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Birmingham’s most expensive cocktail at the new Varanasi Indian restaurant

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Fine dining connoisseurs are set for a new treat as Broad Street is set to get another mega Indian restaurant with the arrival of Varanasi.

Located at the top of Broad Street by Grosvenor Casino, the venue is set on 3 floors, 2 of which are subterranean. It’s a sumptuously chic restaurant, with no expense spared to showcase a breath taking décor fit for a King.

The owner of Varanasi travelled the globe researching chic upmarket bars and the finest restaurants, from its interior design, how it operates and the food created, to find inspiration in to produce something Birmingham has not seen before.

The entrance to the restaurant is temple-like, with the entrance acting as a sentry post, guarded by a row of Buddhas standing to attention.

General Manager Pawan Chhabra says, “the team has spent the last two years working tirelessly to create an iconic restaurant for the Midlands. With gold leaf hand painted artwork throughout, we have strived to create an experience like no other. Varanasi can accommodate up to 500 covers so it really will be a jaw dropping restaurant for the city.

The menu has been curated by Michelin-star chef, Alfred Prasad; who has created an impeccably presented, authentic, Indian, haute-cuisine menu.

There will be a premium drinks menu, with an extensive selection of Gins, Whiskeys and Rums and also boasting the Midlands most expensive cocktail ‘The Jewel of Varanasi.’

Priced at £500 its served in a crystal brandy balloon, and made with Hennesey Paradis, Grand Marnier, vanilla pods, quails egg, lemongrass syrup. Then shaken and served with an edible flower, black truffle shaving and 24 carat gold leaf.

Varanasi have 14 full-time chefs and have created an additional 40 part time and full time jobs. It also boasts two of the most luxurious private dining rooms you will see which can to accommodate up to 30 covers each.

The name Varanasi comes from an ancient city in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh dating to the 11th century B.C. Varanasi is regarded as the spiritual capital of India, the city draws Hindu pilgrims from around the world to bathe in the Ganges River’s sacred waters. Along the city’s winding streets are some 2,000 temples, including Kashi Vishwanath, the “Golden Temple,” dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva.

With lots of fine dining Indian restaurants in Birmingham, Varanasi sets out not to be just another fine dining Indian restaurant, Varanasi aims to take the customer on a heavenly journey and dining experience both culinary and visually.

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King and Thai Restaurant, Royal Seal Of Approval

Chef Suree Coates collects her Royal Thai Select Award

Chef Suree Coates collects her Royal Thai Select Award

This week saw a very special appointment for Shropshire Thai Chef Suree Coates.

Popular amongst the diners of the region, and beyond. In recent years receiving a string of accolades from Shropshire Curry Chef, to Thai Curry Chef of the Year, and National Guides including The Good Food Guide Restaurant of the Year. Chef Suree can now proudly display her International ‘Royal Seal of Approval’ from the Thai Royal Court as one of their ‘Thai Select’ venues. With only 14 in the UK and only 7 outside London, now including The King and Thai in Broseley.

‘Thai Select’ is a seal of approval granted by the Royal Thai Court in Thailand, following recommendations from officials, to Thai restaurants overseas that serve authentic Thai food.
Recognising ‘consistent dedication to traditional Thai methods in cuisine, service and high standards’. The objective is to increase the recognition of quality Thai restaurants as well as to encourage Thai restaurateurs and food producers to raise their quality while maintaining authenticity. Placing the King and Thai amongst the best Authentic Thai Restaurants in the World.

“I was so humbled to receive the award” comments Chef Suree Coates “I did n’t even know we were being considered. To be honoured by the Thai Royal household is the icing on the cake for my career. Being born in Thailand and remaining passionate about my homeland and its cultures, cuisine and foods is Read more »

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Lobster Peninsula set to open in Birmingham’s Futurist Cinema following £700,000 revamp

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Following a £700,000 revamp and renovation, a brand new seafood restaurant is set to breathe new life into Birmingham’s Futurist Cinema.

The owners of the restaurant were keen to maintain the historic features of the building’s architecture whilst also innovating the space.

The venue will now incorporate a private lounge, bar, separate restaurant, a spacious nightclub  as well as a balcony bar where diners can enjoy cocktails.

The cinema dates back to the early 1900s and officially opened in July 1919, making it one of the oldest cinemas in the country as well as being the first cinema in Birmingham to screen “talkies” following the revolution of sound within cinema.

It stopped functioning as a cinema in the 1990s due to the rise of the multiplex cinema and then lay derelict for years, before being transformed into a lap dancing establishment in recent years.

