(Issue 112)
View this email in your browser


We're often accused of focussing far too much on meat and alcohol... So anyway, hands up who likes gin and burgers? Two new places have opened this week and they're of the juniper and juicy patty persuasion, and both add vast volumes of ace to the city's already tickety-boo food and drink scene.  
In an opening that, in our not particularly humble opinion, is more important to the city than another Michelin star, the makers of (officially) the nation's best street food burger have opened their first permanent restaurant - a 31 seater - in Shaw's Passage, Digbeth, two minutes from Selfridges. And the verdict? Outrageously good. The silence that descended upon the room as the burgers came out said more than your average issue of I CHOOSE Birmingham. We tried a burger called Darron's Fancy (£7.50) - a classic aged patty, sriracho mayo, crushed pork scratchings and sparkenhoe red Leicester in a yoghurt and buttermilk bun, and, within one closing of the jaw, it became the best burger in Brum.
Our triple cooked, skin on fries with spice mix, mayo, crispy fried onions and fresh spring onion proved that the burger boys have been doing their pre-launch, side dish homework. The Original Patty Men have teamed up with Reading-based brewery, Siren Craft, whose tap beers (a double hopped IPA called Dippy And The Equinox and a porter that goes by the moniker Liquid Mistress) are complimented by a dozen canned and bottled beauties from further afield, including Magic Rock's Cannonball, and Beavertown's crowd-pleasing pale ale; Gamma Ray.  
The OPM are joined in the kitchen by sous chef Will Caesar, a man who has commis experience in the kitchens of Simpsons and Adam's, no less. Expect interior design by legendary Digbeth street artist Gent 48, desserts by Kimmy Loves Cake (try the Kit-Kat brownie) and outdoor seating for 20, come summer. OPM is open Thursdays to Sundays, 11.30am to 11pm, from this Friday (December 11). They don't take reservations but certainly are doing takeaway. Food menu
If there were a book called Where Bar Tenders Drink, we'd bet you a gazillion pounds that this time next year 40 St Paul's would be in it. Opening tomorrow (December 11) and bringing some of the best mixologists in the city together, the small but perfectly formed baby of Amanjot Johal (formerly of The Church) is not at all confusingly to be found at 40 Cox Street (on the corner of St Paul's Square). Add to that 60 carefully curated gins, table service and the architect of the best damn Espresso Martini ever (FACT) and let's assume you'll need to book.
Aman's favourite cocktail is the Tanqueray-based Clover Club, served in a coupe glass with freeze dried raspberry crumble. We're also recommending The Corleone to anyone that will listen. A Sicilian-inspired twist on the Corpse Reviver using saffron-infused Beefeater gin, Coffee Americano and Salerno blood orange liqueur, the combination is topped off with fresh lemon juice and a couple of dashes of Campari, creating the ideal dose of tangy and tart. Alongside the drinks comes a who's who of the Jewellery Quarter's best purveyors of fine snacks.
Choose from palette cleansing silverskin onions (pickled in house), candied bacon, and spiced cashew nuts tossed in Lasan's garam masala. Or go for something more substantial and hit Peel & Stone's sourdough, served up with smoked butter care of Two Cats. The Eight Foot Grocer, just around the corner, has curated the bar's cheese board, serving four British cheeses alongside biscuits and sundried tomato chutney. For a sweet hit there's a marshmallow selection and the bar's very own Negroni flavoured chocolate truffles. Yes. Very yes.


