free street art tour - A tour showcasing the best of Krakow's street art.




Wander around the Kazimierz district and Jozefa street - These areas are the life and soul of the city, and parts most tourists won't see if they stay in the old town. Jozefa Street in particular hosts a boat load of independent shops, cafes, bars etc and is well worth an hour of your time.

Whilst I'm sure there are a thousand other things to see, eat, drink, and do in lovely Krakow, these are just the recommendations I have from the two incredible days I had in this beautiful city.

Other Krakow tips:


- If Uber is your usual mode of transport you'll need to be aware that Uber doesn't have a licence to enter Krakow's old town. This is something I wish I knew before trying and failing to order multiple Ubers one morning. You can either try to flag down a registered Krakow taxi, or if you're feeling cheeky like me nip into a nearby hotel and ask them to order you one. 

- Eating or drinking in the old town will cost more than anywhere else in the city. Whilst this can still be incredibly cheap ,especially if you're from the UK, I would recommend feasting in the Kazimierz quarter if you can as it's the heart of Krakow city in my opinion. 

- As always I recommend learning a few basic words in Polish before you go. Everyone I spoke to on my short break spoke fantastic English however that shouldn't be an excuse for laziness. It doesn't hurt to say please and thank you in someone's own language when visiting their country now does it? Click here to learn the basics in less than 1 minute.

Have you ever been to Krakow? What would you recommend?


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