As the government's Eat Out To Help Out scheme kicks in, August 3, and knocks 50% off your bill (up to £10 per person, Monday to Wednesday throughout the month) here's just some of the top local haunts taking part. What's more, we've asked the head chefs or proprietors to pick the one dish they recommend you order. It might be an old classic, a menu newbie or a dish that simply makes for sensational value given the deal. Legal talk: Prices shown are as if you're only buying that one dish or taster menu — in reality you might buy more and the deal adjusts accordingly. The exact offer — again — is a 50% discount to a maximum of £10 per head. Please check restaurant opening hours, and you may need to book. All restaurants taking part can be found here.    
"Normally £25, our fresh English lobster ravioli with saffron lobster sauce, Italian cherry tomatoes and Amalfi lemon zest is suddenly exceptionally good value for money." — Luca Laghi, owner 
(just £15) Website
"Our Aloo Tuk from the summer taster menu is a celebration of the pink fir potato, with layers of incredible flavour pushing the humble spud to new heights."
— Aktar Islam, chef director (10 courses just £75) Website
"We've got a great deal on our Costilla. One side tender fillet, the other a flavoursome sirloin grilled on the parrilla. At 30oz, it's our largest steak and feeds two people." — Jabbar Khan, owner (just £36.95) Website
"We're focussing on Simpson's classics and the native lobster — introduced in 2016 — has long been a hit. The ingredients are bang in season, making it a luxurious, light dish." — Luke Tipping, chef director (8 courses just £85) Website
"In Thailand I have red curry for lunch, dinner or even breakfast. If you want one dish to enjoy the hours of preparation and love the chefs put in, this is it. It now costs less than when we launched Sabai Sabai in 2003!" — Juree Chidwick, owner (just £6.22) Website
"Go for Pizza 4. Pesto base, charred peppers, Fivemiletown goat’s cheese, rocket and Grana Padano Stravecchio. It's the pizza I go for the most. Colours are bright, flavours are bold. I don't miss having meat on this." — Elisa Ellegaard, GM (just £5.25) Website
"Our best dish? It has to be our large sharing board, which includes ten artisan British meats or cheeses (or a combination of both) served with fresh bread and all sorts of other goodies. Feed two for less than £15." — Abigail Connolly, MD (just £14.50) Website
"Our chicken liver parfait, white chocolate and strawberry epitomises our creativity. It was in the Good Food Guide's top 10 of 2019." — Jamie Desogus, chef owner (6 courses just £50) Website 
"The smoked haddock, spring onion and dill fishcake has so much history for me. It’s featured on my menus for years. I love this kind of elevated comfort cooking." — Aaron Darnley, head chef 

(just £7) Website   
"Our fresh haddock fish finger sandwiches are tasty and a total steal. They're coated in lager batter, then covered with home-made tartare. Why spend more at Pret?" — Matt Lockren, manager (just £4.50) Website   
"Inspired by brunch at Archie's All Day in Melbourne, this is smashed avocado with feta, poached egg, mint, coriander, lemon and dukkah. Served on toasted homemade bread." — James Thewlis, GM (just £5.50) Website   
"I created the mutton chaap korma especially for Birmingham. This classic Indian korma of marinated chops lavished with rich, nourishing sauce, served alongside khamiri roti, makes a most satisfying lunch." — Naved Nasir, chef (just £9.75) Website 
"Our head chef has a soft spot for these, they're called ‘festivals’ – a kind of savoury mini donut, popular in the Caribbean where he's from. To add a twist, his are filled with oozing curried mutton, and they’re banging" — John Stapleton, founder (just £3.50) Website   
"New to the menu our Lamb Asado has big emphasis on flavours of coriandor and mint. Cooked for 12 hours with fermented corn beer it's a modern expression of a very traditional northern Peru dish." — Robert Ortiz, chef director (just £10) Website   
"The lomi lomi salmon is the perfect Hawaiian poké. Cubes of award-winning Loch Duart salmon are served with sushi rice, quinoa, kale or spiralised veg noodles."— Felicity Whiston, owner (just £4.12) Website
"We're offering two bao and a ramen every Wednesday. Go for the Peking duck with cucumber and spring onion salsa. They remind me of my travels." — Ben Taylor, chef director (just £15)
"Our ribs are marinated in lemongrass, ginger, black pepper, honey and garlic, then cooked until the meat falls off the bone. It’s our play on traditional Chinese ribs and works as a sharer or a main course." — Drew Jones, director (just £11) Website  
"A hot favourite amongst are regulars and from our summer menu, try the signature porridge base, topped with seasonal rhubarb and vanilla compote, fresh berries, lemon cream, and toasted coconut." — Naomi Morris, founder (just £2.38) Website  
"Our turbot, lobster mousseline, lemon and fermented pepper is ultra fresh, packed with flavour. All ingredients are left to sing, nothing complicated just amazing ingredients cooked to perfection." — Keiron Stevens, head chef (lunch menu just £35) Website  
"How about our traditional vegetarian paella for a deal? It's an extremely popular sharing dish, cooked from scratch using only the freshest ingredients and bomba rice. Usually £20 and now even more of a bargain." — Efua Wilson-Turco, owner (just £10) Website  
"The grilled chicken tikka chaat was the first dish we ever produced down at Digbeth Dining Club. This started on the streets with a humble beginning and is now a firm favourite in the restaurant. And now it's insane value." — Meena Sharma, head chef (just £3) Website  


A glimmer of good news from the stricken art world as the Royal Birmingham Society of Artists reopened its gallery on Tuesday, bringing with it their awesome Anniversary Exhibition. Celebrating 20 years in the Jewellery Quarter, it mixes archive works with new pieces. This tickety-blimming-boo oil on canvas, by Alex Callaway, shows the JQ's Vittoria Street and is, for our money — although the exhibition is completely free — one of the absolute highlights. It took Alex three weeks to paint during January of this year. "Luckily I didn't have to wait long for a sunny Sunday," he tells us. "It was a beautiful winter day, and the bright light and slight haze created just the right atmospheric conditions. I chose to visit on a Sunday so that I could clearly see all the details and character of the buildings without traffic and parked cars. I spent quite a bit of time looking at the street imagining how I might paint it. I took photos for reference and used my memory and imagination to recreate the mood." It was a commissioned piece so (NO!) you cannot buy it, but it's on display until September 5. For those staying home, you can also see the exhibition online.    
Birmingham institution and bringer of pure happiness, The Glee Club, needs help. If they've bought the funnies to your life, please consider donating or buying a gift card.  If you've never been, and they survive this thing, please consider going. Details
Are you a poet and you don't know it? Maybe you're a poet and you do know it? Either way, applications are open for Birmingham Poet Laureate and you Sir/Madam are an absolute shoo-in. More
Kings Heath crew The Early Bird Bakery are putting on two spesh evenings of din-dins. Tonight, first come first served, is a one-off barbecue knees up (check out this sausage) from 3pm until sell out. Meanwhile August 4 and 5 will be taco nights, complete with 'Eat Out to Help Out' discount. Again, first come, first served, 5pm until SOLD!
And if it's chilli you're craving, Stirchley's Caneat have you covered. Tonight, only. Takeaway only. Tenner a head.
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WORDS: Tom Cullen

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