Issue 214
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In the year the planet watched Trump take office, and your bins became so infested with life that they almost collected themselves, you could be forgiven for thinking a review of 2017 would be an eye-bleedingly painful read. Not so. Turns out, in our awesome city at least, the last 12 months were really rather spectacular. Pay attention at the back:
1. The Rage Room arrived in Brum, and after smashing up mugs and keyboards with a crowbar, we progressed to a full-size office printer. 
2. Urban axe-throwing quickly followed, and we mastered the double-handed-underarm like we were born to. There’s now a league you can enter.
3. VR took over the city. Vortex and Matrix Virtual Reality are our top of the tip of the top.
4. Ghetto Golf opened. It includes a hole which takes place entirely on a bus (pictured). It's like the number 50 only prettier and, despite being completely stationary, probably quicker.
5. Meatshack got a permanent home. Try the Dutch Piggy.
6. Mezze miracle makers, Damascena, opened in the city centre. Try the fattuush.
7. And round the corner, Thai greatness followed in the form of Sabai Sabai. Try the beef short rib. 
8. Bloom opened in Kings Heath. Try all their coffee.
9. Zindiya opened in Moseley. We went A LOT.
10. Zindiya joined Deliveroo. We ordered A LOT.
11. Laghi's deli-cafe-restaurant served us the best-darned pizza we’ve ever eaten in this city. And it didn’t even have meat on it.
12. Caneat (Stirchley) opened. Jodie makes the best cakes ever.
13. Down the road, Birmingham Brewing Company opened a de-light-ful tap house.
14. And Rush launched — a colossal trampoline park where you can play dodgeball fo' reals.
15. We're not allowed to talk about the best new bar that opened in 2018. Call 0121 236 2400 to book.
16. We are allowed to talk about The Wilderness' big Bennett's Hill opening. Pre-bookings open for April.
17. And Folium's good-looking Caroline Street dining room.
18. The Grand announced it'll be getting a rooftop pool when its new hotel opens, early 2019.
19. BMAG announced it's getting Dippy the Diplodocus in May.
20. BHX got its first direct flights to Boston. Take off is June 22 and Primera Air's called shotgun.

21. The city successfully defused a war time bomb with almost no hiccups.
22. The BT Tower became the planet's biggest alarm clock.
23. Birmingham (sort of) secured the Commonwealth Games and we quickly devised the most ambitious tennis stadium on Earth.
24. While Purecraft Bar & Kitchen were awarded Birmingham's coveted best scotch egg trophy. Having eaten seven in two hours we've switched our attention to pork pies.

25. Loki won UK's Best Wine Merchant, then got bigger and prettier. Moseley and Edgbaston branches to follow.
26. Distilling your own gin became a thing. We tried it at The Jekyll & Hyde, then The Distillery launched a school where you can do it on the regs.
27. Gaucho opened, and The Ivy is en-route (launching April).

28. We won at bottomless bank holiday bingo. Also happening NYE.
29. We got bang into BHX'IT — art collective, PHORM's first event which took place at the JQ's tramshed. Keep a lookie here for the team's next doings.
30. We also got a new-found appreciation for puppets through The Rep's production of The Hundred and One Dalmatians. Until Jan 13.
31. Possibly our day of the year was big-thinking TEDxBrum at Hippodrome.  
32. 40 St Paul's won Imbibe's gin list of the year. 
33. Flying Cows won British Street Food's burger of the year.
34. We ate it at the inaugural Sear & Smoke, which took over Crane with meaty mayhem. It'll be back in 2018.

35. Greggs hosted a rave.
36. We created a Brum emoji quiz.
37. Even the bin strike had its social media highs.  
38. The Iron Man went on holiday.
39. And London was officially unveiled as the UK's second city


40. Snobs finally gets that plaque.
41. The Floozie doesn't even come close to being fixed.
42. The region gains another Michelin star — Harborne Kitchen, The Wilderness, Mallory Court, Cheal's?
43. Mr Egg gets a star of a very different kind.
44. The Frankfurt Market returns. In May.


