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Gas Street Social

    As seen in

    Featured in Sainsbury’s Magazine

    Guess who was asked to write something for Sainsbury’s Magazine?  Yep, little old me!  You know me, any excuse to talk about the food (and drink) scene in the city and especially when it’s in a national publication – and one I actually read, usually on the bus home when I’m trying to balance all my shopping.

    I could only pick four places, so I picked the ones that I think are pretty cool – and might appeal to fellow Sainsbury’s Magazine readers.  If you’d like to read the column, the nice people at Sainsbury’s Magazine have handily added it online.  If you’d like to read more about the places I mentioned, I’ve popped some links to my blog posts below;

    • Rofuto I haven’t written up my food experience, I think the photos got lost in the great tech fail of 2016, but I’m heading back soon so will link then – though here are my first look photos.
    • Gas Street Social I’ve been to a few times – here’s one on their brunch and some festive cocktails.
    • Original Patty Men, obviously they’re my favourite place in Birmingham for burgers.  But I also managed to get a mention of The Meat Shack who I also think are ace, I’m just sad they don’t have their own bricks and mortar place I can head to for burgers!
    • The Edgbaston’s afternoon tea, which is lush, whether it’s Christmas or the standard variety.

    Another fun surprise from the article was when my friend spotted a mention of it on TripAdvisor, as the reason someone went to Gas St Social.  Probably time to stop thinking the only person that reads the blog is my mum.

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    Drinks

    Festive cocktails at the Mailbox

    aluna_cocktail_bloggers

    Anyone else feeling the festive pinch, time wise?  I nearly lost the will to live queuing to pick up presents in my lunch break today, but after a couple of bottles of wine (as presents people), I think I’m all done…now I just need to wrap.  Talking of Christmas and drinking, a natural pairing I think you’ll agree, I joined a few other bloggers for a mini festive bar crawl at the Mailbox last week to check out some cocktails at Aluna and Gas Street Social.

    I’ve been to Aluna recently to try out their new food menu (review soon), but this time round it was much busier – there were a few Christmas parties in, by the looks of things.  Thankfully we were meeting Natalie from Rewired who had a table reserved for us.  As we all caught up and heard about each other’s Christmas plans, we grabbed a drink – I had a Passion Fruit Mojito which is a variation of the classic rum drink, but was a bit too sweet for me and could’ve done with a bit more lime juice, but I know lots of people who like sweeter drinks.
    watching_aluna_cocktails

    After everyone had caught up and finished their drinks we were taken over to the end of the bar for a mini cocktail masterclass.  Having participated in a few cocktail masterclasses before, I was quite content to stand on the right side of the bar and let me fellow bloggers do the hard graft while I documented the event instead.  One pair of bloggers had a go at making a Black Forest Gateau cocktail, which always feels like a wintery to me although I’m not entirely sure why.  The second group got to make one of Aluna’s most popular drinks from their menu, the Lava Lamp cocktail which bubbles away and has little floating balls of gel in it – it seemed to involve a syringe and a steady hand, but both girls managed to get it and their drinks looked great.

    cocktail_shaking_pair

    After Aluna we headed upstairs to Gas Street Social to check out some of their festive range.  Gas Street Social have really gone to town on Christmas and the decoration in the venue is fab.  Sadly I didn’t get a decent picture, but they’ve turned their booths into little festive huts and created a lovely little festive haven.  But the drinks haven’t been forgotten either; they’ve got four festive cocktails plus two more unusual mulled drinks (cider and ale) and 12 festive cocktail shots.

    I’m not much of a shot person, but these all have some lovely flavours to them, including Black Forest (clearly a bit of a theme) and After Eight, which was probably my favourite.  Whilst you could order a paddle of shots for a table of friends as a way to celebrate the upcoming festivities (drink responsibly), they’d actually make pretty nice drinks to sip after dinner too.  We also tried a few of the cocktails and whilst I generally like anything with gingerbread in it, the Gingerbread Espresso Martini was delicious.

    gas_st_social_festive_drinks Disclosure: I was invited down by Rewired and drinks were complimentary. I wasn’t obliged to write anything, but I like Christmas and I like cocktails, plus writing means I can avoid wrapping presents.

