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Food and Restaurant News

    Food and Restaurant News, News

    Bookatable’s ten best in Birmingham

    Online booking system Bookatable have announced their top ten Birmingham reviews, after consulting users of their website.

    The website, which lets people book tables at restaurants which have signed up to the service, has analysed over 150,000 verified diner reviews and ratings from the Bookatable website to choose the winners.  It’s an interesting mix of Michelin star fine dining, Chinese and French cuisine restaurants.

    Full List of Top 10 Best Restaurants in Birmingham

    1. Purnell’s Restaurant

    2. Las Iguanas – Birmingham

    3. The Lost & Found

    4. Zizzi – Birmingham

    5. Café Rouge – Harborne

    6. Annexe Restaurant

    7. Asha’s Indian Bar & Restaurant

    8. Chung Ying Garden

    9. Hotel du Vin – Birmingham Church Street

    10. Miller & Carter – The Mailbox

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

    Bun & Bowl’s Valentine’s Day menu

    My love of burgers is well documented; to me they’re the perfect marriage of meat and bread.  So it feels a bit remiss of me that I’ve not yet made it to Bun & Bowl, however that was remedied when I was invited down to a blogger dinner to preview their Valentine’s Day menu.IMG_1494.JPG

    Ironically I’d spent the day writing about Valentine’s Day as a guest post for somewhere else, so I knew a lot about what was happening in the city.  The article has a mix of traditional candle lit dinners and quirky devil-may-care events; Bun & Bowl have created a menu which fits more towards the traditional but with some interesting quirks.

    As we sat down, we were treated to a glass of red fruit champagne, a mix of strawberry puree and champagne (similar to a Bellini) which was a much more interesting twist on a glass of bubbly, but in keeping with the celebration.  I also had what was named a Bramble but was made with citron vodka rather than gin.   Personally I found there to be a little too much citrus flavour because of this, but I’ve drunk a lot of Brambles over the years, and I expect most people wouldn’t notice the difference.

    To start we tried Surprises of a Passionate Heart; a mushroom ‘cappuccino’ made with hot soy milk it was, as you’d expect, was like a foamy mushroom soup.  It was accompanied with a smoked salmon, avocado and cream ballotine on a crostini which tasted fresh and light, the bread was toasted yet still chewy.  We were also given a sample of the Pearl for My Love; fresh oysters.  To be honest I’m not a big fan of oysters, but this one was tasty, although I found the bisque a little too lemony for my liking.

    For main course we were treated to a sample of their classic beef burger which was recreated for the evening with truffle dressing, port glazed onion and cheese, served with fresh potato fries.  The burger was well cooked and I enjoyed the collection of flavours but the sweet onions dominated, which I enjoyed, but made the other accompaniments a little redundant.  The fries were fine and the sauces used a garnish were great; a BBQ sauce which was sweet and smoky; and a mustard mayo with truffle dressing which cut through the zing of mustard which I’m not keen on, so conversely enjoyed this sauce.  Frankly, I’d have enjoyed more of the sauces with my fries, or even the BBQ sauce with the burger.

    To end we had strawberries with mint gratin, marshmallow, cacao and raspberries.  This was an unusual dessert and I was pleased to see something on a Valentine’s menu that wasn’t just a predictable chocolate fondant.  Together this was a lovely combination of flavours and as a vegan, gluten-free dish is a winner all round.

    Bun & Bowl’s Valentine’s Day menu is trying to do something different; they’re still keeping their original concept, but bringing in elements of fine dining and aphrodisiacs for the season.  The menu costs £30 a head for three courses and a glass of red champagne, plus music from violinist Rebecca Kohler Baratto.  For those who don’t think burgers are an ideal Valentine’s meal there are other more typical options on offer too.  There’s still a few tables left, but they’re booking up quickly.

    Disclosure: I was invited down to preview Bun & Bowl’s Valentine’s Day menu free of charge in exchange for an honest review of the food, with a bunch of other bloggers.  I wasn’t required to say anything nice, even if it is the season of love, and hopefully you’ve spotted that – and you’ve probably spotted my love of gin too.

