Venue: The New Inn, 74 Vivian Road, Harborne; B17 0DJ; website
What would win in a fight, a hippo or a hippo-sized lobster? This is the vociferous debate that took up much of the seven sun-blushed hours we spent in the New Inn beer garden, on Saturday. And though the highlight can only have been the weather, their new summer menu is really rather wonderful. The GM picked out two beautifully plated dishes — the saffron arancini with asparagus puree and poached egg (£12), and the chicken supreme with sauteed potatoes and pea emulsion — to duke it out. The winner was the chicken, but both were immaculate, show-stopping dishes that fit into that frustratingly bare middle ground of everyday eating that Jay Rayner rightly pointed out is a little lacking in this town. Wash whatever you choose down with Birmingham Brewing Company's Pale Brummie, which they now have on tap. And if the hippo debate has you flummoxed the answer is the hippo-sized lobster, on points. Menu
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