It’s a big Christmas down the pictures, but in the calm before the Star Wars superstorm, why not check out a film that proves big isn’t necessarily better? Grandma looks at the relationship between a millennial girl and her Sixties-veteran nan as they both go in search of cash for the younger woman’s abortion. If that sounds a little too much of the standard indie mis-matched-couple-on-a-quest formula, you need to factor in Lily Tomlin’s performance as the grandmother of the title. Clearly relishing a rare lead role, Tomlin manages to make her at once prickly and sympathetic, and she’s matched by Julia Garner as her granddaughter. Funny, unpredictable and genuinely wise about the transition between generations, this is a treat. Times & trailers


Established in 1909, you'll probably already know that The Electric Cinema is the oldest working picture house in the UK. What you might not know is that it's also the subject of a Christmas card which is making us feel about as warm, fluffy and wholesome as the sight of a St Bernard, mid-roll. The creation of Birmingham-born artist Milan Topalović, the hand illustrated design captures a couple leaving a showing of It's a Wonderful Life - a viewing of which is basically a Christmas requirement - and one which you can fulfil at The Electric as part of their food-based hook up with Hotel du Vin on a couple of occasions pre-Chrimbo. Get a single copy of the card (for £3.50, here) or in various bundles (from about 85p plus postage if you buy lots of them here).


If you're a bit more Brothers Grimm than Disney, you're looking at your antidote to all things December. Baron Edgar Staraback of Bandmire Moon is the imagining of Brum-based Tom Ellis, the designer, puppeteer and set designer behind Curious Oddities - a fantastical collection of mythical creatures, crafted from wire, stone and fabric. Wise and jolly as well as being beastly, the Baron lives on a forgotten moon. Back in 1822, he came to the aide of explorers who became lost after their steam powered rocket ship veered off course. And at the grand height of nine inches, presented in a silver goblet, you can get hold of him, gift him or hide him from the world for £40 (plus shipping). Made in batches of one (with full background stories which you're not going to be able to verify), there's also this bunch of oddities to pick from. Because nothing says happy holidays like this little fella.
Venue: Waters, Resorts World Birmingham, Pendigo Way, B40 1PU; website
Choice: Fillet of beef with a cannelloni of slow cooked beef, creamed mushroom and sherry sauce (£23.50) Chooser: Us (see below)

In that hard to reach spot, somewhere between fine dining and really good bistro food, sits Andy Waters' new restaurant. The absolute pick at Resorts World (and worth the trip in its own right), the food offering is assured - when we asked for recommendations, smiling, Andy said 'it wouldn't be on the menu if I didn't recommend it'. The service too is refreshingly strong - knowledgeable and attentive but not overbearing. But this whole feature falls apart if we don't come off the proverbial fence and tell you the dish you cannot miss. Cooked 'medium' in the jubilantly French sense of the word (so, pink), the Angus fillet with cannelloni of slow cooked beef exudes quality, both in terms of ingredients and kitchen skills. Arriving with shiitake mushrooms and spinach, as well as a sherry beurre sauce, every mouthful of the dish was a pleasure. Choose starters over dessert.
  • Watch Tim Peake and SOYUZ TMA-19M rocket into orbit from 10.30am on Wednesday care of Millennium Point’s giant screen. More
  • Tonight is 112 Social's weekly edition of Cheese and Wax. Bring a vinyl, bring some cheese and it'll probably look a lot like this
  • Yet to get your Christmas tree? We'll see you at Woods Farm
  • Kings Norton's farmers' market is small but perfectly formed. Get duck eggs, smoked meats, fresh chesnuts, Kneals chocolates and insanely good chapatis from 9am until 2pm on Saturday
  • Suds & Duds is open and despite the fact that it looks a lot like a launderette, there's absolutely no washing going on at the Gas Street speakeasy. Text 07741242875 for entry
  • Fans of Tim Vine, Milton Jones and Steven Wright should probably book now for Gary Delaney, who can be found at Glee on February 7. He's been on Mock the Week and everything
Subscribe free
"When a man who is drinking neat gin starts talking about his mother he is past all argument." - C.S. Forester, The African Queen
WORDS: Katy Drohan, Mary Griffin, Laura SmithAndrew LowryTom Cullen
IMAGES: Tom Bird (OPM), Mary Griffin (40 St Pauls)
I CHOOSE Birmingham, Unit 317, Zellig, Gibb Street, Birmingham, B9 4AA
Copyright © 2015 Birmingham Publishing Group Ltd, All rights reserved.

unsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences