(Issue 155)
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Chips and curry sauce. It's not a dish synonymous with quality, or indeed Michelin-starred chefs. And yet, Glynn Purnell's take on the stay-in staple at his bistro has proved as punter pleasing as it has popular on the old social media. Which got us thinking, who else is giving your guilty pleasures the high-end treatment and love they deserve? Answers athisaway ↓
Just adding water will not a delicious and nutritious instant snack make. Adding a kettle full of steaming stock to your udon noodles, oriental style vegetables, homemade spicy kakejiru sauce and prawns will however result in the damn swishest Pot Noodle we've born witness to. Yep, get it for £5.80 at Lobby on Hill Street, which opens a week today (October 27). Menu
Available as part of an unashamedly decadent nine-course chef's table experience at Sky Bar, trade in that partially warm chip shop plaice for miso-marinated, pan seared, black cod. Served with crispy tempura fine beans for chips and wasabi barley for peas, everything is right about this combination, which the team will prepare for you as a stand-alone dish if you don't have time for the full nine yards. Either way, pair your plate with Nikka Whisky from the barrel, shaken over ice.
We have it on almost rudely good authority that cod quavers are going to feature as a snack on the opening menu at Harborne Kitchen, when it launches on November 18. Actually consisting of crispy fried cod skin, served with a rosemary emulsion that you can add as much or as little of as you like, you can also expect piccalilli pakoras (£4) and buttermilk chicken poppers (£7) done the right way. Fist bump?
A rule we try to live by, is that meals should not be consumed from a box. And of all the foodstuffs to avoid the cardboard treatment, we're putting chicken wings at the top of the pile (apart from, maybe, soup). Banish all and any questionable poultry related experiences and try Rofuto's perfectly crispy portion of delicious, served in a sticky, punchy, kimchi sauce (£7.50). Menu
This city stalwart was given a joyous thwack of love back in 2009 when Glynn's monkfish masala made it all the way to the Great British Menu. Still available as part of Purnell's Autumn 9 Menu, the meatiest of fishes is served with red lentils, pickled carrots, fragrant reduced coconut milk, toasted coconut and coriander shoots. Not that there's anything wrong with our local fish masala but this dish is weep worthy.


If you're yet to make it round the city's latest crop of arty wondrousness, there's a solution. And it won't cost you a bean. Gallery-hop between eight of Brum's tipity topity venues, care of the Art Bus, on October 28. Travel from Monet at The Barber, to entirely current installations across Minerva Works, which joins Galleries Night for the first time this year. Housing three distinct galleries, the newbie includes Centrala, which is showing videos from Małgorzata Dawidek's Conversio project (pictured), while Grand Union's talking concrete with sculpture by Mitra Saboury. They've got guided tours and wintry cocktails to introduce you to the space. Depart from 5pm. Full timeable


Amid all this year’s political turbulence and international chaos, it’s been all too easy to forget about its impact on the man on the street — which is where Ken Loach brings his compassionate but forensic eye in this fantastically angering film. The Dan of the title is a joiner caught, in the Department for Work and Pension’s clouded eye, between being too ill to work, but not too ill to look for work. His subsequent struggle to maintain his dignity is as compelling as any quest to save the world, and all the better for the small moments of grace and humour Loach finds amid the nightmare — he is one of Britain’s major filmmakers, and this is both all too timely and his best in years.


It's 2pm, and it's Sunday. Do you (a) prepare and cook a roast; or (b) pick a pub to do the honours? Option (a) allows for an ideal sofa to food proximity, but (b) means you don't have to do the shopping, cooking or washing up. Introducing the mighty option (c). Order your roast with a couple of clicks online, and prepare the movie you'll be viewing to accompany it. From October 31, Deliveroo is bringing a game-changer of gargantuan proportions to Brum. Get a roast delivered to your door from The Lord Clifden or The Red Lion, runner-up of The Observer's search for the country's best roast. And get it any day of the week. Weapons-grade genius, right? Also confidently dealing in your breaking of the fast, both pubs are already on the 'roo's books for brekkie, together with JuJu's Cafe, Crepe Affaire and Saint Kitchen to name a few. Look out for the full roast menus next week over on that there Twitter.


"I'm going to make a speech... and it's going to go up 'fizz' like a rocket; but whereas all rockets fall to the earth, this one is going to stay up." Nearly 50 years after Enoch Powell delivered post-war’s most polarising political speech at the Midland Hotel on New Street, a play is arriving in the city which deals with the continuing fallout from that rocket. Following an Oxford academic and daughter of an immigrant, Rose Cruickshank wants answers. Enoch’s controversial 'rivers of blood' speech on immigration ruptured her childhood, and now she must know what led him to it. Will a meeting with this big figure in her life provide answers? Opening October 27, tickets are from £10.


...Longbridge Light Festival. The culmination of a five year arts project, the one-nighter includes workshops, market stalls and performances like Axial (pictured), which was developed by Barecelona's Playmodes. A temporal spectacle of coloured light, shadow, dry ice and electronic vibrating, reminiscent of WW2 search lights, with booming sonics that will transform Longbridge into a non-optional, enormous outdoor theatre. Gizzago will also be piloting an industrial scale gaming console, allowing people to experience urban spaces in new ways using alternate reality technologies. Next stop, Mars? On October 22 from 6pm until 10pm, entry is free. More
Venue: Ristorante Caffè Gustami, 4 King Edwards Road, B1 2PZ; website
Choice: Tagliatelle with ragu (£4.90) Chooser: Laura, front of house

Eating here feels like the best hug you've ever had — comforting, authentic and given willingly, with love. After congratulating yourself that you found the unassuming spot (it's close to the JQ, across the roundabout from mega Tesco), you'll spend the next ten minutes talking prices, which aren't much more than a chain-bought coffee for any dish. Next up is an ordering process akin to actually being in Naples — you try some pigeon Italian, then defer every important decision to your waitress. Then you hope, bargain or pray that the dishes will taste as good as you feel. And though simple in preparation and execution, they do. We would have merrily tucked into the homemade tagliatelle served with ragu in any trattoria in Bologna. To start, the antipasti platter is so generous we were given our leftovers to take home (this wasn't really optional). As an intermediary course — which is totally a thing — the calamari was excellent. If we have one regret, it's that we didn't leave room for dessert. Numerous Italian speakers made an appearance during our meal, and if they didn't go for the take out, generally stopped for coffee and cake. In this instance, there will definitely be a next time. Menu
  • If like us you've historically found The Brown Lion among the most confusing of the JQ's pubs, behold, it has undergone a refurb, and is deserving of fresh footfall. Try Otto while you're in the neighbourhood
  • Birmingham Improv Festival starts tomorrow evening. All shows and workshops are at The Blue Orange Theatre
  • Sunday evenings aren't for ironing, they're for six courses of ale-paired beautiful at Gas Street Social. On October 23, tickets are £16
  • All Years Leaving Festival takes place on Friday and Saturday at the Hare & Hounds. Weekend tickets are sold out but you can still get a look at some emerging artists via day entry, which is £15
  • ¡Vamos Cuba! comes to the Hippodrome from November 1 to 5. There's a Havana Club bar, and salsa lessons if you time it right
"Life is a combination of magic and pasta" - Federico Fellini
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WORDS: Katy Drohan, Andrew LowryTom Cullen
IMAGES: Matt Saunders (Harborne Kitchen)

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