Is it Gr8? – Otto Pizza

Next door to Eight Foot Grocer, founded by Chris James, there’s been a bit of activity. First, Chris diversified into The Pop Up Taco Shop (whilst waiting for planning permission). Now Otto Pizza has arrived to take its place.

Sourcing a carefully selected list of suppliers for their ingredients, they keep a short but varied menu in chilled surroundings.

They also have a regularly rotating specials board for pizza, wine and beer. For drinks selections, I chose off the specials board with a Call of Korriban Black IPA from Twisted Barrel Brewery whilst Wifey went for Masons Gin with a Double Dutch Tonic.

My beer was lovely and Wifey (always a fan of G&T) loved the Masons Gin, though Langleys will always be her fave!

For food we had a Tomato and Pesto Flatbread; for mains I chose

Nduja, Mushroom, Marscapone, Mozzarella and Tomato

whilst Wifey picked Mushroom, Marscapone and Truffle Oil.

The flatbread came pre-sliced in a basket.  It wasn’t very strong on the tomato and a little heavy on the pesto, but Wifey is a huge pesto fan which meant it was perfect for her tastes.

My pizza had plenty of spice and oil from the nduja sausage, which was mellowed by the creamy marscapone, the mushroom added texture on a both crispy and doughy base. All in all ruddy lovely, though the oil and spice from the sausage may put a few off.

Wifey’s Pizza came with chunky mushroom, smooth blobs of marscapone and wasn’t too heavy on the truffle oil.  She enjoyed the earthiness of the mushroom combined with the rich creaminess of the marscapone.  The base was midway between ‘deep pan’ and thin and crispy, giving it enough integrity without being too heavy.

For dessert, Wifey went for Daniele’s grandmother’s homemade tiramisu whilst I chose some pistachio ice cream.

Wifey’s Tiramisu was a more than generous portion and in her words was “indulgent, rich, delicious”!  She struggled to finish it but valiantly battled through, it would have been rude not to!

My ice cream verged on the savoury side with the nuttiness of the pistachio shining through. Most people are used to the luminous green pistachio ice cream which I find verges on the too sweet side, whereas this acted as a nice palate cleanser.

Though we were sad to see The Pop Up Taco Shop disappear (which we enjoyed a few times), this is a more than worthy replacement and provides a much authentic experience than the regular chains.

When: 02/03/2017

Where: Otto Pizza, 14 Caroline Street, Jewellery Quarter, Birmingham, B3 1TR

Who: Otto PizzaEight Foot Grocer

Strawberries get clothed by Godiva at Selfridges

Godiva Chocolate has been around for a very long time. Since 1926, they’ve been combining Praline and Belgian chocolate into sweet treats, surprisingly though they don’t have a shop in the Midlands (but they do have a stand in Selfridges).

In the short term however, they’re offering you a chance to get some HUGE strawberries dipped in chocolate and a range of toppings including:

  • Caramelised Hazelnuts
  • Belgian Biscuit Crumb


  • Chocolate Flakes

There’s even mini (or maxi) bottles of prosecco to accompany your strawberries too.

Prices start from £10 for a cup of strawberries, up to £25 for a ballontin of 12 dipped strawberries.

I was lucky enough to have a go myself at the dipping lark, doing a plain chocolate and one with chocolate flakes.  This involved carefully skewering the strawberry, dipping in their chocolate machine (which we all agreed every home should have), and then choosing from the range of toppings.

I even got to take my creations home in this schwifty bag!


The Godiva Strawberry Chocolate Dipping pop up is at Selfridges Birmingham until 30th March and purchases are recommended to be eaten on the day of purchase (so you know, you can go back the next day and get more).  Don’t forget Mothers Day on Sunday too, if you need an emergency treat for Mom!

Disclaimer: For this visit, I was a guest of Godiva, Selfridges and Clive Reeves PR, this provides no bias to the post. This blog is my own personal opinion and strives to provide an independent view, promoting, enjoying and reviewing the range of exciting food and venues in and around Birmingham.


When: 23/03/2017

Where: Godiva Chocolate, Selfridges Ground Floor, Bullring, Birmingham, B5 4BP

Who: Godiva Chocolate, Selfridges

A Barbers for Everyman

A few weeks ago, I was invited down for a free haircut or beard trim at the newly relaunched Everyman Barbers.

Everyman has been in Birmingham for over a decade and to celebrate in style, they’ve had a £150,000 refurbishment of their Temple Street store and launched a new mobile app to boot too!

To celebrate the relaunch, they decided to serve free whisky from the always amazing experts of Birmingham Whisky Club with live musical accompaniment by local double bass player Tom Moore.

They’ve gone for a cool grey with muted wood for their refurbishment, which has really given the place a much more open and calming feel.

Getting past the till to the waiting area, it’s nice to see a range of magazines and even a gaming console to while away the time until your favourite barber is available.

Picking up a nice little glass of Gentleman Jack from The Whisky Miss herself, Amy of The Birmingham Whisky Club, I sat down ready for my beard trim. My beard hair is rather coarse and even daily oiling doesn’t keep it in check after it reaches a certain length.

Happily my barber gave it a good shaping and even gave a few tips and tricks on care and maintenance for the future; I left the store much happier than I came in.

They’re opening their Leicester store shortly on the 30th March, joining the other stores in Birmingham, Bristol, Nottingham and newly opened Derby.

Everyman Barbers offer student discounts, corporate discounts, rolling live sports, free wifi, gaming stations and complimentary drinks, as well as their app (on both iOS and Android) so you can get your loyalty stamps in check too!

