Best restaurants in Birmingham

Updated on 15 September 2017

Best restaurants in Birmingham


Purnell

Purnell's Bistro

Purnell's Bistro
£30 - £49
Modern European
British

11 Newhall Street, Birmingham, B3 3NY

“This restaurant is like a comfort blanket”, drools a fan of celeb chef Glyn Purnell’s self-named bistro, just round the corner from his Michelin-starred flagship Purnell’s. Set in the heart of Birmingham’s upwardly mobile financial district, it offers a taste of the chef’s idiosyncratic style with easier prices and some user-friendly tweaking here and there to suit the local populace. Shades of claret and brown provide a soothing – but “buzzy” – designer backdrop to “well-priced, well-presented” dishes with some clever touches: think a chorizo Scotch egg with patatas bravas and garlic aïoli, baked cod livornese with fennel marmalade and polenta chips or roast Creedy Carver duck breast with braised baby gem and scorched leeks. You can also get steaks with hand-cut chips and no-nonsense plates of wild mushroom tagliatelle, while dessert might bring dark chocolate and peanut butter moelleux with salted caramel ice cream. The premises are also home to Ginger’s – a glamorous themed cocktail bar.

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Simpsons

Simpsons

Simpsons
£50 - £79
Modern European

20 Highfield Road, Edgbaston, Birmingham, West Midlands, B15 3DU

Greek-inspired landscaped gardens set a formal tone here, although we reckon the mood in Simpsons’ airy conservatory-style dining room is much more casual these days. Occupying a handsome Georgian townhouse in leafy Edgbaston, this Michelin-starred thoroughbred is “outstanding from the moment you walk in” – with added clout provided by boutique bedrooms and a cookery school (renamed the Eureka Kitchen). Overseen by chef director Luke Tipping, this venue delivers top-drawer modern food with real vision. Measured, thoughtful technique and a respect for the seasons underpin everything, from a starter of Wye Valley asparagus with Beesands crab, XO mayonnaise and crispy rice to Cornish lamb with tomato and courgette tart, spinach and black garlic or Brixham turbot partnered by sprouting broccoli, sea kale, monk’s beard and shellfish cream. To conclude, a dessert involving white chocolate, gariguette strawberry sorbet and almond further emphasises Simpson’s pedigree. A serious French-accented wine list adds gravitas, although staff bring some unaffected local charm to proceedings while making everyone “feel special”. Simpsons is a big shout for special occasions too.

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Adam

Adam's Restaurant

Adam's Restaurant
£50 - £79
Modern European

New Oxford House, 16 Waterloo Street, Birmingham, West Midlands, B2 5UG

“What a place! Food is top notch and the setting is lovely”, so writes a fan of this latest offering from Michelin-starred chef Adam Stokes (formerly at Glenapp Castle in Scotland). Occupying a one-time sandwich shop in Birmingham’s commercial district, this stylishly sophisticated gaff has been tricked out with faux marble, globe lights, mirrors and a cathedral-like trompe l’oeil centrepiece to create a dramatic backdrop for the chef’s formidable culinary talents. On offer is a choice of menus defined by clever, playful conceits and terse dish descriptions – from ‘guinea fowl, shiitake, smoked potato, braised leek’ to ‘halibut, asparagus, wild garlic, Jersey royal’. Opening salvos might include a punchy combo of Norfolk quail with Jerusalem artichoke, hen of the woods mushrooms and monk’s beard, while seasonally inclined desserts could feature Wye Valley rhubarb with orange blossom and yoghurt. Set lunches are “a good option for client meetings”, but whatever you choose, this head-turning Brummie challenger is bang on the money for a city with an ever-rising foodie profile.

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Bank Birmingham

Bank Birmingham

Bank Birmingham
£30 - £49
Modern European
Brasserie

4 Brindleyplace, Birmingham, West Midlands, B1 2JB

Set apart from the chain eateries that cluster around the Broad Street end of Brindleyplace, this ultra-modern bar and brasserie makes a grand statement about space, colour and light. It delivers everything we’ve come to expect from the vibrant Bank group: razor-sharp service and cooking that’s brave, confident and wildly eclectic. There are Brit classics such as rib-eye steak with Bearnaise sauce and chips or calves liver with sage, onion and crispy bacon alongside Carlingford rock oysters, char grilled chicken Caesar salad. More international dishes include a chilli squid Thai noodle salad ahead of crispy duck breast teamed with Chinese greens, sesame and honey dressing.

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Opus

Opus

Opus
£30 - £49
British

54 Cornwall Street, Birmingham, West Midlands, B3 2DE

Set in the heart of Birmingham’s financial district, it’s no surprise this modern British brasserie is packed with local suits every lunchtime. But loosened ties and smiling faces are evidence that the most pressing business at hand here is negotiating the airy restaurant’s extensive menu. Choose from simple hand-picked crab from the crustacea bar, gourmet dishes such as pan-fried scallops and braised belly pork, with wholegrain mustard mousseline and caperberries, or homely grub including faggots, mushy peas and creamy mash. Add homemade bread and ambitious desserts into the mix and you have a city-centre hot spot as appealing to business diners as to lively, young punters. Local chefs David Colcombe and Dean Cole, both alumni of Birmingham’s Bank Restaurant, know their audience well. A competitively priced menu of seasonal treats, plus warm service and tempting wines by the bottle or glass, make for a sound offer.

