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    Food and Restaurant News, News

    First Bite: Bonehead, Birmingham

    Finally – we have a fried chicken place in Birmingham that looks like it’s going to be great!

    I popped into a preview night for Bonehead, the new fried chicken place just off John Bright Street in the city centre. It’s a pretty simple concept or fried chicken and craft beer, with Beavertown on tap / in cans and a takeover planned.

    Lap-Fai Lee has been behind some of the most delicious fried chicken pop-ups in the city, and he’s chef consultant for Bonehead, as well as the man in the kitchen on preview night.  If that’s not the sign of good things, then I don’t know what is.  And the wings I tried lived up to expectations – I’m looking forward to returning and trying the burgers and waffle fries.

    With a seated area upstairs with 32 covers and no reservations, this is going to be popular, but if the preview night is anything to go by it’s going to be well worth a visit.

    Food and Restaurant News, News, Pop-up and Event reviews, Reviews

    Brum Breakfast Club at Nomad


    Confession time.  I actually went to this meal on the same day as the St Patrick’s Day parade, but I’ve just been super lax at finishing the write up.  However with the news that Nomad is evolving, Pokemon-style, into The Wilderness, it seems a good time to post about it.

    Despite all my known heritage being Irish, I avoid going anywhere near the St Patrick’s Day parade because being up early on a Sunday, surrounded by crowds of (usually fairly) drunk people and not knowing what the hell is up with my bus home is not my idea of fun.  I totally get why other people like it, but I’m good with a cup of Barry’s tea and seeing the photos on Twitter.  So when I tell you I got up early, got on a bus and went to Digbeth on the Sunday of a St Patrick’s Day parade you better bloody well know it took a lot to get me there.  And that ‘a lot’ was a Brum Breakfast Club presents Nomad breakfast.


    Firstly, I was a 45 minutes early, because it turns out, much like when it snows, the buses seem to work better when they theoretically shouldn’t; I assume this was down to most people leaving the cars at home (something they should do more of).  After a quick trip to Yorks for a coffee it was over to Nomad which has now found a home in BOM on Dudley St.  I’ve raved about various incarnations of Nomad before and I like that they’ve managed to create a rather chic place in what’s a bit of a bare-boned warehouse/workshop/exhibition space.

    On arrival we were given a cocktail.  Now pre-midday drinking isn’t something I generally do but I’m willing to make an exception for Nomad, because they rarely do me wrong.  This took the form of a drink they’re calling Viking Bubbles which contained mead, honey and cava.  It was lovely; sweet but not overly so and didn’t have that alcohol burn, which made it pretty perfect for a cheeky mid-morning tipple.  I paired it with black tea because I could and awaited the first course – apparently we were having a three course breakfast, which is entirely fine with me.


    The first course was three nibbles: tansy eggy bread; reindeer moss with bacon, egg and coffee; Forest of Arden honey and homemade yoghurt.  The eagle-eyed amongst you will notice the distinct lack of yoghurt in the photo and that was because my ability to tolerate dairy that day wasn’t great, and I’m not about to inflict that on anyone, but I hear it was lovely.  The eggy bread had a nice crispness to it and the reindeer moss, as well as looking very pretty, had a nice crunch before disintegrating to create a lovely flavour along with the egg and coffee.

    sea-buckthorn_mimosa_nomadWe then had another cocktail, a sea buckthorn mimosa.  Now sea buckthorn is one of those slightly divisive ingredients, due in part, I suspect, to its tartness.  It’s not often seen on menus, but Nomad have used sea buckthorn before and it’s nice to feel like there’s something a bit different going on.  Given it’s a bit sour, it seems to work well with the sparkling wine and balances it out well.  This paired well with our ‘main’ course, which like the first course had elements of the drink incorporated into the dish.


    The second course was a twist on Kedgeree, made with pearl barley and spelt, topped with poached eggs and smothered in sauce.  I have a soft spot for pearl barley so I was delighted at this and I think it gave it a meatier meal, particularly alongside the delicate fish and rich curry sauce.  Kedgeree is one of those dishes I think works well for any occasion but feels almost like a bit of a comfort dish, gently lulling you into a lazy Saturday morning at brunch.  This one still had that element of safety but the twists just lifted it to be a bit more interesting.


