The Bracebridge – Luxury lunch in Sutton Park

Out In Brum - The Bracebridge - Interior“Are you sure it’s down this way?” asked the driver of our taxi after we’d been driving for 5 minutes away from the main road into the middle of the woods.  While there has been a restaurant tucked away in Sutton Park park for many years, it still seems somewhat of a secret of Sutton residents. Recently this hideaway which is named after the large pool it sits beside, The Bracebridge, has been taken over by a family team, with chef brothers Scott and Steven Lewis in the kitchen.  They’ve found it difficult to staff the place, partly because it’s not somewhere you can get public transport to, but after a few months of churn they’re happy now with the team.

Out In Brum - The Bracebridge - Terrace Bar and ViewWe visited for a sunny August birthday lunch, and started out with a well-chilled prosecco.  I’m picky about prosecco finding them often too tart and cheap tasting, and I would ordinarily choose a cava or a French sparkling.  Occasionally though I try a prosecco like this one, which is balanced and fruity, and perfect for a warm day.

For my starter I chose the Crispy Duck Salad with Watermelon.  Julienne vegetables crunched against the cooling watermelon and duck richly dressed with hoisin. We also had the Waldorf salad with seared mackerel.  This was a generous starter with celeriac, Out In Brum - The Bracebridge - Waldorf Salad with Mackerelapples, sultanas, delicate tasting warm mackerel, and a dill crème fraiche dressing.  Our friends took the smart looking Tarka Dhal Scallops, and tell us it packed a spicy punch.

While the dishes may be smart, so is the restaurant.  The fit out is luxurious with leather, velvets and rose golds.  The comfort stretches beyond the à la carte dining room to the restaurant’s outside dining area, and then out again to the less formal terrace where you can order something simple like a pizza or salad, or something fairly fancy like lobster and steak.  This large terrace is perfect for those who want to sit around The Bracebridge pool and have a drink, and maybe some food, with friends.  Small covered huts and larger bench Out In Brum - The Bracebridge - Lamb Souvlaki Skewerstyle seating is well served by an outdoor bar.

For my main, I had the chicken tagine.  Served in the dramatic looking tagine cooking vessel the chicken was juicy, and spiced with a delicateness of touch often missed with this dish which is a favourite of mine.  I would happily eat it right now.  We also had well-cooked fillet steak, and hand cut chips on the side were indulgent.  The souvlaki lamb skewer with tzatziki went down well, and came with gluten free bread for our wheat intolerant birthday boy. We washed the whole lot down with a very nice bottle (or two or three) of Picpoul de Pinet.

Out In Brum - The Bracebridge - Lemon Meringue TartDesserts aren’t my bag but if I’m going to have one it’ll be chocolate.  Happily there was a chocolate torte with orange on the menu, and it did not disappoint.  The torte was rich, and had a hidden pocket of orange syrup, and was topped with blackened orange segments.  The passion fruit pavlova was vibrant and fun, and our friend enjoyed the lemon meringue tart with raspberry coulis, which looked great on the plate.

With three courses, wine, and gratuity, our very extravagant lunch came to around £75 Out In Brum - The Bracebridge - Terrace Hutsper person which I thought was good value for a top notch celebration meal in a beautiful location.  We’ll be back.

https://thebracebridge.com

 

 

Posted in Area: Sutton Coldfield, Birmingham Restaurant, birmingham restaurant review, birmingham review, Cuisine: Modern Mixed, Price: Get your dad to pay - above average, restaurant review, Uncategorized, Venue type: Restaurant | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

The Good Intent – Every good deed deserves a beer…

With the right support on Crowdfunder, Craddock’s brewery will open Brum’s first charity supporting not-for-profit bar In the Victorian splendour of The Great Western Arcade in the city centre.  Every three months the bar will nominate a charity to support.  You’ll be able to taste the world becoming a better place with every gulp, with all profits – expected to be about 10% of each sale – going to the nominated charities.  They’re hoping that coud be as much as £150,000 donated annually.

The team is headed by David Craddock, a publican since the age of 21 who heads a company with four award-winning pubs and two breweries in the Black Country, Worcestershire and Shropshire. David is set to expand in a more altruistic direction through the Good Intent, and he has brought together a team of like-minded friends to help bring his vision to life.  Craddock’s intends to generate additional funds for the selected charity by showcasing events focusing upon music, food, drinks and the arts.

There are private pledges of over £150,000 already in place for the venue, and now they need your help. They need to raise a further £80,000 in order to complete the refurbishments of the venue to an excellent standard, and to ensure the bar is ready to serve the city and community as quickly as possible when the doors first open.

