Birmingham

Out and About in Brum: April 2016

The first weekend of April (ish) sees us watching our old friends Teleman perform at The Rainbow.  Of course we can’t let a Friday night gig in Digbeth pass by without a visit to Digbeth Dining Club.  We’re late getting up there, so rather than a leisurely drink and mooch around like usual we split up to queue at our respective chosen food stalls.  Mr Fletche goes for Thai Street Food at Buddha Belly – now becoming a fast favourite – and I join the ever-lengthening queue for the English IndOut and About in Brum 1ian.  We keep in contact by phone… “Are you nearly there yet?” “About three from the front…”  It’s absolutely worth the wait for their fantastic take on a traditional Friday fish n chip supper – and those mushy peas are amazing.
Its our first ever gig at the Rainbow…we get a little confused, not realising that the entrance is through the front of the pub and we walk round trying to find another secret special entrance.  It;s only when we’ve circumnavigated the entire block and we’re back at Spotlight that we realise we’ve missed the obvious.  It’s a good show – it’s the third time we’ve seen the band and unlike most bands they seemed to have played at smaller and smaller venues every time (O2 Academy (supporting Suede), Hare & Hounds, and now the Rainbow).  I’m thinking of inviting them to play in our garden shed next…
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It’s Saturday. It’s Spring Market Day. It’s…snowing?  Spring in Brum is not how I remember it when I were a lass…  Never fear, the passing snow shower (and subsequent rain shower) soon clears and by the time we arrive at the Bond Company, the sun is out. Although strangely, its not half as warm as that ridiculously unseasonable Autumn market last Halloween…  This time, we’re introducing Ma and Pa Lee to the delights of the Seasonal Markets.  I promised them a bar on a bus (tick), cocktails served from tiny caravans (tick) and a wonderful array of street food (tick tick tick).  I didn’t promise them llamas and lambs but apparently they were there too (how did we miss the entire farmyard animal section?).  I’ve banged on about Pietanic and the sad-then-happy tale of the missing Claude to the parents in the past so they decide to invest their hard-earned cash in Claude’s rehabilitation and they opt for pie and mash.  Mr Fletche is seen clutching yet another Buddha Belly meal (I think he may be addicted to their crispy chicken and noodles); and I queue for a Persian wrap from Open Sesame.  For the first time at these events, I’m not overly happy with my choice (not spicy enough, too much hummus and a whole pile of olives when I requested no olives…) but I don’t ponder over my error for too long…there’s drink to be drunk!

We think this is a good time to take Ma and Pa Lee on a tour of Digbeth pubs.  Despite growing up in Brum, they’ve never been drinking around this area, so we ease them in with a visit to the Old Crown.  This is a staple pub on our Digbeth visits, and is perfectly placed for our bus stop home.  With the market on round the corner, and the Blues fans all safely tucked away at St Andrews, it’s relatively quiet inside.  Next stop is the Spotted Dog – a pub that Mr Fletche and I hadn’t ventured into yet despite being over the road from the Old Crown.  Its no wonder this is regularly voted one of the best real ale pubs in Birmingham; the afternoon sun – snow all forgotten – pours in through the stained glass windows and there are quirky decorations for us to gawp at.  And then the news filters through that the Villa – our deadly rivals – have been beaten by Man U and condemned to life with us Blues fans down in the Championship.  There are quiet celebrations in various corners, and then suddenly there is an influx of post-game Blues fan…this quiet little haven quickly becomes a lively, noisy pub where today’s game and the fate of our neighbours are loudly debated.
As fun as dissecting Villa’s season is, we move on to the Anchor.  Its another historic real ale pub, another spit-and-sawdust pub where the only food they sell is pork pie.  Its filled with Blues fans too, but find ourselves a table in our own little nook where Pa Lee and Mr Fletche can drunkenly debate the merits of seasoning chicken.  Don’t ask.  I’m still not sure who won but there were some very serious fingers being pointed.  We did move onto the far less historic Wetherspoons at the Arcadian for much needed victuals to soak up the fair amount of alcohol we had taken during the afternoon…
The Summer Market is on the 11th June.  We are on holiday and may have to send Ma and Pa Lee to review in our absence
Out and About in Brum 6
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Sometimes you can’t be bothered to cook on a Sunday.  This is how we found ourselves in the Cosy Club on a late Sunday afternoon perusing their menu.  We’ve drank in this establishment before; its a great setting in the old Midland Bank building and is decorated to be reminiscent of a 1920s gentlemen’s club – all wood panelling, red tassles and flat-capped waiters.  Mr Fletche is also flat-capped and thus fits in nicely.  We decide not to go traditional Sunday lunch; Mr Fletche has the game stew (he declares the meat wonderful, even if he’s not entirely sure what he’s eating), and I go all New Orleans-ish with a Po Boy (also wonderful).  We share a lush salted caramel cheesecake, mainly because (a) I love salted caramel; and (b) sharing means I don’t have the guilt of scoffing dessert all by myself.  Which I could do quite easily but have a holiday coming up so must show some restraint.
Next month… don’t call me scar face… Dancing like a loon to Skastuds at the Actress and Bishop…
Out and About in Brum April
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