Issue 219
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There are no second chances when you commit to a Sunday roast, and the consequences are generally day-making, or day-ending. For two whole months, we've been working our way around your favourite spots, and here containeth Brum's roast compendium. It'll get you all the way through to BBQ season.
Best for: hungry people; menu
Easily the people's choice, The Red Lion's got a good-looking list of starters, which you should 100% ignore, such is the size of what's coming. For your behemoth of the Sunday lunching world, pick from beef, lamb, chicken, pork and veggie each and every week. There's a beef/lamb combo if you can't decide, though the belly pork (£13.95) was our pick. Book (til 9pm).
Best for: all you can eat Yorkies; menu
Absolutely book ahead at The Highfield, where you're actively encouraged to take advantage of the bottomless (and brilliant) Yorkshires, roasties and veg — a waiter walks between tables with a board of the beauts. A large jug of gravy comes as standard, the condiment game is strong, and Aubrey Allen's rump of beef (£15) is excellent. Book (til 9pm).
Best for: cosy perfection; menu
One of the most enjoyable Sunday experiences we've had took place on the JQ's Frederick Street, involved an open-fire, and live jazz — but not overwhelming volumes of the stuff, it floated down from upstairs. The Harper's Field organic leg of lamb (£13) was particularly dreamy, especially when devoured with creamed leeks. Book (til 5pm).
Best for: value; menu
It's a challenge to think of a veg type The Old Crown's roast didn't include, though the thyme honey parsnips were the winning extra, and belly pork (£9.50), the winning main event. Props to the meat juice gravy too. Post-roast plans should be avoided: the only thing we were good for after demolishing this heap of happy was a snooze in front of Countryfile. Book (til 6pm).
Best for: pre-cocktails; menu
Dawdling is not an option if you're planning your Sunday around The Plough — once their meaty majesty is gone (usually by 4pm), it's gone gone. Though this might tell you too much about the Saturday that preceded our visit, we particularly delighted in the Bloody Mary, and the perfect sweet roasted baby carrots. The meat to gravy ratio was laudable. £16. Book
Best for: bottomless Prosecco; menu
If you're making an event of this great British institution, The Distillery is up there. Two hours of bottomless fizz is for the quaffing, along with bottomless roasties with mains — £40 as part of a three-courser. If that sounds like too big an ask, a single plate of Snowdonia lamb is £12.50, and the manager's pick. But don't blame us when bubble-envy sets in. Book (til 9.30pm).
Best for: extras; menu
PB&K mix up their roast offering every Sunday, but whatever's on offer expect it to arrive with mini pots of veg and bowls full of unexpected extras and crispy spuddage. When we went it was pork belly with a superb sausagey stuffing topped with horseradish snow and roasted carrot with parsnip crisps, but a quick check of their Twitter feed shows they have never served pork belly the same way twice. Now *that's* a confident chef. Book (til 5pm).


You're right, it ain't the swan pond at Cannon Hill Park. It's real life Iceland in all its rugged and forbidding glory, and it's a still from Why? a movie by the sounds-like-a-detective-but-definitely isn't, Hugo Clouseau. And you can totally see this stonking great movie at the Town Hall as part of the Banff Mountain Film Festival's World Tour. The seven-minuter follows a crew of French kayakers travelling to the remote seascape, asking the question all adventure sports sorts have at some point: “Why do we do this?”. Take in Why? as part of the nine-filmed blue programme (at 2.30pm), or opt for the red programme (at 7.30pm), which includes the awesome-looking Ice Callto get a new perspective on the mythical Mer de Glace — a valley glacier at the heart of Mont Blanc. Moments of high adrenaline, intense serenity, and a whole lot of pretty guaranteed. For one day only: on Saturday, March 3 at the Town Hall, tickets are £13.


