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    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

    Round ups

    March round up

    So March Madness…that’s a thing.  I’m trying to get out of the habit of saying it was a busy one, because, frankly, they all seem to go that way and after a while the philosophical part of my brain kicks in and I start wondering about the nature of the phrase.

    So yeah, March happened.  It was a busy kind of month generally and I’m still having some sort of blogging existential crisis, so I was pleasantly surprised to find I’ve actually posted six times this month, which was about four more than I expected.  Okay, okay most of those posts weren’t exactly very long, but it’s the thought that counts right?


    Actually it was a bit of a reflective month for me, and I’d finally gotten round to summing up my concerns about the spate of venue openings last year and what it means going forward.  It seemed to get a good reaction (well on Facebook, no one leaves me comments unless I make them for competitions) so I’m tempted to do a few month food related pondering.  Don’t worry the necessary and sufficient conditions of cake won’t be one of them.

    The lovely Dave at BrumHour guest interviewed me for his radio show and whilst I refuse to listen back I’m pretty sure I blathered on about how complimentary meals aren’t really ‘free’ given the pay off of work that goes into them, but that doesn’t mean I don’t like giving away actual free things to people who read the blog…which I got to do thanks to hungry house and their Top Takeaway awards.  Talking of new places, I wandered down to Friska, a Bristolian cafe which has come to Brum and located itself in Brindley Place.


    I ate out way more than I actually got round to posting (they’re coming soon, honest) but one of the things I had to do ASAP was when I finally met one of the Pierateers and we ate pie at The Botanist for National Pie Week.  I’m kind of tempted to see how many of these things I can jump on board with, along with fellow bloggers in the city.

    I spent one Sunday at the awesome ImpactHub in Digbeth, attempted to a) pretend I know what I’m doing with my fancy camera and b) taking photos of things that aren’t food.  I rapidly concluded that it’s probably best for everyone if continue taking photos of my dinner and being surprised by what my magic camera produces.  But it did provide me with an excellent excuse to go back to Original Patty Men.


    And then at the end of March, well near enough, was Easter.  Religious stuff aside, I know for most people it’s all about the chocolate but for me it’s the hot cross buns.  I’d been entirely meaning to do an in-depth comparison of Loaf Vs Peel & Stone hot cross buns but frankly they were both great and I can say this with great clarity as I ate a lot of them.

    So April; well I’m off to Bar & Block tomorrow, Beefeater’s near steakhouse concept, so that’ll be going on the blog; as will my ode to chicken katsu curry (or chicken cats curry as my spell check keeps trying to autocorrect) at the newly refurbished Wagamama in the Bullring; a return to Benugo in Grand Central; Brum Breakfast Club at Nomad…and err, hopefully some other stuff.

    As always, I love getting emails and messages from people.  If there’s anything you want to tell me about drop me an email on hello @ fulltothebrum . co . uk or catch me on Twitter or Facebook.

    Round ups

    January update

    janaury_diaryOrdinarily I’d do a bit of a January round up about this time, but given I’ve only posted four times in January it seemed kinda pointless.  No one actually said anything, so I’m not even sure if anyone noticed that the blog had been a little quiet but it was a deliberate thing, I needed a break.  You see the thing about blogging, at least the way I’ve done it, is that it can get a bit all consuming – feeling the need to say yes to every opportunity, being out almost every night and the ones I’m not were spent editing photos or writing or scheduling social media.  And I’m not complaining, because it’s all on me, but this is a hobby and over the last few months I was feeling a bit burnt out by it.

    And one thing I’ve begun to realise is that it’s important to be kind to yourself.  And like almost everyone else, although unusual for me, I made some New Year’s Resolutions.  Last year felt like it was all about food blogging and I’m trying to rebalance my life, because I’m immensely proud of this blog and so ridiculously thankful for the opportunities its provided, but I wanted to feel like my I had more hobbies than blogging, even if it’s watching hours of Netflix guilt-free.

    One of my New Year’s Resolutions is inspired by a project I’m doing with IKEA.  It’s called ‘Live Lagom’ and it’s the idea that just the right amount is enough; it’s about living a more sustainable life.  And I figured that one of the best things I could do was be more mindful of what I ate, by cooking more at home, eating better and producing less waste.

    So where does this leave Full to the Brum? 

