The Canal House is launched in Birmingham

Last week saw the revitalising of a legendary Birmingham venue, when The Canal House launched in the old James Brindley pub. The James Brindley had been a Birmingham landmark in the 1990s, but had, in recent times become a bit of an eyesore on the skyline, lying empty for the past 8 years. Now, as The Canal House, it looks set to bring those glory days back, as it is once again a beautiful venue, with great food and cocktails.


We went along on launch night to try the food and cocktails and to soak up the atmosphere, and were not disappointed. It is a fabulous venue, with the large space giving off the vibe of traditional wharfside buildings, with lots of wood and glass. Inside feels spacious with lots of attention to detail, I love the high ceilings that make the place so light and airy, the use of wood for the floors to give a rustic feel, and the fabulous use of glass, whether to create skylights, or in a vintage form in the glass bottles and lanterns that make up the amazing chandeliers (such a talking point). There is also a rather beautiful private dining area that would be amazing for a birthday celebration.

The cocktails are one of the real plus points of this fabulous venue. The Canal House is putting its own twists on classic cocktails, so rather than a Mojito, I had The Cuban Influence, and rather than a Long Island Iced Tea, I had Narrowboat Iced Tea, which was described to me as like Fizzy Cola Bottle sweets in alcoholic form and was just delicious, even served in a glass bottle with a bag of sweeties attached. No Ordinary Labourer was a chocolate/coffee mix that even came with Bourbon biscuits. All I can say is that it was so good I had it twice.

The drinks were divine, a real destination on the cocktail map, but the food easily matched it. From appetisers liked the baked kale and sesame seed crisps (brilliant, with just the right amount of spice) to Homemade Houmous that was served with generous helpings of warm flatbread and crudites, the food was of a high standard, with everything well thought out for flavour and portions. The mains are incredible, from Grilled Seabass brilliantly teamed with avocado, to the famous hanging kebabs that you pour garlic butter over for an absolute taste sensation. I chose to have mine with sweet potato fries, a bit of a favourite of mine, and these are by far the best I have ever tasted. And, if you had room left for dessert, the baked chocolate chip cookie dough was just gooey and delicious, my dream dessert.

I loved my first visit to The Canal House, it is a vibrant, warm and inviting destination that is sure to be a favourite with those who love good food and exciting cocktails. I can’t wait to go again.

Headz Up Business Fashion Catwalk

Last Friday I was a guest at the Headz Up Business Women in Business Expo, held in Birmingham’s beautiful Council House. Part of the Expo was taken up with the Fashion Business Catwalk, which meant I got to sit front row and enjoy some fabulous fashion. The event was organised by Pushpa Alexander, the inspirational whirlwind behind Headz Up Business, who organise networking events, conferences and Expo’s for women in business, focusing on digital and social media technology, and allowing women to network with similar professionals in a host of different settings.

With Dave aka Mr Brum Hour.

The Women in Business Expo was a great success, with the centrepiece being the Fashion Catwalk.  This runway show was managed by former Mr Birmingham Joshua Williams, who is also the brains behind the Elite Fashion Show. The show showcased some local designers, from Jewellery Quarter based Dolls of Decadence, new Birmingham label Vaughan, Elvira Lee Couture, heavily influenced by 1970s glamour, El Monet, which is both designed and manufactured in the second city, and Kiss Me Kate, the destination for beautiful evening wear in Birmingham.

In addition to the designers and their stunning collections, the catwalk stage also hosted talks from Ruth May, an up and coming jewellery designer, Sally Klein, an inspirational lifestyle coach, and West Midlands Police, who were there to talk about Cyber safety in the modern age. All the guest speakers also hosted their own stalls so you could talk to them in more detail if you wished.

The Women in Business Expo was the most enjoyable of events, a way to make some valuable contacts whilst having a coffee, browsing the exhibitors and taking in some fabulous new fashion. It also raised funds for a brilliant local charity ‘Ladies Fighting Breast Cancer’ and it was wonderful to hear Veronica Kumeta from the charity speaking so passionately about her vision for helping cancer sufferers and survivors in Birmingham.

Fashion Catwalk at the Women in Business Expo

Dolls of Decadence

Vaughan

Elvira Lee Couture

El Monet

Kiss Me Kate

Perfect Pizza at The Stable, Birmingham

There are some great places to find really good Pizza in Birmingham, but The Stable on John Bright Street must be one of the best. It has a menu that is full of delicious pizza combinations. and also has a range of over 80 ciders that you can team with them, making this perfect pitstop for a refuel on a shopping day. In addition, a great outside space is just glorious, especially when the mercury is hitting over 70 degrees, which it was on the Sunday we paid a family trip. With a relaxed atmosphere, and a child friendly menu and staff, you can easily enjoy fantastic food and a chill on a lazy Sunday.

The menu is interesting in that many of the combinations and dishes look Mediterranean, but are actually full of local produce and British ingredients. The menu also gives a nice nod to the local area, with pizzas named after Birmingham areas like Bournville (the Bournville Bantam is my pizza of choice), Smethwick and Perry Barr.

We started with a Cured Meats and cheese board (£12 for two). This is a dish that has the look of the Mediterranean, but is actually British through and through, specifically the West Country. The pickled cucumber in particular was excellent, and the cheeses were a great mixture of creamy (goats cheese) and sharp and flavoursome (the Wookey Hole aged cheddar.) The meat also showed that Prosciutto and Parma Ham are not the only choices when it comes to pairing cured meats with cheese.

Joe loves garlic bread, and The Stable has the traditional pizza style breads. These were again packed full of flavour with the butter literally oozing from the bread (not my favourite word but the only one to use in this case.) The bread didn’t last long and was totally proclaimed a hit by my boy.

Onto the Pizza. Joe chose a Margarita but added chicken to it. It was delicious, the flavours worked together very well, and it was great that he could add the extra ingredient to create his perfect pizza. I went for the Bournville Bantam, again with chicken, but I removed mushrooms (my idea of food hell) and was really pleased with the overall flavour. Pete went for the special – the Ali Baa Baa, almost a mezze on a pizza with Koftka style meatballs and feta Cheese, as well as tomato, oregano and mozzarella. Pete declared this was the best pizza he had ever had – high praise indeed. We also tried one of the salads, this was a salmon salad that could virtually count as a course by itself as it was full of leaves and pieces of salmon.

If you have any room left for a dessert, I would definitely try the ice cream. The clotted cream vanilla is just so lovely, and the presentation makes it look so special. You can choose three flavours, or opt for double of your favourite.

With friendly and knowledgeable staff able to recommend both dishes and cider, and fast and efficient service, The Stables is a real jewel in Birmingham’s foodie crown. This was my fourth visit, but the first with my family, and it was a big hit with all. We’ll definitely be coming back.

The Stable, Birmingham

Address: 115 John Bright St, Birmingham B1 1BE
Phone: 0121 643 8918
Reservations: bookatable.co.uk