Issue 207
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We get asked about private dining rooms on the regs. Not as often as "What's the best restaurant in Birmingham?" but it's a perhaps surprising close second. Close enough to warrant us creating an entire feature in response in fact.
Best for: Interaction
Seats: 7 to 10
Need to know: Though Simpson's has an entirely lovely PDR coming off the main restaurant, we favour booking out Eureka Kitchen. Chef will talk you through as much of the tasting menu you'll see him prepare as you like, and you'll have a dedicated sommelier. Dinner is from £90pp.
Best for: Never leaving
Seats: 4 to 8
Need to know: Install yourself in the oak-panelled Tasting Room while the kitchen crafts in front of you. Eat from the seasonal tasting menus, then finish off with a drink in The Parlour, or go all out and stay in one of the handsome rooms.
Best for: Flexibility
Seats: 12 to 80(!!)
Need to know: Opus deals in private events from mid-week dinners to big ol' weddings, with the use of some ever so handy folding doors. And the team is completely ace on dietary needs. No room hire and they'll even do brekkie. More
Best for: The view
Seats: 12 to 22
Need to know: By day or by eveningness, The Lanson Room's got 25 floors worth of view, its own entrance and you can bolt on a drinks reception for befores on the outdoor terrace. More
Best for: Buzz
Seats: Up to 18
Need to know: In a screened off area within the main restaurant, get your own space without eating in a vacuum. Choose between the a la carte or tasting menus. Or book out the horseshoe-shaped Chef's Table for up to twelve. More
Best for: A live TV link to the kitchen
Seats: 7 to 12
Need to know: There's a minimum spend of £1,000 if booking for less than seven*. Speak to Restaurant Manager (Sonal Clare) to arrange wines to go with your choice of three menus.
Seats: Biz-ness
Capacity: 8 to 14
Need to know: On menus, choose from Sharing, Signature, Tasting or go all of the out on the Carnivore’s Feast. No booking fee and rather excellently connected for that Colmore Business District you may be familiar with. Book
Best for: Pastry tips
Seats: Up to 12
Need to know: There are plenty of PDR options at TK but it's The Pastry Room we favour. Looking into the pastry station, the room's also used for occasional events with Tom Aikens on pans. No min occupancy, though £500 you must spend.


The David Suchet version may be perfect, but its TV limitations can’t compete with this handsomely-mounted chunk of luxury, packed to the gills with Oscar-winners and Kenneth Branagh’s audacious take on Poirot’s ‘stache. It all works far better than it should, from the narrative tweaks to the generous and careful apportioning of a big moment to everybody. And if you’re used to Suchet, Branagh’s more world-weary Poirot does feel fresh, even if his accent occasionally wonders into ’Allo ‘Allo-land. Firmly in the tradition of the 1971 iteration that featured everyone from Lauren Bacall to Sean Connery, the ludicrously stacked cast would be watchable doing a table-read of NeighboursTimes


Henry I granted the Abbot of Amesbury the right to kill pheasants in 1100. If Brad Carter had been alive in the 12th Century it would have been splendid news for both King and country. But fortunately for us, he wasn't. He's cooking his Michelin-starred socks off right here, right now and developing an eight-course tasting menu dedicated to the hallowed, banquet-worthy bird. Expect dishes like the (you guessed it) pheasant, wild chanterelles and Wiltshire truffle (pictured), though the final dishes will depend on what's looking at its very best that day. Join Carters for this one-off taking place on November 22. It's £95 for a spot, with additional wine flight options for the supping. Book


If you search "Birmingham" on Instagram, you'll get 93,478,923 hits. And the top posts ain't so pretty. Get IGers Birmingham to do the heavy-lifting for you on Brum's most 'gramable sides. In fact, they've already done it, via a competition which is about to become an exhibition. At 18, Erdington-based Sam McAuliffe is the winner and new-crowned prince of B-ham, with this canal shot. But it's Clifford Darby's Town Hall (pictured) that took the official unofficial I Choose Birmingham award (Cliff wins NOTHING). The Brum-based street and travel photographer has often snapped the Town Hall but to get this shot, he returned every evening for two weeks, willing this particular commuter into the central doorframe at the exact moment the rest of Brum's foot traffic was out of sight. And in our never particularly humble opinion, the sense of scale is a little bit wonderful. See Best of Birmingham at the Museum of the Jewellery Quarter from Wednesday.