    Well after giving myself a month off from self-directed pressure, I’m feeling more positive about things.  To be honest, I’ve probably spent as much time focusing on food, but I’ve been meal planning and modifying recipes and battling with my food tracker app to try and work out what constitutes as a good meal.  I’ve still been going out for dinner and I’ve got a bunch of reviews to share with you, but I’ve also got some recipes too, as well as some other food and drink adventures.

    Sorry, this isn’t the usual irreverence you’ve come to know from me, and that will be back, I promise.  But I felt like I owed this blog, and its readers, an explanation – and myself a reminder that it’s okay to take a step back every once and a while.

    Round ups

    December round up

    Hey up, how was everyone’s Christmas?  I fully planned to do loads of blogging but then decided that a rest was probably a wiser plan.  Unlike nearly everyone else celebrating Christmas, my carb-phobic mother means we don’t really do overindulging and as well as a five mile walk on Christmas day and my Boxing Day was spent cycling and another five mile walk.  Although my mum did cook a great fish pie for Christmas Eve and a glorious pheasant dish for Boxing Day.  Christmas day was a mountain of food at my aunt’s house, along with my boozy sticky toffee pudding which I’ve made every year for the last four (and was specially requested).

    gas_st_social_festive_drinksPre-Christmas I stumbled into a three course meal at my friend’s house, which was truly something…it was definitely a great precursor to Christmas.  It wasn’t the only festive Christmas stuff I did, as I went to a festive mini-bar crawl at The Mailbox including Aluna and Gas Street Social.  I also put together a little Birmingham food and drink gift guide, for anyone looking for last minute food inspiration.

    December always feels like one of those months for running about the place, seeing friends and family, catching festive shows and the like – I was at the Hippodrome twice, once for the Nutcracker with my mum and another time to see Aladdin.  I also wrote up my trip to the BBC Good Food Show winter, along with all the fantastic things I got to try.


    Talking of new things to try, one of my favourite new venue openings happened in December – Original Patty Men and Siren Craft Brew opened a fantastic little venue in Shaw’s Passage, just round the corner from The Bullring.  I also re-visited Sabai Sabai for Loy Krathon, although this was the first time I’ve gotten round to writing stuff up for the blog.

    Writing it all down, I didn’t get to do a great deal of blogging in December, which means that January will probably be another busy month.  Over the break I went to check out Resorts World and visited Waters Restaurant and like most people I’ve also made some New Year’s Resolutions so I’ll be cooking more, which may or may not mean more recipes.  And of course, Happy New Year to you, have you made any resolutions yourself?

    Round ups

    Ten food/drink gift ideas for Brummies


    If you’re struggling to come up with a present for the food and drink lover in your life then here are a few ideas.  I’m pretty crap at knowing what I want for Christmas, but usually alright at buying stuff for other people.  These are mostly Birmingham-based and some are really good last minute ideas too…

    Independent Birmingham card

    Want to give someone a gift that keeps on giving, right through ’til next Christmas?  Then the Independent Birmingham card is perfect.  It has a positively dizzying array of discounts at a number of pubs, bars, cafes and restaurants, as well as a bunch of non-food places (yeah, that’s a thing, who knew).  Did I mention there’s a Michelin-starred restaurant on their offer role?!  What’s more, they’re doing a deal if you buy two cards at once, so that’s one for a friend and one for you – after all, sharing is caring.

    Tickets to Whisky Birmingham

    Anyone else like presents which means you get to continue Christmas a few days after the 25th?  Well then, getting someone tickets for Whisky Birmingham festival means you can carry on celebrating right through until 12th March (that might be pushing it).  And what a celebration you’ll have as Birmingham’s festival of whisky and whiskey (and bourbon) showcases some of the best whiskies from around the world.  What better way to spend a Saturday?

    A bottle of Langley’s Gin

    A bottle of gin under the Christmas tree is always going to make me happy, but when it’s a bottle of the local stuff then event better.  Distilled in the B postcode area at the well respected Langley distillery, Langley’s Gin has a mix of eight traditional botanicals that produce a lovely smooth gin, which could be drunk over ice, as well as with a good quality tonic or in a cocktail.   

    A cookery class from Loaf

    Stirchley’s Loaf does more than just make amazing bread (seriously it’s great, as are their sweet bakes too), it also hosts a cookery school, teaching everything from bread basics to butchery, seafood and foraging.  As well as running some of the classes themselves, they also use a range of well known culinary geniuses from around the region.  I did the bread basics one a few years ago and went home with armfuls of bread, as well as more confidence in bread baking.

