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    Rub Smokehouse Birmingham opens

    Remember ages ago when I mentioned that Rub Smokehouse was coming to Birmingham?  Well it’s finally here and the launch party on Wednesday saw monumental trays of meat and cocktails a’flowing.

    Located in the old Living Room venue (or briefly Duelling Pianos, if you remember that), Rub Smokehouse has a lovely view over the canal or great for people watching on Broad St (and lets face it, that could be really interesting of a Friday and Saturday night).

    It never really seems fair to review places based on launch parties, so I’m hoping to go back soon and do a proper review.  Sadly I managed to leave my SD card for my proper camera at home, but here are a few shots from my phone to give you a glimpse as to what the place is like…

    Drinks, Food and Restaurant News, News, Pub and Drinks News

    Argentinean wine dinner at Opus


    At a loose end tomorrow evening and like your wine? Opus on Cornwall St is hosting a dinner and drinks pairing with a range of wine from the vineyards of the Mendoza region in Argentina.

    During the evening, wine from Opus supplier Eduardo Pulenta’s prestigious estate will be expertly paired with five specially-prepared courses created by Opus’ chefs. Opus are notoriously proud of their suppliers and it’s a rare opportunity to meet and learn more about them. Eduardo will educate and regale diners with stories from his family vineyard in the beautiful but demanding landscape in the shadow of the Andes Mountains.

    Ann Tonks, managing director at Opus, said: “It’s a pleasure to have Eduardo in the restaurant and showcasing his beautiful wines. The Pulenta family have been growing grapes since 1912 and Eduardo’s passion shines through when he’s telling customers about their award-winning wine.”

    The dinner costs £75 per person and includes five courses, an aperitif, wine with each course and service. For more information call 0121 200 2323.

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    Coming Soon #4


    Yep, it’s tine for another Coming Soon post…the fourth one of 2015.  This isn’t as long as the last few, but there’s some new and exciting places to look out for, including a brand new bar which I’ve just heard about, permanent pop-ups and pop ups permanently popping up (try saying that quickly).  The fact that there’s enough new places opening to justify a fourth ‘coming soon’ post feels like 2015 is a pretty exciting time for Birmingham’s food and drink scene (now, how to find the time to visit them all).

    The Night Owl

    Rumour has it a Northern Soul and Motown bar is coming to Lower Trinity Street in Digbeth at the end of June.  If my sources are right (and this is a good one) “The bar will boast a spring wooden floor perfect for dancing and be open every night playing a variety of associated music styles such as Motown, boogaloo, ska & funk but the big nights will be pure Northern Soul including an all ages night for the younger fans.”  Check them out on Twitter at @nightowlbham or Night Owl’s Facebook page for more updates.

    Epi chef moves to St Andrews Town Hotel

    After enjoyed a lovely lunch at Restaurant Epi in Bromsgrove earlier in the year, I was disappointed to hear that they were shutting up shop.  However chef Nathan Eades has put his plans to open a venue in Birmingham on hold to take up the position of head chef at St Andrews Town Hotel in Droitwich Spa…which is sorta near Birmingham.  It sounds like a great move for Nathan and I wish him all the best (and if I can figure out how to get there, might even pop down for lunch).

    Two Cats aren’t roaming anymore

    I’ve already referenced this in a blog post, but it would be remiss of me not to include it in its own right on a Coming Soon post.  The fantastic pop-up Two Cats Roaming Kitchen, who I’ve enjoyed dining with on several times, have announced that they will be opening their own permanent restaurant in the city’s Jewellery Quarter.  I honestly can’t wait.

    Sixteen bakery

    The team behind Sixteen, a small kitchen / bakery in the Piccadilly Arcade already supply their coffee shop neighbours Faculty with sweet treats, but it looks like they’ll be opening their own doors soon enough.  As well as cakes, they’ll be offering breakfasts and lunches…and if their photos on Facebook are anything to go by, we’re in for a treat!

    Amanzi and Empire

    The Birmingham Mail recently announced that a Liverpool venue popular with soap stars, footballers and singers is due to open a Birmingham branch at The Cube this summer.  The Liverpool venue, which opened earlier in the year, is the brainchild of Wolverhampton businessman Riad Erraji, who the article also reports might also be opening a bar next door to Amanzi, called Empire, which is due to open in July.  Amanzi, which is apparently Zulu for water, is said to have a pan-Asian menu focusing on fresh food from local suppliers, including beef from British native herds and a regional cheese board.

    Permanent pop up at at Six Eight Kafe

    Six Eight Kafé in Millennium Point is opening up its commercial kitchen to Birmingham’s exciting culinary talent as it announces a permanent pop-up space.  Following the success of Niki Astley from Two Cats Roaming, who used the venue after hours, the coffee-shop-by-day will be opening its space to a range of chefs wanting to challenge themselves.

