Last night I was lucky enough to be invited to the launch party of Birminghams newest restaurant and cocktail bar. The Canal House, James Brindley. Located on Bridge Street and overlooking the Canal the former James Brindley pub has been relaunched (it officially opens on August 14th) and is well worth visiting.
A group of local bloggers had been invited and we were transported from Holliday wharf to the Canal House by a narrow boat, what a wonderful start to what ended up being a fantastic night.
On the short Canal cruise we had a mini ale tasting where we were invited to try three of the ales that are available at The Canal House. I am not a big beer drinker but I loved the grapefruit ale, it reminded me of a grapefruit cocktail beer. The Canal House carries an extensive range of ales as well as a great cocktail menu.
As our narrow boat turned the corner and we caught our first glimpse of the Canal House in all it’s glory. It’s a spectacular location, with outside seating overlooking Gas Street basin (yes I know that’s not a romantic name, but it is a lovely place)
Upon arrival we were told to order any drink we wanted, I plumped for a Smoking Daisies which was served under a bell jar full of aromatic smoke that really imparted a beautifully smokey flavour to my citrusy cocktail. It was all very theatrical and everything we have come to expect from The New World Trading Co. the same people behind The Botonist.
We ordered some nibbles for the table to go with our first round of drinks. The stand out dish of the nibbles had to be the pork crackling. Perfectly seasoned with salt and a little chilli. The sausages also disappeared rather quickly, these tasty little bowls are perfect to have on the table if you’re drinking, we also had a bowl of whitebait, it is so nice to see this tasty little fish becoming fashionable again.
On to the meal proper we all decided on starters and I think I had the best. I had black pudding fritters and they are very tasty. Elizabeth had a baked Camembert served with crusty bread and the cheese was cooked to melting perfection. My friend Caroline had duck terrine and Mr. Red had prawn and chorizo, I did get to try a nibble of the chorizo and it really is super tasty.
For my main dish I had the famous hanging kebab which as the name suggests is a hanging kebab with a portion of sweet potato fries. The lamb on my kebab was perfectly seasoned and the portion of sweet potato fries was too large for someone who had just had nibbles and a starter. I had rather greedily ordered a small Waldorf salad to accompany my lamb kebab. With two other hanging kebabs arriving at the table, but this time the pork kebabs and one steak which was ordered as rare and arrived perfectly rare with a lovely smokey flavour on the outside we all enjoyed our chosen dishes, there was certainly no complaints from us in regards to our food. I am already looking forward to a return visit here, the food was splendid and all very reasonable prices too.
The interior is beautifully rustic with stripped wood floors and doors, downstairs we could appreciate the live music. A band was singing covers of recent hits and old classics and there will be live music here every day. The downstairs was vibrant and busy with high stools around the table we were sat at and lovely views outside. Upstairs seemed a little more chilled and quirky, I only had a quick visit upstairs but the decor was equally lovely and the private dining room is beautiful.
Sadly my battery ran out on my camera so I didn’t capture as many photos as I wanted.
Service was fabulous, our server James was a delight all evening with nothing being too much trouble for him, he knew all about the cocktails when we were being indecisive and definitely steered us in the right direction with our choices. My absolute favourite drink of the evening was a Gentlemans no. 6 Which arrived with a bucket of ice, an upturned glass over Smoking wood and a bottle of said cocktail, which was wonderfully rich, aromatic and again very theatrical.
Last night was most definitely a five star event, The Canal House is yet another jewel in the crown for Birminghams restaurant and cocktail scene. Although I was invited to attend the launch with my guests at no expense to myself, all food and drinks being given to me in return for this review, this is my honestly held opinion of a wonderful night out. Mr. Red and I look forward to returning here again in the near future. It is a lovely restaurant in a lovely location and our first visit was perfect.