Issue 287
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RESTAURANTS, ASSEMBLE!

Are you in a Purnell's-Opus-Adams sort of place? Or maybe it's Chung Ying, Asha's and Zen Metro that have you in a quandary. Either way, for one weekend at least, you don't have to make any advanced decisions. For £4 or less, try food from all these spots, or a gaggle of cake, coffee and drinks places we haven't even found space to mention. Yep, it's almost Colmore Food Festival time, and here's where we'll be making our bees and our lines to.
THE MAIN EVENT
Opus is now serving up summery lunches including proper pastrami sandwiches in its Cornwall Street dining room. Try some of that salted briskety goodness at the festival with pickles and horseradish cream for just £3. Or opt for the team's fillet of hake served with a potato and sweet pea salad at £4. And if you're dealing with anything approaching a hangover, proceed directly to new festival entrant, Pint Shop, who have got Aubrey Allen dry-aged beef and pork patties with maple bacon and smoked Applewood cheese (the Dirty Burger) to sort you right out. On kebabs, tandoori chicken or halloumi is your choice. All £3.50. Katsu is the name of the game from Chung Ying Central — they've got chicken katsu, prawn katsu and sweet potato katsu, all served with rice (and £4). Try dim sum for just one hundred of your pence while you're there. But if you want our prediction for the longest queue? Arrive early to try Mr Purnell's incursion into Mexican territory. This year, he's serving beef, salsa and coriander on baked chalupas (£4) and they look super chow-worthy.
LIQUID REFRESHMENT
Between Purecraft, Loki and Purnell's Bistro, you've got all your boozy bases covered, with beers, wines and cocktails aplenty. Loki have got a glorious English sparkling (Wiston Estate), a New Zealand Sauvignon and an Argentinian Malbec for those of a classic persuasion. Their carte also includes three natural wines including an orange Austrian drop from Zero GMT. So whatever you're eating, Loki is pouring (at £5 a glass). Purity Brewing will be represented in abundance by Purecraft Bar & Kitchen, while Ginger's Bar at Purnell's Bistro's got four combos coming to Colmore. Included in their quadruple offering, the team is revamping that unclassy beach classic, the strawberry daiquiri (£4.50), and bringing a rich blend of American whiskey and sour cherry to your afternoon with their Johnny Cash (£5).
AND FOR AFTERS
If you need coffee before making the return journey to your desk, or next destination, 200 Degrees and Java Lounge have got your highly caffeinated backs. They'll also sate sweet treat feels, with tray bakes, loaf cakes and plain old cake cakes (from £2). For more of a restaurant finish, Adam's is on hand with a beaut looking frozen strawberry and clotted cream sandwich (£4). Or, to end as we began, you'd need to head back to a certain Opus and their lemon meringue tart: zingy lemon curd in a sweet pastry tart, topped with Italian meringue served with fresh English raspberries (£3). Best looking menu line-up in Colmore Food Festival history is what the pundits are saying...
From 11am till 7pm on July 5 and 6 across Victoria Square, entry is free.

SABBATH, BLOODY SABBATH


The singer bit the head off a bat. The guitarist is missing some fingertips. If you play their records backwards you hear satanic messages. Much has been said about Birmingham’s very own Black Sabbath, but myths aside, the most startling thing is their longevity, stonking success and feverish fanbase. Oh, and that they pretty much invented Heavy Metal. Celebrating their big 5-0, Home of Metal opened on Wednesday and brings together original pics, stage outfits and bling, borrowed straight from Ozzy and co. Plus, Tony Iommi's home studio has been recreated, there’s DIY fan merch aplenty, a full-size motorbike, loads of tuneage and electric guitars you can actually play. Until September 29, tickets are £12. There's also a full programme of Metal-related events and exhibitions taking place at venues across the West Mids. Take that, K-Pop.

RIBMAN COMETH


Street food royalty, Mark Gevaux, is a one-legged former butcher with a passion for ribs and West Ham. Known to most Londoners simply as The Ribman, he's been wooed by Digbeth Dining Club for seven years as they've tried, and failed, to tempt him up the M40. Well, hold onto your hickory because they've finally cracked it, and Mark is bringing his world-renowned (and we mean "world-renowned") rib meat, bottled sauces and dry rubs to DDC, June 27 to 30. You'd be mad to miss this. Mad or vegetarian. More   

GATECRASHER GETS CLASSICAL


Faithless, Paul Oakenfold and Robert Miles. Probably not the sort of names you thought you'd be hearing remixes by in Birmingham's world renowned Symphony Hall, care of a 40-piece orchestra and live vocalists. Covering a tracklist of 25 years of the clubbing institution, Gatecrasher Classical is doing Brum for one night only and that night is this Saturday. We know! From 8pm, the few tickets that remain start from £39.95.

