Birmingham · food and drink

Out and About in Brum: October 2016

We kicked off October with a visit to the Autumn Market at the Bond Company in Digbeth.  The weather wasn’t particularly kind to us – certainly not compared to the 2015 Autumn Market – but we dragged Ma and Pa Lee along for the ride.  All the old favourites were there, including the cocktail caravan, the bar bus and a selection of tasty street food vendors.  Ma and Pa Lee took my advice and went for the fish and chips from English Indian, whilst Mr Fletche and I went for porchetta from Stufo.  The final seasonal market of the year is on Saturday 3rd December; get yourself along!

 

The following day, we finally get our Sunday lunch at the Fighting Cocks in Moseley – this time we wisely head there mid-afternoon rather than early evening, and yay, Sunday roasts are still on the menu.  Sunday papers, roast dinner and the pub’s usual eclectic music mix.  A nice way to while away an hour or so, and no washing up afterwards.  Bonus.

We continue our Sunday afternoon with a visit to Birmingham Wildlife Conservation Park.  Can’t believe I’ve never been here before.  The weather was a little grey and drizzly, and quite sensibly most of the animals decided not to come out and say hello.  There’s a decent range of animals to see, but it all felt a little bit tired and poorly maintained, as if it needs a little bit of investment and tlc.  The red panda and otters were invisible (although we later found out the red pandas were off having a baby red panda) but I did get to spend some time gazing at beautiful Urmel the sloth.  Mr Fletche had to drag me away from the cuddly sloths in the gift shop…

Sloth, Birmingham Wildlife Conservation Centre
Urmel the Sloth at Birmingham Wildlife Conservation Centre. Pic from Birmingham Updates Twitter Feed

This month, I took up hula-hooping.  I thought I’d be really good, but let’s just say I won’t be running off to join Cirque du Soleil any time soon…  Find out how I got on here!

*

It was a busy old day on the 8th October.  I dropped Mr Fletche up town for his IgersBirmingham Symphony Hall meet – which just got him out the way so I could purchase Bros tickets in peace.  Yes, Drop the Boy indeed.

I join Mr Fletche and the Igers crew for a quick vino in Marmalade before heading off to the Hyatt Regency hotel.  The Hyatt chose this CPF Photography shot earlier in the year to grace their walls, and a complimentary afternoon tea and one-night stay were also offered as part of the prize.

Winter Reflections at Gas Street Basin
A prize-winning shot from CPF Photography

 

This was a proper chance to act the tourist in our own city.  We barely have time to check out the city view from the floor-to-ceiling windows in our room before we’re scoffing sandwiches, scones and itty bitty little cakes in the light and airy Aria restaurant.  You can find the current Hyatt Regency Afternoon Tea menu here

We let our lunch settle before getting ready for tonight.  We have a hot date with a Frenchman; well us and 10,000ish other people.  It’s time for Jean Michel Jarre!  I wasn’t sure what to expect, this being much more hubby’s thing than mine, but it’s a pretty spectacular sound and vision experience.  Particularly the laser beam harp.  I come out with Oxygene buzzing around my head and admit that I’ve enjoyed the show.

Time for food.  Not wanting to venture too far into the jungle that is Broad Street on a Saturday night we opt for Coast to Coast.  It’s half empty, and I’d wisely checked serving times earlier.  Except the bored-sounding and abrupt hostess tells us they are fully booked.  I assume they are waiting for some sort of coach party to turn up because we can count the number of currently occupied tables on one hand.  We only want a plate of nachos.  We loop back on ourselves towards the canal, where Handmade Burger are more than happy to serve us.  We just have time to rate the karaoke singers at the Tap & Spile (there are some things I can never unhear, as much as I try) before heading round the corner for our home for the night.

Hyatt Regency Hotel Birmingham
The view from our Hyatt hotel room…

I spent a lovely evening with the BrumBloggers at Jewellery Quarter cocktail bar and gallery Ana Rocha.  Find out how my evening went here.

*

It’s definitely been the month for acting like a tourist in my own hometown.  If we were spending a Sunday discovering a new city, two things that would be on my list would be 1) cool but cosy café for brunch; and 2) a little bit of culture.  Yet I’d never been to the wonderful canalside Ju Ju’s Café, or to the highly acclaimed Ikon Gallery in Brindleyplace.  And now I’ve done both.

Here’s my Yelp review of Ju Ju’s:

We arrived at just after 1pm, and we were seated straight away but I’d recommend booking to guarantee your table. We decided to go for the shared Full English platter for two, and it didn’t disappoint (although they appeared to have run out of mushrooms)…I got to eat all the beans whilst hubby had all the eggs…everyone was happy.  There was a bit of a wait for our food, but this can be forgiven as they were clearly busy, yet the staff were unfailingly friendly. Julia herself greeted every customer like old friends.  I’d definitely like to sample more of the menu and the canalside location makes it a beautiful spot in any season.

Our main purpose for visiting the Ikon was to see the Žilvinas Kempinas exhibition – a mixture of light, fans, magnets forests of metal rods and fluttering video tape.  It’s free entry to the gallery, but this is a registered charity which relies on donations so make sure you give generously so they can continue to bring contemporary art to Birmingham.

*

We finish October as we started, at the Night & Day Market at the Bond Company.  This time though it’s less family-friendly and more Halloween madness with its Day of the Dead theme.

Although I love these events at the Bond, I do think this particular event was overpriced, considering we have seen Craig Charles DJ at the Hare and Hounds for a fraction of what we paid for these tickets. By booking early we unfortunately missed out on being eligible for our Independent Birmingham discount, which would have made the tickets better value.  The street food was good as always – my tacos from Café Horchata were delicious – there was a lack of choice, particularly as the Digbeth Dining Club street closure was on the same night with 17 vendors…we had a choice of three.

Promoting the Day of the Dead theme heavily, perhaps a second face painter would have been a good idea?  I regretted not getting my face done early as the results were amazing, but the queue was always half a dozen people long.  Plus I might have looked a bit odd on the no 37 bus home.

I’ll continue to support the Seasonal Markets at the Bond, but I don’t think I’d pay £30+ for a pair of tickets again.

 

So what’s on in November?  An Agatha Christie classic at the theatre, lots of catching up with old friends…and a wedding anniversary trip to Porto!

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s