Issue 188
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Flicking the Vs to inflation, Colmore Food Festival starts next Friday, and is retaining its £4 a plate cap whilst adding Gaucho, 200 Degrees and The Alchemist to its number. The drinks and the dishes particularly worthy of an orderly line look a lot like this.
Opus: Fillet of seared market fish
In the annual CBID dish-off, you can rely on Opus Cornwall Street to feature. This year they're bringing slow-cooked belly of Suffolk pork and spiced Pershore cherries, plus a fillet of seared Brixham market fish, with crushed new potatoes, salsa verde and new season pea shoots. We'll absolutely be trying both.
Zen Metro: Red curry and wok chicken
Little known fact, Zen Metro is in our top three Deliveroo orders ever. And taking directly from their dinner menu, the team's got spicy wok chicken, deep fried and tossed with coriander, as well as a special hot curry thickened with coconut milk, bamboo shoots, green beans and fresh basil leaves, with slices of beef. LIKE.
Bar Opus: Drumstick lolly (£4)
Sweetshop cocktails are what's happening, and the Bar Opus team have come up with five — including their liquid take on a Pear Drop, Parma Violet and Drumstick Lolly. Homemade raspberry vodka, vanilla vodka, lemonade, and a fo' real Drumstick Lollipop make up the final understated bit of drinkage at the bar.
Purnell's: Ox cheek
A regular on the restaurant menu, the ox cheeks are slow-cooked and served with watercress puree, picked shallots and wasabi crumble. Marinated strawberries with red wine and tarragon is the second dish in Purnell's arsenal and Glynn will tell you all about it as part of his live cooking demo, Friday from 12pm. 
The Alchemist: Dead Red Zombie (£5)
What's better than drinking a cocktail inside? Like everything ever, that would be doing so outside. A blend of Bacardi, Grand Marnier, Wray & Nephew, plus a super secret mix of spices and fresh juice, Dead Red Zombie is served with smoke. The Colmore newbies are also bringing a cocktail called Rubber Dub Dub.
Nosh & Quaff: rib tips
Think pork belly, deep fried and tossed in Nosh & Quaff's BBQ sauce plus free range Cotswolds buffalo wings in a smoked butter and habanero sauce. And if you are still able to focus on anything else, you can see owner/chef Aktar Islam on pans at 12pm Saturday, doing his food demo thing. 
200 Degrees: Cold brew bottle (£2.60)
Started with coarse ground, hand-roasted single origin coffee, which is immersed in water and brewed for eight hours, the cold brew is bottled, placed in an ice bath and served perfectly chilled. If we were betting people — which we totally are — it'll also leave you in damn sight better shape to get back to the festival for day two.
From 11am until 7pm on Friday June 30 and Saturday July 1. Entry is free.


Forget Brussels, Europe's making its annual trip to Brum's Rep and bringing with it the non-pareil in boundary squiffing theatre, comedy, circus and arts. BE FESTIVAL's five-dayer includes more than 20 shows, and the option of dinns taken on stage every night. We're all of a dither over Kulunka Teatro, a Spanish company who are performing their thirty minute show Solitudes (pictured). With no dialogue and masks, the festival veterans (they've previously won the Audience Prize), use body language and movement to tell stories and present characters' relationships. You can catch them on the main stage as part of a four-show line up on July 4 for but £14. Or get yourself a food inclusive ticket for £22. Either way, Tuesday ticket holders are also welcome at the festival's launch event, which starts at 5.30pm and comes with comp'ed wine of the Spanish persuasion. The festival continues until Saturday July 8. Full programme
Venue: Miss Vietnam; 155 Bromsgrove St, B5 6AB
Choice: Prawn summer rolls (£4.90) Chooser: Waitress

