Issue 250
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NEW LAUNCH CHEAT SHEET

If you can keep up with the openings in this here town, give yourself a gold star. For everyone else, here's how the rest of your year looks in launches — we've got bao, a mahousive taproom and Yorkshire pudding wraps comin' atcha, like Cleopatra.

SEPTEMBER

The Mill: Opens September 28. A music venue with mezzanine warehouse, open-top roof terrace and plenty of late-night happenings. Live art forms part of their October 3 club nightMore
Finders Keepers: Though technically open, a lot is being added to the current bar-only setup at this Digbo venue. The kitchen, cellar space and courtyard will open, with an emphasis on live music, performance arts and art art. Natural vin by Wine Freedom also incoming. More 

OCTOBER

Tiger Bites Pig: It's looking like an October 1st (ish) opening, with some soft launchy sort of stuff on the DL before that. Bao, bowls and beers are what The Church alumni are serving, and we're doing internal back-flips over their opening menu. Braised short rib, shiitake, chilli and cured egg yolk bao anyone? More
The Pint Shop: Opens at 5pm on October 10 after a week of (yes, fully booked) soft launching. There'll be 26 lines of beer, over 100 gins and a huge game in kebabs cooked over charcoal. More
Pig & Apple: Opening in the second half of the month in Grand Central. A local team banging out Yorkshire pudding wraps, proper pork sandwiches and basically everything your breakfast and lunch didn't know it needed yet. More

NOVEMBER

Nocturnal Animals: From the team behind The Wilderness, bookings go live on October 1, for reservations from November 7. Expect a stellar team, plucked from bars in London, Leicester, Nottingham and The Church, plus a very different sort of cocktail menu. There'll be nine pages, each a colour representing one flavour, available three ways. More
Legna: On the site of Mi Amore on Summer Row, the second permanent restaurant in Aktar Islam's arsenal is Italiano, and opening proper in November (though don't be surprised to see soft launch activity before that). The main menu will focus on eight starters and eight mains, with two regularly changing varieties of homemade pasta, utilising seasonal produce. And the early signs are this place is going to look totally beaut. How the exterior will look, pictured top. 

BREWERIES 

Attic Brew Co: Mere metres from the less and less dry Bournville, a sizeable tap house and brewery is coming together, off Mary Vale Road. Pals Oli and Sam have moved on from brewing in buckets, to attics (can you guess where the name for the brewery came from) to their own gaff, focussing on wheat beers, Belgians and Saisons. The tap room will initially be open Fridays and Saturdays with rotating street food vendors planned on dinns. Did somebody say Stirchley Beer Mile? More
Glass House Beer Co: Somebody *did* say Stirchley Beer Mile. Glass House Beer Co is already making the brown, bubbly stuff. They'll also have a tap room. And they're but a 0.4 mile walk from Attic Brew Co. We measured it. More

 

BADGES OF HONOUR


There really isn't enough wonderful left in the world for what we've done. We may have to mine neighbouring planets for fresh supplies of wonderful, that's how wonderful this is. We've only gone and had pin badges made in honour of Birmingham's iconic Snobs nightclub and thrifty Mr Egg diner. So for all those who remember being stuck to Snobs' gluey dancefloor and eating like a king for £1, you can now demonstrate your badgy love for these retro venues. Tomorrow, it'll be four years to the day since Snobs closed its Paradise Circus doors for the last time, reopening with swank new premises on Smallbrook Queensway. And although Mr Egg still technically exists it's been many, many years since its hero ingredient was the humble egg, now serving rather good Chinese street food under new owners. We have limited numbers of all three badges, which cost £6 each or all three for £15. Guaranteed wonderful! Head this way to grab yours.   

SERVE OR SWERVE?