PUB?


Through this arch is our office. Yaaay! Through this arch there is no pub. Booo! However, in an act of charitable brilliance that could rock the very foundations of this e-magazine, local brewery Craddock's want to open what they reckon is the UK's first not-for-profit pub, in the middle of the Great Western Arcade — a worrying nine metre tumble from where we sit. All profits after costs go to good causes and some of the Crowdfunder rewards are dead tempting. Like, give them £25 and they'll give you £40 worth of beer. That just makes mathematical sense. 

96 HOUR PARTY PEOPLE


For most of us a weekend lasts two days. Not for the people behind Birmingham Cocktail Weekend who, quite rightly, have concluded that cocktails deserve a four-day-long celebration. And while we can't guarantee any bank holidays whatsoever across the July 11 to 14 glass-clinking festival, we can guarantee extremely good value slurps. A £10 wristband unlocks access to off-menu cocktails in 50 of Brum's best drink dens and, at £4 a throw, you can afford to sample a fair few. Maybe not all 50, mom, you're too old for that. If you want to track us down then you'll find us in the Whisky Club slurping on this little number (above) while telling the publican our troubles as she wipes down the bar top with a towel. It's a Highland Park French Martini consisting of Highland Park Scotch, Chambord and cranberry, topped with pineapple and raspberry foam. There's also a full schedule of masterclasses and tastings, like the History of American Cocktails night at Buffalo & Rye (free) and a stupendous sounding Japanese Tea Ceremony at cherry blossom-bedecked Vanguard (£7.50). More
Venue: Noel's, 22 Waterfront (adjacent to The Cube), B1 1SN; website
Choice: Scallops with bulgar wheat salad (£9.95) Chooser: Manager

In a summer which will see the opening of four dedicated pizzerias before the sun even shines, launching a sizeable "Mediterranean" restaurant feels a bit non-specific for the artisanal food generation. But everyone likes French, Spanish and Italian scram, right? Noel's has taken up the bright, light dual aspect canalside spot (where Kinaree and its great pad Thai used to be) and maximised the view with floor-to-ceiling windows and a fresh, clean interior. Their Branzino (European sea bass — £16.50) was very well cooked — with the delicate, mild, almost sweet flesh of the fish allowed to major with a simple veg and pesto accompaniment. Another hit was the scallops: big, fat and juicy with charred, buttery tops and bottoms. But the lobster and caviar sauce in the linguine al la marinara (£15.50) fell flat, tasting of nothing in particular, while the pizza Diavola (£9.95) with 'Nduja, cherry toms and black olives similarly left us wonting, with a mediocre base, feeling like the food of a much lesser restaurant than the kitchen that had nailed those scallops. Eating at Noel's on a busy Saturday night, just over a week after opening, our waitress was eager for feedback and explained how
the menu was changing and improving daily. Our advice? Cut the offering down by two thirds and nail it every single time.
 
It's almost the weekend and it's finally walking weather, but where to wander? As you might guess from the title Walk Birmingham has the answers — twenty of them. Get the book, which came out this week, for £9.99 here.
The forecast for Friday is the balmiest side of balmy, so maybe join the Prince of Wales for its annual charidee cricket match at Moseley Ashfield's Club. Zindiya is on food. Doors from 4pm. Cricket from 6pm. Relaxed is the MO.

You're right, you do deserve a massage. Win won over on Twitter with our little sister title, Letterbox right here.
The Solihull Summer Fest is on July 27 and 28 and amongst many food, drink and musical happenings, that Heather Small from M People will be there. Tickets (from £45)
A picnic, a street fair and a sports day is what to expect from the rather closer in time Moseley Festival, from July 4 to 7.
And for those of you in need of some instant festival gratification, Bournville, its maypole and its fireworks are coming together for the village's festival in front of the chocolate factory this Saturday from 1pm. Entry is £244 cheaper than a spot at Glastonbury (so £4). 


"All I have to give you is a love that never dies
The symptom of the universe is written in your eyes"


Black Sabbath



 
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WORDS: Tom Cullen, Katy Drohan, Robb Sheppard
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