    After a glass of freshly-pressed apple juice we were onto, what I think, was the real star of the show.  I’d been joking with Nomad over twitter earlier in the morning about them giving us Frosties for breakfast and I wasn’t entirely wrong.  Well only in so far as the last dish of the meal was a play on milk and cereal…but with bugs.  Yep, Nomad brought out the bugs again and I think, like previous times, this was a bit of a stretch for some people but they bought into the spirit of it and dove in.  I’m not sure you can see it in the photo, but there are roasted crickets in the mix and they had a delicious bite along side the crunchy cereal and caramel pieces.  It’s also worth noting that the ‘milk’ was actually caramelised milk mousse which you can’t see because it was presented to us first – putting the milk in first is usually a cardinal sin, but entirely forgivable it this time round.


    Yet again Nomad have delivered a dining experience that was both fun, inventive and a bit challenging.  Whilst this wasn’t from their ordinary menu, it included a lot of the same themes of seasonal, local produce without it being a marketing exercise.  The reimagining of three breakfast dishes along side drinks which worked as introductions to the next course gave a flow to the menu which is something often forgotten about.  All of the Birmingham Breakfast Club collaboration meals I’ve been to have been superb and this was no exception.

    So what’s with the name change?

    I mentioned that Nomad are changing their name and whilst this might be largely due to legal reasons, I think it’s a positive step.  Having moved around from south to central Birmingham, they’re now putting down roots in a part of the city centre largely forgotten about.  And sure, The Wilderness isn’t about how Dudley Street has been lost amongst the regeneration of Grand Central, but more that they seem to be wandering out into a drinking and dining experience that the city hasn’t really seen before.

    The Wilderness retains some of the previous team, but also is expanding with chefs coming from rosetted and Michelin-starred backgrounds, as well as an award-winning bartender curating the cocktail menu and a well respected barista from some of the city’s local indie coffee shops heading up the hot drinks programme.  Theatrical set designers Stax Creations are transforming the restaurant into a dining experience, with The Wilderness will be open to the general public from 25 May 2016.

    Disclosure: Paid for this all myself. Although some might say I didn’t get my money’s worth because that whistle totally didn’t work. Just kidding, it was an amazing meal.

    Food and Restaurant News, News, Pop Ups and Streetfood, Round ups

    News round up

    Park Regis on Five Ways now open

    Well okay, it opened last week and so this is sort of old news, but given occupancy rates in the city (and how bloody difficult it is to find meeting rooms), I for one am excited about a new hotel in the city and this one sounds fancy.  It’s up on Five Ways and they spent £50 million on this bad boy, which has 253 bedrooms, the largest presidential suite and ‘Shakina’ Urban Dry Spa as well as two restaurants.  I’m totally tempted to book in for a night; I hear the views are fantastic.

    Rofuto opens this month

    Bar Visual new

    Due to open on the 26th April, up on the top floor of Park Regis is Rofuto; a concept by former Ivy head chef Des McDonald, which has panoramic views of the city, with an izakaya-style restaurant, serving a high quality modern Japanese menu.  There’s also the Kurabu Cocktail Lounge, which will serve fresh Sake from Takashimizu Brewery in Northern Japan, alongside Koshua aged Sake from Shiraki Brewery, unusual wines, a rather tasty sounding cocktail list and around ten Japanese whiskies from the likes of Nikka and Suntory.

    Also, Des McDonald, the guy behind the concept said some pretty nice things about the city: “I am delighted to be opening my first modern Japanese restaurant Rofuto, with my partners at Park Regis Birmingham. I love rooftop spaces, having opened four successful restaurants on the roof of Selfridges in London.  I fell in love with the unparalleled dramatic views from the 16th floor, Birmingham is a great, vibrant city and I’m excited to become part of it’s dynamic and diverse dining scene.”

    Glynn Purnell’s Friday Night Kitchen is back for 2016

    Michelin starred ‘Yummie Brummie’ chef Glynn Purnell will be bringing his Friday Night Kitchen back to Villa Park on 7th October to raise money for Cure Leukaemia.

