Issue 215
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It's official: you have permission to make plans other than work, followed by the gym, followed by work, followed by the gym. And to keep those alarming texts from your bank away, we've compiled a guide to the most coin-purse friendly options in B'ham this January. In fact, we've made a whole Twitter, Facebook and Instagram account to get you through a year of Budget Brum. You can thank us in hugs.
Putting the "v" in veganuary, wagamama is giving away 75 dishes from its shiny new vegan menu, just for ICB'ers. There are 25 available at each of its three Brum locations — choose from kare burosu ramen, yasai pad thai, yasai yaki soba and warm tofu chilli salad. First come, first served. Show this email before being seated. T&C
Book on to your first Birmingham Food Tour before January 31 and get 20% off. Choose from the Classic Food Tour, Veggie Delight and the Gin Tour. Use code 'ICB18' at checkout or mention us when booking direct.
There's now up to 50% off at Heal's in the Mailbox, which is totally deserving of a lunchtime trip.
Get 50% off the a la carte menu throughout January at Gusto. More info.
There's no joining fee and you'll get two free PT sessions and a kit bag on joining The Club and Spa this month when you mention us. Message on Facebook, starting the message with ICHOOSE, or ring 0121 643 2200 and mention ICB.
Order any sandwich or salad from the menu at Buffalo & Rye, and they'll shout you fries and a drink this Jan. 
Get to Everyman Cinema for just £5. Including popcorn! We've got together with the team to create this one, for which tickets are now on sale. Blade Runner 2049, which we also missed first time around, is showing Thurs, Jan 25 at 6.30pm. It's got sell out written all over it. Book
Enter Pho's competition to win a bowl of pho noodle soup every week, for 60 years. On average, you'll be 90, and still eating Pho therefore. Huzzah.
Spend £75 in Hotel du Vin's Bistro, and get a room for the night from £75. Or if you're just in the market for a feed, it's 50% off the a la carte menu throughout Jan. Across all 17 locations if you're asking.
Book a treatment with blow LTD, an on-demand mobile beauty service, and they'll send you a gift. We're talking OPI hand creams and Kose skin care products.
Bar Opus is doing a mix and match 2-4-1 on mains throughout Jan. Order any two mains and get the cheaper dish for free.

Also going 2-4-1 but this time on gin, The Canal House and The Botanist's got a junipery sale to get you through to Feb.
Get five 60-minute jump sessions at Rush trampoline park for £39.95. Or jump every week day in Jan for £59.95.
Chaophraya’s offering 2-4-1 on mains when you book in advance. Use code ‘241’ when reserving. Available Sun to Thurs, and Fri til 5pm.
It's 50% off your food bill at Bistro 1847 on weekdays throughout January. You will need to book in advance.
Get up to 40% off at Brum's MADE.COM showroom, plus an additional £10 off orders over £100 with code "BHAMSROOM10".
Order a full-price main dish and get another for £1 at Carluccio's.
The tonic's free with Jekyll & Hyde's gin of the day, which will be announced on Twitter as part of Ginuary.

It's 25% off food and drink at The Fighting Cox when you eat in their Moseley gaff.
Fly from BHX to Montreal from £285 return as part of KLM's Jan sale. Ends Monday. Turkish Airline's offers from Brum are also well worth a look-see.
Get up to 40% off treatments at Santai Spa at Resorts World, or buy a spa package and get a second half price — the deets be here.
El Borracho's got two tapa for £7.50 at lunch, as well as 2-4-1 cocktails and sangrias 5pm til 7pm.
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That Masterchef: The Professionals was a bit good this year. And while it's a long wait until the next batch of pained looks between Monica and Marcus, you can catch one of the two Brum chefs that made it through to semi-finals week at one of the city's finest public houses this very month. Simpson's is giving Leo Kattou a much deserved night off from sous-cheffing, which he'll be using to take over the pots and pans at Purecraft Bar & Kitchen, with a Greek-influenced, five-course menu. Think slow-cooked lamb, smokey aubergine, and Leo's take on fish and chips. And as you'd expect from the brewmasters of B-town, every course is matched with a beer, including Bacchus Kriek for your final pairing. For one night, on January 22, tickets are £55, and bookings are being accepted from 6pm up until 10pm.


An illustrator from *whisper it* Manchester has produced a doodle map of Birmingham. Dave Gee, who spent three days creating the map, described himself as “spoilt for choice” when researching landmarks and independent businesses to include. He passed no comment on Manchester’s scene. Having decided on our very best bits, Dave hand-drew the map in three sections, plotting key Brum spots, followed by roads and canals, finally adding in his doodles. The original design was scanned, digitally edited, and is now exchangeable for your cold hard cash in A1 to A4 form. From £10 to £30 depending on what size you pick, you can probably find yourself on the big version right here. You can't, but you can find Snobs. Laterz Manchester.


Darkest Hour's well worth 125 minutes of your time, thanks primarily to Gary Oldman’s likely award-gobbling turn as the old warhound during the summer of 1940. Under a mountain of prosthetics that eerily make him look like both himself and Churchill at the same time, Oldman finds the rhetorical fire, but also — and more importantly — the private moments of quiet self-doubt and anxiety. There’s the usual simplification of a complex figure, of course, but at least the film remembers Churchill’s struggle to keep Britain in the war was as much against parts of the establishment as it was against the Germans. A stacked supporting cast do strong and fresh work as figures put on screen a lot in recent years — but this is Oldman’s film.Times & trailer
Venue: Opus, 54 Cornwall Street, B3 2DE; website
Choice: Jimmy Butler Pork (£15 for 2-course lunch in Jan) Chooser: Chef

As Opus re-opened its reassuringly heavy doors for 2018, we were there. The menu's had a right proper shake-up over the new year, and we exclusively ate dishes that are new to the dining room. Big up to the cauliflower cheese nectar (soup) we impolitely inhaled by way of pre-starter. And a shout out to the nut and seed rolled goats cheese mousse which is served with charred veggies and a slightly tart brown butter vinaigrette. Talking mains, the slow-cooked Cornish lamb is a lot less rich than it might sound — served with a sweet potato, chickpea and lentil dahl. Precisely as rich and wintry as it sounds is the dish which chef rightly predicts to be a crowd pleaser this year. A Jimmy Butler pork fillet is wrapped in Parma ham and served with a slow braised pig's cheek, wholegrain mustard mash, celeriac and apple. And if that sounds like a combination that should work, that's because it absolutely does, with the celeriac, mustard and apple lifting the heavier meaty elements of the dish. Throughout January, Opus is offering 50% off lunch, and 50% off dinner Monday to Wednesday if you mention ICB when you book.
Full details

Playback is an interactive exhibition showcasing more than 200 short films. Find it at mac's first-floor gallery until Jan 24. Entry is free.
January's a complete sell-out but you can still get tickets to Aston Hall's ghost tours taking place on February 17.
We're watching Bonehead Chicken with more interest than is probably healthy. The facts are: it's a fried chicken and craft beer joint, and that Lap-fai Lee's involved.
Joe Lycett's working up material for his upcoming huge 2018 tour. Potentially laugh at him as well as with him as he tries out his new work at Glee Club on Feb 12. Tickets are £10.
Chien Lunatique's doing remarkable things with sausages at 1,000 Trades until February 3. And here's the menu.

"Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak.
Courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen." 

Winston Churchill

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WORDS: Katy Drohan, Andrew Lowry

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