Issue 229
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Online dating is worth £14.5 billion in the UK alone. Sadly, five years ago, we didn't decide to go into the e-dating business. We went into the ever so slightly more niche "best things to do in Birmingham condensed into one, free weekly email" business. You live and learn, right? Still, someone needs to keep you posted on the new openings in this ever-changing, ever-blossoming town and below, we're doing just that. Five sparkly-new restaurants, weirdly and inexplicably presented in the form of online dating profiles. Swipe right.
Username: The Ivy Brasserie; D.O.B: April 11, 2018
Location: Temple Row, dah-ling
About me: I've made the big move from London but brought some of my best-known moves with me: think prawn cocktail, shepherd's pie and a whole grilled lobster. I've invested a lot in making myself look good and it shows.
Would like to meet: A classic British beauty. Likes to see and be seen.
Username: The Wilderness; D.O.B: April 11, 2018
Location: 27 Warstone Lane, Jewellery Quarter
About me: I've recently relocated to the JQ from Southside. My new look is super sleek, and although it's pretty hard to land a date with me right now, if you're patient, I'll fit you in.
Would like to meet: An adventurer with a dark side. Should thrive on change, but never compromise on quality.
Name: Comptoir Libanais; D.O.B: March 26, 2018 
Location: Central. Grand Central.
About me: Though you can find me around the country, I look at my beautiful best above New Street Station. I love Lebanese and Middle Eastern food and for our first date, I'd like to share a mezze platter (£16.95), followed by a mixed grill (£13.95), so come hungry because my portions are something to behold, and I'm a sharing kind.
Would like to meet: Someone who enjoys home-cooking, but also likes the idea of trips to the souks of places like Beirut, Marrakesh and Istanbul. Via Birmingham. 

Username: Kilder; D.O.B: April 20, 2018
Location: 5 Shaws Passage, Digbeth
About me: Hey! I've just moved in next to my big bro, who is a total fox and cool AF. You've probably heard of him — OPM. And though we're really close (neighbours in fact), I'm all about natural wine and seasonal British produce — think cured meat, cheese boards and small plates: this vibe. I've also got 15 beers by the tap, so you're going to like me.
Would like to meet: You should probably be into facial hair, tattoos and beanies. You'll need to be okay with the fact I work Wednesdays to Sundays but my diary's wide open otherwise, and for the right guy, I can get a lot of comp'd burgers.
Username: Revolución de Cuba; D.O.B: March 29, 2018
Location: 8 Temple Street
About me: I'm from such a big family, sometimes it feels like my reputation as a next gen member of Revolution precedes me, and not in a good way. But I'm worth a try. On food, get my crispy squid tacos (£5.75). For cocktails, it's all about my blood orange margarita (£8.75). And absolutely check out my top floor — it's super spacious, chandelier-laden and a lot of fun come the weekends.
Would like to meet: Someone who's looking for a good time and isn't afraid of late nights. Dancing non-optional.


Being as we're pretty much locked in a cold war with Russia and everyone's wearing ripped jeans, you'd be forgiven for thinking we're re-living 80s. But where being on the brink of nuclear Armageddon and questionable fashion were some of the downsides to that decade, British comedy was coming into its own. A true legend of the era, Alexei Sayle, is Brum-bound as part of the extraordinarily strong Birmingham Literary Festival line-up. Sayle's teaming up with Brummie novelist Kit De Waal to discuss their stories on the Anti-Vietnam War Demonstration and Malcolm X’s visit to Smethwick as part of Protest: Stories of Resistance. The event will include contributions by 20 authors who have re-imagined key moments of British protest — from the Peasants’ Revolt of 1381 to the anti-Iraq War demo of 2003. More


Cinema prices can smart a little. Step forward the luxey Everyman in the Mailbox, who are offering I Choose Birmingham readers not just a preview, and not just a preview at a hugely discounted rate, but a preview at a hugely discounted rate wth free popcorn. We've teamed up with Brum's best cinema to show Amanda Seyfried and Clive Owen's ANON, two days before general release, for just £9.50. That's £4 saved on the ticket, plus £3.50 saved on popcorn, plus ahead-of-the-curve, money-can't-buy, bragging rights. The story (as if you care because you're already trying to book tickets) is set in a Soviet-style future where the government is trying to fight crime by eliminating privacy, thus creating total surveillance and de facto self-censorship. So sort of relevant. May 9, 7pm.