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Asha

Asha's Restaurant & Bar

Asha's Restaurant & Bar
£30 - £49
Indian

12-22 Newhall Street, Birmingham, West Midlands, B3 3LX

Asha Bosle, who lends her name to this vast, contemporary Indian restaurant, is a legendary Bollywood star; a ‘singing enchantress’ who inspired Cornershop’s Brimful of Asha hit single of a few years back. Asha's, the restaurant, has one of the most stunning interiors in Birmingham: beautifully lit, colourful without being overpowering, sophisticated and vibrant. A lengthy menu spiced with refreshingly unusual ingredients – from white pomfret to carom seeds – offers murg nizami shorba (an intriguing creamy chicken soup with apple and saffron) alongside more traditional dishes such as Goan fish curry, tandoori chicken salad or rogan josh. Veggie options, such as spinach and chickpea cutlets with khoya (condensed milk), dried fruits and nuts, are imaginative, tasty and well presented.

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Cielo Birmingham

Cielo Birmingham

Cielo Birmingham
£30 - £49
Modern European
Italian

6 Oozells Square, Birmingham, West Midlands, B1 2JB

You’ll quickly glean from its slick, modern interior (with a contemporary water feature, no less) that this superior Italian isn’t the kind of place that serves up a post-prandial limoncello. Instead, a smart and moneyed clientele enjoy well-executed staples – and a few more unusual dishes – and wines from an unambitious but well-aimed list. The location is prime, on Oozells Square in the award-winning Brindleyplace development, a stone’s throw from buzzing Broad Street, and there are tables outside for alfresco dining. A popular choice with the city’s footballers, according to those in the know.

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Carters of Moseley

Carters of Moseley

Carters of Moseley
£30 - £49
British

2c Wake Green Road, Moseley, Birmingham, B13 9EZ

“The best local restaurant I've been to”, declares a fan of this admirable neighbourhood eatery in a row of shops close to the centre of Moseley. Brummie chef Brad Carter brought it all back home when he pitched camp here, and with partner Holly Jackson running front of house, he has turned the place is an amiable set-up noted for its mix of classy informality and Michelin-starred British food of the best sort. “Simple, yet refined” sums up the approach, witness clear-flavoured seasonal dishes such as Tamworth pork belly with grilled peas and nasturtiums or Cornish turbot with beans, smoked roe and orange butter. Spanking fresh ingredients are the key, whether it’s a snack of wild sea trout and gooseberries, a serving of Tunworth cheese with malt bread and Australian Manjimup truffle or a dessert involving ewe’s yoghurt, raspberries and roses. Vegetarians have their own menus, meals are interspersed with lots of trendy extras, and the food is supported by a fascinating choice of global wines and beers.

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Purnell

Purnell's

Purnell's
£50 - £79
Modern European

55 Cornwall Street, Birmingham, West Midlands, B3 2DH

As one of the original stars of Birmingham’s resurgent foodie scene, local boy Glyn Purnell’s flagship restaurant knows exactly how to satisfy its customers by offering a series of light-hearted menus full of kooky but highly convincing ideas. The version entitled ‘Purnell’s journey’ might take you from ‘faux’ Black Canary potatoes with chorizo via monkfish masala with pickled carrots to white chocolate délice with Yorkshire rhubarb and meringue, while ’10 years in the making’ features the likes of ‘1,2,3,4,5... once I caught a fish alive!’ (tuna sashimi, Orkney scallop, black garlic, dashi, seaweed etc) or rump of Wiltshire lamb with smoked aubergine, capers and basil. Diners who fancy some fun can also book for ‘Brummie tapas’ in Purnell’s ‘living room’, where the line-up runs from carpaccio of Herefordshire beef with braised octopus, bresaola, crème fraîche and sweet ‘n’ sour onions to a dessert involving blood orange, white chocolate and dried viola flowers. Well-spaced tables and smart, neutral decor suit the business crowd as well as courting couples, while polished staff rarely fluff their lines. “A brilliant and unusual dining experience”, concludes one fan – and we concur.

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Lasan

Lasan

Lasan
£30 - £49
Indian

Dakota Buildings, James Street, Birmingham, West Midlands, B3 1SD

While the second city may be famous for its ubiquitous balti, the cooking at Lasan has taken Indian food into a new age. This is stunning stuff, innovative, well thought-out and beautifully light, as seen in dishes such as yoghurt and mint marinated fillet of lemon sole, tandoori roasted and served with tomato cucumber salad and mint coriander dressing, or seared breast of duck served with onion and tomato curry flavoured with roasted coconut, poppy and melon seeds. Even the desserts are excellent – and it’s not often that the pudding list in an Indian restaurant wins plaudits too. The surroundings are as upmarket as the food, though the ultra-modern interior has a lot of hard surfaces which bounce the noise around and can give you a bit of an ear-bashing when it’s busy. But it looks great and deserves its 2007 British Curry Award.

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