    Food and Restaurant News, News

    Vacancies at The Botanist Birmingham

    It seems everyone interested in food and drink in Birmingham is pretty excited to hear about The Botanist opening on Temple St…well it’s one step closer to reality as they’ve announced they’re now starting recruitment for chefs, bartenders, waiters, barbacks and kitchen porters.  Interviews are expected to take place the week beginning 4th February and if you want to be in with a chance of getting one, head over to Living Ventures’ recruitment website and send in your CV – make sure to choose the Birmingham venue!

    Good luck to anyone applying!

    Cafe News, Food and Restaurant News, News, Pop Ups and Streetfood

    More new ventures for Birmingham


    Wow it’s a busy old time in Birmingham’s food and drink scene.  I blogged about five openings coming to the city and no sooner had I clicked ‘publish’ but a raft of others have appeared!  Here are another few places that have or are due to open in the city soon, plus a couple of pop ups and residences…

    Hare & Hounds Pop-ups

    From South Indian dosa to pie from Eastside and South African dishes, the Hare and Hounds is playing host to three pop-ups this month with Pop Up Dosa on the 15th, Savanna Grill on the 22nd and Pietanic on the 29th January.  Tickets for each of the events are £15 and available via their website.

    Big Papa’s Beautiful South to take over the Sunflower Lounge

    To be honest I didn’t even realise the Sunflower Lounge had a kitchen until the boys at Big Papa’s announced they were partnering with the venue.  Known for their soul food streetfood, Big Papa’s will be taking over the kitchen seven days a week from 21st January; expect blackened shrimp, buttermilk fried chicken and cola-pulled brisket on the menu.

    Cosy Club in the Midland Bank

    The rumour mill had the original Midland Bank pegged as many things, but the Birmingham Post announced a deal was struck and it’ll become the first city centre venture by the Loungers group, who already have a number of cafe-bars in the city.  Agreeing a 25 year lease and spending a raft of money on repairs and a substantial fit out of the Grade II listed building, the venue will become a Cosy Club café-bar and is expected to open sometime in the spring.

    Quinto Lounge in Sutton Coldfield

    But if you need your fix of a new Loungers venture, then Quinto Lounge in Sutton Coldfield town centre opens today (14th January).  Taking over a two-story furniture store on the Birmingham Road, the venue will echo it’s over locations with a retro home from home serving up all-day breakfasts plus tapas and burgers.

    Kyoto Sushi and Grill on Hurst Street 

    For a while sushi restaurants were a bit thin on the ground in Brum, but the tide is changing and with that comes Kyoto Sushi and Grill in the Arcadian on Hurst St.  With an all-you-can-eat buffet concept you get two hours to order and eat as much freshly prepared food, with over 70 dishes on the menu, including sushi, soups and handmade rolls.

    Food and Restaurant News, News

    Marmalade Birmingham – first look (kinda)

    In my previous Coming Soon to Birmingham post I mentioned Marmalade, but that was back when it was nothing more than a holding page on a website.  Now there’s a press release and some artist’s impressions and I have to say they look pretty good!

    Overlooking Centenary Square, Marmalade is a joint venture between the Birmingham Rep and Bitters ‘n Twisted.  With eclectic furnishings and handpicked quality wines, local ales, craft bottled beers and a range of cocktails it’s certainly keeping some of the elements we’ve come to know and love from BnT venues in a slightly different environment to what we’re used to seeing them do.  Food offerings include two and three course pre-theatre menus (£15.95 and £19.95 respectively) as well as light lunches and bar snacks.

    I’m looking forward to seeing what will come of this new venture, but Trina Jones, general manager at Birmingham Repertory Theatre, sums it up pretty well: “Our partnership with Bitters ‘n’ Twisted heralds an exciting time for us.  We’ve worked closely with Matt Scriven and his team to create a catering offer that will appeal to all of our customers, whether it’s a couple wanting to sit down for a meal pre-show or professionals who want a coffee over a meeting or those simply wanting to enjoy a drink after work.

