Issue 233
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As the JQ ascends yet higher on the unofficial official acesomeness scale, we've been getting familiar with the Quarter's latest leading lad. Completely independent and completely Brum-made, Rebel Chicken opens next Friday. Their cause? Chuffing good rotisserie chicken.
For a brief time, and still on social media in some cases, the new restaurant and bar was known as Fowl Play. A minor legal hiccup later, they've rebranded and mean business. So much so that they employed the services of a charcoal sommelier. Know many charcoal sommeliers? Nor do we, but so critical is the flavour and finish that goes into the chickens from their time over Rebel's specially built char-pit that seven combinations were trialled by the kitchen team and The Oxford Charcoal Company's somme before the final mix was agreed. Your beaut bird will be browned-off by 70% Cuban charcoal and 30% sweet cherry wood logs (is there any other ratio?), but not before an overnight marinade and partial-steam to ensure max moisture. 
Your only big chicken decision is whether to go quarter (£6), half (£10) or whole (£18) but sauce-wise, there's aioli, proper gravy, hot or BBQ and side-wise there's an apple juice marinated zingy slaw we're hearing all of the news about. Or go with the owner's top pick — what he's calling Brum's only proper caesar salad, which can be ordered as a sharer (£22) with a whole chicken, fresh anchovies, soft boiled eggs and all that deliciousness. The menu's been curated by the guy behind Northampton's The Smoke Pit, and he's giving nothing away when it comes to what goes into the kitchen's sauces and marinades.
If we had one on-going disagreement with this city, it's got to be the beer garden options. From midday, Rebel Chicken's big backyard's bathed in light. Lauding our sun worship, and probs for some sort of much more sensible commercial reason, there'll be an outdoor bar and reggae vibes, with live music and rum punchy sort of cocktail specials. On the regular bar menu, there are 16 bottled craft beers, ales and ciders including Vice magazine's official can — The Old Blue Last. There's a gin menu amongst the spirit selection, plus a small but expertly formed choice on vin.
The stripped back, two-floor interior's got room for 50 in addition to the bar. Not content with this and the humungulous garden, the team's also taken on the unit at the front of Rebel Chicken. Rebel Desi will be opening up later in the summer, majoring on the Indian subcontinent for food. But before we get ahead of ourselves, a few things to look out for at the mother-chicken-ship. With its three metre wide LCD outdoor screen, the team's looking after your World Cup viewing and they've got an alternative Sunday roast starting shortly. In the day and early eve families, dogs, prams and nans are actively encouraged. Come the weekend, there'll be DJs keeping things the right amount lively until the smaller hours, plus loads of drinksy and foodsy specials over the coming months. 
Soft launch weekend May 25 to May 27. Official launch weekend June 1 to June 3. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram


At ICB HQ, there’s a list of restaurants and food types we want to get right deep into. Bao is the priority and, fortuitously, enter left: Ben’s Bao Bar. For one beautiful B-filled night, Ben Taylor of Little Blackwood is going full bao, with combos like crispy duck and hoisin, blackened miso cod and chilli pak choi, plus a honey, soy aubergine construction. It’s an ever so reasonable sounding £10 for three, and you can match, mix, then match some more with the sweet options, which include rhubarb with rosehip. Fancy, eh? Vodka-based 'Don’t you want me Bao-by!' is the specially created cocktail of choice, with green iced tea, peach and cream soda. Yours for £8. From 5.30pm til 10.30pm on May 24, just turn up, but probably go earlier rather than later if you want your first choice bao. More


Tutus, buns and insanely intricate sets have their place, and what a place it is. But so does raw, athletic, challenging dance, with all the rigour and technique of the classical world, minus the quite so strictly classical bit. Polarity and Proximity includes three short ballets: the pulsing, abstract one — Kin., the iconic, American one where the dancers are in trainers — In the Upper Room, and the totally new, totally innovative one — Embrace. If you have even a passing interest in seeing your city's huge-hitting company, doing how they do, probably jump on this one. Birmingham Royal Ballet is offering 100 tickets at just £10, on a best available seat basis, for their performance on June 22, which is a saving of up to £22 smackers. Enter 'ICHOOSEBRB" at checkout to get your seat.


