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    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;

    Round ups

    February round up

    Whoa is February really over already? I know it’s the shortest month and all, but still, it seemed to speed by.  That probably had a lot to do with February being my Birthday month, where I was lucky enough to make it to a Michelin star restaurant, as well as pancakes, dinner, drinks and dancing with my friends.

    valentine_bokeh_heart_shaped_light_background_267057For anyone unlucky enough not to be born in the best month ever, there was of course Valentine’s Day.  I spent the actual day eating Chinese food and going to the cinema with friends, but I did indulge in writing a few posts about the big day.  As a new blogger for Grand Central Birmingham (aka new New St) I wrote a round up of some of the fantastic places to celebrate the Day of Love (link is dead), but it was posted before I could mention about the Valentine’s preview meal at Bun & Bowl I tried.  And for something a little more low-key I also wrote a quick post about a deliciously indulgent breakfast.

    IMG_1455.JPGTalking of celebrations, did you know there’s an Australia Day?  I didn’t until I got invited to go eat kangaroo burgers to celebrate the occasion.  And whilst we’re on the topic of learning new things, I managed to tie utilitarianism into all-you-can-eat buffets too.

    Following on from all the new openings I mentioned in January, February saw some teasers from Bitters n Twisted’s latest offering, Marmalade, before it opened properly towards the end of the month.  There was also a feel-good story from one of the city’s best steakhouses and a top ten list which caused some controversy.  And whilst it might be firmly winter now, the news a new food festival is coming to the city was enough to put a spring in anyone’s step.

    March is already looking like a busy one too.  I’ve already been to one of Carole, aka No Ping No Bling‘s supper clubs which I’ll be writing up, and about her 50 Food Heroes.  There’s also post about trips to Lasan, Chung Ying Central and Epi, some more product reviews and whatever other food adventures I can get involved with!

    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.

    Round ups

    January round up

    Eesh, is January over already? It’s one of those months that nearly everyone seems to hate and for a chunk of the month I certainly wasn’t its biggest fan.  But I was certainly cheered up by hearing all about a raft of new openings in the city, in fact there were so many I had to write two posts – and then another with a sneak peak of one of those.olivemag_jan15

    For those whose New Year’s Resolution was all about making a change, one of those new venues was advertising a selection of job opportunities.  Or maybe your resolution was more about learning to cook; if so then I headed off to a monthly Thai cooking class and got over my fear of deep-frying things!

    I also managed to finally get round to blogging some of my December antics – including the inaugural UK Burger Battle which was a hell of a lot of fun.  There was also more burger antics with the Meatshack’s Christmas pop up at Carter’s and another Moseley hot spot.

    But I also managed to talk about some events that were happening this year, both whisky related; January’s Burn’s Night and the fantastic return of the Whisky Birmingham Festival.  I also finally made it to Bar Opus thanks to Yelp Birmingham.  And there were also a few surprises too, including a childhood favourite making an appearance at Cherry Reds and the most wonderful was a mention on Olive Magazine’s website.

    And so it’s on to February! I’ve got a bunch of exciting blogposts – a trip to Lasan, Australia Day kangaroo burgers, a Valentine’s Day menu and much more.  But before I sign off, I’d like to say a massive thank you to everyone who shared, liked and commented on here, it really does mean a lot.

    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!