If we had to choose something other than Birmingham, it would be curry. But this isn't an either/or situation. The Birmingham Balti Bowl Co have designed balti bowls made using pressed-steel, made in the Jewellery Quarter, and you can get your mitsies on one for £19.95. They're inspired by the original 70s design, which BBBC (as no one is calling them) explained are no longer made in Brum. And if you're cursing us for not mentioning this good-looking and useful gift in time for Chrimbo delivery, you can stop. The lovely team is happy to arrange collection from the city centre or Moseley if you're in the market for something to go under the tree. Comes with a recipe and gift tag, so you don't even have to think about that. More


Was the world crying out for a belated sequel to Jumanji? In short: no. Is this belated sequel to Jumanji surprisingly good? In short: yes. Smartly updating the board game of the original into a video game allows for some good gags like Karen Gillen’s Lara Croft getup, and there’s a new bodyswap element that’s exploited well. Jack Black playing a prom queen goes how you’d expect, but Dwayne Johnson is, of course, fantastic as a nerd transplanted into the body of a WWE star. Let’s be honest, this isn’t the most essential film of the season, but it's is a likable, inventive romp that is nowhere near as lazy as it could have been. And while Star Wars still stubbornly refuses to cast Johnson, this is the only place to get your Rock fix this Christmas. Times & trailer
Venue: Pub du Vin, 25 Church St, Birmingham, B3 2NR; website
Choice: Spring onion sandwich (£9) Chooser: General manager

Spring onions don't appear first on anyone's shopping list. You don't discuss them, dream about them, and reviewing the new menu at Pub du Vin, you definitely don't anticipate that they're going to be your top pick.
Look at the choices! There are hot dogs and burgers and butties for Pete's sake. But when you've got the general manager telling you to get your choppers around a naan bread of bhaji and onion and mango, you do as told. Then revel in the sharp, sweet, crunchy creation that demands a slug of Longhorn for maximum pub lunch impact. Oh and another wouldn't-order-but-actually-probably-should is the sausage roll and baked bean sandwich (£9). As a headliner, we're not big up into baked beans, but this sanger worked its arse off. Be sure to say yes to cutlery. Special mention to the homemade fish finger sandwich which, thanks to some mercurial mushy peas, became our favourite FFS in the city. This is a menu to be chowed over a lunchtime pint, or to graze on if you're out with pals and don't want to go to the bother of leaving the pub. Solid, filling, salty fare that you'll get a bit messy devouring. Menu
It's a new year's eve special:

Island Bar's going all Bourbon Street, with excessive amounts of rum. Early bird tickets are £10 and include a little sumthin sumthin from Bacardi on arrival.
Ghetto Golf your way into 2018. It's the usual price for 18-holes (£10) and open until 1am.

Going huge this year: Smultronstalle. It's £150 for ten courses of drinks and small plates. Krug Grand Cuvee for midnight. Will sell out. Email to book.
The Dark Horse is having a tracksuit party from 10pm. Entry is free and you don't need to book, which is more than a little bit refreshing.
Most of Resorts World's NYE schiz is sold out, but you can still get a spot at High Line's 70’s Soul Train p-tay. Tickets are £25 and include some drinkage, nibbling and all this.
The December 31 menu at Purecraft Bar & Kitchen looks entirely dreamy. Bookings taken from 6pm til 9pm, with the bar open until 1am.
The Edgbaston's going all electro swing. Tickets are £50 which includes fizz on arrival, at midnight, and New Year's Day saving butties in the small hours.

"So, good news, I saw a dog today." 

Buddy, Elf

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WORDS: Katy Drohan, Andrew Lowry
PICTURES: Tom Bird — Ghetto golf; Jack Spicer Adams — Balti bowl

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