When: 23/02/2017

Where: Everyman Barbers, 19 Temple Street Birmingham | B2 5BG

Who: Everyman Barbers, Birmingham Whisky Club


Disclaimer: For this visit, I was a guest of Everyman Barbers, this provides no bias to the post. This blog is my own personal opinion and strives to provide an independent view, promoting, enjoying and reviewing the range of exciting venues in and around Birmingham.

Mussels of Moseley at Cheval Blanc

Coming from the creative minds behind The Humble Pub Co, owners of The Prince of Wales, The British Oak and next door neighbours The Dark Horse, Cheval Blanc comes with an estimable pedigree.

Run by GM Abigail Connolly and Chef Cyd Tachdjian their aim is to bring a wine bar with impeccable food to Moseley. Wifey and I heard about their special weekend offer on Mussels and a glass of Wine for £10 (also available as Mussels only for £5), so we took the brother and sister-in-law over for a taste on one of their rare visits from Jersey.


The decor could be described as eclectic, with bottles for light shades, vintage lampshades and mismatched chairs, all tastefully done. The star of the show is the wine cellar. Positioned in front of the bar and topped with thick glass, it’s a nice touch to look down and see some of the bottles on offer.


The wine to the accompany the mussels was Clip, a Portugese Vinho Verde.  Made by two friends, Pedro Barbosa and João Maria Cabral, they are aiming to celebrate the local variety Loureiro grape.  This is done by following a policy of minimal intervention and care for the ecosystem, in order to grow grapes that ripen well and can display the terroir from which they come. The wine wasn’t dry but crisp, at the same time with a slightly floral taste and a complex almost mineral aftertaste.

The mussels themselves were no small portion – a huge bowl, full of large juicy morsels in a chilli and lemongrass broth. The mussels were very fresh with no overpowering ‘fishy’ taste. The broth was heavy on the lemongrass but enough chilli to make its presence known. Perfect for Wifey but brother-in-law would have preferred a touch more heat (maybe some chilli flakes on the table as an added extra would have allowed us to adjust for taste).

The accompanying crusty bread was delicious and soaked up the broth nicely, my only disappointment was there wasn’t enough! After munching through the mussels, there was still plenty of broth which I would have loved to dunk an extra slice or two into like the savage that I am! Maybe an option to pay a pound or two more for an additional portion of bread for the table would be welcome.

All in all, we loved the experience and will look to return again soon. Cyd will be rotating the recipes for mussels with other flavours such as chorizo, paprika and madras sauce. There’s enough temptation to keep returning…

When: 04/02/2017

Where: Cheval Blanc, 145 Alcester Road, Moseley, Birmingham, B13 8JP

Who: Cheval Blanc


Punjab Perfection at Canal Square

In keeping with the theme of getting more local, Wifey and I decided to try our nearest (and newest) local restaurant in the shape of Canal Square. Knowing #BrumHour‘s taste for Indian food, we invited him along too!

Canal Square specialises in high end Punjabi Cuisine and Cocktails, taking over the unit which was formerly Loves Restaurant, a few paces from JuJu’s Cafe and a stone’s throw from the Barclaycard Arena.

On their website, they describe themselves as an eclectic Punjabi dining experience. They do tasting menus, taking you around the Punjab region but for this evening, we thought we’d try their la carte “Glasshouse” menu.

Before tucking in, Wifey picked their signature Tequila and lime based cocktail which was sweet and refreshing, so much so, she changed her plan from choosing another cocktail from the menu and stuck to that for the evening. Dave and I went for Diet Coke, accompanied by ice and a slice.

Harvey Bains, maître d’ and owner, introduced us to the menu and concept. Each dish is balanced by the staff but can be tailored to how ‘hot’ or ‘wet’ you want it to be. We decided to skip the starters and instead went for poppadoms followed by mains.

The poppadoms were served as triangles rather than the usual “plate”, which most of us were used to, and was accompanied by mint sauce and mango chutney.

The poppadoms were crisp with no greasy film to them and were served warm.  It was nice to have them as good sized portions rather than breaking them ourselves and chasing shards around the plate with a finger (I hope I’m not the only one that does this!). Special mention must be made for the mango chutney, which was sweet and had a nice piquant edge to it. They were that good that we ordered a second portion!

For main I went for their Punjabi Murgh (chicken) signature with a Peshawari naan. Mine was a really nice balance of spice and flavour, with enough of a kick to get the heat going and the flavour coming through. The Peshawari naan, though nicely cooked and fluffy, was a slight disappointment as the paste filling ended up more in the serving dish rather than in my mouth, though what I ate was delicious.

Wifey went for the Butter Chicken, made of Punjabi butter chicken mildly spiced, mixed nuts, tomato simmered rich dish, accompanied by Pilau rice.

Wifey doesn’t do spice so this was perfect for her. It was rich, but not in an oily sense, with just enough spice coming through to give it a solid flavour, and lots of good sized chunky chicken pieces. Her pilau rice was colourful, with addition of vegetables, and was well cooked.

#BrumHour chose a Chicken Jalfrezi and Garlic Naan.  From the noises of delight coming from across the table, I am sure he was relishing in having the rare chance for a curry rather than his traditional Chinese.


We all chose mint ice cream for dessert, which came sprinkled with a pistachio crumb. This was a perfect finish for the meal as it was light, smooth and velvety with the pistachio crumb adding a second texture to mix things up.

It’s the little touches which elevate a place and the bill came in quite a stunning fashion: an ornate silver box laden with their signature chocolate truffle shaped like a Brazil nut, this went sharpish.

We all very much enjoyed our food and the quality of the ingredients came through in the flavours of the dishes.  We shall certainly be making a repeat visit soon.  This could be the perfect place for a pre-visit or post-visit meal, if you are heading to the NIA for a show.

When: 24/01/2017

Where: Canal Square, Canal Square, 100 Browning Street, Birmingham, B16 8EH

Who:  Canal Square