    Jason Goodger, manager of Six Eight Kafé, says: “Taking place at our unique location in Millennium Point, our pop-up restaurants will be a formidable force to be reckoned with here in the heart of the Midlands.  We encourage any chef who would relish the opportunity to demonstrate their talent and culinary skills to enthusiastic and discerning diners to come forward and join us on our food revolution journey!”

    The next pop-up restaurants feature Michael Crew, Josh Porter and Chris Dance from En Place on Thursday 14th May and Friday 15th May, Mike Bullard and Jamie Desogus from the Harborne Kitchen / The Butcher’s Social on Friday 29th May, and Kam and Cat from the Live & Raw Food Restaurant on Saturday 6th June.

    Grand Central Birmingham

    Okay technically we already knew there were a bunch of new places opening this September when Grand Central Birmingham finally (hopefully) opens its doors but it looks like there’s even more food and drink places to whet our appetite, including Fuel Juice Bars and Frizzenti (sparkling wine, cocktails) bar, which have been confirmed and there’s also talk of an American candy store and somewhere selling fresh coconut macaroons too!

    Doner Kebab on Bull St

    If you’ve had the misfortune to walk down Bull St recently you’d be forgiven for missing this what will all the tram works going on, but it looks like a new venture appearing soon.   With branches in the United Arab Emirates and Sweden, the group are due to expand to Oman, Qatar, London and Brum soon.  For more information, visit their website

    Not really new: Wrapchic and Quarter Horse Coffee

    Okay so I’ve somehow missed these off previous Coming Soon posts, but it’s worth mentioning them for anyone that might have missed them too.  Quarter Horse Coffee is a new coffee shop with an in-house roastery located on Bristol St in the Southside area of the city centre  Everyone I know that’s made it down there has had really lovely things to say, so I’m looking forward to checking it out myself.

    Indian and Mexican burrito infusion food Wrapchic, who used to have a location in that arcade near House of Fraser I never remember the name of, has recently opened in the Bullring on upper mall west which is sort of between Gap and Debenhams.

    Any that I’ve missed? Feel free to email me, send me a tweet or drop me a Facebook message!

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    Botanist Birmingham first bite

    It doesn’t open officially until Monday, but I was lucky enough to be invited down to check out the Botanist Birmingham ahead of the opening of its wrought-iron gates to the public.

    I spent far too much of the evening exclaiming “isn’t it pretty” but it’s true.  There’s lots of lovely quirks and features; wrought iron, chemistry sets, ornate lighting, a variety of seating and a well stocked bar.  It’s definitely a space which will work well during the day for a coffee or crafty cocktail, but also in the evenings for a relaxed dinner and/or drinks.   Despite being in the heart of the city centre, Botanist Birmingham have cleverly managed to make an outdoor space which will be perfect for the warmer weather.

    The team, led by Julian Rose-Gibbs, previously of The Victoria on John Bright St, were attentive, polite and well informed.  It’s always nice to hear staff give recommendations, and even between when they feel genuine, which these did.  Bar manager Katie Rouse’s suggestions for cocktails were spot on.

    I tried a couple of their cocktails as well as a few dishes on the menu and was impressed with each of them.  I’m looking forward heading back to try out some more of their offerings and will report back soon.  In the mean time, here’s some photos from my evening…

    Botanist Birmingham, Temple St, Birmingham City Centre

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    Coming Soon to Birmingham #3


    It’s time for another of those Coming Soon posts, because it seems 2015 is THE year to open up in Birmingham.  With Gas Street Social already open and positive reports flooding in, it’s been joined by a few others I mentioned in a couple of my other Coming Soon posts – Amanita on Bennets Hill has just opened and The Botanist on Temple St is due to open in a couple of weeks.  So that means there’s space for some more names on the Coming Soon board…

    Rub Smokehouse
    With their first venue opening in Nottingham late last year, Rub Smokehouse and Bar are looking to expand to Birmingham in the summer.  All about American style smoked meats, think brisket, burgers, low and slow cooked pork shoulder, plus bourbon and a range of cocktails.  Given the city’s appetite for low and slow smokehouse style food it looks like an interesting addition, plus with a late night cocktail bar and a license til 4am it sounds like a night out in one venue.

    I can find very little information about this, other than it’s going to be a bar and grill located in The Mailbox.  Their Facebook page went live end of last year, but they’re clearly not advertising it…however rumour has it there is some goings on.  It looks like Coventry-based 360 Commercial Interiors might be involved in the refurb and there’s a rather snazzy logo on their website’s holding page – could it be hinting to some molecular style cocktails, perhaps? EDIT: a little bird tells us it might be a Nuvo venture, but don’t quote me on that.