"The Royal Shakepeare Company doesn't f*** about," a famous actor once said to us. His, ummm, colourful language may not have quite been to everyone's tastes, but you can't really argue with his point. When the RSC produce a new show it attracts the best board-treaders, and each newbie is almost unanimously worthy of your hard-earned coin. Next up, Romeo and Juliet, a quirky little number you may have heard of. Bally Gill and Karen Fishwick (pictured) play the eponymous and ever-so-slightly doomed star-crossed lovers, but we're getting all trigger happy on the ticket booking thanks to the female Mercutio. In 2013, and at the age of just 23, Charlotte Josephine wrote the first draft of Bitch Boxer in a rage after a passerby commented on how unladylike she looked lifting boxes in her day job. It was a brilliant and heart-pulverising one-woman show that won the Young Writers Award at the Soho Theatre. Subsequent acting credits included being part of the Lyric Hammersmith’s Secret Theatre Company and Phyllida Lloyd’s Julius Caesar at the Donmar. And we predict she's going to own the Stratford stage as Romeo's moody BFF. From April 21 to September 21. Tickets
Venue: Don Diego, 8 Chad Square, Edgbaston, B15 3TQ; Website
Choice: King prawns in lobster sauce (£8.95); Chooser: Owner

You know that square opposite The White Swan as you drive into Harborne, up the hill? That's where you'll find the dining room of Don Diego, basically the only Spanish restaurant in B-Town that laughs in the face of tapas — doesn't do any of the stuff. What it does do is hearty plates of home-style food, home-style if your house was located in Spain that is. A brother-brother outfit, Eddie is front of house and Alfonso (formerly of Simpsons and El Borracho) is in the kitchen. His signature dish is a grilled octopus leg (£17.95) with a paprika olive oil that our guest would tell you is the pick. But we say it's all about the king prawn starter, and more specifically the unctuous lobster bisquey broth it comes in. Our approach to said sauce was three-fold. There was polite prawn-dunkage while we assessed how into the dish our guest was, followed by more forceful bread moppage, then rumour has it we may have used our fingers to secure those final drops of rich, perfect, mollusky goodness. DO NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES AGREE TO SHARE THIS DISH. 


Six-second quiz: where was Ocean Colour Scene's album Live Acoustic recorded? Time's up. The correct answer is the Jam House, and Northern Soul artist David Barrow did the whole painting thing to mark the moment. The piece, at St Pauls Gallery, is signed by the band and now ready to adorn a wall near you for £595 of your very finest pounds.



Crash cart, STAT! Are you more Casualty, E.R. or Grey’s Anatomy? And don’t even try and tell yourself you’re none of the above. We’re all of the above, and fine with that. We’re also probably a bit too fascinated by Anatomy Lab Live, which has now released tickets for their 2019 Midlands events. Your evening begins in an operating theatre, with a two-course meal, of course. But things quickly escalate, with a full surgical team struggling to save a patient’s life right in front of you, and human anatomist, Samuel Piri taking a scalpel to the patient's chest. Spoiler alert, you’ll systematically work your way through a dissection of the human body, surgical procedures included, so we’re thinking things don’t go overly well for that patient. There’ll be ventilators, clamps, SFX, well-trained actors, and you get a surgical mask, gloves and apron to wear while this is all taking place. In Solihull and Walsall in Jan and March, tickets are from £79.
Fowl Play will be doing outrageously good things with chicken this summer, in a Jewellery Quarter near you. Get on their Facebook, Twitter or Insta. Or all of 'em.
Taking over the kitchen at BoneHead on May 1: a ramen night by Koba-Ko. From 5pm until 8pm. To book, get all typey typey to
Aktar Islam's Opheem officially opens June 1. Get yourself a table?
Loaf has announced its next Thai curry night. Mark May 3 in your diary and mark it well. The menu looks ridonc-good.

“These violent delights have violent ends. And in their triumph die, like fire and powder. Which, as they kiss, consume.”
William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet

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WORDS: Tom CullenKaty Drohan,
PICTURES: Royal Shakespeare Company (C) (Romeo & Juliet)

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