Lobster Peninsula co-owner William Sui revealed that: “The previous lease holders had done a lot of work to hide the original features of the building so when we got the keys earlier this year it was looking very ugly”.

“We’ve done a lot of work to restore some of the features such as the high ceilings”.

“We have created a very big restaurant but even so we had to create a partition wall and section off the main cinema auditorium”.

The high end seafood restaurant which will serve delectable sharing seafood platters of lobster, crab, creole fish, prawns, calamari, mussels, a catch of the day dish and also steak and chicken dishes.

Mr Sui added: “I grew up eating fresh seafood simply cooked. I’ve also spent a lot of time travelling in Portugal and the Mediterranean where you can get incredible seafood platters. Yes, we are not close to the sea in Birmingham but we will source absolutely the freshest fish – from the wholesale fish market”.

“The Mediterranean influence in evident in the Spanish restaurant style tiling on the bar but the design emphasis is very much on keeping the grandeur of the Futurist Cinema”.

Lobster Peninsula will be the new neighbours to pizza restaurant The Stable, Caribbean-inspired Turtle Bay, Cherry Reds and Brewdog.

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Be enthralled by the sights, sounds and spices of India as Indico Street Kitchen launches in Shirley

Indico Interiors

A fabulous new dining experience has descended into the suburban delights of Shirley Solihull. Visitors to the Parkgate Shopping Centre on Stratford Road will be able to delight in the culinary joys of indian street food and the vibrancy of the sub continent.

The new venue is reminiscent of a movie scene from Monsoon Wedding, the walls are adorned with Bollywood style pop art and the ceiling covered with a multitude of colourful umbrellas.

There is street art on each wall that has been hand painted by a variety of street artists from around the world using different styles but similar theme of Indian street life.

In the corner is the open kitchen in sunshine yellow made in the style of a wagon, set over two floors with a mezzanine level and bar area seating 140, it really is a feast for the senses.

The menu has been inspired by authentic street food of India you will be able to enjoy dishes such as gol gappa (puffed hollow pastry rounds filled with seasoned potatoes and chilled mint flavoured water), and pav bhaji (a typical Mumbai style anytime meal, a spicy blend of mashed vegetables with light battered toasted bun).

You can also enjoy traditional favourites such as samosas, bhel puri and kebabs.

The drinks menu has been thoughtfully put together too; you can get Indian beer, wine and mocktails. The cocktail offer is pretty special too with drinks such as Mango Martini, Mumbai Mojito and Mango Lassie Ta Ra Rum Pum.  Above all, you can taste the real Indian Masala Chai, which is a big part of the everyday street life of India.

Owner Mr Badur says, “Eating out should be a fun experience with the best quality of food, service and ambience; what I am trying to recreate is a real sense of fun using the best of Indian culture, music, street food, street art and amazing cocktails ”.

Jonathan Cox, Head of Parkgate Shopping Centre said, “We are very excited that the much anticipated opening of Indico is just a few weeks away. Visitors will be amazed to see how they have transformed the 1500 square foot unit. It’s a great addition to the centre and it’s sure to attract visitors from far and wide.”

The new venue, which has created 25 full and part time local jobs, is set to open on Sunday 20th November 2016.

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Sabai Sabai Wins Best Oriental Establishment at The Food Awards England 2016

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Sabai Sabai was crowned the Best Oriental Establishment Award at this year’s glitzy Food Awards England 2016 hosted in the vibrant city of Manchester at the Mercure Piccadilly Hotel.

The glamorous affair had Liverpool’s one and only Rachelle Perez host the evening, keeping everyone fabulously entertained. Rachael was proud to praise the achievements of England throughout the night celebrating a range of accolades in the food industry, from Best Restaurant to Best Wholesaler.

Thousands of nominations came in from across England and Sabai Sabai are thrilled that the country has voted them the best in the oriental food industry.

Sabai Sabai have received a hat trick of awards in the space of a year for its tantalizing food and luxurious surroundings:

From Restaurant of the Year – Birmingham Awards 2015 to Best Oriental of the Year – Birmingham Food, Drink and Hospitality Awards 2016; and now the Best Oriental Establishment – The Food Awards England 2016.

MD Torquil Chidwick said, “We are so thrilled to win and be recognised for a national award. This has definitely been an exciting year for us at Sabai Sabai with winning and being nominated for numerous awards, the opening of our third venue in Stratford-Upon-Avon where we will continue to serve high-quality dishes and ensure impeccable service.”

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Edmunds Restaurant, Brindleyplace set to relaunch with new offering as Edmunds Bistro de Luxe

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The team behind Edmunds have announced that following extensive research from their diners and loyal customers, they are set to make Edmunds more accessible to more customers at more times.

‘Edmunds Bistro de Luxe’ will launch on October the 1st, focusing on classic French country cuisine, cooked in a modern style, whilst showcasing the ‘Best of British’ ingredients.

Celebrating the individual regions of France, the new dishes will be priced individually and guests will be able to enjoy the new menus lunch and dinner.  However each dish will now be individually priced.

“Our focus will remain on quality” commented Gilles Larroque, Restaurant Manager (picture right) “However our customers tell us that they want to dine out more often and not just for a treat or special occasions.”

Edmunds Bistro De Luxe will appeal to more people at more times and menus will be much more accessible. Starting from simple daily French country soups through to starters from just £7 and mains from just £15. They will also be offering a Prixe Fixe lunch menu and early evening 2 courses for just £19.

Gilles says, “Our regular Edmunds customers who still wish to indulge can embark on a gastronomic journey that is our “Menu De Luxe’ which will present dishes from each of the regions of France, matched with the regional wines. It is all very exciting for the team.” 

Head Chef Didier Philipot (picture centre) commented, “My passions are seasonality, sourcing and flavours. In my home country of France the regions showcase the Read more »

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Award winning Sabai Sabai restaurant opens third venue in the heart of Stratford Upon Avon

Sabai Sabai Stratford

Sabai Sabai Stratford

Sabai Sabai has opened its third Midlands restaurant, expanding their unique brand of Thai cuisine beyond Britain’s second city, into Stratford-upon-Avon.

Torquil and Juree Chidwick, the award-winning husband and wife team behind the brand, already run two highly successful restaurants in Birmingham, opening their first in Moseley twelve years ago, soon followed by another in Harborne in 2011.

Torquil said it’s the right time ‘We’re really excited to be opening in Stratford-upon-Avon, the artistic heart of Warwickshire. The location for the restaurant couldn’t be more perfect. Our other restaurants are in the suburbs, but Wood Street is right in the centre of Stratford, just a stone’s throw from the Royal Shakespeare Company. The process of finding the right location, as well as developing the look and style we wanted inside the Grade-II listed building, took about 12 months and we can’t wait to unveil it.’

Famed designers, Tibbatts Abel created the sumptuous, contemporary interiors for the new 90-cover restaurant. Adam Tibbatts and his team are highly-regarded for their work on Rofuto at Park Regis Hotel, and Saint Paul’s House in Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter.

Sabai Sabai have recently been blessed with a trio of awards for its tantalising food and luxurious surroundings, as well as the owners’ business expertise including :

  • Best Restaurant  – The Birmingham Awards November 2015
  • Entrepreneur Of The Year for Juree Chidwick at the WM Woman of The Year 2015
  • Best Oriental Restaurant at the Birmingham Food Drink & Hospitality Awards 2016

The new restaurant in Wood Street will be hosting an invite only VIP event this Thursday.

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El Borracho de Oro shortlisted for Best Restaurant at this weekend’s Birmingham Awards

Emma Ruiz and Anita Champaneri

Emma Ruiz and Anita Champaneri

Edgbaston’s Spanish tapas restaurant is shortlisted for this weekend’s Birmingham Awards at The Vox Conference Centre. The restaurant which prides itself on its authenticity, is up for Best Restaurant alongside Aria Restaurant at the Hyatt Regency, Jilabi Indian Restaurant, Marco Pierre White Steakhouse and Opus.

Owner Emma Yufera Ruiz said : “we have worked incredibly hard to make this restaurant as authentic as possible and its really paid off with a plethora of regular customers commenting on how great the food is and about the wonderful wine list. It’s really great that the team have been recognised at these awards and we are really looking forward to the event this weekend.”

Hotel du Vin have gone for the triple with nominations for Business of the Year, GM Tony Elvin is recognised in the Businessman of the Year category and the Bubble Lounge for Pub of the Year.

Torquil Chidwick, owner of Sabai Sabai restaurant group is also shortlisted for Businessman of the Year. Torquil who started the Thai restaurant group with his wife Juree over 10 years ago has just opened his third venue in Stratford Upon Avon this week.

Anita Champaneri, MD of Hospitality PR and Events Company Delicious PR, is shortlisted for the Excellence In Media category.

The Birmingham Awards will be recognising people and businesses that have been part of the positive profile of Birmingham’s future.  Birmingham Awards is a black tie event with reception drinks starting at 6.00pm at the Highline Bar in Resorts World followed by the awards ceremony itself.

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Luxury Hotels Going Head To Head For Cure Leukaemia

Screen shot Tony Elvin and Damien Goom

Luxury Birmingham Hotels, Malmaison and Hotel du Vin are engaging in some friendly rivalry to raise vital funds for blood cancer charity Cure Leukaemia. Both Hotels are now official Corporate Partners of the blood cancer charity and will be fundraising throughout Cure Leukaemia’s ‘Just One More’ campaign which aims to raise £40,000 to fund a specialist research nurse for a year.

Both Malmaison and Hotel du Vin have a number of innovative fundraising ideas that will run during September’s Blood Cancer Awareness Month and to add some spice they will be trying to raise more than the other!

Malmaison will have percentage donations from Hibiscus tea sales in Starbucks, limited edition red cocktails and velvet cupcakes in the bar and manicure and pedicure treatments in the spa. Every Friday will be a fancy dress day in Starbucks and on Friday 30th September the Hotel staff will all join in Cure Leukaemia’s ‘Wear Red Day’ across Birmingham. Hotel du Vin will be donating £1 for every ‘Hotel du Vin’ burger sold in the Bistro, £1 donation from every Tarte au Citron cocktail sold, plus a percentage off manicure and pedicure treatments in Spa du Vin throughout September.

Jackie Kelly, Cure Leukaemia’s Head of Corporate Partnerships, said: “We are thrilled to welcome Malmaison and Hotel du Vin as Corporate Partners and it is great to have them fronting our ‘Just One More’ campaign this year. The ethos of ‘Just One More’ is that just £1 from many people can make a big difference and I hope their innovative fundraising ideas encourage other businesses in Birmingham to get involved too. I’m sure the rivalry will be good-natured and will help boost their fundraising. Every penny raised will go towards funding one of our specialist research nurses for a year.”

General Manager at Malmasion, Birmingham Damian Goom said: “We are proud to support a charity here in Birmingham that is helping lead the fight against blood cancer, a cause that is close to my heart. I look forward to going head to head with Tony and Hotel du Vin during Cure Leukaemia’s ‘Just One More’ campaign and whilst it will all be in good spirits I expect to raise more!”

 General Manager at Hotel du Vin, Birmingham Tony Elvin said: “Birmingham should be proud to have a charity like Cure Leukaemia on its doorstep and Hotel du Vin is proud to be raising funds this September and beyond. I also have a personal connection with leukaemia and knowing that the funds we raise will directly help patients is very inspirational. The competition with Malmasion will be light-hearted but I assure you we have no intention of coming second!”

If you would like to get your business involved in Cure Leukaemia’s ‘Just One More’ campaign during September email or call 0121 236 9202 to request a fundraising pack and information on how to make a difference.


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The Curry King of Birmingham

Paul Fulford, Aaron Kang, Emma Larkin, Ashleigh Mills, Ciara Gallagher, PJ Ellis, Gurps Pahal and Aktar Islam

Paul Fulford, Aaron Kang, Emma Larkin, Ashleigh Mills, Ciara Gallagher, PJ Ellis, Gurps Pahal and Aktar Islam

With Birmingham recognised as the curry capital of the country, a search has been launched to find the city’s ultimate curry king or queen. With the help of an expert panel of judges, LoveBrum’s Curry King of Birmingham is a black tie ball with some added spice. 

The event, which was launched earlier this month, is already drilling up excitement amongst curry-connoisseurs who are keen to showcase their skills.

On Friday 14 October, the Curry King of Birmingham will bring together some of Birmingham’s hottest chefs to battle it out for the crown at the ICC.

The contestants will present their signature dishes before an expert panel of judges made up of some of Birmingham’s most well established chefs, including entrepreneur and award-winning Lasan chef, Aktar Islam; creative director of Pushkar Cocktail Bar and Dining, Rai Singh; Restaurateur and owner of Ithiaas, Raj Rana, food writer Paul Fulford and food publicist Anita Champaneri of Delicious PR.

Speaking at the launch of Curry King, Aktar Islam commented:

“I am so excited to be part of Curry King of Birmingham; the concept is something new and exciting for the city. It’s great that LoveBrum has thought outside of the box and rather than holding your typical black tie do, they’ve embraced some local culture to bring together food lovers to raise money for great causes. I’m absolutely delighted to have been asked to be a judge, and can’t wait to see what the competition has to offer on 14 October.” 

curry-logoThe team behind LoveBrum thought up Curry King of Birmingham and money raised on the night will go towards the charity. LoveBrum was set up to unearth hidden gem projects across the city and, every month, members vote every month to fund a local cause that’s in need of support.

Tickets for Curry King of Birmingham go on sale this week, so if you think you’ve got what it takes to be crowned king or queen of the curry capital, or to find out more information about the event, please contact or alternatively visit the

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