Brum's only dedicated ping pong hall, Serve came under a bit of heat at launch. Prices seemed steep and parts of the fit-out were un-fitted-out. It's still not 100% there, but you'd forgive any venue of this size (the former gym is an absolute whopper) for taking its refurb one bite at a time. And it looks like they've addressed pricing. Rather than charge per table, they're now charging per person, meaning if there's only two of you, you're paying £10 each maximum for an hour's peak time whiffing and whaffing. Where Serve really excels, though, is when the boss is paying. This is excellent team bonding / work Xmas do territory, particularly when you ask the staff to show you some of their table tennis-based games. Tomfoolery that apparently had the Birmingham City team at full competitiveness. More  

FILM PICK: A SIMPLE FAVOR

The post-Gone Girl mini-boom in airport novel adaptations centred around disappearing women continues with this surprisingly hard-edged thriller-comedy from Bridesmaids director Paul Feig. Anna Kendrick is a perky suburban super-mum and vlogger who befriends Blake Lively’s far cooler helicopter parent, then mounts an increasingly slick investigation when she seems to fall off the planet. The first half is in Feig’s comfort zone, poking plenty of fun at infantilising life in American suburbia, and then it gets a little awkward in the second half as things get nastier, twistier and sexier. It’s a lot softer around the edges than it could be – things don’t get nearly as weird as they could in the hands of, say, a David Fincher, but this is a fun potboiler of the kind that doesn’t get made often enough these days. Times

Venue: Aria at Hyatt Regency, 2 Bridge Street, B1 2JZ; website
Choice: Pork belly (£19.50) Chooser: Manager

We never tried the old menu at Aria, and don't know anyone that did, so it was with no expectations at all that we took up a pew and got all the way into the kitchen's new offering. Also in tasting mode, Chef Justin opted for beetroot cured salmon (£10) to start, so we did too. And a beautiful, balanced plate of food arranged with flowers and garden herbs got things off to a strong start. A less attractive but even tastier dish was the meaty, rich lobster bisque (£14) with salted croute and gruyère cheese — a steaming bear hug of a bowl which required extra bread for moppage, and the only dish that's been carried over from the previous carte. The pork belly — from Dingley Dell, the people that supply Hakkasan and the Gordan Ramsay Group — did everything right. Crunchy and fatty and falling apart where it should be, tart dried apple cut through the richness of the meat and dauphs, with roasted cauliflower puree and asparagus to back it up, squarely beating the steak we also ordered. This is a classical menu with pretty twists, which will keep improving as the team get more and more comfortable with the new combos. Bubbly, lovely, attentive service was the icing on this surprisingly giving cake. Menu

SEVEN MILLION, NOT OUT


Over seven million people have watched War Horse — that's the entire population of Hong Kong. If it's somehow passed you by over its acclaimed eight years, the National Theatre's award-banger of a production is best known for its gee-gees. And rightly so — full-size, bamboo horse frames are given life, personality and incredible dexterity by the Handspring Puppet Company — the scale is awe-filling and the emotion the performers are able to convey is a see-it-to-believe-it kind of thing. Set at the outbreak of World War One with your equine lead, Joey, being shipped out to France, there's an incredible scene with a tank worth the ticket price alone. War Horse, based on Michael Morpurgo's book of the same name stables at Birmingham Hippodrome on October 10, sticking around right through to November 3. Tickets are from £29.50.

The full programme for Shout Festival is now live — the ledgey line-up of queer arts and culture is happening across Brum from November 8 to 18.
It's Mid-Autumn. Well, it's the Mid-Autumn Festival this Saturday at The Arcadian from 1.30pm, complete with parading, a liondance and fireworks. All free.
The Ashes are coming back to Edgbaston Stadium. The ticket ballot opens today at 10am.

Tom Kerridge's two-star pub, The Hand and Flowers is booked up far into 2019. But you can get to Kerridge on October 23, at Simpsons, for a one-off collab. But you'll need to move quickly on this one.

Get on board dreamboat for an overnight sleep laboratory including a pre-bed sonic massage, and night of listening to a soundscape by artist-in-residence Justin Wiggan. On September 27, it's £50.
 


"There are big days and there are small days, which will it be?"
― Ted Narracott, War Horse (2011)




 
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WORDS: Tom CullenKaty Drohan; Andrew Lowry
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