Birmingham is so exciting at the moment, there are a ton of new bars, restaurants and coffee shops opening, all of which I want to try especially after reading about them, usually in the Birmingham Mail or from Independent Birmingham (great for keeping up to date with all that’s going on in the second city). However, I have my favourite bars and restaurants which I still love to go to and considering I hadn’t been to Fumo since last June and the Jekyll & Hyde for at least 2 years I thought it was about time I paid them a revisit.
Fumo being an authentic Italian restaurant always ticks the boxes for me: great food in a stylish and trendy atmosphere and of course tantalising cocktails which are just too good to resist. Plus as almost all of the staff are Italian I normally get the chance to practice my Italian which in the past has often resulted in the odd free cocktail/limoncello shot/pizza so I tend to count a trip to Fumo as Italian revision. For anyone who has never been or doesn’t understand the concept of Fumo it is Italian ‘tapas’ so all your favourite Italian food but in smaller portions which gives you the chance to try a variety of different dishes and it’s perfect if there is a group of you as you can share. I went with my friend who I was in Milan with, who also studies Italian and has been to Italy countless number of times (Turin is practically her second home) so we both have high expectations when it comes to Italian food because often in the UK Italian food can be a bit of a let-down. Let me tell you, Fumo is never a let-down, with the food always being top! (BTW ‘top’ is used a lot in Milan for something good) and it’s stylish and sophisticated vibe yet without any pretence, it is great for both food and drinks. If you prefer more of a meal rather than smaller portions then sister restaurant and celeb favourite San Carlo around the corner is perfect. The food in San Carlo is equally as amazing – I mean what else would you expect from a high quality Italian restaurant? And if you’re not heading out for food, Fumo has a lovely bar area where you can sip cocktails as if you were in Milan, unfortunately Colmore Row isn’t quite Duomo Square but it has its own special charm.
I think it is pretty much impossible for me to head out for a meal without going for cocktails after, I often use the excuse ‘I won’t have dessert I’ll just go for a few cocktails instead’. So after Fumo we headed to the Bureau for a Singapore sling (my new fave cocktail as my snapchat friends will know) and then carrying on with a gin theme we headed to the Jekyll & Hyde. The Jekyll & Hyde is a quirky bar just a stone’s throw away from Colmore row and Snowhill station, home to over 90 Gins and boasting its own Victorian Gin parlour with an Alice and Wonderland themed courtyard, you can’t really go wrong for some unique and intriguing cocktails in an equally unique and intriguing bar. I decided to opt for a Gin based cocktail (It would be rude not to in this place, a ‘fifty shades’, which came in a lovely little cup and makes a refreshing way to drink a cocktail. It’s not just in tea cups that they serve drinks but in other cute and quirky ways, for those of you with a sweet tooth check out the ‘Confectionary Corner’, the love hearts is my favourite on here, a raspberry vodka based cocktails served in a sweet jar with love hearts to boot. For lovers of Gin, cocktails, and something a little bit different with the right amount of quirkiness then head over to the Jekyll & Hyde, not only a favourite of mine but look at any guides to nightlife in Birmingham and I’m pretty sure that this place always appears on the shortlist. A real Mad Hatter’s paradise.