I'm curious to swap notes with fellow chowhound subscribers who live in or know Birmingham and the West Midlands. What would be your recommendations, be it pub or restaurant food from any cuisine, posh or not,.
I am in the East Midlands but occassionally venture west! If I do so I will endeavor to post here.
The most recent place I have been to and would recommend was Fat Cat in Solihull which is quite a nice little restaurant on the main shopping street. Very good Sunday lunch and a nice menu of salads, modern British/gastropub type fare.
I hope you get a few more Midlands based posters interested.
I've been spending time in Birmingham for work recently, and although I don't have any good leads, I'd love to hear any recommendations, especially for good Pakistani places.
I haven't lived in B'ham long, but I am working my way through the restaurants. I have been to lunch at Simpson's twice - I think their Saturday lunch is excellent value. I believe it's £30 for 3 courses, and everything has always been great. They don't cut corners on quality on the set menu, but staff did tell me portions are somewhat smaller. The second time I ordered 3 courses off the menu and was uncomfortably stuffed! In my experience, you can get lunch reservations with just a couple of days notice.
I also really enjoy Lasan, a contemporary India place in the Jewellery Quarter.
For pub food and beer, I like the Old Joint Stock, especially their sausage menu.
I do think it's a shame we don't seem to have more independent places here. The chains seem to have a tighter hold on B'ham than they do in other UK cities. We could do with a good cheese shop, too.
We have just had a great Saturday/Sunday in Brum.
"Lasan" is quite the best Indian I have been to in the UK (including lots of top London spots). The food is very well spiced, not pared back for western tastes, with incredible depth of flavour. It is a "posh" curry but really shows how good high quality Indian cooking can be.
We also headed to "Al Fraish" for balti the next day. A really good contrast to Lasan, the food is as good, but the style is very different (Kashmiri) much lighter food but with equally good flavours.
Now Brum has three Michelin one stars and a very, very vibrant Indian/Balti restaurant scene it is a real destination for good food. He city is really rejuvenated (especially compared to when I lived there in the late '70's) and the people are great, everyone was so chatty and friendly, we even had the lady at the check-out in M&S giving us recommendations for good bars...!
My regular curry stop is Kabbabish in Moseley for Chicken Adhruk and Chicken Tikka Pathia. I'll second (or third or fourth) Lasan in the Jewellery Quarter for a higher end non-balti Asian food choice. A large number of friends are big fans of Grameen Khana in Sparkbrook.
I love curry which is a good thing because other than that Birmingham is a bit of a culinary desert at my regular joe price point. I'm at the point where I have pretty much given up on eating anything else other than the occaissional all you can eat sushi at the mailbox which at best rates "OK" and on a bad day is brutally awful.
A touch off-topic but in my opinion the best place in Birmingham is Stirchley Wine & Spirits which has a great selection of international beers - Belgian Trappists like Rochefort, St. Bernadus, Achel, Orval and other great beers like gulden drak, ayinger, delirum as well as a top tier selection of British ale. In 5 years in the UK I haven't found another offie that carries as many top notch beers. It looks like a run down convenience store but is filled with golden manna.
For top end food I would recommend Turner's in Harborne or would second Simpson's as a great choice. Lower down, Cafe Soya in the Arcadian is excellent for Vietnamese as are most of the little places round there.