Ever kidnapped a chef?

JUST ADD MALBEC

It's been a while since we got granular on a new opening. And it's been even longer since we confused you about whether you wanted rib-eye, porridge or a reasonably priced bottle of Malbec by way of your fast break. Carne Argentina Unica - or CAU - opened on Monday at 5pm. We'd taken our seats 54 minutes later.
STEAK-OUT: THE MAIN EVENT
Ask anyone who works at Brindleyplace's newest addition what you should order and with wild eyed excitement, one of the kitchen's seven cuts of grass-fed, Aberdeen Angus (straight from the Pampas) will be the response. CAU is a restaurant with a dedicated, walk-in meat fridge, which we know, because we've been in it. Ram-packed with large cuts, ready to be crafted into lomitos (fillets of rump), sirloin or - the exec chef's pick - rib-eye, the meat is shipped directly from the lowlands of Argentina and finished off on a specially commissioned German grill, which forms the centre of the kitchen.
THE ANSWER TO INDECISIVE
What the team probably won't tell you about (but really should) is the jollifying selection of small plates which - whisper it - we actually enjoyed more than the main event. Be sure to attend with a pro-sharing type, and hit up the tuna carpaccio (£6.95), a selection of empanadas (two for £7) and the yerba-smoked beef (£6.95). Exuding quality, both the tuna and beef were rather wonderful in their own right and their respective dressings (including capers and chilli for the fish and a soy-wasabi happening for the meat), kept both dishes interesting until the last bite. The spicy creamed corn empanada was the surprise victor of our impromptu pastry-off.
THE IMBIBING BIT
Given the less than South American weather, it was intrigue rather than desire which caused us to opt for a glass of the Salta Clericot (£5.25). An Argentinian drink, with regional wine, red and white grapes, passion fruit purée and basil leaves, the Sangria-style refresher was happily balanced and far less sweet than it sounds. Expect jugs of the stuff to appear on the restaurant's thirty-seater terrace throughout the summer. You'll also find La Gringer Pilsner, plus 16 wines, designed for and exclusive to CAU. If you're limiting yourself to a solitary glass (killjoy), the Mendozan Malbec (£7.75), titled 'Graffiti' for no reason we can discern, is the way to go.
STEAK & EGGS - THE NEW WAY TO START YOUR DAY?
While CAU is an experienced purveyor of the weekend brunch, Brum is the first place in which it will be doing the whole breakfast thing. Open from 8am in the week and 9am come the weekend, our first order will be the Latin Eggs (£7), which are poached and come with grilled avocado, fresh hollandaise and a drizzle of chimichurri (which - by the way - is the sauce to opt for at every opportunity). A bolder morning move would be the Steak & Eggs (£9) - tapa de cuadril flash grilled with two fried hen’s eggs. Is it legal to marry a breakfast yet? 
Get 30% off the food bill at CAU Brindleyplace until April 7 by contacting birmingham@caurestaurants.com and quoting 'Birminghamloves30'. Max 4 people, subject to availability (be quick), other T&C apply.

MOVIE OF THE WEEK: BATMAN V SUPERMAN


Ignore the haters: critical knives were out for this from day one and while it’s not perfect, this is certainly worth your interest. The plot’s right there in the title, but it takes a surprising amount of time before the ninja vigilante and Space Jesus face off; instead, we get a backdoor Batman flick where Affleck’s Bruce Wayne gives a rare incidence of actually being the uber-detective of the comics. His point, that Superman is too much an unknown quantity to trust after the devastation he wrought in Man Of Steel, is well-made, and while there is a HUGE amount of time spent awkwardly setting up future films, their dust-up does satisfy – even though there’s still a third of the film to go after their story feels told. Times & trailer

WOLVES ARE PEOPLE TOO. SORT OF.


Cynocephaly is the rather noticeable characteristic of having a wolf or dog-like head. Drawing inspiration from the 2012 cult anime film Wolf Children, Wolves Are People Too is a new narrative production featuring an original jazz score and live illustration alongside dance, ballet and the dramatic in-betweeny bit that doesn't really have a name. Following the paths of two half-wolf, half-human children as they mature into society, the show features ear-pleasing jazz quintet Hansu-Tori, together with some of Birmingham Royal Ballet's very best dancers - and Trou - an artist described as 'more depraved than a politicians bin bag'. From April 7 to 9 at the Hippodrome's Patrick Centre, £15.

FLATPACK 10: REVEALED


The programme for Flatpack's tenth film festival is almost rudely ruddy. So healthy and buxom does it feel that we quickly realised we were entirely unqualified to pass judgment on the highlights, and reverted to Sam Groves - Flatpack's programmer - for his top picks. Talking shorts, Sam recommends taking in a curated programme, of which there are five. Supporting Film (pictured) is directed by Dutch visual artist and animator, Douwe Dijkstra, who will be attending the festival this year to deliver a green screen workshop. Expect an absurd and playful look at the cosmos of cinema, showing as part of Reflections. Another short to add to the list is Man Without Direction, in which Swedish director Johannes Stjarne Nilsson tells the story of a put-upon man who loses himself to the labyrinthine corridors of a shabby roadside hotel in a surreal dark comedy inspired by Dante's Inferno (at Fragments). From April 19 to 24. Catch a taster on April 1.
Venue: The Cross, 16 New Street, Kenilworth, CV8 2EZ; website
Choice: Cornish Crab Soup (£12)  Chooser: Head chef

Ever kidnapped a chef? During a recent visit to the brilliantly buzzy Michelin-starred restaurant The Cross, we mulled over how it could be done, long and hard, but logistically it's fraught with issues. Head chef Adam Bennett's reputation proceeds him. In 2012, he achieved Britain's best ever result in the prestigious Bocuse d’Or championships and he brought home the Best Meat Course prize. The meat course, when we visited - Venison fillet with haggis - didn't disappoint, but the Cornish Crab Soup, saffron rouille and crab on toast starter spoke to our very soul. This is the kind of dish you remember on your death bed, delicately devised, but with flavour that reminds you, in one ambrosial mouthful, why you live to eat rather than eat to live. Go. Go before it's taken off the menu. Kidnap Adam Bennett. A jury wouldn't convict.
 
  • Complete with restaurant and bar, Saint Paul's House opens tomorrow. Get a first look from 6pm today (Thursday)
  • Last time we tried to write about a Yogiyo Korean evening, it sold out before we went to press. We've booked our own tickets before sharing their next event, on May 5. We're just selfish like that
  • The Edgbaston is promising four cocktails 'unlike anything you've tasted before'. £50pp, April 14, call to book
  • The Pete Williams Band makes its return to The Rep on April 1. Pete is a founding member of Dixies Midnight Runners. Tickets are £15
  • Beavertown Brewery is at Tilt tomorrow at 7pm. I Choose Birmingham is at Tilt tomorrow at 7pm
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"The only time to eat diet food is while you're waiting for the steak to cook." - Julia Child
WORDS: Katy DrohanAndrew LowryTom Cullen


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