    Breakfast and brunch, Reviews

    Brunch at Gas Street Social

    scrambled_eggs_bacon_toast_brunchBrunch is great isn’t it?  It’s like breakfast only without the wake up call.  One day maybe I’ll grow up to be one of those people that sets their alarm at weekends and does all they need to do before 10am.  But for now I love not having to set my alarm, rolling out of bed whenever I please and finding food to carry on a laid back approach to the day.

    Ordinarily I wouldn’t think to go to the Mailbox for brunch; it’s in the city centre and I’m usually straying into lunch territory by the time I get to town, but I’ve managed to get to Gas Street Social a few times for brunch now.  Despite confusingly not being on the road it’s named after, Gas Street Social opened in the Mailbox earlier in the year and has become popular ever since.  Decor wise it has that sort of industrial look that seems to be pretty popular and toilets which have been built with enough wood (though thankfully not the loo seats) it looks like a carpenter’s dream.  Given that it’s a venue brought to you by the Shaker Consultancy lot, there is understandably a decent bar and cocktail offering and well as lunch/dinner menus.  They’ve also been doing brunch there for a while, I know because I’ve been a few times now – and an all day breakfast for lunch once too.  You can’t say I haven’t thoroughly tested this one!

    brunch_drinks_mimosaOne of the selling points for Gas St Social’s brunches is their bottomless Bellini or Mimosa offer.  For £15 you get two hours worth of refillable prosecco cocktails; with orange juice as a Mimosa, it’s basically the fancy name for a Bucks Fizz; or peach puree, also known as a Bellini, or possibly apricot puree if, like my friends managed, you drink them out of the peach stuff.

    If a champagne brunch isn’t your thing then they also offer non-alcoholic drinks.  Listed under restorative drinks is a half pint of Berocca, which is appearing on a few city brunch menus, and seems a clever choice particularly if you’re feeling a little delicate from the night before.  There are also cold pressed fresh juices, which are listed as freshly made in Shropshire and whilst these are tasty and packed with flavour there’s something which a little disappointing about a cocktail bar not making them up fresh on site.

    gas_st_full_english_breakfast_brunchAnyway, the food!  The menu has pretty much most things you want from a brunch menu, from pancakes and pastries to granola and various sizes of English breakfasts.  I particularly like the concept of the social breakfast, which serves four and looks like it has plenty of food.  My mum was pleased to see granola and a fruit platter on there, which is pretty much what she has for breakfast daily…the idea of treating yourself when going out for brunch is lost on her.

    The first time I headed down (and when I took these photos) I went with my friend Beccy who had the bacon and scrambled egg on toast, which she enjoyed.  I went for the Gas St Works which comes with two rashers of bacon, two Cumberland sausages, eggs (I went for scrambled), roasted plum tomato, Gas Street Social beans, black pudding, flat mushroom, sautéed potatoes and toast.  On paper it seems like a heck of a lot of food but in reality it felt managable.  The sausages and eggs were all lovely; the eggs had a nice creamy texture and the meat had a good texture and they seem to have given up on the idea of streaky bacon with a full breakfast – good, leave that to Americanised pancake breakfasts, if you have to.

    Whilst on the whole it was a pretty decent breakfast there were a couple of disappointments.  The baked beans have herbs in them, I forget which ones because frankly I want to block that memory…it just didn’t work for me at all, and I wasn’t the only one.  Also, black pudding featured quite regularly in fried breakfasts in our house growing up (it might be an Irish thing, my dad loved it) so I appreciate the stuff but this one just felt powdery to me and I wasn’t overly keen.  That said, there are certainly more hits than misses on this breakfast and I’ve happily eaten it again since.

    Gas Street Social’s brunch is an extensive and well thought out offering.  There’s almost certainly something there to suit everyone and the setting is such that it is an ideal place to meet friends for a catch up over brunch (can we still mention Sex and the City, it totally has that sort of vibe).  Whilst I wasn’t overly keen on all elements of the full breakfast it’s somewhere I’ve been back to for brunch several times and would be happy to continue.

    http://www.gasstreetsocial.co.uk/

    Disclosure: I was invited down to Gas Street Social to try a complimentary brunch when it first launched and as usual wasn’t required to be nice about anything. It has taken me so long to write this up that I’ve managed to subsequently get there twice since – I’d say I’ve paid both time but in reality my mum paid for once…don’t judge me.

    Events, News, Pub and Drinks News

    Birmingham Cocktail Weekend announces line up

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    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

    Food and Restaurant News, News, Pub and Drinks News

    5 new openings for the city centre?

    comingtobrum

    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!