Issue 169
View this email in your browser


If you're booked into Pizza Express for the fifth Valentine's running, may we recommend an American Hot with a side order of crushing remorse. If, on the other hand, you're looking for something a little more brilliant to do with your beloved, here are the answers. 
Get one (well, probably two) of eight spots available at Smultronställe on Tuesday and your somebody is going to like you A LOT. With a menu created specially for the night, eight courses of cocktails and food have been paired around the concept of aroma as an aphrodisiac. And though we're not giving it all away, the passion fruit, popcorn and dark chocolate with a rum Old Fashioned looks sublime. £75;
Birmingham pin badge doyens and all round decent chaps Pin Game have launched a new Valentine's inspired badge that, for the first time, comes with a card. So if puns are your cup of tea (and if they're not you're subscribed to the wrong weekly email about the best things to do in Birmingham) then you may want to consider this "Hoppy Valentine's" lapel. It's just £6, so it's frankly perfect if you're planning on dumping the recipient shortly.
What's better than a macaroon? That would be six macaroons, shaped like idy bidy liddle hearts. In terms of flavours, pick between raspberry and white chocolate, rose and vanilla or a combination of the two. Conveniently available gift-boxed in Miss Macaroon's Great Western Arcade store and Prosecco bar for £15, or as part of a larger selection online, you'll also be supporting a social enterprise with your pretty purchasing.
On balance, 2016 was not a good PR year for clowns. Given that finicky "Killer Clown" craze and whatnot. In better news, 2017 is looking up for the circus world's most divisive entertainers, as Cirque du Soleil rolls into town and you could do a lot worse than tickets to Varekai as your Vally gift. This trailer showing daredevil performers hurling themselves through the sky says it all really. Prices start at £52.90 and can be bought here.
There's a strong statistical chance you went to see La La Land with your beloved and, although we think other Teletubby movies were better, it does seem to have gone down rather well at the Box Office. Brum-based artist Milan Topalović has created these ethereal cards at £2.50 a throw and they'd make a rather nice nod to that very date night. Get them from The Electric or online, while you take a look at all of Milan's work. He's horribly talented. 
Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery are opening their handsome Industrial Hall for a one-off five course dinner (£42.50 per head). There will be live music and, in our humble view, seriously strong vegetarian options. Full menu and more info here. Northward, The Museum of the Jewellery Quarter is hosting a V-Day ‘Make a ring for your loved one’ special, on Feb 11. At £50 all materials are included. Head here to book that, you old smoothy you. 


Two minute quiz? Which Malian band has opened for the Rolling Stones, been joined on stage by Flea from the Chili Peppers, played The Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury and been championed by the heady mixture which is Bono, Elvis Costello, Thom Yorke and Carlos Santana? Tinariwen release their seventh album on Monday, which it will be bringing to The Glee next month. Think lutes, shepherd's flutes and a one-string fiddle, telling traditional Tuareg melodies and rhythms. The primary percussion instrument to lead you into some sort of Saharan trance is the tindé drum, typically played by women to accompany tribal occasions in Northern Mali, an area the band were not able to record their latest album in given the continued unrest. Expand your musical mind on March 8. Tickets are £22.50. No prizes for the quiz. Soz.


There’s a lot of political weight hung on Moonlight, mostly by virtue of it being a compassionate narrative of poverty and the experience of growing up both gay and African American, that’s emerged just as the US swings to the right. However, it deserves far more than just a pat on the head. Compressing a life story into three vignettes, we follow shy, bullied Chiron as he grows from perennial victim to gym-hardened drug dealer – all while he desperately, if unconsciously, seeks the peace self-realisation might bring. His steps to get there after some very dark obstacles are barely overcome and add up to a profoundly moving experience. Preview


Annette Pugh uses art to investigate the point at which a photograph becomes more than just a copy. For The Bird House (pictured), Pugh scoured a family's archive for an image that drew her in. "Moments like those in The Bird House are often forgotten, they are fleeting, but given a new audience and life through my works." The Birmingham-based artist uses ink on paper for these sorts of pieces because of the fragility and fluidity of the medium. "They are meticulous, constructed entirely of small marks made with a fine brush." See Pugh's work as part of Somewhere Less Travelled, at RCFA until March 4.
Venue: Sabai Sabai, 25 Woodbridge Road, Moseley, B13 8EH; website
Choice: Rib-eye (£16.95) Chooser: The owner

Whoever said "the team that drinks together, wins together" didn't see the deplorable state of the I Choose Birmingham troupe the day after last week's company night out. And although everything after Sabai Sabai is a blur (video footage has been deleted under threat of a P45), the meal was early enough and splendid enough to be crystal clear. Sort of. The Sabai Sabai winter menu is a thing of beauty and when we let the kitchen loose on it, ordering literally nothing ourselves, out came dishes of Buddha-like Godliness. The jumbo prawns in a Choo Chee sauce (pictured) were the first dish to quieten the gluttonous crew, but it was the perfectly pink rib-eye steak, the sort of dish you'd swerve in a less-refined Thai restaurant, that was unanimously hailed as hero of the piece. Served in a massaman curry sauce and topped with crispy shallots and crushed cashew nuts, you absolutely need to try it before it's taken off the menu at the end of March. Apologies, now, to every pub in Moseley that had to tolerate our subsequent wine-fuelled imbecility. We've given ourselves a thorough talking to, and we'll see you again next week.
  • We love Puglia — there we said it. Book now for a pop-up where your cooks fly in from the region, for three nights of Italian wondrousness. From March 30, it's £30 for four courses and an apéritif. Menus
  • Temper's new collection Timeless is at Castle Galleries until February 26. You can catch the man himself in situ at the Mailbox this Saturday from 1pm until 4pm for launch
  • The British Paraorchestra is making its Birmingham debut on February 18 at the Symphony Hall. Get 50% off the already rather reasonable top tickets, using the code PARA50 at checkout
  • Longbridge Mass Observation is an exhibition of drawings, music, text and documents from an archive created by artist Sarah Taylor Silverwood. Until Feb 25, and in Longbridge funnily enough
  • Opus has announced its always splendid series of source dinners for 2017. Five courses with matched wines and Jimmy Butler's Blythburg pork is the first bookable happening. Nom nom nom
Subscribe free
"You're my only. I'm your only." Naomie Harris in Moonlight
WORDS: Katy Drohan, Andrew Lowry, Tom Cullen
IMAGES: Jack Spicer Adams (Smultronställe)

I Choose Birmingham, 2 St Phillips Place, Birmingham, B3 2RB

Copyright © 2017 Birmingham Publishing Group Ltd, All rights reserved.

unsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences