Raising the bar in Birmingham

In this week’s Table talk I’ve got two new bars  in Birmingham for you to check out, both with a little twist.

Henman & Cooper bar Colmore row exterior

What used to the Bureau Bar on Colmore Row has re-opened as Henman & Cooper, in a historic 1902 building on Colmore row. On offer are vegetable-infused cocktails straight from Henman’s veg patch and sweeter versions from Mr Cooper’s candy shop. The ground floor bar is open now with plans to open a  rooftop terrace and basement bar too.

Chance & Counters Bristol

If beers, board games, burgers and brunch float your boat then head over to the Custard Factory. Chance & Counters is opening this weekend. The vast industrial space can host 100 people with over 500 games to choose from.

Table Talk – shiny and new

With new openings in Coventry, Birmingham, Worcester and Stourbridge there are several dates for your diary for November.

The Funky Monkey cocktail

Head to 26 Warwick Row in Cov and you’ll find the new Indian restaurant The Lazy Monkey. Due to open on Wednesday 6 November, the venue promises Indian street food and cocktails.

Indico Street Kitchen

Indico Street Kitchen is opening a sister restaurant in the Mailbox on 28 November. The 110 seater restaurant opposite Bar Estilo will be offering dishes like the Punjabi Murgh Thali  – of a tandoori chicken leg and three Bombay chicken wings marinated overnight in Indico special spices. Served with naan,curry sauce and house salad.

Thai Gallery Worcester

Worcester-based Thai restaurant operator Thai Gallery has bought The Maltster in Cornmarket for its third site. The grade-II listed pub will be refurbished before reopening in December as a Thai bar called Buddha Bar @ Thai Gallery.

Black Country Ales

The Dudley-based brewery Black Country Ales has purchased The Seven Stars in Stourbridge. Expected to open in time for Christmas, the pub will feature 15 hand pumps, serving a range of Black Country Ales’ own beers, including BFG, Pig on the Wall and Fireside, which are crafted five miles away at its brewery.

A trio of new openings

From Leamington to Stoke, here are a trio of new openings putting the West Midlands on the food and drink map.

Hayashi restaurant Leamington

Leamington now has a second bijoux Japanese restaurant. Located at 115 Warwick Street you’ll find sushi, katsu curry, donburi, yaki soba and ramen along with bento boxes on the menu at Hayashi.

Bru bar Stoke

Bru is the latest opening in Stoke. This bar serves a selection of 30 different gins, plus 30 beers and craft ales and is run by the same chap who owns Hotel Rudyard and Six Towns Brewery.


And last but not least newest kid on the block in Birmingham is the Craft Dining Rooms. Housed in the ICC the 150 seat restaurant has a menu packed with British artisan producers featuring dishes like wild boar and black pudding sausage roll and traditional Brummie bacon cake, beef wellington with Wiltshire truffle and roasted sea trout with Isle of Wight tomatoes.

Table Talk – Friday 19th October

So this week my nuggets of news feature an eating and drinking hub for car and bike culture, the UK’s first bio-degradable crisp packet and a new burger joint coming to Birmingham.

Caffeine & Machine Sstratford upon Avon

Behind this lovely building all sorts of wizardry is going on. When it opens on 27th October , Caffeine & Machine in Stratford upon Avon won’t just be a new place to eat and drink, oh no. The promotional blurb promises a coffee house, licensed bar and restaurant, boutique b&b, and living art gallery. “C&M is designed very simply as a place to go, a destination in and of itself if you appreciate moving things and will become a hub for car and bike culture.”

Two Farmers Hereford Hop crisps

Its crunch time for crisp packets as two Herefordshire farmers have launched a new range of crisps using 100% compostable packets. The new range called Two Farmers is the brainchild of south Herefordshire farmers Mark Green and Sean Mason. Their crisp packets are made from Eucalyptus pulp from sustainable sources – even the ink is compostable, so that they will break down to nothing in just 26 weeks in a home composting bin.

Available in four flavours, seasoned with locally-sourced ingredients – Hereford Bullshot, cider vinegar, lightly salted, and Hereford hop cheese and onion, Webbs of Wychbold near Droitwich is the first retailer to stock them.

Burger Theory

Watch out Birmingham there will soon be some new burger boys in town! Rory, Oli, Nick, Tom, Beth + the BT crew, dropped me an email to say that Bristol’s favourite independent burger joint is coming to the city soon. Burger Theory is opening a kitchen as a residency in Kongs Bar. Due to open in mid-November on Victoria Square (where The Chameleon Bar used to be). BT only uses grass-fed beef from a single source, free-range chickens, UK cheeses and they make all of their own sauces to keep a high quality of food.

Perking up Birmingham’s coffee culture

Birmingham already has a great selection of independent coffee shops.  I’m thinking of Yorks, Quarter House Coffee, Waylands Yard and Damascena, as my favourite places for a quality brew. Now added to that line-up is Ngopi – Birmingham’s first Indonesian coffee shop.

Ngopi Coffee Birmingham

Ngopi means ‘let’s have a coffee’ in Indonesia. The country is renowned for its high quality beans and is the fourth largest producer of coffee in the world. The majority of Ngopi’s coffee is made using the Indonesian bean, Toraja Sapan, which is roasted  in-house.

As well as the drinks, take a look at their menu too for the bakwan (vegetable fritters) curry puffs and martaba (stuffed pancake) which make a light and tasty lunch.

Originally from Jakarta, Ngopi owners  Birama Gladini and his wife Elmira Hamdi previously ran a coffee shop there for three years. They moved to Birmingham so that Birama could complete his Enterprise Systems Management MSc at Birmingham City University and thought that this would be a great location for their new business after he graduated.

Birama Gladini said: “We are staying to our roots and offering a modern yet authentic Indonesian feast, to fill the void of dedicated Indonesian cafes or restaurants in the Midlands. We hope that everyone, including locals and Indonesians living in the UK, love what we have to offer.”

Ngopi coffee shop
56 Dale End, The Square Shopping Centre, Birmingham
Open 7.30am – 4.30pm

Photo credit: Birama Gladini by Birmingham City University

Holy Moly Macaroni

Holy Moly macaroni dish Birmingham

The next time you hanker for an authentic  mac ‘n’ cheese, head to Grand Central in Birmingham. From June this will be the home of Anthony Duffy’s debut restaurant Holy Moly Macaroni, which will be serving authentic Harlem soul food inspired by his trips Stateside.

You may have seen Anthony in his Mac Shack at Digbeth Dining Club, or street food events up and down the country, as he has spent the last couple of years perfecting his recipes.

Get ready for dishes including The Fun Guy – mac and cheese with smoked pancetta and wild mushrooms – and The Vampire Slayer – macaroni with roasted garlic oil and Parmesan. As well as their four cheese macaroni double dipped fried chicken in a ginger beer batter , baby back eight-hour smoked ribs and New York cheesecakes will feature on the menu.

Anthony Duffy owner Holy Moly Birmingham

Anthony says: “I am so excited for the opening of the restaurant. It gives me such pride to open an independent restaurant in Birmingham that has it individuality and personality. It’s not a corporate and never will be.”

Opening towards the end of June, Holy Moly Macaroni will be open every day from 11 am to 10 pm. More details on their FB page  www.facebook.com/holymolymac.

Table Talk – Friday 20th April

Kilder Bar Birmingham

In Birmingham, OPM has opened a new bar, Kilder, next door to their Digbeth eatery. The bar serves craft beer, cider, natural wine and a host of tasty bar snacks including pork pies made from locally reared Paddock Farm pigs.

Denstone Hall farm shop cakes

Denstone Hall Farm Shop has scooped both the Large Farm Shop and Midlands Retailer of the Year awards earlier in the week at the Farm Shop and Deli Show. Congratulations! The family run farm shop and café on the Staffordshire and Derbyshire border is part of a thriving beef and arable agricultural business  They use their own produce from the farm and source high quality local produce with provenance.

The Four Alls Welford on Avon

Locals in Stratford upon Avon are counting down the days to The Four Alls pub re-opening in May. Following a £1.9m refurbishment and redesign, works include the addition of a glazed extension which faces the river to provide a light-filled restaurant for up to 80 guests, a new inglenook fireplace in the bar plus a barn will also provide additional dining for larger groups and parties.

Table Talk

In this week’s Table Talk  you can wash your triple stacked burger down with a pink gin or freshly brewed coffee.

Wayland's Yard coffee shop

Does Birmingham city centre have room for another coffee shop? Apparently so.  In March  latte lovers should head to Bull Street for the new Waylands Yard. Owned by Sam Smith, this is the second branch for the ex rugby player whose first coffee shop in Worcester supports local suppliers.

Seven17 burgers Coventry

A new independent venue has quietly opened in Coventry. The photos of their burgers on Instagram caught my eye and I liked the nod to the city’s heritage. From Friday to Sunday  Seven 17 offers a triple stacked ‘Cathedral’ and is working on a 2Tone burger too.

The English Drinks Compnay pink gin

If you like your gin pink, then look out for the English Drinks Company’s new  Classic Pink Gin. Flavoured with pomegranate and cinchona bark this is a luxury, small batch gin made in Shropshire that can be savoured on its own or blended into cocktails. RRP £35.

Table Talk 15 September

The latest news from Lasan, The Steamhouse Company, Restaurant 23 and Patina in this week’s table talk.

Lasan restaurant Birmingham

Lasan in Birmingham has closed its doors  – but don’t worry its only temporary! The restaurant is being refurbished and a more spacious interior plus new menu will be revealed in October.

The Steamhouse

Steamhouse, the  coffee and bagels café in Leamington, has expanded and opened a new branch in Stratford upon Avon on the High Street.

Restaurant 23 Leamington Spa

Restaurant 23 in Leamington has welcomed  Abigail Connolly to the team. Abigail is taking over from  Eduardo Neto  as Restaurant Manager and Sommelier.

Patina Bakery wedding cake

A new bakery has opened in Kenilworth. Patina is owned by Amy Clarke, who was previously pastry chef at The Cross. Ingredients used for her wedding and celebration cakes come from fair-trade sources and often local ones too – with flour from nearby Charlcotte Mill.

Table Talk

A boozy table talk this week, with news of new bar openings in Coventry, Birmingham and Stratford upon Avon for you.

The Botanist Birmingham cocktail

The Botanist bar and restaurant has submitted an application for an alcohol license, which if approved could see them opening up in Unit 4 of the Broadgate Centre in the heart of Coventry. How the city will fare with hanging kebabs, watering cans of cocktails and even mini wheelbarrows to serve food remains to be seen.

The Canal House Birmingham craft beer

I missed the launch party due to train woes (maybe I should have taken a barge instead!) so I am keen to get inside the newly opened Canal House and try some of their home distilled gin. The former home of 18th century engineer James Brindley has been transformed into two levels serving food, premium craft beers and cocktails, alongside live music.

Limoncello at Veeno

Italian wine café Veeno has become the first restaurant to open at the Bell Court complex in Stratford-upon-Avon. The 90-seat venue serves wines from the family vineyard back in Sicily and Spuntini – platters of meats, cheeses and other appetisers imported from selected Italian producers.