    GPFNKLogo[1]Award-winning presenter Suzanne Virdee and Heart West Midlands presenter Ed James will host the evening, with Glynn assisted on stage by Sam Bailey (X Factor winner? I don’t know, I don’t have a TV).  With on-stage guests discussing and cooking their favourite dishes with Glynn before the  audience tuck in – presumably not all to the same dish as I doubt they’d be batch cooking on stage.  There will also be a live band and DJs after an a raffle for one lucky person to win a meal for six, cooked at home by Glynn and his team – and they’ll clean the kitchen up before they leave!

    Tickets are now on sale for the fun-filled, live show-cooking event via

    Opus’ Source Dinners are back too

    If eating food isn’t enough, Birmingham food enthusiasts can now meet the suppliers Opus use, hear their stories, learn why sustainability is at the heart of everything they and Opus do – and have dinner showcasing the produce.

    Ann Tonks, director at Opus at Cornwall Street, said: “Ethical and sustainable sourcing really is at the heart of our menus. Not only does sourcing our produce from great British suppliers mean that we are supporting the local farming and fishing industries as well as reducing our carbon footprint, but we believe there is a direct link between ethical, quality sourcing and the astonishing flavours of the finished dish.”

    Source Dinners include a fish dinner with M&J Seafood on Friday 17th June, vegetarian dinner with Worcester Produce on Friday 19th August, champagne Dinner with Laurent Perrier on Friday 30th September and rare breed beef dinner – Friday 21st October.  Each tickets includes an aperitif, a five-course dinner and matching wines. To book, please call 0121 200 2323

    And Foodies Festival returns with Bake Off winner from 3-5th June

    LogoFoodies Festival returns to Cannon Hill Park for its second year, serving up a lip-smacking feast 3rd to 5th June.  As well as Great British Bake Off winner Nadiya Hussain, local chefs will be sharing their insights, including; Richard Turner from Turners, Brad Carter from Carters of Moseley and Nathan Eades from Simpsons.  There will also be a Feel Good Foods theme at Foodies Festival this summer, as well as a Vintage Tea Room and a special focus on Brazilian street food this year to celebrate the Olympic host’s cuisine and plenty more.

    Tickets are on sale now at or by calling 0844 995 1111

    Food and Restaurant News, News

    Le Bistrot Pierre to spring into Birmingham

    Birmingham Architectural Plans Ext - credit gillespie yunnie architects

    Architectural plan of what Le Bistrot Pierre in Brum will look like (not mine, I can’t draw)

    I mentioned this on one of the umpteen Coming Soon posts last year, but looks like Le Bistrot Pierre will be opening in Birmingham in Spring 2016.

    The Independent French restaurant group are set to open in a Grade II listed building in Gas Street, which has been empty for several years.  Le Bistrot Pierre’s co-owners have big plans to refurbish the historic building to bring it back to its former glory, no doubt be helped by a £9.8 million investment from private equity firm Livingbridge, which has accelerated the group’s expansion plans across the UK.

    Rob Beacham, co-owner of Bistrot Pierre said “Having acquired the premises in a prime location on Birmingham’s canals about three years ago, we always knew we wanted to open in the city.”

    “This opening is particularly exciting as it’s been a long process to secure planning approval and it’s such a unique premises to be developing.  We have been working closely with our architects to make best use of the stunning building, which will have original features throughout, and will give diners a real sense of its heritage which is all part of the experience we want to create.”

    The privately-owned restaurant group currently has 14 bistrots across the UK including in nearby Leicester and Leamington Spa.

    Food and Restaurant News, News, Pub and Drinks News

    New New St & Grand Central Birmingham Eateries

    IMG_4025.JPGI’ve been blogging for a while about the new places in Grand Central Birmingham, but entirely managed to miss that new New St would have some of its own too.  Having had a nosy round the place I spotted a few new ones I didn’t realise were coming, so here’s a list of all the places I’ve either heard or seen are going to be opening.