    Yipsy Macarons

    What do you get the person who has everything? Food of course, you can never have too much food! And whilst it’s Christmas, a bag full of cheese might be a bit much, but something light, delicate and indulgent would be perfect.  Yipsy Macarons’ limited edition Christmas-themed macarons include festive flavours of gingerbread and mince pies, and are hand decorated with snowflakes and other festive scenes.


    Okay, not strictly Birmingham, but dotcomgiftshop do deliver here.  There’s lots of lovely food related things on there and I really like this recipe tin which I was recently sent – I’m terrible at remembering to write down recipes, so having this tin in the kitchen is really handy, as I can scrawl the ingredients down on a card and recreate the recipe later. 

    A hamper from Anderson & Hill

    Anderson & Hill is a great little deli in the Great Western Arcade and full of treats throughout the year (not least of all their epic sandwiches).  But at Christmas you can customise your own hamper – for a gift or just for your own really special Christmas.  With everything from cured meats to coffee, alcohol, chutneys as far as the eye can see and lots of other treats, the only real struggle you’ll have will be either finding a hamper large enough, or your wallet hampering your options.

    A cocktail masterclass

    Got a group of friends and getting a bit bored of secret santa?  Why not treat each other to a group cocktail masterclass?  There’s a bunch of places in Birmingham doing them, including Island Bar, The Edgbaston and Bar Opus, and you get the added benefit of avoiding dry January and having fun with your friends…and you don’t have to wrap anything.

    Gift vouchers for Carters

    So I can’t claim any credit for finding this one, my sister sent me a gift voucher for Carter’s of Moseley as last year’s Christmas present and I put it towards a Sunday supper which was awesome.  You can buy the gift vouchers in denominations for £20, £30, £50, £100 and £200 straight from Carter’s and can be put towards food and drink at this Michelin starred restaurant.


    Okay, okay this is such an obvious one that I know you’ve already eyed up a selection box whilst in the supermarket.  But why not try something a little different?  Chouchoute in the Great Western Arcade opened in 2002 and sell luxury chocolates made by their artisan chocolatier.  Charlie’s Mom’s Chocolate Factory can often be found at craft fairs in and around the city (the latest one was Bearwood).  But of course there’s always a box of Cadbury’s Roses too.

    Disclosure: I wrote this because it’s Christmas and I wanted to do something nice.  Photos aren’t mine, they’re mainly promo photos, but the macaron photo is by stacie tamaki the chocolate by Artizone and the cocktail kit photo is by ProFlowers – all from Flickr.

    Round ups

    November Round up

    Hola! So, well, what a month.  It was busy, of course aren’t they all, but this month particularly so because I decided at the beginning of the month I’d try and blog every day in November.  I got to about the 18th before realising that I totally admire people who do this, but it isn’t for me.  Sure, a lot of content was published and I cleared some of my backlog, but it also saw way too many three minutes to midnight postings – I just didn’t get to spend the time on the posts that I wanted to and yeah.  Anyway, it did make me realise that I procrastinate way too much and if I put my mind to it I can find more time to blog…so hopefully good things will come.



    I did get to write up some event reports though, so that was a positive.  One of them was for the return of Rib Nights, which was actually the first one I managed to get to because I was always busy when they came round last time.  It also reminded me why I don’t like eating ribs in public, because holy hell are they messy.  Talking of returns, I went to the last Birmingham UK Burger Battle and I’m hoping they return too.

    There weren’t a massive amount in the way of restaurant reviews, but there were a fair few pop ups.  Ahead of opening their permanent venue in BOM Lab, I went to Nomad’s Man and the Myth pop up at Urban Coffee Co, which was delicious. Birmingham Breakfast Club held another of their special breakfasts, this time at Simpson’s, a three course breakfast which was just superb.  Breakfast pudding, lets make that a thing, folks.  I also got to meet Marco Pierre White as he came to Birmingham.


    Afternoon Tea and Casual Dining

    For something more casual I posted my review of Sunny’s Soul Shack, which took over the Sunflower Lounge’s kitchen a few months ago, with it’s deep south Americana vibe.  And then for another international cuisine there was Treat Greek Deli in the Great Western Arcade – somewhere that I’ve been back to for their Bugatsa a couple of times since.

    I’ve been eating my way through Birmingham’s afternoon tea too.  I finally got round to posting about a trip to Cadbury World to check out their afternoon tea, because any excuse to go to Cadbury World is a’okay by me.  Another favourite place, the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery’s new cafe is somewhere that I’ve had a bit of a soft spot for, and I got to check on BMAG’s afternoon tea as part of a blogger event.  Then a few weeks later some friends and I booked in to go to The Edgbaston for afternoon tea…oh, my, lord.