Fancy getting involved by supporting this philanthropic venure?  Take a look at their Crowdfunder page and you’ll see you can simply offer a donation, or you can “buy” a reward from £25 (which would buy you a £40 bar tab!).  See their page for full details and Terms and Conditions.

Follow them here:

Twitter: Intent_Good

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheGoodIntent/

Website: https://www.thegoodintent.net

Crowdfunder link: https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/the-good-intent—uk-s-first-not-for-profit-bar#start

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Birmingham Pride 2019 has No Outsiders

Out In Brum - Birmingham Pride 2019 - 1What a brilliant weekend!  The Birmingham Pride 2019 Parade was kicked off by Festival Director Lawrence Barton, who this year was joined by the deputy head teacher at the centre of anti-LGBT attacks at a Birmingham primary school, and two Muslim LGBT allies.  Andrew Moffat MBE, an assistant headteacher at Parkfield Community School has been the focal point of sustained and continuing homophobic protests by people who say that Andrew’s work on the “No Outsiders” programme is contrary to the Islamic faith (details on the BBC here).Out In Brum - Birmingham Pride 2019 - 55

The programme’s lofty aim is to teach primary age children that difference is to be neither feared nor threatened, focusing on the protected characteristics of the Equality Act 2010.  Such characteristics include sexual orientation, gender identity, and religion, but the programme teaches more widely about prejudice, freedom of speech, speaking up, bystanders, and immigration.  At the head of the parade Andrew was joined by prominent Brummy Muslim figures, Saima Razzaq from Supporting Education of Equality and Diversity in Schools (SEEDS), and Khakan Qureshi, founder of Birmingham South Asians LGBT.

There’s been much discussion ahead of this year’s Pride about the inclusion of the Black, Asian, Chinese and other ethnic groups, and it was great to see so many communities Out In Brum - Birmingham Pride 2019 - 13 - Naz & Matt Foundationrepresented in the parade. Poignantly given the recent discussion around our Muslim community, The Naz & Matt Foundation were also represented at the front of the parade – this foundation’s mission “is to never let religion, any religion, come in the way of the unconditional love between parents and their children”, and was set up when Muslim Nazim Mahmood tragically took his own life after confronting his parents about his sexuality.  He had been with his partner, Matt, for thirteen years.

I’ve been writing up Birmingham Prides since 2013, and this is my sixth write up Out In Brum - Birmingham Pride 2019 - 110 - NASUWT Balloons, I think
(somehow I missed 2014?!).  At those Prides we have commiserated and mourned with our global community around the terrible tragedies of Pulse Nightclub, the Manchester Arena suicide bombing, gay persecution across many countries, and the degradation of LGBT rights in the US under Trump.  We must though also remember we’ve celebrated the successes of the UK Same Sex Marriage act, and the Irish Equal Marriage referendum, and a world where LGBT people are becoming more visible in all walks of life.

I’ve seen complaints that this event is no longer free and that this excludes part of the community – the event is now an enormous festival with hundreds of wonderful acts Out In Brum - National Express 2019 Pride Busincluding those with international notoriety, and the attendant costs and security concerns around that are obvious.  If you think the on-the-day tickets are too pricey I’d suggest getting in early – early bird tickets are available about 8 months in advance and are much cheaper.

I’ve also seen complaints about corporations getting in on the act, and have seen this disparagingly referred to as “pink washing” and even “woke washing”.  While I’m sure there are companies out there who think they can manipulate their audiences to enhance sales there are also plenty of companies out there with staff that simply want toOut In Brum - M&S Pride Rainbow Cake and LGBT Sandwiches do the right thing – I should know, I’ve been one of those staff members in several of those companies! Some companies also give at least some profits from sales of Pride promotional items to charity, like M&S and their rainbow cake (disclosure: we were gifted the cake for the photos #itsnotjustanyfreebieitsanm&sfreebie). Birmingham Pride also donates its profits to charity.

This Pride has been another where I’ve partied with many friends old and new, laughed at brilliant drag artists, listened to awesome global acts, and generally had a brilliant time celebrating diversity.  Thank you to all the exhausted Pride staff and organisers for again delivering an entertaining, happy, and safe Birmingham Pride.

