The Locals List: Food blogger Roz shares her favourite places to eat and drink in Birmingham
Posted on December 08, 2015 by Roz
The latest in our series in which locals share their insider knowledge of destinations across the UK. In this edition, Midlands-based food blogger Dr Roz Goodgame takes us on a culinary tour of Britain's second city - Birmingham.
I’ve lived in and around Birmingham for the majority of my life and truly love the City. Over the years I’ve seen it change and evolve in so many ways, especially the drinking and dining scene. There are not many types of cuisine that you can’t find in the city centre nowadays but here are just a few of my favourites places to eat, drink and be merry!
My favourite for…fine dining
Photo supplied by Purnells
This stalwart of the fine dining scene which is located in Birmingham’s Central Business District has now held a Michelin Star for over 5 years. It’s Chef Proprietor Glynn Purnell is a regular on Saturday Kitchen and has also won several times on Great British Menu on BBC 2. Purnell's offers seasonally changing tasting menus as well as a ‘reminisce’ menu of Glynns' most successful and iconic dishes. If it’s a special occasion or you just fancy splashing out, this is one not to miss whilst you’re in Birmingham. My husband and I visited most recently for our wedding anniversary and we had a really special evening.
My favourite for…Asian food:
Photo supplied by Sushi Passion
If you don’t know about Sushi Passion, then it’s unlikely you would ever find it. Tucked away in the Great Western Arcade, which is packed full of local independent gems, Sushi Passion is unassuming and understated. Once you step through the beaded curtain that covers the doorway you are in a small but beautiful nod to Japan. The choice of the sushi bar overlooking the chefs in the open kitchen or a seat on the floor at one of the four tables awaits you. There’s a large menu with fish sourced daily from the Birmingham Fish Market and this is without doubt the best sushi I have found in Birmingham. If you go – try the Tuna Gunkan, which are out of this world!
My favourite for…a casual supper:
The Pickled Piglet
Photo supplied by The Pickled Piglet
Just set back from the canals of Gas Street Basin, The Pickled Piglet is popular throughout the day. They champion fresh local and seasonal ingredients which I think is so important and I’ve never had a bad meal there. The staff are always super friendly and it is perfect for a relaxed lunch or dinner. They do their own British version of tapas too, which is great fun to share with a bunch of family or friends, which we do regularly!
My favourite for… brunch:
Peel & Stone at The Church
Photo supplied by Peel & Stone
Peel & Stone run a fantastic artisan bakery in the city centre, churning out lots of lovely breads and other baked goods on a daily basis. At the weekends they take over the back room of quirky pub The Church in Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter, serving up a weekly changing menu full of delights including things like Hummus, Chorizo, Mushrooms & Spinach on Toast or Chocolate and Peanut Butter Pancakes. There’s also bottomless tea and coffee, the daily papers, pick me up breakfast cocktails and a chilled out vibe which I think is perfect for whiling away a couple of hours.
My favourite for…vegetarian food:
Photo supplied by 1847 Birmingham
This vegetarian bistro is named after the year of formation of the Vegetarian Society. I feel they are really trying to reinvent vegetarian food and bring it to life with beautiful and locally sourced ingredients. Like the afore mentioned Sushi Passion, this restaurant is also found in the pretty Great Western Arcade, only a stones throw from the main shopping districts, theatres and Cathedral. My favourite dishes are their take on traditional ‘fish and chips’ with Battered Halloumi with Pea Emulsion and Lemon Curd or the Cucumber Gazpacho, which is so light and fresh.
My favourite for…food and drink with a view:
Marco Pierre White at The Cube
Photo supplied by Marco Pierre White
The Cube building in Birmingham’s’ Mailbox development has a hotel, spa and several restaurants, but its ‘piece de resistance’ has to be the views from level 25, housing Marco Pierre White’s Steakhouse. The food isn’t the very best in the city but it is a good Steakhouse. The views from the 360º glass windows are spectacular. In the summer watching the sun go down on their terrace with a glass of Prosecco in hand or in Winter watching the twinkling lights of the City Centre is one of my favourite things to do.
My favourite for...a coffee and cake:
Photo supplied by 6/8 Kafe
This independent coffee shop 6/8 Kafe in the centre of Birmingham was recently voted one of the top 50 coffee shops in the UK by The Independent newspaper. As well as a great range of coffees and mouthwatering cake selection they feature an ever-changing art exhibition, live music and comedy afternoons.
My favourite for...a cocktail:
Photo supplied by Purnells Bristo and Gingers Bar
For a quirky cocktail this is my go to bar. Gingers Bar was inspired by first edition cocktail books, the knowledgeable bartenders are at the top of their game. There’s always a lively atmosphere and relaxed vibe which makes it a great pick for both a night out with a friend or romantic date with the other half. Cocktails such as The Brumble, a Birmingham take on the classic Bramble or Scorched Lemon and Vanilla Margarita (my absolute favourite cocktail in Birmingham!) await you.
My favourite for…a quiet drink:
Hotel du Vin
Photo supplied by Hotel Du Vin
The hotel bar at Hotel Du Vin has a sophisticated atmosphere. With dimmed lighting, large leather sofas and a rustic French feel, it rarely gets too busy. I love their wide selection of great wines. It’s a great place if you want somewhere without the hustle and bustle of most of the bars in the city centre and just want to relax in comfort with a large glass of Pinot Noir.
My favourite for...a few beers:
Photo supplied by Purecraft Bar and Kitchen
Purecraft Bar is run by local brewery Purity and has a décor that is stripped back industrial chic. They offer some brilliant beers on tap as well as a huge variety of bottled beers. If this wasn’t enough, they also do top-notch bar snacks to go alongside them, as well as a small menu of twists on classics done to the highest standard. My top tips would be to try the homemade sausage rolls or scotch eggs, which go perfectly with the beer.
Want to Stay in Birmingham?
Why not take a 2 day break at the 4* Hallmark Hotel? Enjoy a 3 course meal on your first night, together with a bottle of wine worth £17.95. Also, receive a breakfast on both mornings. Or, relax at The Royal Angus Hotel. Here you will receive a bottle of wine in your room when you arrive, and a full English breakfast in the morning.
Together with husband Lee, Roz Goodgear produces The Foodie Couple Blog. Sub-titled 'Foodie Adventures in Birmingham and Beyond' it was whilst on their honeymoon in the Lake District that they decided that they would write a blog about where they had been and the meals that they had had, along with their own recipes and cooking. As well as reviewing the Birmingham eating scene, the couple have made it their mission to eat their way round the Michelin Star restaurants of the UK and the world. When not writing their blog Roz works as a GP whilst husband Lee works as a chef.