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    News, Pub and Drinks News

    The Digbeth Dozen map launches

    I like food. I like Digbeth. And I like maps.

    So top marks to The Ruin, who have unveiled a massive big map on the side of their wall showcasing some of their great neighbours – and having the guts to effectively point out where the competition is.

    The map, a 16ft by 10ft graffiti-style map, created by local artist as Andy Mills (also known as Title, apparently, because I am not cool enough to know these things) points out twelve of Digbeth’s best independent places to eat and drink.  Commissioned by The Ruin’s owner, Richard Hughes, it’s an ode to Digbeth with its realism-meets-traditional graffiti-style embodying the industrial-past and cool, new future of one of Birmingham’s favourite suburbs.  I mean, I like a lot of Birmingham suburbs but Digbeth is definitely in the list of one of the good ones. Even if it is severely lacking in cash-points.

    The Digbeth Dozen title refers to twelve independent and unique neighbours, unsurprisingly in Digbeth, and includes The Anchor pub on Bradford Street; Ghetto Golf, The Mockingbird Cinema & Kitchen, Clink and Kanteen, all in the Custard Factory; new kid on the block Dig Brew Co’s brewery and taproom on River Street; Digbeth Dining Club, which everyone should really know about by now; Tucked away tapas joint Rico Libre; Birmingham’s oldest pub, The Old Crown; The Spotted Dog on Alcester Street; and Baked in Brick which is due to open in May – and of course, The Ruin itself. It’s an incredibly strong list of places, with pretty much something for everyone, and showing that whilst Digbeth might look a bit like it’s knocking around waiting for HS2, it’s actually a hive of activity, you just have to know where to look – which is where a map comes in pretty bloody handy.  Someone really should make some nice postcards of this thing so we can put them in tourist information.

    The Ruin’s owner, Richard Hughes has this to say about the map; “Since opening The Ruin, Digbeth in September 2017, its been exciting to get to know our neighbours in the area and to check out each unique spot to eat, drink or socialise in. From Spanish tapas with a Brummie twist to delicious vegetarian brunches, 18 holes of crazy golf to blockbuster and arthouse film screenings, and new craft beer spaces as well as traditional city boozers, the Digbeth Dozen offering really is as varied as it gets in this exciting and creative quarter. We wanted to mark the exciting new period in the area’s history – and what better way than with an exclusive mural-style map to help people find their way!?”

    If you’re not familiar, The Ruin is situated on the corner of Floodgate Street and Little Ann Street in Digbeth.  Some readers may be familiar with this Grade II listed building formerly known as The Eagle, Horan’s Tavern and The Floodgate Tavern.  Offering local ales, coffee roasted in nearby Shropshire, and a heart European menu using regional ingredients, The Ruin also has a packed listings of events including live music, DJ sets and open mic.  It’s basically what you want in a modern pub – and pretty spot on for Digbeth.

    www.theruindigbeth.com

    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.

    http://www.grandcentralbirmingham.com/Information/Shops-and-Restaurants

    Food and Restaurant News, News, Pub and Drinks News

    Coming Soon #5

    comingtobrum5

    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…

    Vivaanta

    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; https://www.facebook.com/vivaanta

    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. http://elisrestaurant.co.uk/

    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. http://www.vivabrazilrestaurants.com/

    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. http://celebz.co.uk/

    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. http://thatmeatingplace.com/

    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. https://www.facebook.com/Sunnyssoulshack

    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. www.elborracho.co.uk

    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. http://www.theveganstore.co.uk/

    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. http://www.javaloungecoffee.com/

    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. www.yorksbakerycafe.co.uk

    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 .co.uk or send me a tweet or Facebook message.

    Events, News, Pub and Drinks News

    Birmingham Cocktail Weekend announces line up

    Image 1. Main

    Need an excuse to spend a weekend drinking cocktails? Of course you don’t, but here’s one anyway!  The inaugural Birmingham Cocktail Weekend is taking place from 10 – 12th July, with over 20 venues in the city taking place and a raft of events on the schedule too.

    The idea is you buy a wristband, which then allows you to buy signature cocktails at a number of venues for £4 each.  There are also a number of events taking place during the weekend which wristband holders will get access to – including a number of drinks tastings, discounted masterclasses and free tastings.

    Venues taking part include: The Lost and Found, Gas Street Social, The Jekyll and Hyde,The Rose Villa Tavern, Malmaison, Pentahotel, Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, Bodega, Chung Ying Central, Marmalade, The Vaults, Cosy Club, The Eight Foot Grocer, The Victoria, The New Inn Harborne, Quarter Horse Coffee, The Bureau, Aluna, Bar Epernay, Pennyblacks, The Gentleman and Scholar, Island Bar and The Chameleon Bar & Restaurant.

    There are also a number of events; Hendricks gin tasting at The Jekyll and Hyde, Jim Beam bourbon masterclass at The Bureau, Burleigh’ s gin Afternoon Tea Experience at The Edgbaston, discounted whisky masterclasses at Hard to Find Whisky, Secret BLOOM GIN Garden behind the bookcase at The Lost and Found, Build your own “Brummy” Mary at Bar Opus, Grey Goose Sunday Lunch at The New Inn, Sunday Cocktail KitchInn at the Staying Cool Penthouse and free tastings from Tia Maria, Grey Goose, Bacardi and Disaronno.

    Alex Nicholson-Evans, founder of Birmingham Cocktail Weekend, explains “This is the perfect excuse to explore some of the new venues in the city, visit old favourites and adventure to places you haven’ t been before. The free sampling sessions and the masterclasses are a great chance to get to know the spirits behind some of your favourite cocktails too. For cocktail lovers – this weekend is an absolute must.”

    Birmingham Cocktail Weekend wristbands are £6 and available from; www.birminghamcocktailweekend.co.uk

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

    Argentinean wine dinner at Opus

    Vista_del_viedo

    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. www.opusrestaurant.co.uk

    News, Pub and Drinks News

    Liquid Chef joins Bar Opus

    Bar Opus Carl Hawkins and Sam Cross pic 2Whoa, this is exciting news for a Monday Tuesday evening…Carl Hawkins, Gin-tleman, Liquid Chef and all round cocktail king has been appointed at Bar Opus’ new general manager.

    Carl previously ran the gin lovers’ paradise The Jekyll & Hyde pub, which, as well as being well loved in the city, was a national finalist for “Best Spirit Pub” in 2013 and “Best Cocktail Menu” by Class Magazine in 2011.  Along with Julian Rose-Gibbs, he also was one of the founders of the Birmingham Association of Bartenders and has been committed to cultivating the next generation of bartenders for over a decade.

    Bar Opus is located in One Snowhill, in the heart of Birmingham’s business district.  As part of the Opus family it uses the freshest produce from a range of British and sustainable suppliers, and also engages with British spirit suppliers to create its inspiring cocktails. I’ve been down to Bar Opus a few times and always enjoyed it and can’t wait to see what fantastic additions Carl makes to the place.

    Speaking about his new role, Carl said: “I am excited to become a part of, what I consider, a legacy project. I believe that Bar Opus will become a Birmingham institution and will be here for many years to come. We will be bringing a contemporary technique to cocktail making that will keep customers coming back. Bar Opus will exceed expectations of what a cocktail bar in Birmingham should be and we will redefine  the cocktail and dining experience.”

    http://baropus.co.uk/

    Food and Restaurant News, News, Pub and Drinks News

    Coming Soon #4

    comingtobrum4

    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 http://donerkebab.ltd.uk/

    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 http://quarterhorsecoffee.com.  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. http://wrapchic.co.uk/

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