Issue 448
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It takes serious stones to open an Indian concept restaurant in the UK home of Indian cuisine, but acclaimed Leeds-born street food and craft beer specialist, Bundobust, opens tomorrow and with it comes pedigree, razzle-dazzle reviews from national critics, flavour (bags and bags of it) and something actually different.
"There's a lot of old school operators in Birmingham and there's a lot of new restaurants focusing on regional Indian food," says co-founder Marko Husak who set up the company with his business partner, Mayur Patel, ten years ago. "But to us that just shows that Brummies have the taste for it. Plus, what we're doing really is original. It has to be! This is our slant on South Asian food, it's all vegetarian and, honestly, we don't really call ourselves a restaurant. It is a restaurant, but equally it's a pub — it's a really flexible concept that you sort of need to experience to grasp how it stands alone. I guess it's a different take on a Desi pub. Come alone, come as a pair or descend on us in a large group. It all works."  
Landing at 38 Bennetts Hill it replaces the forgettable NUDE and, before that, the enjoyable if short-lived Pint Shop in a beautiful Grade II listed building, a few first photos of which we have here. 
"I remember it when it was Pint Shop and I loved what they did with it," says Marko. "It's a stunning building with a lot of original features that we're painstakingly bringing to the fore. That's what keeps it interesting to us — we refuse to be a carbon copy kind of a place. All Bundobusts feel like a Bundobust but each one is very unique too. Having a Bundobust on multiple floors is a new one, but we're very used to making spaces work and we're very used to working in historical surroundings, so it's in safe hands."
Split across two floors, the city centre spot really does have that warm pubby feel that was so lost by the previous tenants, but fits so pitch-perfectly in that part of town.

There's lots of communal bar seating, as well as cosy corners, and snug semi-private spaces. The Bundobust crew worked hard to reveal the building’s Georgian features and architectural charm, so expect exposed brick, sash windows, and much more of a focus on the buildings impressive, winding central staircase.
Adding their own stamp on the space, original features are offset against Bundobust’s vibrant colour palette, walls are adorned with their signature patchwork of upcycled, multicoloured doors, and downstairs you’ll find a hidden photobooth. The result is a spot ideally suited for long and lazy Saturdays and Sundays grazing on Bundo pots, as well as Pret-conquering smash and grab lunches, and everything in between. 
Described by Guardian and Observer snuffleupagus, Jay Rayner, as “uncompromising and self-confident and, above all else, clever” the menu includes Bundo Chaat (layers of samosa pastry, chickpea, potato, onion, sev, and chilli sauce, served with yoghurt and tamarind chutney), Vada Pav (the iconic street food staple – deep-fried mashed potato ball in a bun, with red and green chutneys, served with fried green chilli) and Egg Bhurji (cumin and green chilli-spiced scrambled eggs, with green peas and coriander, served with bhatura).

Possibly pick of the lot is Gobi Manchurian (an Indo-Chinese mash-up of cauliflower and mushroom pakoras tossed in an umami-hot sauce) plus they're bringing Paneer Kadai (paneer cheese simmered in a rich mixed pepper & tomato sauce with onions, deggi mirch and kasturi methi, served with bhatura). All dishes are priced between £2.50 (say what?) and £7.50, with chef’s choice combos starting from just £31 for 2 people, as well as the Lunch Express menu offering two dishes for £9.
"We don't compromise on good quality food and we don't compromise on great value," says Marko. "We launched a new menu on Monday [this will be Bundobust's fifth venue] and we had a meeting about prices — a quick chat about potentially putting them up as the cost of ingredients and energy is sky-rocketing. But we decided not to. It's a core company value that people leave feeling the food is very reasonably priced. When we say a price increase is the last thing we want to do, it honestly is."
On the taps you'll find Bundobust’s own beers from their Manchester brewery (Chai Porter, anyone? Coriander Pilsner perhaps?), alongside the very best local craft brews. Bundobust Birmingham’s opening tap line-up will feature collaborative beers with Bakewell-based Thornbridge and Stirchley's own Attic Brew Co.
"We put a lot of stock into integrating into the community," Marko adds. "We've done a series of pop-ups and we're always supporting microbreweries on the bar. We'll be at the Colmore Food Festival in July and looking to get involved whenever and wherever possible. That's not something that only happens during the launch phase either — we want to explore collaborations going right forward."
Beyond beer, Bundobust offers cocktails with an Indian twist (think Banana and Cardamom Old Fashioned and Coconut and Mango Mojito), plus wines, chai, and softs, including lassis, coolers and sodas. They're dog-friendly, open all-day, from 12 noon, seven days a week plus, on Fridays and Saturdays, will play host to Bombay Mix, a weekly dose of DJs playing spicy beats from around the world.
Before I go I mention to Marko that a string of non-Brum hospitality businesses have closed their doors in recent weeks, but he's not phased. "I was reading about that just now, too. But we're very much in this for the long haul. We've been looking at Birmingham since before COVID so to say we've done our research is an understatement. The numbers stack up and the location is one we can absolutely make work. We want to be part of a wider movement that gets the city centre buzzing. We want to contribute to a vibrancy that brings people into town, in big numbers."
Bundobust opens tomorrow (June 2) and the first 500 guests through the door will all receive a scratch card offering a range of prizes including a year's worth of Bundo. They welcome both walk-ins and bookings.