    New St eateries

    • All Bar One – there are a few of these in town so it should come as no surprise
    • Benugo – another exciting one, using local, seasonal food whenever possible and plenty of social responsibility…plus lots of coffee
    • Camden food co – there was one of these in the old New St, healthier food for on the go, sandwiches and salads and that jazz.
    • Costa – has been here for a while and you know the score, coffee, pastries and sandwiches.
    • Delice de France – this has been around during the works, sandwiches and such like.
    • Five Guys – burgers, fries and the most impressive drinks machine I’ve ever seen.
    • Hotel Chocolat – chocolate and other chocolate things.
    • Joe’s Coffee House – barista style coffee, with hot and cold food.
    • Joe and the Juice – this looked like it might technically be part of GC but I could see it from the atrium…coffees, juices and sandwiches.
    • Leon – seasonal and naturally fast food – possibly one of the most exciting additions, I hear the meatball boxes are amazeballs.
    • M&S Simply Food – sandwiches, salads and for when you forgot something from your weekly shop.
    • Mi Casa Burritos – burritos, obviously.
    • The Pasty Shop – luxury pasties, sausage rolls and hot food…pretty there used to be one in old New St.
    • Pret a Manger – handmade natural food, including sandwiches, warm risottos and salads (which my mum really likes).
    • Starbucks – home of the disco coffee (PSL is back!) and other such coffee shop related things.
    • Upper Crust – has been there through the refurb, baguettes and the like.
    • Wasabi – sushi and bento boxes at an affordable price.

    Grand Central Birmingham eateries

    • Caffe Concerto – Italian patisserie selling gateaux, pastries and ice creams, made on the premises…plus sandwiches and tea and coffee.
    • Carluccio’s – authentic Italian dishes, prepared on site daily, including antipasti, salads, fresh handmade pastas and risottos.
    • Cocomacs – freshly baked coconuts macaroons in a range of scrumptious flavours from this micro-bakery and café.
    • Costa – coffee, hot chocolate, sandwiches…you know the drill.
    • Crepe Affiaire – crepes throughout the day, presumably sweet or savoury…entirely up to you.
    • Ed’s Easy Diner – Americana diner…there is one in the Bullring so expect similar.
    • Francesca – Traditional Italian food using healthy products and locally sourced ingredients to produce food based upon traditional Sicilian family recipes.
    • Frizzenti – sparkling and still wines on tap, Prosecco, Italian tapas, coffee and pastries…a more fun way to wait for a train.
    • Fuel – healthy fat free smoothies, freshly squeezed juices, super fuel health shots and wheatgrass shooters…Easy way to five a day.
    • Giraffe – freshly cooked food inspired by dishes from around the world.  Their core management team are local lads and they’ll also be serving up their famous brunch menu and offering deals at the bar.
    • Gobstoppers – will make you feel like a kid in a sweet shop with over 2,000 products from Pop Tarts to Jelly Belly, Reese’s to Wonka, Lucky Charms to Jolly Rancher and everything in-between.
    • Handmade Burger Co – burgers…lots of different types of burgers.
    • Muffin Break – muffins, other baked goods and hot drinks.
    • Nando’s – home of all things cheeky, plus chicken, piri piri sauce.
    • Paul – patisserie from humble beginnings in 1889 as a small bakery in France and now found all over the world.
    • Pho – Authentic Vietnamese street food…bit excited for this one.
    • Square Pie – British food that will put a smile on your face…and home to the pie world cup.
    • Tapas Revolution – Omar Allibhoy is bringing Spain to Birmingham with traditional, authentic Spanish food and wines – stay in or take out.
    • Tortilla – California-style burritos and tacos…and margaritas too.
    • Whittards – tea, all the tea! They do coffee and also cake too…glad this is back in the city.
    • YakiNori – little sister to the well loved Birmingham restaurant Woktastic, serving sushi, bento boxes and food from a teppanyaki grill.
    • Yo!Sushi – the conveyer belt of colourful dishes serving up sushi and other Japanese inspired dishes.

    Food and Restaurant News, News, Pop Ups and Streetfood

    Food & Drink news – August 2015


    It’s not just new venues occupying my Birmingham-ish food gossiping sessions; there’s plenty of tales of other food and drink related news too.  In an effort to spread the word – and clear my inbox, here are a few things that might interest you…

    The ‘Full Spanglish’ comes to Brum

    New independent Spanish bar and restaurant, El Borracho de Oro, is serving up a touch of España to Edgbaston with its new breakfast range.  The star of the menu is surely the Full Spanglish, which includes bacon, specially-made sausages with a hint of chorizo flavourings, Spanish black pudding morcilla, Spanish potatoes, eggs, toast and baked beans.  Other items on the breakfast menu include tortilla Espanola, churros con chocolate, croissants with jam, and bacon, sausage and egg sandwiches for the traditionalists.  Breakfasts will be served from 8am- 11.30am, Monday to Friday initially, with plans for weekend openings in the works.

