(Issue 179)
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There are 177 working days still to come in 2017, which, in our food-fixated minds immediately equates to 177 memorable lunching experiences. Whether you're having the worst work day in the history of days, or you've got a full afternoon to linger, we've broken down your optimum mid-day meal solution, to the minute.
🕐  No minutes and no seconds
Lunch 'al desko' just improved immeasurably following news that Damascena is serving its glittering menu to your office door as of today, through Deliveroo. You don't have time for decisions, so probably go mixed meze (£8) and be done with it. This option also offers leftover possibilities, if it's going to be a late one or, you know, breakfast if not. 
🕒  15 minutes 
If you're in stroll mode but with neither the time nor inclination for queues, Hamburgers by Andersons has answers. Pre-order for St Paul's Square collection, choosing from a classic patty with Monterey Jack, right up to the seared tuna, wasabi mayo and pink ginger creation pictured. Starting at £7, call between 12pm and 3pm to ensure efficientness.
🕜  30 minutes 
Little known fact: If you buy a sandwich from Anderson & Hill, you can take it the five metres across the arcade, to Loki, and introduce it to a glass of something convivial. For years, we've been committed to the Jamón serrano, Manchego and smooshed up peppers of A&H's 'Iberian'. Add a vestibule of something light, red and probably French to take your lunching to enviable heights.
🕑  The full hour
If you find yourself with the luxury — also known as your basic employment right — of a full hour, make it count by trying somewhere new. The Distillery is open on the former site of the Fiddle & Bone for luncheon from tomorrow, with a robata feeling menu and plenty of sourdough pizza options. The gin school is still being completed, but given that your cut off is sixty minutes, that's possibly a good thing.
🕕  The lazy lunch
Simpsons is best enjoyed on the sunny sort of day when you probably should go back to the office, but don't really need to. Enjoy three courses (at £35) efficiently, or linger over the snacks and pre-dessert, bookending the deliciousness with a garden-based aperitif, and cheese course finish, assuming your phone behaves. Or switch if off and stay until 6pm like we did on our last visit. Sorry, Simpsons.
🕗  The lazier lunch
There's something very holiday about boarding a train and making for the country. And there are few more postcardy places to spend the PM than Henley-in-Arden. So if this is to be the full out of office deal, get to The Butchers Social, where lunch is on until 3pm, with a pub to sate you until dinner begins at 6pm. It's 38 minutes from Moor Street Station and an easy five minute amble once you reach Henley.


The Rage Room is probably the most cathartic space in existence — luxury spas explicitly included. Your sole aim is to destroy everything placed in front of you, using a worrying selection of crowbars and baseball bats. Small items for the destruction, like glassware and crockery, are included in all packages, while you can bolt on heavy duty hardware like full office printers, if you've got A LOT of stress to out. We particularly excelled at the extermination of computer keyboards (put them on an angle, strike centrally). The dress code is Slipknot (and provided) so all you need to do is bring your musical selection — we tested out soundtracks from Rage Against The Machine, to Handel, to Bewitched with a 100% success rate. From £20, it's just up from the Chinese Pagoda. Click the pic for a video, then join the rest of Birmingham in booking here


Kimchi wasn't exactly top of the "must purchase" list for us at food markets, until we met fermenting bosses, Barrel & Bone, who somehow make sauerkraut look good. Find them at the spring seasonal market this Saturday at The Bond, where you're invited — probably not for the first time in your life — to give money in exchange for foodstuffs. If salted Korean cabbage isn't your bag (Dad) The Kebab Cartel are making their first appearance, and bringing with them a grass fed lamb's leg with charred halloumi and jumbo peppers, served on Lebanese flatbread. Starting from 12pm, you'll also find plenty of artists, designers and at least one Routemaster bus bar. Entry will set you back £2.


Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn has a past in darker fare than the Marvel machine. He wrote the script for this uncompromisingly nasty film, but handed directing reins to Aussie Greg McLean, who was behind the similarly brutal Wolf Creek. The employees at an American company’s Colombian office are gathered and told they must all fight to the death, or explosives in their ‘tracking devices’ will explode their heads; all hell, naturally, breaks loose. Yes, it’s a straight-up Battle Royale knock-off, and the second half peters out rather than ratchets up the madness, but there’s a pleasing commitment to brutality that will satisfy horror-heads. Be warned though, this is strong stuff.
Venue: Zindiya, 21 Woodbridge Road, Moseley, B13 8EH; website
Choice: Samosa chaat (£4) Chooser: Waiter

Moseley's got a sweetheart. And if you still haven't been, you're 100% right to put Zindiya into the upper echelons of your hit list. Not in a shooty way — that's illegal — but whether you're on date night or going with group of friends, you're going to like it. Settle in with a cocktail list that's got infinitely more game than its equivalents, coming from the cranium of Smultronställe founder, Rob Wood. If you're into heat, LIME2 is a pretty vodka-based, Madras-inspired creation with piquanty pickle being the predominant flavour. On food, get a big ol' mix of the small plates (£3 to £4) to start things off, and make sure that includes the samosa chaat — crispy layers of pastry filled with spicy chickpeas, tamarind and a zippy mint coriander chutney. Despite our wild predisposition towards lamb chops (which devour, we did) it really was the veggie start that had us violently footsie-ing our co-reviewer for final bite rights. Menu; drinks


Birmingham Literature Festival's got a spring thing happening this weekend. Lionel Shriver, author of We Need to Talk About Kevin, is the big ticket deal, with her latest novel The Mandibles at the library on Sunday evening. Imagining a scenario where that wall is built, but this one is constructed by Mexico to keep Americans out, it pretty much just gets more unsettling from there. Full programme


Opus, harbingers of some of the best and freshest sea meat in this whole damn town, have a deal that you need to know about. Every Friday and Saturday from April 21 and throughout summer they'll serve a complimentary dozen Carlingford rock oysters with every bottle of Champagne purchased. Call 0121 200 2323 immediately. Or leave it until a bit later. Either's good.  


Second city wannabees Manchester are sending the UK's largest adults only ball pit to Millennium Point, May 5 to 7. And if this isn't some sort of Trojan Horse plot to pinch one of our Michelin stars, then we should all go along and play nice. There's 200,000 coloured balls and inflatables to fool about in, in exchange for eight of your Brummie pounds. That's the equivalent of about 500 Mancunian pounds. Book
  • Orbital, Ocean Colour Scene and Editors will all be at Beyond The Tracks, a festival of the music sort. On September 15 to 17, tickets are from £54.45
  • Play darts with Bobby George, who is in town a week today. From 1pm until 4pm at Shooters, it's £5 including a beer and burger. We're way too into this, and not even ironically
  • The Vintage Weigh and Pay is at Carrs Lane on Saturday from 11am until 4pm. There'll be six tonnes of clothing from the 1960s onwards for you to pick from — sold at a rate of £15 per kilo
  • From MOBO to Mercury, Hackney Colliery Band have had a right good couple of years. Book now to see their dance-making blend of jazz, rock, soul and electronica at The Rep on May 13. It's £17.50
"Eating a raw oyster is like French kissing a mermaid."
- Tom Robbins
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WORDS: Katy Drohan, Andrew LowryTom Cullen
IMAGERY: Jodi Hinds (Simpsons); Owen De Visser (Zindiya); Tommy G.D. Gavi (The Distillery) 

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