All and any plans made for June 10 must immediately be cancelled as Birmingham City University have released details of their free day of fun and activities for families, and it's a stormer.

Inspired Family Day will take place across the University’s city centre campus, at Millennium Point, with this year’s event focusing on the theme of sustainability. Visitors will have the opportunity to get involved in a range of activities including designing their very own ‘city of the future’ (the Jetsons meet Birmingham) and taking part in environmentally friendly metal workshops led by the University’s renowned School of Jewellery.

If you need further proof that the robots are taking over, well, they now have dogs, and BCU’s remote-controlled canines will be on show, offering a glimpse into the future of AI and computing, with visitors also getting the chance to use Green Screen tech and see inside a training ambulance used by staff at the University’s Faculty of Health, Education and Life Sciences.

Visitors can also get practical tips on first aid and creative writing, while families with young children can enjoy face-painting, a safe play area, optical illusions and family-friendly games. The event, which last year saw around 1,300 visitors attend, will give young people the chance to speak to academics at the University, getting insights into the range of subjects on offer and potential future careers in creative arts industries.

Inspired Family Day will be open to visitors from 11am to 4pm on Saturday 10 June. Tickets are free to all but must be booked in advance here.


2016 seems a lifetime away, but no one can forget that year’s stark and frankly anger-inducing film from Ken Loach and Paul Laverty, I, Daniel Blake; Dave Johns’ portrayal of Daniel was frighteningly real and relatable. Clearly a glutton for punishment, he goes again, this time writing the first theatrical adaptation of the multi-award winning film, which makes its Midland premiere at the The Rep from June 13 until June 24.

This important film forced you to look far-too-common, everyday stories straight in the eye — you didn’t want to watch it, but knew you had to— and the stage version visits these issues once again, with a story update for 2023. So who better to retell such a hopeless yet hopeful story, as the man who understood and played the titular character?

A co-production of several companies (including The Rep, themselves), it’s also created in association with Cardboard Citizens, who make theatre for social change with, and for, homeless people. Keen to make it contemporary, Dave and director, Mark Calvert surveyed thirteen years of government cuts, under the cloud of a cost of living crisis, with both men sadly disappointed to find that, well… nothing much has changed. Mark says, “For me, I, Daniel Blake frames the working-class experience in modern Britain – there’s hope, humour and humanity in the story, but audiences should feel angry and outraged; I know I am.”

But all is not lost. The production revisits and expands on the original content, exploring more of Katie’s journey within the play, and the family unit she creates with Daniel, highlighting the help of others and the kindness and compassion that can carry us through the toughest times.

Inspired by activists like Cold War Steve, Led by Donkeys and Cassette Boy, the action is interspersed with factual interviews, speeches and – gulp – social media posts, showing the direct impact of the government’s decisions on individuals’ lives. “We hope reflecting the harsh reality will galvanise audiences and inspire activism.” says Calvert. Tickets from £12.50 plus fee


The city of Vienna knows how to count its quarters. Unlike our beloved Brum, where we have about six, it has the correct number. Hailing from the first bezirk of four quarters, comes something pretty berserk: Mnozil Brass, an Austrian slapstick-ish, septet; as funny as they are talented onstage. Named after the Gasthaus Mnozil restaurant in which they originally formed and played, the internationally-renowned band are bestowing their only UK Gold tour date on the Symphony Hall, June 16. That’s right, we got first dibs against the rest of the UK.