    Itihaas opens in Manchester

    Not content with serving tasty curry to Brummies for over a decade, the team behind Itihaas have recently opened up in the other second city, Manchester.  This award-winning restaurant team with a focus on authentic South Asian food, including dishes from the northern Punjab to Kerala and Goa in the south, has opened in Manchester’s intu Trafford Centre.

    Itihaas also recently collaborated with a local microbrewery to create a craft beer, Sambha IPA, that matches their Indian cuisine.

    Record numbers at the Colmore Food festival

    The fifth annual Colmore Food Festival saw approximately 32,000 foodies visit the event over two days – 6,000 more visitors than last year.  Visitors were able to try out dishes from a number of eateries and drinkeries (if that’s a word) in the area, as well as enjoy on-stage cooking demos and live music from The 31st Birmingham Jazz and Blues Festival.  And they let me judge Best Dessert too.

    GPFNK sells out

    Guests have snapped up all 400 tickets for Glynn Purnell’s Friday Night Kitchen with Friends, in record time.  The October event sees Michelin-starred chef Glynn Purnell and Masterchef judge Gregg Wallace join forces to serve up a culinary adventure with TV personality and chef Rustie Lee serving the first course.  The audience will enjoy a four course meal prepared under Glynn’s guidance and served by the award-winning catering team at Villa Park, where the event is being staged.

    Meat free Mondays at Mockingbird

    Purveyors of all things animal-free, The Vegan Grindhouse will be serving up an Americana style menu at the Mockingbird Theatre, Bistro & Bar in the Custard Factory every Monday from 10th August.  Brunch will be served between 11am – 2pm, which will feature waffles, scrambled tofu, granola, BLT and bagels.  Dinner will see a weekly menu change all featuring food from different regions of the USA, with the likes of Philly cheesesteaks, meatball marinara subs, mac’n’cheese and all American sides and desserts.  There will also be vegan beers and soft drinks on sale, as well as free film screenings.

    re-think Tequila with Bodega

    If you think tequila is just a shot to be suffered at some point in a heavy night out, then Bodega, the South American bar and cantina on Bennetts Hill aims to change your mind, with a month dedicated to the spirit – and its cousin mezcal.  With a Tequila and mezcal masterclass planned for Thursday 13 August, as well as ‘Tequila of the Week’, a Taco & Tequila promotion and deals on the classic tequila cocktail the Paloma, there’s plenty of chances to change your mind on this spirit.

    Got some food and drink gossip you want to share?  Email me on  hello @ fulltothebrum . co . uk or catch me on Twitter or Facebook.

    Food and Restaurant News, News, Pub and Drinks News

    Coming Soon #5


    So this latest edition of Coming Soon (see editions one, two, three and four) is also a list of places that opened but I was too busy moving house and pretend to have a life to tell you about them.  Here are a few more soon to open and at the bottom are a few ones that you might have missed, as well as a goodbye to an old favourite…


    In the venue that used to be Kinnaree, opposite the Cube, Vivaanta is due to open at the end of July.  An Indian restaurant which will feature familiar dishes, there is said to be a fairly extensive seafood menu, and they’re also planning on specialising in cocktails.  They’re pretty active on Facebook, so worth having a look for updates;

    Eli’s Restaurant in Bearwood

    Whilst nearby Harborne might be claiming the area’s culinary crown, Eli’s restaurant might just make diners trek a little further.  Calling themselves an artisan restaurant, Eli’s aims to put itself at the heart of the community, welcoming diners to become part of the family and allowing them to discover and support local artists and crafts people.  From the looks of it, they’re aiming to open towards the end of August.

    Harvey Nichols

    With a fairly extensive refurbishment going on, Harvey Nics’ new look will include a large food market area and their restaurant is a collaboration with the Yummie Brummie himself, Michelin-starred chef Glynn Purnell.  Whilst I haven’t seen any official details on the place, a little bird did let me sneak a peek at their menus and it looks like it’s going to be pretty exciting.

