Hey how was your summer? Did you pepper the cold, wet and miserable weather with good food, great wine, festival and cocktails. Well we did and I must say it was just the tonic to the pseudo summer we had!
What you can be sure of is that the city’s restaurant sector has been growing and re-morphing at an alarming rate. Good in theory but nothing has a 100% success rate, so and it was sad to say goodbye to some big brands like Viva Brazil, and some small independents like Lobster Peninsula, Modu, Annexe and Two Cats.
What does seem to go from strength to strength is indian food. Big names behind NRI and Mowgli are bound to help business but please do support local independents; Indico and Zindiya are flourishing and two more have just launch, Gateway To India on Broad Street and The Streatery.
The team behind the successful streetfood pop-up ‘The Indian Rasoi’, have opened The Indian Streatery in the old Adam’s site on Bennetts Hill. It’s a unique dual concept- a dynamic grab and go lunchtime cafe for the city’s busy professionals and a sleek, relaxed eatery by night.
You may have seen the self proclaimed original ‘Chaat Specialists’ at the popular Digbeth Dining Club, serving their version of the traditional chaat to the city’s street food scene.
Co-founder Meena Sharma has created three different types of Parantha in different colours! Red paranthas with a beetroot filling, yellow paranthas with lentils and a green paratha filled with spinach and fenugreek. Sounds fantastic.
The other Indian street food place is Mowgli brainchild of Celebrity YouTube Vlogger, Nisha Katona set to open next to John Lewis in Grand Central, this Autumn. Her dishes will be “real street food”. That includes the Goan fish curry and Mother butter chicken, otherwise known as chicken Tikka Massala. You will also be able to try the Himalayan cheese on toast and the Gunpowder chicken poppers will be available if you’re looking for a healthier appetite.
After being completely gutted and rebuilt, the former James Brindley pub has been brought back to life this summer as The Canal House. After lying vacant for 8 years, the company behind The Botanist have created a 135 cover restaurant with three private dining rooms. The ground floor of the bar is described as ‘The Engine Room’ of the building – having a more down to earth pub feel while upstairs is named the Residency – with more floral touches to the decor and feeling distinctly lighter than downstairs.
The food menu at The Canal House focused on the impressive rotisserie in the Canal House kitchen, with similar menu items to The Botanist. There is also an extensive wine list, more than 60 unique world ales, and the pub will also be distilling their own gin behind the bar.
Somewhat surprisingly, an African themed grill serving springbok steak, ostrich rump and crocodile burgers has opened on John Bright Street has opened. Called Nakira Bar and Grill, the decor includes Zulu shields and masks on the wall and safari animal decorations to reflect the African theme.
The menu sounds interesting : Springbok steak is £24.75 while jerk chicken skewers served with chakalaka, a South African dish of spicy tomato, pepper and beans, is £11.95 and some familiar sides like Jollof rice, dumplings and rice and peas are sides.
It also sounds pretty cool but I am not sure that alpacas, ostrich and crocodiles burgers are going to be that popular!
Things we are looking forward to this autumn…. Birmingham Flavour Fortnight, a whole two weeks devoted to the city’s booming food scene and around 30 top independent restaurants offering new menus and great deals. The Tequila Festival at The Rainbow Venues on October 7th and the Burgundy Wine Dinner at Hotel du Vin on October 20th.
Plus super sexy new brands coming to the city. Im especially excited about Fumo coming to Selfridges. The Balcony Bar has now closed and is undergoing extensive and extravagant refurbishment to be ready to open as Fumo in October. This brand is the perfect partnership for this space and I can’t wait to visit. Then there are plans for The Ivy and Cuba de Revolucion to come to St Philips Square and Sabai Sabai are opening their fourth venue on Waterloo Street (in between Fumo and Cosy Club). Oh it’s all going on in Birminghyum.