Typical brass band, this ain’t. Described as playing with ‘typical Viennese schmäh’, as one of those untranslatable words this loosely means ‘sarcastic charm’. That’s sort of a perfect phrase for it. Clashing hit tunes with jazz, pop and operetta, these guys have a cult following for their ironic, funny performances of combined genius, whilst also boasting world-class talent individually. B:Music tells us that a good description would be ‘the Monty Python of the brass world’, silly walks ‘n’ all.

Celebrating their 30th anniversary as a seven-piece – and clearly keen to avoid the obvious Pearl anniversary tour title – their Gold tour is a collection of their greatest hits, all reworked and freshly prepared for this next extravaganza. After the band sold out Town Hall on their previous 2017 and 2018 tours, the Symphony Hall is a fitting upgrade to these bold bastions of the brass world. Having performed at many of the world’s most prestigious venues over their thirty years together, they’re here on Friday June 16 (tickets, £30) for one night only in Brum, then they’ll be galavanting off to see the rest of the world. Not one to be missed, we think. Tickets


Sarehole Mill has big summer plans for you – with capital Ps. From a festoon-lit evening in the courtyard, to freshly baked pizzas in the glorious sun; if you haven’t visited, why the devil not?

We’ll give you four of many good reasons to schedule a trip over to Tolkein’s backyard now the sun’s out. Perusing anything with a glass of wine in hand is agreeable, but the top-notch vino and views for the Summer Evening Tour and Tipple (Friday June 16, £12.50) make this the perfect hour-long Friday wind-down, as the Mill, Courtyard and pond all bask in the evening sun.

Uniting three superlative Ps – Paint, Pizza and Prosecco (June 11 and July 30, £40) – you can do just that, with just those, in the idyllic grounds of Sarehole, led by Wild Earth Movement. With prosecco to sup on throughout, there’s a pit-stop pizza to make sure your masterpiece isn’t a tipsy game of two halves.

Midsummer looming gives all the Pagan feels, so join Calligrapher Jane Lappage, a don of the scene, to show you perfect penmanship in the Summer Solstice Celtic Calligraphy workshop (Saturday June 17, £30).

And if you’re hankering for more pizza, the Perfectly Paired: Pizza and Wine Evening (Saturday June 24, £40), gives you five tasting courses of focaccias, pizza tasters and desserts. Paired with worldwide wines, you’ll get a lesson for each course in what, who, and why it works so well. Tickets and info


If you haven't already, you have until June 25 to visit Grayson Perry's 'pay what you can' exhibition at the Midlands Arts Centre and if you don't I will literally (yes, literally!) contact your local newspaper and take a full page advert out announcing that you've not been. It's that damn good.

What's more, for just £2 per ticket, you can now enter a Charity Raffle to be in with the chance of winning one of six original artworks created by Sir Grayson, Philippa Perry and celebs including Joe Wilkinson, Jo Brand, Dame Prue Leith, and Katy Wix.

The celebrity artworks are currently on display as part of the exhibition, alongside an original ceramic artwork contributed by Grayson (pictured) called Normal Birmingham Person, 2022. It includes a written personalised message and signature from the man himself, his Potter's Mark, all hand-painted in the bespoke colour palette of Grayson’s Art Club. All profits made from this raffle will be reinvested back into the MAC's own charity.

Since opening in Birmingham, Grayson’s Art Club: The Exhibition has welcomed over 30,000 visitors from across the UK to the arts centre, and has been extended due to popular demand.

Raffle tickets can be purchased until 12pm on Thursday June 22, right here (click 'Book Now'). Winners will be drawn at 12pm on June 23. Entrants must reside in the UK and be over the age of 18.


With a snazzy site ‘Ticketometer’ that’s tipping ever more closely into red, we’ll assume it’s also indicative of temperature levels for the Mostly Jazz, Funk and Soul weekend of July 7-9. As your annual small but mighty festival edges ever closer, this is your cue to dash for the virtual checkout and snap up the last few before you bitterly regret it.