Bardians of the Galaxy, the Royal Shakespeare Company, welcomes Mischief Festival back to Stratford-Upon-Avon, May 31 to June 23. Mischief, for the uninitiated, puts the spotlight on the nation's most exciting rising stars and takes place at the RSC's The Other Place — which is sort of like Glastonbury's Other Stage: cooler, edgier content than, say, the more mainstream Swan Theatre. Less Coldplay, more Stormzy. The month-long hullabaloo will feature two new plays exploring global questions of truth, corruption and freedom; #WeAreArrested and Day of the Living. #WeAreArrested is the true story of journalist Can Dündar’s book, which documents his enthralling account of receiving a critical piece of evidence confirming the illegal shipment of weapons to Syria by the Turkish government, his newspaper's decision to publish that evidence, and his subsequent imprisonment. If you have a belief in the freedom of the Fourth Estate (so that's pretty much everyone in the western world, right?) then this is for you. Day of the Living, meanwhile, is inspired by the events in Ayotzinapa, Mexico 2014 when 43 students were forcibly taken and disappeared. An anarchic, musical tribute to life and the Mexican spirit with urgent, global issues at its heart. Big thinking stuff that, with hindsight, deserved a rather more serious intro than the first four words of this preview. More


Droitwich has forgotten more about salt than Malden will ever know. Pepper's best pal runs so deeply in our neighbouring town's history that — get this — Droitwich genuinely used to be called Saltwich and only the Dead Sea produces a more concentrated product. Thinking there might be something in this, Moseley-based, Michelin-starred chef Brad Carter has buddied up with Droitwich Salt to produce a new range of flavoured salts: Charcoal, Sea Truffle and Coastline, all available at the Selfridges-destroying food hall at Webbs from June 10. To launch them, Bradders, as he has definitely not given us permission to call him, will showcase the secrets of expert seasoning, at Webbs, with tickets to the event including demos, drinks, street food and the goodest of goodie bags. June 10, £22.50. More


The first Deadpool was a surprise hit, so it’s interesting to see the difference a bit of confidence makes to the sequel. Turns out: not a lot. There’s still the sneaking sense that the marketing is the best thing going on and the very certain sense that the fourth wall-breaking antics aren’t as hilarious as the movie thinks. Still, Ryan Reynolds is perfect for the title role, and the tween-friendly Marvel movies and the off-puttingly po-faced DC films have between them definitely left a gap in the market for something as bloodily irreverent as this. Even better, Reynolds is smartly paired with a team — a kind of off-brand X-Men — of younger performers who uniformly deliver the goods, including the kid from Hunt for the Wilderpeople. Oh, and Josh Brolin is awesome as the baddie, but that goes without saying. Times
Venue: Boca Grande at The Plough; 21 High St, Harborne, B17 9NT Website
Choice: All of the tacos (the manager) 

If last weekend were a movie — and in many ways it was — it'd be entitled 'The Assassination of Twelve Tacos by the Coward I Choose Birmingham'. For, in an act of arguably obscene gluttony, we polished off no fewer than a dozen of The Plough's soft-shell Mexican dishes in two messy rounds of ordering. The moreish little munchies come on a menu of six, with the carnitas pork (with spiced apple and mint) and the beef brisket (in a black bean chilli with salsa and chimichurri) offering a rich and rollicking yin to the baked cod's zesty yang. The latter shares a snug sleeping bag with red jalapeno, ginger and lime, and it'll lift your senses high above the buzzy Harborne boozer. Other options include Ancho Chilli Chicken in Almost Dead sauce, a quinoa, avo and crispy parsnip number and black pepper prawn in spring onion. But the Good, the Bad and the Ugly shootout for top taco came down to pork versus beef versus cod, with none of them being anywhere near bad nor ugly, and with good being an understatement. And at between £6 and £6.75 for two, you should be ordering all three and drawing your own conclusions. Pro tip: Get on the frozen margaritas and the sweetcorn side.
It's murder on the dance floor said some singer a few times — and now there's an actual murder mystery disco happening at The Night Owl. Tickets are from £8.
Siren Craft Brew is on taps at The Wolf this evening from 5pm. Praise be.
Watch that wedding that's happening, then that football final you might have heard about, outdoor and for free at the Custard Factory this Saturday. The deets
You can't go to Badego's creative meet-up tonight, because it's full. But you can book on to their next one, on the topic of illustration.
GDPR. WAIT! Stay with us! We've updated our privacy policy which you should totally check out right here. Make sure you're happy with it, because all we really want in life is for everyone ever to be happy.

"Remember: hugs not drugs." 

Deadpool 2

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WORDS: Katy Drohan, Tom CullenAndrew Lowry

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