And now for the photos……

 

Posted in Area: Hurst Street / The Gay Village / South Side, Special Event | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

No Outsiders teacher to lead Birmingham Pride Parade

The inspiring teacher at the centre of Birmingham’s recent ‘No Outsiders’ school lessons controversy is to lead this year’s Birmingham Pride Parade.
Andrew Moffat MBE, the assistant head at Parkfield Community School in the city’s Saltley district, will launch and lead the parade on Saturday 25 May, from Victoria Square down to the gay village, where the two-day Birmingham Pride festival will then take place.
Commenting on his forthcoming role as Pride parade leader, Andrew Moffat said: “I’m overjoyed that Birmingham Pride have asked me. My role is to stand up there and say that ‘No Outsiders’ needs to be taught in schools because this is how you help end homophobia – by teaching children about different people from an early age.”
He added, “The message that I want to give is that it’s not a case of Muslims versus LGBT or different cultures not getting along. It’s about bigotry and fear, and the great thing about Birmingham is its diversity and that we can all get along.”
“Birmingham is a great place. There are no no-go areas for LGBT people – but we can’t be complacent. We have to be out there, we have to talk about it and we have to work together.”
Speaking about the decision to ask Mr Moffat to lead the parade, Birmingham Pride Festival Director Lawrence Barton said: “Our theme this year is Love Out Loud – it’s a celebration of our right to love, no matter our gender, sexuality, personal identity, colour, religion or race – and given the division which the controversy over ‘No Outsiders’ lessons has created, I can think of no better or more inspiring person than Andrew Moffat to lead our parade.
“Andrew’s ‘No Outsiders’ programme is doing excellent work in helping children to learn about and understand the world around them. He is very much a man of the moment, and we’re delighted to be able to offer him our support as he works to educate youngsters about equality and diversity.
“Back in 2015, Birmingham Pride awarded a grant of £5,000 to the ‘No Outsiders’ programme, and it’s wonderful to once again be playing a part in promoting such an incredible initiative.”
Five years ago, Mr Moffat – who is gay, and was recently shortlisted for the prestigious Global Teacher Prize – devised an education resource called ‘No Outsiders’, a programme of lessons designed to teach children about subjects including sexual orientation and religion, both of which are personal characteristics protected by the Equality Act.
‘No Outsiders’ has recently come under threat. Some parents at Parkfield have said that they don’t feel same-sex relationships is an appropriate subject to be teaching to children at primary school. As a result, the lessons have currently been put on hold.
Birmingham Pride, supported by HSBC, is this year showing its full support to the ‘No Outsiders’ programme.
The Pride Parade will kickstart Birmingham Pride, the UK’s biggest two-day LGBT festival, at midday on Saturday 25 May.
For more information about the 2019 event, visit birminghampride.com
Posted in Area: Arcadian, Area: Central Shopping, Area: China Town, Area: City Centre, Area: Hurst Street / The Gay Village / South Side, Article, Special Event | Leave a comment

Nominate Now: Independent Birmingham Awards 2019

IB Independent Birmingham Bull LogoOver the last 5 years Independent Birmingham has championed both the city of Birmingham, and the marvellous independents that are the life and soul of this place we call home. The Independent Birmingham Awards are a way of further celebrating these magnificent independent businesses, and the hard working and talented people behind our favourite local spots.

The IB Awards aim to break free of the traditional, corporate awards nights – creating a fun and inclusive environment which truly champions the terrific independent businesses, in all sectors, that lend our city such a unique character. The special places that are off the beaten track, but forever hold a place in our hearts.

The Independent Birmingham Awards will be a brilliant night of great food, great drink, Independent Birmingham Cardand great people. It’s an event for the independents, to celebrate their successes and the love, passion and devotion they have poured into their businesses and this city.

To nominate your favourite independents, head to: www.ibawards.co.uk where you’ll be able to read all about the awards, browse the categories, view the judging process, and fill out an application form. Note: all nominations must be submitted by 31 May.

The awards will have two rounds of judging – an initial screening process by team Independent Birmingham, followed by a thorough judging process by a panel of industry experts. There will also be a small number of public voted awards, which are designed to be more light-hearted and a way of engaging the Independent Birmingham audience in the process.

The IB Awards will take place this September at The Custard Factory, Digbeth, and will be a black tie and trainers kind of affair.

Independent Birmingham began life in August 2013, acting as a guide that enabled those living and working in Birmingham to explore the city’s lesser-known aspects and unearth its best kept secrets.  Join the other 18,000 card holders by signing up to their discount card on their website.

Website: www.independent-birmingham.co.uk 

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/independentbirmingham/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/IndependentBirmingham/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/IndependentBham

 

 

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A right Argy Bhaji at Sadler’s…

Argy Bhaji Ale - 1st AprilSadler’s Brewing Co. are proud to announce their newest seasonal beer – an Onion Bhaji Pale Ale, “Argy Bhaji.”