    Bistrot Pierre
    Serving up provincial French cooking in a relaxed atmosphere and established in 1994, the privately owned family company has 12 bistrots located around the country, including Stratford upon Avon and Leamington Spa, and it looks like they’re coming to Birmingham (and Bath and Newport).  They’re aiming to open in a former tollhouse on Gas St, not far from Broad St and the Mailbox, although there are no dates confirmed as of yet.

    Focusing on memory, place and nature, Nomad is a three month residency run by Alex Claridge, previously of Bistro 1847 and Warehouse Cafe.  It’s being held at the Kitchen Garden Cafe in Kings Heath from the beginning of April with two fixed menus on Fridays and Saturdays, ranging between four and twelves courses, with menus changing regularly to incorporate ingredients as and when they’re ready from foragers and their allotment.

    Soho Rooms
    Set to open on 24 March in an ex-strip club, the Soho Rooms on Holloway Head  are aiming to be a luxurious steak restaurant, bar, Shisha lounge and karaoke.

    Nosh and Quaff
    I’ve tweeted and facebooked about this a lot already but managed to miss it off the previous Coming Soon posts, and as the name for 130 Colmore Row’s newest occupant was finally announced recently and the signage has gone up it seems worth mentioning.  From the group that brought you Lasan, Fiesta del Asado and Raja Monkey comes Nosh & Quaff, lobster and beer focused -a venue no doubt aiming to attract the afterwork crowd.  Expect to see them opening around May time.

    Ever since they closed their doors to make way for the new Paradise Circus development, Woktastic have been teasing us with the prospect of a new venue…and then they announce three!  Along with the re-opening of a city centre Woktastic in spring (exact location to be confirmed), owner Ali Karakaya has also announced Yaki Nori, a fast food concept which will open in Selly Oak and Grand Central Birmingham.

    Praza by Pushkar
    Broad Street based restaurant and cocktail bar is expanding out to the Hagley Road in Edgbaston.  Praza will continue Pushkar’s North Indian cuisine, but also hopes to bring a more international flavour to its dishes all headed up by head chef Bishal Rasaily.

    La Tasca at Barclaycard Arena
    Was I the only person not to notice La Tasca quietly close their previous Birmingham venue?  Well they’re returning to the city with a new location in the Barclaycard Arena and are due to open at the end of the month.  The Spanish tapas restaurant joins Ed’s Easy Diner as the second restaurant in the newly refurbished arena.

    Fiddle and Bone
    Okay, so this one is already open by I missed it off both lists last time and was rightly berated for it.  I’m yet to go down, but the sympathetic restoration and return of live music to this well loved pub has drawn some positive reports.

    Any that I’ve missed? Feel free to email me, send me a tweet or drop me a Facebook message!

    Food and Restaurant News, News

    Fiesta del Asado’s gift that keeps giving


    After calling on diners to unburden themselves of superfluous Christmas presents, Argentine restaurant, Fiesta del Asado, donated the gifts to a local charity.

    Offering up a tasty discount in exchange for the new and unused but unwanted gifts, Fiesta del Asado on the Hagley Rd donated them to Digbeth based St Basils charity which supports young people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.  The charity helps young people regain the stability needed to rebuild their lives, gain skills, training and employment, ultimately aiming to break the cycle of homelessness.

    Lucy Hackett, head of fundraising for St Basils, said: “We know that the team at Fiesta del Asado have been working really hard to raise awareness of the work of St Basils in Birmingham as part of this special campaign, as well as encouraging their staff and customers to get involved and kindly donate gifts. We’re really grateful to have their support.”

    Read my review of Fiesta del Asado.

    Food and Restaurant News, News

    A taste of Marmalade Birmingham

    Marmalade, Bitters ‘n Twisted newest venue, has released some photos of what diners can expect when they open later today in the Birmingham Rep Theatre.

    The photos, taken by Jack Spicer Adams, include: Baharat Chicken Thighs, Lentil Dahl, Garlic Leaves, Saffron Aioli; Bosworth Ash Goat’s Cheese & Watercress Pancakes, Apple Chutney; Carpaccio of Venison, Parsnip & Walnut Salad with a Bloody Mary Dressing; Chocolate Brownie Sundae, Chocolate Sauce, Whipped Marshmallow and Orange; and Roast Aubergine, Lentil, Feta, Basil leaves, Chick Peas, Croutons, Curry Oil, Raisins, Shiitake Mushroom Salad.  Check out the menu here.

    For those early birds looking for a bargain, Marmalade are offering on a first come, first served basis 50% off food and drink prices for people who book online to dine between Friday 6th to Wednesday 11th February 2015 – and I hear there are still a few spaces left.