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Rotunda to host one-off sensory celebration of gastronomy... 

We upend this city to find the shiniest, most creative and delectable happenings that Brum has to offer. But when Alex Claridge, creator of experimental kitchen Nomad, carolled into our offices and told us about his collaboration with cocktail demagogues, KitchInn, we knew our lead story had found us. And when Alex threw in the location, a gold-leafed take on Wine Gums and edible cutlery, we audibly squeaked with joy. It's a one-off sensory experience with five courses and even more blow-your-mind cocktails, taken in the auspicious surrounds of a top floor Rotunda penthouse.
Breakfast is served. And if you're wondering which bits you brazenly attempt to take a chunk out of and which you shouldn't, the spoon is edible - the glass, less so. And the cereal? Think popping candy, Kahlua and caramel Nespresso rather than what the box suggests. For this is not an evening bound by convention, indeed, you should expect a course where the need for cutlery is dispensed with entirely, as well as a fluid gel which causes a sensation of heat on one side of your mouth whilst simultaneously chilling the other side. And you can also expect gloriously blurred lines when it comes to the end of the supping and the beginning of the feasting - the image above shows one of your cocktails, by the way.
Takeaways have been given the Nomad treatment, as we skip scandalously past three courses - 'Elevenses', 'Liquid Lunch' and 'Tea Time' - to talk about crispy duck pancakes. Glazed in rose hips (plumbs aren't in season yet) and the best available pickled British fruits, Alex will use whatever wild leaves look good that day to create the required spring onion crunch. For there is minimal room for compromise when it comes to sourcing within the British Isles for the impassioned chef, who has recently taken to using ants as a source of acidity because of the lack of quality homegrown citrus fruits at this time of year. But only when the ants are good of course.  
Ever tried to drink a 'Bottle of Wine' by way of amuse-bouche? Thankfully, neither have we but the item does form part of KitchInn's cocktail offering, albeit, with more than a bit of a twist. Here, the mightily impressive team behind the Jekyll & Hyde's stellar gin offering has taken the concept of a Wine Gum as literally as we all hoped someone eventually would. And the only decision incumbent on you? Whether you prefer the Chateauneauf du Pape or the Gewürztraminer variety of gum, which you will have sufficient time to ponder as you take in panoramic Brum by twilight, sunset and, eventually, darkness.
An apple crumble might sound like a humble end to an evening of this magnitude but, by this point, you're too switched on to expect the expected, right? Slow-roasted, whisky-infused apples with a chestnut crumb will be topped with twelve-hour hung labneh, pickled Japanese rose (an item Alex considers to be among the most beautiful in the world) and accompanied by a decadent, Scotch-riddled finale from the KitchInn team. With each dish and cocktail on the menu taking between three and four days to create, this heavenly Nomad-KitchInn marriage has moved us into a state of near-frenzied anticipation. So if you see us around, please act accordingly.

The event is on Friday, April 24th and is strictly limited to eighteen (so - you know the drill - get on it or get teary). Tickets, at £100, are available here. Alternatively, head here to grab a cancellation at Nomad's Kings Heath residency (from £32).


We drink over 500 billion cups of coffee every year. Not us, at I CHOOSE Birmingham, we see off about 14% of that, but globally, that's the figure. Might be nice if we direct some of that expenditure to Quarter Horse Coffee, Brum's newest coffee house and home to the city's only in-shop coffee roaster. Roasting on site, customers can see how the beans are treated in the last and, probably, cruellest leg of their journey from plantation to mug. Give them a call to see when they're roasting next, if that sort of thing floats your boat, or pop in any time (not literally - there are opening hours, people) to sample a superb mug of Joe. Also, pop next door when you're done, because neighbours JamJar Lights are doing equally lovely things with electricity and filaments. You've probably noticed their stunning shop while driving down Bristol Road. Concentrate on the road, for crying out loud.


It’s a strong week at the pictures, but your weekend really does need to include John Wick, Keanu Reeves’ return to action. Skilfully directed by Keanu’s former stunt doubles from The Matrix films, it’s refreshingly conservative in its editing, letting some phenomenal choreography shine – although you’ll already know if you’ll enjoy this once told it’s about a hitman going on a vengeance spree against an army of generic Russian goons after they kill his dog. Also out is Good Kill, Truman Show writer Andrew Niccol’s compelling examination of drone warfare, which will make a good double-bill with Drone, a documentary on the flying death robots also released this week. Bringing up the rear, and sitting nicely with Keanu given his Nineties-nostalgic fanbase, is Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck, an all-access doc on the Nirvana frontman that feels definitive. Pray for rain, guys.
Venue: Amantia, 9-10 Bennetts Hill, Birmingham, B2 5RS; amantiarestaurant.co.uk
Choice: Atún marinado (£8.50) Chooser: Marta, Owner

In a season full of new openings, you'd be forgiven for missing the unassuming launch of Amantia, an independent tapas and Meditteranean restaurant. With top-notch Cava, specially imported meats and a menu you'd recognise on the streets of Madrid, we're pleased to report that authenticity and quality is at the centre of everything the husband and wife team behind this city centre newbie do. And the sashimi grade tuna is no exception. Marinated, seared and served on a bed of watercress, chicory and oh-so sweet mustard-ladened olive oil, this dish, which really should be a contender for the dictionary definition of 'melt-in-the-mouth', is confidently pink and the dressing adeptly flavoured. For the full holiday-esque experience, enjoy with a bottle of Estrella Galicia, while you plot a way to avoid going back to the office - Amantia is offering 15% off your entire bill from 12-5pm throughout April (Sunday to Thursday). All you need to do is mention us. Menu here

Sketcher and watercolour specialist, John Gage has been getting to know Brum’s landmarks ever since his move here in 2004. Architecturally trained, John is inspired by scenes which have interesting compositions and elements of detail, particularly building elevations. John’s record of the maelstrom of architecture that abuts Centenary Square, with a particular focus on the Library, is therefore typical of his work and started life as a pencil sketch. Watercolours were then used to add tone. John is a regular at the Mac’s craft market (next selling his wares on May 3) and is displaying a selection of his work at the Fighting Cocks until the end of June. So you’re basically going to be checking out his work by default in any event. Buy John’s prints from £15 (including P&P) care of his website.
  • Fiesta del Asado is celebrating World Malbec Day, with parilla platters, live Argentine music and as much of the red stuff as you'd expect. From 12pm on April 15th. Book here.
  • With a guarantee that you "won't get more bookchat for your money this side of Hay", the Pow-Wow Festival of Writing takes place on Sunday, April 26 at the Prince of Wales and tickets are £10, here.
  • The Gin Festival returns to the Bond Company with over 100 varieties for three days, from August 28th to 30th. Entry is £7 and includes a natty little glass. Tickets now available here.
  • A large oil painting by Frank Auerbach has become the first work by a living artist to enter the Barber's collection. While you're there, check out works by Magritte, Picasso and Rubens at a cost of nothing.  
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"The really important things are said over cocktails and are never done." – Peter F. Drucker
IMAGES: Daisy Blecker, otherfotos.com
WORDS: Katy Drohan, Andrew LowryTom Cullen

ADDRESS: I CHOOSE Birmingham, Office 211, 43 Temple Row, Birmingham, B2 5LS

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