Although I’ve lived around Birmingham for over 20 years, there’s still so many places that I have yet to discover and I’m making it my mission to try out as many new restaurants as I can, so when I was invited to the press launch of Pasta di Piazza a couple of weeks ago, I obviously jumped at the chance to go.

IMG_5315

IMG_5317

Based in Birmingham’s famous Jewellery Quarter, just off St Paul’s Square, Pasta di Piazza is a beautiful building with exposed brickwork, impressively high ceilings and the most wonderful stained glass windows. Pasta di Piazza is not a new restaurant, however they have just undergone a £400k renovation and have recently opened up the top floor of the restaurant allowing for more tables and it has a lovely cosy but airy feel.

IMG_5318

IMG_5319

There’s so many delicious things on the menu and it was really hard to choose a starter! In the end, Tom went for the stuffed mushrooms which he thoroughly enjoyed and I had the grilled goats cheese which was absolutely delicious. There were also baskets of bread with butter on the table for us to have along with our starters.

IMG_5322

IMG_5324

The star of the show was definitely the mains. Tom went for a seafood dish, the Linguine Alla Marinara –Marinated seafood mix with olive oil and herbs cooked with Neapolitan sauce, king prawns and garlic. Served with linguine. He really enjoyed this dish, however he was a bit disappointed that there was only one king prawn!

As I’m not a fan of pasta, whenever I visit an Italian restaurant I will usually go for a pizza, however I decided I would try something different and chose the Involtino Pollo. The Involtino Pollo is described as –  Flattened, rolled chicken breast filled with ham and provolone cheese with a breaded herbycheese crust. Topped with a light cheese sauce. It was honestly one of the best things I have ever tasted and I could have eaten it again straight away. Everything about it was perfect, from the creamy cheese sauce to the herby cheese crust. I’m now desperate to go back to Pasta di Piazza just so that I can have this amazing dish. I’m so glad I went for something different and didn’t go for a predictable pizza!

Tom and I are both in agreement that Pasta di Piazza is the best Italian in Birmingham. The building and the atmosphere is fantastic, as are the attentive waiting staff and obviously the food is divine. I definitely recommend that you book a table here the next time you want to treat yourself to a great meal.

You may have seen my post about my trip to London with Megabus, well a week later it was Kariss‘ turn to come up to Birmingham and visit me. I wasn’t really sure what we could do in Birmingham as the weather wasn’t very nice so I decided that indoor activities would be the best thing!

IMG_4630

IMG_4633

IMG_4637

IMG_4642

IMG_4651

IMG_4653

We started off by getting on a train at Birmingham New Street and heading for Bournville where we visited Cadbury World. Cadbury World is somewhere that we had both been before (I have been many times!) however not for a number of years. Unfortunately we were both a bit disappointed as it has changed quite a bit since we were younger and I’m not sure if it’s because we are both adults now but it didn’t seem as exciting. You don’t get to see as much of the factory as you did 15 years ago and the chocolate that they give out isn’t as great as it used to be – there’s no Dairy Milk Caramel anymore! One part that we both enjoyed was the part where you can choose a cup of melted chocolate with different toppings. I went for marshmallow and honeycomb pieces which was delicious!

IMG_4662

IMG_4665

We then got back on the train into the city centre and I showed Kariss around the Bullring which is Birmingham’s huge shopping centre. We had a look around the shops and did a lot of swatching in Kiko before getting a Starbucks so we could sit down and chill out for a bit. After our Starbucks, we decided that we were both ready for our dinner so we went on down to Handmade Burger Co in the Bullring as I am absolutely obsessed with their Denver Chips. I went for a chicken burger with chorizo and cheese and Kariss decided to go for a burger in yorkshire puddings instead of a bun!

After our food, we went for a wander down Broad Street and the canal to find Kariss’ hotel before I went back home.

IMG_4668

 

IMG_4684

IMG_4692

IMG_4714

IMG_4738

On Sunday, we got up bright and early to visit the Sealife Centre. Again, this is another place that I haven’t been to for years and since my last visit they’d got some new additions – penguins! We spent absolutely ages watching the penguins, they’re all fascinating and I loved watching them swim and hop about. We spent a good hour and a half having a look at all of the fish and even watching the 4D movie.

IMG_4746

IMG_4747

IMG_4750

We then braved the rain and walked back into the city centre to Grand Central where we indulged in some food from Yo Sushi. I am completely obssessed with the beef teryaki, it’s my favourite dish so I had to make sure I had some of that. It was then time for Kariss to get back on the Megabus and travel back to London, so I walked her to the Hill Street stop where we said our goodbyes.

IMG_5237
IMG_5210

IMG_5215

IMG_5218

IMG_5225

IMG_5227

IMG_5231

IMG_5233

IMG_5234

Chi Kitchen is a Pan-Asian restaurant located on the third floor of Debenhams in Birmingham’s Bullring. The restaurant features a champagne bar and also has a Grab and Go bar on the first floor. I’d walked past the restaurant many times but had never actually been in, so I was really excited when I was asked if I would like to go along and review it last week.

“The word Chi means energy in Chinese. Our aim, therefore, is to build a brand that not only offers great food, but also provides good energy to existing Debenhams customers, and the new customers that Chi Kitchen will attract. We chose to use the Chinese symbol for fire to represent the brand, which again has a strong meaning behind it. By linking the word Chi, and the fire symbol together, Chi Kitchen plays on the way fire can be converted into energy. Fire also relates directly to the restaurant interior, as our robata grill is a central feature at all of our sites.”

When we arrived at the restaurant, we were seated by the window which was nice as we could look over Birmingham whilst we ate. We had a look at the menu and picked a couple of starters and a main dish each, however the manager came over and asked if we would like to try some more dishes that he recommended and we ended up with a big feast between the two of us!

We started off with cocktails to drink, I went with a mojito and Tom went for a Raspberry Dream which we both thoroughly enjoyed and the manager also bought over a champagne cocktail which was made with mango juice and amaretto as well as the obvious champagne. We both liked this despite not being fond of champagne – the mango juice really sweetened it up and gave it a great flavour.

A selection of starters were brought out to us including prawn crackers with a sweet chilli dip, smoked salt and chilli chicken which was my personal favourite, battered sweet potato fries, wagyu beef kushiyaki, popcorn shrimp and shrimps in a coconut sauce which Tom has been dreaming of ever since.

After filling up on the small plates, it was then time for the large plates to come out. I had picked the crispy shredded beef which was as delicious as I’d hoped it would be and is definitely something that I would go for again. I also chose the chicken katsu curry which I didn’t enjoy as much as I thought I would – I found the chicken to be quite tough although the sauce and the rice were really nice. Tom picked the Korean steak which is served on a chive and wasabi mash which we both loved – the meat was so tender and the mash had such an amazing flavour. We also had the chilli and lime sea bass, however Tom wasn’t so keen on the sauce but said that the fish itself was really nice.

We will definitely be back to Chi Kitchen as soon as we both have been paid – we left the restaurant satisfied and full and have both been thinking of the food since then!