Adaptions of A Christmas Carol are pretty common. Adaptions where apps take the names of minor characters from Dickens' novel, being performed by the RSC, are a little harder to come by. Though we've found one and it includes a baker called Uber, and a Dickensian cook named Snapchat. The big refresh comes from acclaimed Birmingham playwright David Edgar — and spoiler alert — Charles Dickens is included as a character. More on that and the prevalence of apps in the RSC's winter production in this comprehensive Q&A with Edgar. From November 27 to February 4: tickets.


You're a switched on sort — you're reading I Choose Birmigham after all. So you probably already know that Glee does a mean game in the alternative office par-tay. What you're less likely to know is that for a magical run this December, you can see Zoe Lyons and Mike Wilmot (pictured) as part of your probably compulsory team festivities. From the 14th to the 17th of Chrimbo, get three comics on top of your three bird roast, with a side of the Midlands' best compere (Andy Robinson). Entry is from £20. Check out Glee's seasonal menu here, plus the full Chrimb line-up a-here.
Venue: The Blue Piano, 24-26 Harborne Rd, B15 3AA; Website
Choice: Beef Rendang Nasi Lemak (£15.95) Chooser: Waitress 

If awards were available for packed-lunches, we'd put a selection of our wraps and salads forward. And we'd be beaten, hard. By the national dish of Malaysia, Nasi Lemak, which was originally taken to the fields to be eaten during the working day, wrapped in a big pandan leaf. Now available on a plate, and in Edgbaston no less, The Blue Piano's doing a mean game in the staple — beef rendang (pictured) served with coconut rice, roasted peanuts, dried anchovies, egg and cucumber, on a bigass pandan leaf. This is rich, authentic currying, with bags of Southeast Asia's most important ingredient — texture. The crispy anchovies cut through the hugely authentic rendang in terms of flavour and feel, with the cucumber adding some well-designed freshness. Big up Malaysia. And if you've somehow managed to miss the savoury Singapore carrot cake for your starter, we've spent far too much time
banging on about it to run through one of our favourite dishes in Brum again here. But suffice to say, big up Singapore too. Menu 
KAPOW! It's a firework special:
Kings Heath: On actual bonfire night at Kings Heath's cricket and sports club, gates are 4.30pm with the main display at 7pm. Tickets are £5. More.
University of Birmingham: The HUGE Vale fireworks are happening tonight, with the whizzes and bangs past our bedtime, at 9pm. Horlicks anyone?
Sutton Coldfield: Going with a super trad November 5, tickets to the rugby club are £15 for up to two adults and three mini-peeps, plus free parking. The bonfire will be lit at 6.30pm.
Moseley(ish): Round Table are displaying at West Mids Transport Club on Wheelers Lane. Exploding at 7pm on Saturday. More.
Botanical Gardens: Limited tickets remain for the Saturday night soiree, which is a bit more evening than night with a 5.15pm go time. Tickets are £8.
Edgbaston: Absolutely don't try and drive past the stadium Saturday night. Pinkie promise you won't. Fireworks and laser show at 7.30pm. Fairground round the edges. £8 in. More.

"If I won the lottery, I'd give half the money to charity and spend the rest on fireworks."

Our deputy editor's Auntie Kate. What a woman.

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WORDS: Tom Cullen, Katy Drohan, Andrew Lowry

I Choose Birmingham, 18 Great Western Arcade, Birmingham B2 5HU
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