    Mockingbird Bar & Bistro

    The cinema and theatre space in the Custard Factory has always seemed a little quiet, but fresh off the back of their success at the Sunflower Lounge, Big Papas are relaunching it as a bar and bistro.  The focus will be on fresh seasonal produce, with locally sourced produce and a drinks menu which takes inspiration from cocktail bars in Harlem but focuses on independently crafted drinks and the local breweries.  The bar and bistro is set to launch in August.

    Viva Brazil

    This award-winning restaurant and authentic Brazilian-style steakhouse is heading to Bennetts Hill in September, taking over the former Isaacs on the corner of Waterloo St.  They’re certainly going big with this are the two floors are set to seat 200 people, with 15 kinds of meat and 20 choices of salads on offer to hungry diners.  A variety of other Brazilian dishes will also be served and a menu which puts the Caipirinha at the heart of its cocktail menu is going to make it an interesting neighbour to fellow South American bar and cantina, Bodega.

    Adam’s is on the move

    This is more of an FYI, as Michelin-starred Adam’s restaurant, which always claimed its Bennetts Hill location was a temporary space, is set to move round the corner to Waterloo St. If proposals get the go ahead, their new home will be the locally listed art deco building, New Oxford House.

    Eagle and Ball

    Birmingham City University have been building like demons on the Eastside of the city centre.  Thankfully though, they’re incorporating the Grade II listed pub on Gopsall Street as part of their student hub.  It’s due to reopen in September this year.

    Celebz diner

    Currently based in Longbridge, Celebz is branching out to the old Sound Bar near the Children’s Hospital for its second venue.  They bill themselves as an All American Diner, with milkshakes, build your own burgers, peri-peri and southern fried chicken, and an extensive waffles and sundaes list for dessert.

    Meating Birmingham

    Taking over the old Mono bar in the Arcadian, Meating calls itself a steakhouse on Facebook.  It also says to “expect rare breed steaks, the best burgers, kebabs, all cooked on our bespoke charcoal BBQ” along with an in-house “Gelato parlour serving waffles, sundaes and shakes”. Due to open in September.

    Opened recently…

    Sunny’s Soul Shack at Sunflower Lounge

    With Big Papas moving on to the Mockingbird, Sunnys Soul Shack has taken over the kitchen and is keeping with the soul food cuisine.  Think rump steak beef mince burgers with rough cut chips, buttermilk chicken breast in a brioche roll and their signature Sunny’s Hash.

    Umami in Harborne

    This Indian kitchen and cocktail bar opened last month in Harborne with ex-Itihaas chef, Mandeep Bajwa at the helm.  I’ve already reviewed it here.

    El Borracho de Oro in Edgbaston

    I haven spectacularly failed to mention this new tapas restaurant in Edgbaston on any of the coming soon posts, which is an utter shame because their previous venture Don Diago had rave reviews. Also they’re now doing breakfasts called the ‘Full Spanglish’ which are available throughout the week and on the third Sunday of the month too.

    Vegan Store for Kings Heath

    It’s a wondered it took South Birmingham so long to acquire one of these, but they’re finally open in the cluster of shops just a bit further up the Alcester Rd from Kings Heath high st. Whilst they’re still a bit of a work in progress they seem to be stocking a fairly decent range of vegan products.

    Java Lounge in town

    After ten years, Independent Moseley based coffee shop has expanded to the city centre to take over the well-loved Hudsons tea house.  They have freshened the place up and whilst it doesn’t have the old world charm Hudsons used to, it has a nice nod to the history of coffee and the wide selection of cakes, milkshakes, sandwiches and coffees as their South Birmingham branch.

    Goodbye to…

    Yorks Bakery Cafe recently announced the closure of its Newhall St venue in a slightly bizarre news item on the website.  However it doesn’t seem all bad news at their Colmore Row venue is due to stay open and from their twitterings and article, it seems like it’s more of a Doctor-Who style metamorphosis into something new and exciting.

    Have I missed somewhere?  Birmingham seems to be awash with new venues this year so most likely!  If I have, please drop me an email hello @ FulltotheBrum or send me a tweet or Facebook message.