What started as a joke between brewers about changing a recipe of a Sadler’s favourite to include onion chutney rather than marmalade in our Marmalade Pale Ale, Boris Citrov, grew into a recipe people were eager to trial!

“Boris Citrov, our Marmalade Pale ale is a very popular product of ours. We add a marmalade to the brew to create its unique taste. We (the brewers) were chatting one day about possible new beers using the boris citrov method of adding ingredients you don’t traditionally brew with, someone made a joke about adding onion chutney and it grew from there…. What initially started as a joke, grew into a recipe we were itching to try”

– Steve Robinson, Sadler’s Brewer.

What does it taste like?

Sadler’s took a traditional pale ale recipe and added a modern twist.This curious new Brewers at Sadler's4.6% pale ale starts with a soft, sweet, thin mouth feel but gradually grows into sweet but subtle red onion flavours with a gentle but noticeable spice.

How do they make it?

The recipe is essentially pretty simple. It’s a pale honey coloured ale, with a light orange glow which is caused by the addition of turmeric at the end of boil and we use British hops, First Gold and Pilgrim for a subtle earthy bitterness.

“To tone down the taste of onion in the brew we first smoke 5kg of red onions with a little water and sugar. This creates a  sweet smoky jam that will go in 10 mins from the end of the boil.”

Argy Bhaji Ale Taps - 1st AprilSome other notable ingredients include grated ginger, fresh coriander, cumin seeds, coriander seeds and a single Scotch Bonnet. But the real star of the show is the Coriander Seeds. They’re rich in essential oils which are similar to those found in the Citra hop. The finish brew has a IBU of C35, which goes to show how sweet this beer is.

Where can I get it?

Argy Bhaji has been trialed in all of our venues and although it’s usually tried out of pure curiosity, its unique flavour has caused quite a stir.

“I love it! It’s the ultimate session beer” said one customer of our Harborne Taproom

“Smokey, sweet and spicy – what’s not to like? ” said another at our Quinton Taproom

If you’d like to try Sadler’s Argy Bhaji, it’s available nationwide from today, April 1st, until noon…

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CineQ – Brum LGBTQ Film Festival

CineQ 2019 flyerCineQ launches a two-day queer film festival taking place on 22nd-24th March in venues across Birmingham.  Shortcut to website and tickets here.

Funded by BFI FAN Film Hub Midlands and supported by Centrala Art Gallery, Midlands Art Centre, and Mockingbird Cinema and Kitchen, CineQ Queer Film Festival aims to make safe spaces for cinema and discussion surrounding social change within the LGBTQ community.

CineQ puts the focus on new stories, and QTIPOC (Queer Trans and Intersex People of Colour) perspectives, while introducing ‘New Queer Cinema’ a type of queer cinema often overlooked.

After the film festival, CineQ will specially curate a selection of queer films Bodies Electricrepresentative of the LGBTQ community with which to tour cinemas, film festivals and film societies in the region in order to grow the appetites of LGBTQ cinema lovers in the Midlands.

Director and Film Programmer Rico Johnson-Sinclair says:

“Queer cinema has often been a blind spot in the region’s best independent and multiplex cinemas. Not to say that there isn’t an offer, it’s just very slim, Love, Simondid well, Call Me By Your Nameand God’s Own Country the year previous, but there’s a plethora of films from a variety of perspectives that are being made, but just not shown. The best place to watch a film is the big screen, but often we see that the only place to view queer films are on streaming services, we want to change that by bringing Birmingham and the Midlands, offers to see the kinds of films they love.”

CineQ was previously operating as a community cinema supported by Flatpack Projects. They’ve screened many titles such as The Wound, Closet Monster, and Check It as well as short film programmes at Centrala Art Gallery and Cafe, Mockingbird Cinema and Kitchen, and Flatpack Film Festival. CineQ has also worked with Cinemas outside of CineQ FilmBirmingham such as Phoenix Cinema in Leicester and has been awarded recognition by Cinema for All, Britain’s leading authority for community cinemas and film societies.

The opening film of the festival will be Rafiki, a film that highlights attitudes to LGBTQ people in East Africa. The film itself was banned for reportedly ‘promoting lesbianism’ in Kenya before they briefly lifted the ban to support the submission of the film to the Oscars.

The rest of the programme will be made available via social media and their website on the 22ndJanuary 2019.

Website: cineqbirmingham.co.uk
Facebook @CineQBrum
Twitter: @CineQBrum
Instagram: @CineQBrum

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