This place is a real oddity. Very old fashioned and mainly inhabited by ageing Poles. Pictures of the (last) Pope abound.
Head downstairs for the great little Polish food store (good vodka and sausages) and the interesting restaurant. This place serves seriously authentic Polish food. Anyone who has eaten Polish food will know that it is an acquired taste, but for those who already know they like it, this place is excellent. Beware - the menu is in Polish and many of the staff do not speak English.
Polish Catholic Centre Social Centre Bordesley StBirmingham
0121 358 7102
Simply one of the best video rental shops in the country. They literally have everything you can possibly think of. Brilliant.
One of the most charming small museums in Birmingham with a recently added visitor centre and tea room. A real Brummy gem. The house itself is very small, but taken together this is a real treat.
Open from 31st March to 28th October
Tuesday to Sunday 11.30am - 4pm
Closed Mondays except Bank Holidays
Tel: +44 121 464 2193
The Custard Factory is a large former industrial complex housing creative businesses and a number of nice cafes and bars, including the Medicine Bar and Rooty Fruity.
There a few galleries, shops and showrooms that are also worth a visit.
You don't feel like you're in Brum when you visit this place, which for most people is a good thing.
Like the Anchor down the road, another family run traditional Brummy Irish pub. Nice interior and good, reasonably priced beer.
As with the Anchor, this isn't a cosy gastro pub, but a genuine old fashioned Brummy boozer. In no ways rough, but probably not somewhere to take a date. Authenticity is a real rareity in Brum though, so this place should be appreciated by those who appreciate these kinds of places. If that makes sense.
276, Bradford St, Digbeth, Birmingham, West Midlands, B12 0QY (0121 622 2586)
This is a great little family-run traditional Digbeth Irish pub. They serve a good range of beers. The front bar in particular is notable for its partitioned booths.
This is not some National Trust pub, but a proper old fashioned Brummy boozer. Don't expect to be seduced first time. This is the kind of genuine and authentic pub rarely found in the city. Worth a visit.
Bradford Street, Birmingham
B5 6ET United Kingdom.
Tel: 0121 622 4516
Simple little veggie place in Digbeth. It's been there for years and still produces consistently tasty and wholesome food. Good value too. One of only a few such places in Birmingham.
54-57 Allison Street
Just one of the best restaurants in Birmingham. Upmarket and quite pricey but a millions miles away from most of the rubbish served up elsewhere in Brum. Well worth splashing out on. Four lovely rooms upstairs as well for any one staying over.
The University of Birmingham's own botanical gardens. Much more interesting than the nearby Botanical Gardens.
Several acres of charming gardens and glass houses in the grounds of an old Victorian house. Adjacent to a small lake and woodland in the heart of Edgbaston. Absolutely delightful.
Winterbourne Botanic Garden
University of Birmingham
58 Edgbaston Park Road
Birmingham B15 2RT
0121 414 3832
The Sheesh Mahal on Kirkstall Road always manages to amaze me with both the quality of the food and service on offer. Azram, the owner, is always serving and chatting with his regulars, and nothing is too much trouble for him, whether it is explaining the history behind dishes on the menu, or providing cake and a free bottle of wine for a friend's birthday.
There are many very, very good curry houses in Leeds and Bradford, but the Sheesh manages to serve food that's up there with the best. The service always tips the scales in the Sheesh's direction though.
Key dishes to try include the prawn puri starter, and either the fish balti or sheesh gosht karahi with a side order of cauliflower and aubergine. I've tried most of the menu and have yet to have a bad meal there.
Kirkstall Road, Leeds
This historic Grade 2-listed building is Birmingham's finest example of Victorian pub architecture, resplendent in decorative tiles and stained glass.
The pub serves Oakham's award-winning real ales, guest ales from the region and across the country and imported bottled beers from around the world. Authentic freshly cooked Thai food is served from 12 noon-2.30pm and 5.30-10pm Tuesday to Sunday.
One of Birmingham's true gems.
144 High Street
0121 333 5988
One of the oldest Indian restaurants in London. Great chicken tikka. Try the mixed grill and the king prawn sag is to die for.
135-137 Whitfield Street, Soho, London, W1T 5EL. Nearest tube - Warren Street (it's a 5 min walk from there)
The food, fragrance, spice, atmosphere, and neighbourhood are all unforgettable. I recommend it to everyone. Such a place becomes an intregal part of sensory memory, replayed over and over again, even across a decade or more.
Keralan restaurant on the London Road in Liverpool, round the back of Lime Street Station.
Claims to be the only south Indian restuarant in the northwest, and while that may not be true, the lunchtime thalis (£6, veg or non-veg with fish) are a treat, especially a fantastic tangy tomato curry that comes with the veg option.
More elaborate food in the evenings, including superb pot-roast lamb with coconut. Their vada and aloo bonda are excellent as well, and they'll quickly prepare a take-away bag of snacks if you're catching the train.
Maharaja South Indian Restaurant - 34-36 London Road , Liverpool , L3 5NF Tel: 0871 811 4798
Vegetarian delight on Belgrave Road. The Thalis are always fresh and filled with seasonal simplicity. They range from spicy and tongue fizzing to more sober and flavoursome offerings.
The chapatis are superb and the dosa and parathas are very authentic. But my favourite is the lassi, always sweet, always moreish.
And I once drove from Hull and returned merely for the curry. What's more, the service is always friendly and welcoming.
Leicester, Belgrave Road
In the sprawl of restaurants in Brick Lane, we have only ever had fantastic food, service and atmosphere here. Whether an after-work meal for 12, a quick pre-club supper for four, a lingering dinner for two or a cricket club on the lash - everyone is made to feel welcome and attended to with the same quality of service. Having tried the rest, believe me, when in Brick Lane, aim straight for the Village.
Brick Lane, London
Misleading name, underwhelming locale (although Brook Green is entirely charming, Shepherd's Bush Road is most poignantly not so) and the interior won't stretch the imagination. But, you should go. In fact, I implore you to.
Truly excellent, from the personable service to my real reason - the magician(s) in the kitchen.
158a Shepherd's Bush Road
Brook Green W6 7PB
It's the best curry house in the world! I once travelled all the way from Nottingham on National Express (nearly three hours) just to have lunch there!
Since they don't serve alcohol, the sort of people who go there are nice and civilised and you don't get a yobbish after-pub crowd. The biggest test is that the majority of people eating there are Asian, which I always take as a good sign. Their curries are traditional, freshly cooked Kashmiri cuisine and busting with flavour. The quality of the meat is exceptional, it's not a case of bad meat drowning in a curry sauce. The service is also excellent. Visit them! Please! It's truthfully the only thing I mss about England!
386-400 Great Horton Rd,
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