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"You eat with your eyes" is a saying that, if taken literally, can lead to disastrous dinner dates. We won't be making that mistake again. Truth is it's merely an adage about the power of a beautiful looking dish, something Jack Spicer Adams knows all about. Birmingham's foremost food photographer has been snapping the rise of the city's restaurant scene for over four years and here he's picked six of the most stunning looking (and tasting) dishes for your culinary consideration...   
"This is an exquisite dish from an excellent restaurant. Everything they do at Carters is meticulous and stunning, but the mackerel might just be my favourite. I love the way the yellow flower and the spot of mustard communicate across the dish and the showpiece fish is actually hidden beneath the cucumber. That takes guts. Fresh, summery and sharp, it also tastes terrific." CartersOfMoseley.co.uk
"The meat really does the talking, here. This was a simple shot and sometimes that's exactly what food photography is - simple. If the chef nails it, I don't need to do a huge amount. The table really fits in with the whole picture. The colours match beautifully. The meal comes with chips, corn and tomato but you're paying for the 35 day, dry aged steak so that's really what we wanted to showcase." NewInnHarborne.co.uk
"The chefs behind the excellent Peel & Stone bakery also do brilliant pop-up events and this dish was from one of those - as such you can't just rush out and buy it now. My advice would be to follow them on Twitter or Facebook to find out what events they have coming up and get along to one ASAP. This Asian-style fried chicken was cooked with sansho pepper which leaves just a slight numbness on the lips. It's an insane dish in a truly memorable way." Clarke & Lee; Peel & Stone
"A ploughmans with pizzazz. The perfectly soft boiled, Scotch egg draws the eye in. The piccalilli in this dish tastes awesome - Becketts make that themselves. For me, there's something wonderful about a really simple, cold dish that looks clean and crisp. Making a cold dish look this appetising is a bigger ask than an all singing, all dancing hot main course. They're very passionate about what they do at Becketts Restaurant. It's worth visiting just for their farm shop, but I'd advise staying for a bite." BeckettsFarm.co.uk
"Fish and chips is a dish that can quite easily look untidy. The Jekyll and Hyde haven't tried to entirely refine it, but they've given it some finesse. Some order. The gnarled batter in the fish just screams "bite me" while the greens and yellows on the plate (and the drink), provide lush vibrancy. I particularly love the mini churns in which the tartare sauce is served (you can see one more clearly here) and the way the blue and white of the plate has a nautical nod." TheJekyllAndHyde.co.uk 
"I love the shine on this dish. There's absolutely nothing done to it to enhance that. That's exactly how it looks. Exactly how it comes from the kitchen. Shine like that usually means butter and butter means taste. Perhaps not one for the diet enthusiasts, but they'd be missing out. There's some really interesting textures, here, too. It's a good example of how we pick the right table for the right dish. In this case rough with the smooth." ChurchJQ.co.uk

(Follow Jack Spicer Adams on Facebook and Twitter and check out his website for more mouthwatering imagery)


Apparently we've all got a book in us and, if Agatha Christie is to be believed, "The best time for planning a book is while you're doing the dishes." Thus every one of us should be wielding a tea towel that we can can rely on. We're as surprised as you that we're recommending tea towels, but these dish driers from Dotmoth Studio are genuinely rather fetching and are the perfect gift for the person that has everything (the partner who never does the dishes). For £9 you can take your pick between towels emblazoned with the Bull, the best of Brum's architecture or one boasting an array of Birmingham facts.


In a summer full of effects-packed blockbusters, Boyhood is inarguably the most ambitious film of them all. Why? Well it might seem like a small-scale indie but it was filmed over 12 years, showing the progression of a boy to, well, a man. It follows Mason, played by Ellar Coltrane, as he goes through the rites of passage that every boy experiences, from the first day at a new school, to the first kiss, to the first job. It’s an incredibly universal film with the ability to make us all relive our youth through Mason’s eyes and the overall effect is really quite overwhelming. An early frontrunner for next year’s Oscars. ✭✭✭✭✭ 
(Screening times: The Electric


Nic Joly, an artist who is known for his miniature works of sculptural theatre (see examples here) is exhibiting this piece at Castle Fine Art Gallery to mark the 100th anniversary of the First World War. Joly's ‘Never Forgotten’ depicts two soldiers raising a red poppy in reference to one of the most iconic images of war: Joe Rosenthal's photograph of US soldiers raising their flag at Iwo Jima, during the Second World War. He's created 1,566 bronze pieces like the one pictured, reflecting the number of days that the First World War was fought. Joly has also included information on the back of each to explain what happened on that particular day, making them all unique. Each piece costs £695 and £100 from every sale will be donated to The Royal British Legion. You don't have to be buying to head over and appreciate Joly's work, however, with a number of his pieces on display including our favourite, The Big Bang.  
Venue: Sushi Time, Martineau, B2 4UB; time4sushi.co.uk 
Choice: "Tombo"; £13  Chooser: Restaurant owner 

We're worried for Sushi Time, not because the food's not good, it's superb, but because the location is floundering. Martineau Place, for a long time now the outcast of the Birmingham food scene, is struggling to pull in the precious pounds, which is cruel for a restaurant so badly needed in the city. Excellent, fresh sushi took a reassuringly long time to arrive and was so worth the wait. The Russian restaurant owner ("second only to Japan, Russia has easily the best sushi restaurants on earth," he convincingly informed us) picked out the Tomba - king prawn tempura, tobiko (flying fish roe), smoked eel, mayo and sesame seeds. The nuttiness of the sesame and slight warmth of the plump, crispy fried prawn made this, for our money, the best value sushi in the city. Skip Yo Sushi and keep this wonderful indie place going.  
Recommend a restaurant by emailing tom@ichoosebirmingham.com
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