With headliners Fat Freddy’s Drop-ping Friday, ear worm bandits, Jungle, on the decks, and a live set from beloved local, Goldie, it’s already almost sold out. Brass band collectives clash brilliantly with DJs like Mr Scruff, Ghanaian Gospel and Acid Jazz on Saturday night, topped off by cool-as-cucumber headliners, Ezra Collective.

Norman Jay, MBE, brings carnival vibes to the more chilled Sunday, bookended by two BBC 6 Music legends, Huey Morgan and Craig Charles – make it three with Jamz Supernova. Craig’s back on board the soul train for his usual Mostly appearance, this time bigger, better and with more boogie.

Talking of boogie, snap up a Sunday ticket and you’ll get to see KC and the Sunshine Band. It’s his first UK stop for yeeeeears, and this is one of only two chances to catch him on our soil during his 50th anniversary year – possibly ever, if he plans to leave it as long as before between visits.

We’re told the weekend sessions have some extra-special performances planned, so keep your eyes on Birmingham Royal Ballet for something no doubt body and mind-bending. Of course, there’s the usual array of food, drinks and distraction, including Sofunk Dance Fitness, Swing dancing and Drum ‘n’ Bounce. And, if you’ve ever marvelled at Northern Soul dancers, give it a go with Soul Taster sessions; no talc allowed on the grass, please.

Prices start from £57 for a day ticket, or £145 for a weekend (plus booking fees), with family weekend passes also available. Tickets


A new hush-hush JQ spot and sun trap is launching a lineup of immersive events that will take in seven of the planet's hottest party cities across three months.

Happening in The Yard, hidden behind The Button Factory, Summer In The City will bring music, food and frivolity from Rio De Janeiro, Dublin, Chicago, Bangkok, Mexico City, Kingston and New Orleans from June 3 to August 26 which is, admittedly, 84 days, not 80. 

During that time visitors can expect street food, live entertainment, dancers, DJs and cocktail specialties correlating to the city of choice that week, with events kicking off at Rio on Saturday. Expect live music from The Bandidos, Brazilian Dancers and, get this, an open fire barbecue Brazilian feast. That menu includes Brazilian style flatbreads including grilled chicken thigh, smashed avocado, molho à campanha or pulled pork, chipotle mayo and green chilli salsa. The veggie option sounds like a worldy too, with smoky tomato, fermented chilli and cashew nut cream. Loaded green chilli grilled potatoes with chipotle mayo is the side dish king.  

The Yard will also run a series of events parallel to Summer In The City including the extremely popular Brunch Club, Beavertown's Skulloon Tour as well as showing all the big sporting events of summer 2023.

It's £8 a ticket (or free if you arrive before 8pm) and you get a caipirinha included in the price, for the Rio event. The cocktail type will rotate depending on the city being celebrated. More
The original cast and writers of the BAFTA and EMMY Award-winning TV comedy, Drop The Dead Donkey, reunite for a brand-new stage adaptation coming to the Alexandra, April 2024. Tickets

A reading festival for young folk and their families, WORD PLAY, takes place June 5 to 11 at How Brave is the Wren Bookshop (Kings Heath). Details

See the conservation of Birmingham Cathedral’s four remarkable Burne-Jones stained-glass windows, up close, on one of many free tours. More

If you want one of the worst burgers you've ever eaten I'll be cremating the poor buggers on my second hand barbecue this Saturday while, at the same time, Flying Cows will be making the best in the country at The Bond, and that's not hyperbole. For one day only the masters of street food burgers will be doing them smash-style on potato buns at Burger Fest. Details

An outstanding line-up of comedy talent will be working Warwick Castle this September and tickets go on sale today at 10am here

Opening today at Soho House is Blood & Fire: Our Journey Through Vanley Burke's History. The exhibition includes images taken by renowned photographer Burke, taking visitors on a journey through the artist’s history and the Black British experience. More 
WORDS: Tom Cullen, Claire Hawkins

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"I am not a shirker, a scrounger, a beggar, nor a thief. I'm not a National Insurance Number or blip on a screen. I paid my dues, never a penny short, and proud to do so. I don't tug the forelock, but look my neighbour in the eye and help him if I can."

Katie, 'I, Daniel Blake' (2016)

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