    “Many of our customers want for a more relaxed catering offer at the theatre that offers the choice of either a set-course menu or a light snack so this sees us taking another step in significantly enhancing our customer experience.  It was essential for us that Marmalade is seen as a place for everyone interested in good food and not only a restaurant for theatre goers.”

    Scheduled to open in February 2015, Marmalade have teased us with some artist impressions of how the venue will look…

    They’re on most of the major social media platforms if you want to get following:, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

    Food and Restaurant News, News, Pub and Drinks News

    5 new openings for the city centre?


    2015, it’s the beginning of a new year and already I’ve been hearing some pretty substantial rumours about a raft of openings in the city.  It seems a shame to keep them to myself, so here are some of the stronger rumours I’ve heard – and where possible, links to more info!

    Bitters n Twisted’s 7th Birmingham venue

    Birmingham bar and restaurant group Bitters n Twisted are set to open their seventh Birmingham based venue next month with Marmalade, a bistro bar in the Birmingham Rep Theatre on Broad St. Their website is more of a holding page at the moment, but there is an example pre-theatre menu on their website which looks pretty tasty – seems seasonal, homemade dishes will be the order of the day. I’m looking forward to hearing more!

    Gas Street Social

    From the ashes of Bar Room Bar in the Mailbox?  From the team behind Shaker Group, Gas Street Social restaurant and bar is set to launch mid-March on Wharfside Street in the Mailbox. With 250 covers, this venue is set to serve simple, seasonal and modern European food, described as an urban neighbourhood kitchen. Given the Birmingham-based Shaker Group also run Shaker & Co bar and BarSchool in London, and run a consultancy for bars and restaurants internationally, Gas Street Social’s drinks list, containing cocktails, regional and international beers and fine wines should be something well worth checking out too.

    Mailbox Tavern

    John Bright St has rediscovered it’s roots as an entertainment hub; with The Victoria, Cherry Reds and Brewdog joined by Turtle Bay last year, it’s rapidly becoming a dining and drinking hotspot once again. But rumour has it the old Rosie O’Brien’s (the building in between Turtle Bay and Brook, with the red railings outside) has been snapped up by a Staffordshire based pub group and if all goes through, will be known as the Mailbox Tavern.

    The Botanist

    New World Trading Company’s first foray into Birmingham was announced last year, but I’m patiently awaiting it’s first offering to the city; The Botanist, due to open on Temple St – in March, if rumours are to be believed. Already proving popular in Leeds, Manchester and Newcastle, their deli and BBQ inspired food menu and selection of botanical cocktails, craft beers and ales, sounds pretty tempting!

    Spanish restaurant for Bennetts Hill

    And hot on the heels as another contender for food paradise is Bennetts Hill, with everything from fine dining to real ale, curry and South American cuisine. But rumour has it there’s a Spanish and Mediterranean restaurant that might be joining them.  Details are very scarce but there seems to be something cooking up at 9 – 10 Bennetts Hill in the shape of Amantia.

    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

    Second Ed’s Easy Diner for Birmingham

    As well as a snazzy new refurb, the Barclaycard Arena (previously known to Brummies at the NIA) is now home to the Birmingham’s second branch of Ed’s Easy Diner.

    Located on the canal-side of the arena, the London-based chain, which started in 1987, will already be familiar to Brummies as it has a location in Selfridges in the Bullring.  As you’d expect from a 1950s American-style diner there’s plenty of burgers, hot dogs and pulled pork on the menu, plus a drinks menu which includes floats and shakes…available as ‘skinny’ options or with a cheeky glug of rum (which I’d imagine will be handy if you’re having to put up with screaming crowds at a One Direction show).  Salads and children’s menus are also available as the venue will be open seven days a week from 10am.

    To celebrate their opening, anyone who signs up to the Ed’s Club via their website will receive a free burger.