    Products and Recipes

    Talking of sweet treats, I stumbled across Mr Kipling’s cocktail fancies which were three different flavours of cocktail, and teapigs everyday brew…really I could’ve had my own afternoon tea at home.  I did try out some savoury food too; Holy Cow curry sauces which, as a Birmingham resident, were always going to need to be pretty top notch to rival something I could get out and about.

    Despite most of my food adventures being able what other people can cook, I tried to share some recipes of my own – chorizo & beef meatballs which work well as tapas or a main meal, and a winter warmer in the shape of toad in the hole.  I’m on two minds as whether this is something I’ll continue doing on the blog as it has mainly been about food actual professionals cook, but hey it’s food in Birmingham.  I’d really appreciate your views on whether to continue with the recipes or stick to writing about other people’s cooking.


    Good Food and Drink

    November is usually all about the BBC Good Food Show and this year was no different.  As part of the Good Food Show blogger team, I got sent a parcel of goodies that suitably whetted my appetite.  I also ran a competition to give away a couple of tickets and a bottle of Thomas Dakin gin, which proved pretty popular but the competition to win a Firelight Eating Kit from Debbie and Andrew’s positively exploded.  I’ll get round to writing up my experiences soon.

    Drinks are something I’m hoping to start writing more about in the future too.  I started off pretty well this month with a write up of a Glenfiddich whisky tasting I went to, thanks to the Birmingham Whisky Club…and to carry on the whisky theme there was a recipe for a Hot Toddy using whiskey and Crabbies Alcoholic Light Ginger Beer.  Oh and if that wasn’t enough, I also wrote an article for Area Guide on festive drinks.

    Thank you and Next…

    The final post of the month was only yesterday, but it was a big one – I won the Birmingham Award for Blog of the Year.  I don’t want to re-write it here, because this post has gone on long enough.  But again, thank you…just thanks.

    Coming up this month.  I thought about doing Blogmas, which is posting each day on the run up to Christmas, but frankly I think after this month that might be a bit much…and I’m pretty sure none of you want to read that much from me again.  I’ve got a few posts that I’d like to try and get out; the Good Food Show winter, Sabai Sabai’s Christmas menu, Barnt Green Inn and Island Bar’s new Tiki menu.

    I mentioned in my thank you post that I love getting emails and messages from people.  If there’s anything you want to tell me about drop me an email on hello @ fulltothebrum . co . uk or catch me on Twitter or Facebook.

    Round ups

    October round up

    Anyone else glad October is over?  Usually I really like the autumnal months but I managed to catch a pretty nasty bug which meant that I was under the weather for most of the month.  And then just as the month was coming to an end we had a bereavement in the family.  So October was pretty sucky and I’m glad it’s over.

    Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 17.36.35Blog wise although it was a little quite than I’d have liked on the whole writing side of things, there was also a fair bit of good news.  The Birmingham Mail named me on of their Brummie Instagrammers to Follow, which was a lovely surprise as I’d been off sick that day.  And that wasn’t the only good news; I was also shortlisted for the Cosmo Blog Awards under the ‘Food’ category and also for blogger of the year at the Birmingham Awards.  Results for both awards are announced at glitzy ceremonies at the end of this month, so I’ll be attempting my best to look like a respectable member of society.


    I did get round to doing some actual writing and sort of crammed a lot in with two menu tastings – one for the new seasonal menu at The Studio in the city centre, and a delayed write up of the Rose Villa Tavern’s new-ish menu in the Jewellery Quarter, where I also expressed my love for fried chicken.  Oh and I also wrote up a collective review of brunches at Gas Street Social in the Mailbox and a quick post about takeaway curry, which helped blow through my cold.


    Usually my favourite non-holiday, I didn’t get to do as much writing up about Halloween as I’d have liked, but I did pull together a lot of Halloween celebrations which were going on in the city…and there were a lot!  I also went to Burger King to check out their Halloween Whopper, which turned out to be my first Whopper…oh yeah, and burger with a black bun.

    I also ran a competition to win two tickets to the Love Wine festival at Hotel du Vin, which I’ll also be heading down to and blogging about this month.

    So all in all it was actually a pretty busy month, considering I think I made a massive dent in my sleep debt.  I’m playing around with doing the Blog Every Month in November that a few bloggers are getting involved with, but I’m not sure anyone wants to put up with that much of me.