Remember that period last year when calling your Mum between 7pm and 7.15pm was sacrilege, and a dark-sounding chap called Rob Titchener kept appearing in your eventual chat, despite nobody in your family being called Rob? The Winslow Boy is coming to The Rep, and the most hated man in the history of The Archers (Titchener was played by Timothy Watson, pictured) takes the role of a barrister defending naval cadet Ronnie Winslow. Based on real events, the 1946 production looks at class and political hypocrisy, following the story of Winslow, who is expelled from naval college for stealing a postal order. Directed by Olivier award-nominated Rachel Kavanaugh, The Winslow Boy's in town from Feb 21 to March 3. Tickets


Yes, this is the one about a woman falling in love with a fish. Yes, you can make jokes. And yes, it’s entirely superb. Director Guillermo Del Toro is in full Pan’s Labyrinth mode, delivering another fairytale where the darkness of the world is processed through the fantastical, without ever defanging it. We’re in Cold War Baltimore, and the brilliant Sally Hawkins is Elisa, the isolated, mute janitor of a government lab that takes delivery of a mysterious amphibian man who lives in a tank. Her growing bond with him and increasing friction with her bosses is the meat of the film, but there’s also a non-cloyingly-delivered plea for tolerance and generosity that, in the present moment, builds into something incredibly moving. Times & trailer


In the market for some good and warm-making news? Following stints at Adam's and Purnell's Bistro, the former head chef of the latter is launching Lucky Duck, on the same JQ street as Otto no less. The 20-cover noodle and bao bar takes its name from its signature, steaming duck and pak choi noodle soup (£9), and we'll definitely be getting on close terms with the sticky pork belly and apple buns (£4) to start. Opening by the end of Feb Tuesdays to Saturdays, you can do the whole stalky stalky thing right here.
Venue: Colbeh Persian Kitchen & Bar, 207 Hagley Road, B16 9RE; Facebook
Choice: Shah Platter (£34.95; for two) Chooser: Owner/manager

"Second comes right after first!" said Buzz Aldrin, spiritedly, on The Simpsons. It sure does Buzz! And on Tripadvisor's best restaurants in Brum (at the time of writing), Adam's was the Neil Armstrong of proceedings with Buzz represented by Colbeh. Colbeh? The second best restaurant in the city? Leaping into action (via Purnell's Bistro and Primitivo and Loki and Pub Du Vin) we arrived to find every table in the wonderfully weird Hagley Road Persian booked up. Devoid of self-respect we begged and it paid off. Tabled and beered our elation was curtailed when we discovered the recommended starter, Kashke Bademjan (aubergine, saffron and qurt sauce, £4.95) was not to our liking. Qurt. We've researched it extensively (Googled it once) and have no idea what it is. The main though, the Shah Platter, immediately redeemed matters. A dish so substantial Alec Guinness would feel the need to warn you that it's "no moon", it comes with lamb fillet, saffron chicken, minced meat skewers, lamb chops and chicken wings. Enough for two, minimum, all this comes with buttered saffron rice and sits atop a whopping great naan bread that catches all the juice. Everything on the plate, and we mean everything, was excellent but the saffron chicken triggered an out of body experience we didn't think was possible without a heater and some serious smelling salts. Saffron chicken, big in 2018. Qurt, not so much. 
Salt & Earth and Lap-fai Lee are popping-up at 1000 Trades this Saturday, taco-ing the bejesus out of life. We know how you like them apples.
Tales of The Brothers Grimm are being retold until Saturday. Catch six new adaptations with appropriate amounts of dark humour at the George Cadbury Hall. Tickets are £8.
Harborne is acquiring Tiffin by way of a Turners replacement. It's by that Umami lot around the corner, and set to have doors what open by the end of the month.
If your phone autocorrects 'kidding' to 'kissing', 40 St Paul's welcomes you this February 14. Single Awareness Day is from 7pm.
Gorillabot is a Brum-based costumed funk-rock trio. Some proper good sorts have made a video with the band. Immediately smile by watching it here. (Headphones in.)

"Millions long for immortality who don't know what to do with themselves on a rainy Sunday afternoon." 

Susan Ertz

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WORDS: Katy Drohan, Tom CullenAndrew Lowry
PICTURES: Jeremy Bernard — Banff Mountain Film Festival

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