It’s the final Out and About in Brum of 2016! December was unsurprisingly full of family get-togethers, works Christmas parties and festive frolics, but we still had the opportunity to get out and about a little bit…
The first weekend in December saw the inaugural IgersBirmingham Exhibition held at Glen Howells Architects in Digbeth. Celebrating local photographers and the fantastic community they have created both online and off, it was lovely to be there to see some amazing images. And Mr Fletche had both printed and digital images displayed on the night too! I captured this terrible photo of Mr Fletche proudly pointing out his work…
The exhibition was so good that we popped back on the Saturday too! Whilst we were in Digbeth it would be rude not to pop in to the final Seasonal Market of the year at The Bond Company, where lunch was my first katsu sando from Homeboys, asian-inspired street food from a 2015 Masterchef finalist. Seasonal Markets will be back in 2017, with the Spring Market on 22nd April.
We were back at the Birmingham Christmas Markets the following weekend, but this time at the Craft Market at Centenary Square rather than the German market next door. There were loads of stalls selling both local and ethic goodies, and a far better selection of food and drink. The hot cider with a splash of sloe gin went down particularly well. It also gave Mr Fletche a chance to practice his long exposure photography skills (well, until he was “moved on” by event security. Apparently people feel threatened by a man with “that type of camera”. Something to do with “pixels” was the answer when we asked what the difference was between shooting with a DSLR and shooting with a point-and-click. We’re none the wiser now, but Mr Fletche managed to get the shot below before being told off…)
Being let out of work early on the last day means a spontaneous drinking session in the Jewellery Quarter. This means testing out the quality of the g&t in The Button Factory, 1000 Trades, Pig & Tail (where we soak up the alcohol with a sharing meat platter) and the newly refurbished Brown Lion. And we were still home by 8pm 😁
Christmas dinner was spent at a lovely little intimate establishment in Little Aston called Forge Cottage. It’s by invitation only so reservations are very difficult to come by, and its tucked away in the middle of nowhere. The hosts are extremely welcoming, and eager to shove alcohol down your throats at every opportunity. If you are designated driver, watch out for the alcohol content in the food…the lemon vodka sorbet is at least 40% proof. Pre dinner aperitifs are served in front of the wood burning fire – this is a posh establishment which serves champagne with a strawberry… how fancy. Guests are seated in the dining room and are served a classic prawn cocktail or soup starter, a palate-cleansing sorbet, turkey dinner with all the trimmings (including “crazy-hot” roasted vegetables) and a choice of hot or cold dessert followed by coffee. After dinner activities include pool, darts, table tennis or use of the small but well equipped gym – and you can even take a dip in the outdoor pool if you’re feeling brave (or foolish). Less energetic activities include picking up jelly beans with a straw and some odd game which involves putting a torturous and potentially germ harbouring contraption in your mouth and getting your fellow guests to guess preposterous and completely unlikely sentences. Later on in the evening, cheese, grapes and port served in the kitchen complete the meal with style.
Michele & Nick Smith – told you I’d treat your Christmas dinner like any other restaurant review – with a critical eye and points for ambience, service and food. My overall review? A 5* experience! Same again next year?
Disclaimer: You can’t actually book at Forge Cottage, what with it being my cousin’s house and everything. But if you could, I’d recommend it 100%
*Sometimes in the Betwixtmas period you just need to get out of the house and away from cheese, pickles and something unmentionable in the fridge that may once have been pate. So Mr Fletche treated me to my first lunch at Nosh & Quaff. Its a lovely building as so many of these converted bars and restaurants on Colmore Row are, although the stairs to the basement toilets have the capacity to be something of a deathtrap. We shared Chicken Poppers to start, then I had the Big Apple Dog whilst Mr Fletche had the Wings – we were both pleased with our choices but I’d probably put Buffalo & Rye slightly ahead on the American comfort food stakes… You can see the full Nosh & Quaff menu here.
We ambled around Brum as we so often do, stopping at Canalside Cafe for a quick drink. I’ve eaten here before so I know they do a mean chilli con carne but their speciality is their vegetarian options. We were in the tiniest part of the bar all alone at first but once another couple of people came in it became quite cosy. By that I mean packed. From the Mailbox, we wandered through Grand Central and the Bull Ring (will never understand the huge queues to get into Nandos and Pizza Hut…Greggs and Burger King were just as bad!), and finally down to Digbeth for one in The Anchor before getting the bus home.
It’s unusual for us to go out on New Year’s Eve, but we decided to visit our local curry house The Purple Rooms in Hall Green. We’ve frequented this Indian restaurant for many years on and off, and never had a bad meal; plus its within easy walking distance – great for a night when cheap taxis are rarer than hen’s teeth. Their New Years Eve set menu was £21 per person for poppadoms, starters, main course and accompaniments, Indian sweets and Baileys coffee. The only problem was that their service was too efficient (or we booked our table too early) and our meal was all finished by 11pm. So we still ended up seeing in the New Year in our own home.
There’s so much to look forward to in Brum in 2017, with new bars and restaurants opening every month…check out this Birmingham Mail list for starters. I’ll continue to update you monthly on A Brummie Home and Abroad!