Last year's winner of Miss Vietnam was Đỗ Mỹ Linh. Congratulations to her. Now, immediately disregard this information because it is of zero use to you. What's more likely helpful is our nudge in the direction of Miss Vietnam, the Vietnamese restaurant in Chinatown. Previously known as Song Tuoi, it sits next door to Miss Korea (an award which, unhelpfully, was won by Jenny Kim in 2016, but helpfully is also an excellent Korean restaurant). Suitably confused? Great. May we NOT recommend Miss Vietnam's stir fried frog, deep fried frog, nor the duck tongue with chilli and lemongrass. Instead the prawn summer rolls (pictured, top right) and the grilled pork bún (£8.90) are where the cowardly but incredible orders are found. Lighter than a politician's promise, the fragrant prawn parcels are a sunny dish of deep joy, while the pork bún was barbecuey, beauteous and bountiful in equal measure. You'll struggle to find these guys online, which we love, but find them offline on Bromsgrove Street and walk in with confidence that you won't walk out sulking. Just steer clear of that damned frog. Some details


While we're as devastated as you that there will never be a sixth series, 'Heisenbar' is coming to a Digbeth near you — lab coats are optional, textbooks not so much. As part of Brum's first Adult Youth Club, build two molecular cocktails and a boozy palate cleanser, in an RV which includes its own science lab. It's £20 for the hour long sesh (which you can book here), or just turn up and pick from the cocktail menu. Also in town will be Disco Kitchen with their braised meat croquettes and sliders to deal with any post-molecular munchies. In the salubrious setting of The Old Crown's car park on Friday June 30 and Saturday 1 July, keep an eye on the 'gram for last minute tickets and deets.


Not a typo! If you're in the market for some more Midlands to explore but never seem to get round to the organisey part, Buckt is a bi-monthly tickets and activities subscription box, delivered direct to your door. You'll get between eight and 10 different things to do, and we have it on the best authority that the next box includes entry to Rage Room (pictured), which you really need to try. Based on previous inclusions, also expect perks like free entry to water zorbing and your shot as a zookeeper in charge of your very own meerkats. Usually 25 of your British pounds, get your first box for £1 (plus £1.99 P&P), no strings like. Or sign up with a chum at a cost of £2 (+ £2.50 P&P). T&C apply


Fitness First. Let's be honest, they're horrible places. Customers packed tight, sweat drenched machines, weights scattered and an average air temperature that could cook a cheese toastie in seconds. The antidote can be found at Henrietta Street Gym in the Jewellery Quarter. The owners of the beautiful warehouse conversion are exclusively offering I Choose Birmingham readers three free classes between now and August 31. If you don't enjoy your classes there is absolutely no obligation to join. If you do, they'll waive the joining fee (usually £20) and offer a free branded gym t-shirt. Classes include Bootcamp (high intensity stuff), Circuit Boxing (a satisfying blasts on the bags) Boxing Squad (non sparring introduction to the sport) and fit box (big on pad work). Quote 'ichoose' when you phone the gym — 0121 233 3696 if you're asking.
This week, it's regional and almost entirely train-able:
  • Join the Sutton Coldfield Art Trail, which includes 37 artists, from 10am until 4pm on Saturday and Sunday
  • The world’s longest, continuous, inflatable obstacle course is coming to Wolverhampton and Coventry in July. Tickets are from £15 and this is how it might look
  • The ever so good-looking Tipple Truck (which serves exactly what you're thinking) is the centre piece of Tipples and Tastes, next Friday (June 30) from 7pm off Boldmere High Street
  • Get to the last weekend of Stratford-upon-Avon's poetry fest, taking place in Stratford-upon-Avon funnily enough
  • You can still get a ticket for the Droitwich Colour Run which takes place this Saturday and is based at the lido park. Or maybe just go to the lido, sponsor someone, then jeer lightly 
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"Just because you shot Jesse James, don’t make you Jesse James."
- Mike Ehrmantraut, Breaking Bad
WORDS: Tom Cullen, Katy Drohan
IMAGES: Award-winning photographer (Miss Vietnam)

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