The world is your lobster

THE LOBSTER HAS LANDED

Ever wanted a restaurant to be good so much that if it didn't meet your expectations you may well have required some sort of therapy to get over the whole sorry affair? Probably not. It happens to us all too often and Nosh & Quaff, the new lobster-focussed venture from the people behind Lasan and Fiesta Del Asado, had us jittery.
On arrival, Bobby Womack's Across 110th Street was playing and we broke into a Jackie Brown-esque strut through the beautifully lit and warming lower level, up to the lighter - but no less immaculate - second floor, that offers window seating views of the Council House. And from up high, Victoria Square looks positively continental. So far, so very bloody wonderful. 
The beer menu is a seriously robust one. Hoppy US favourites Goose Island IPA, Flying Dog and Sierra Nevada Porter are joined by the standout, Danish-made, Mikkeler American Dream - a rare beast in these parts and likely a result of N&Q working closely with, and receiving all their beer from, the brilliant Stirchley Wines. The tap beers hadn't been installed, but Brooklyn Lager, Anchor Steam, Samuel Adams and the intriguingly named Floozy - a Dutch blonde pilsner named after our own jacuzzi-partial landmark - are all heading to the pumps next week. 
The food menu is a refreshingly small one and features a Big Apple Hot Dog (£13), a handmade 10” smoked premium English pork kielbasa in a buttermilk bun, with bacon jam and caramelised onions. These are the London-made gourmet sausages that have taken the capital by storm. And though you may not agree with everything he says, Giles Coren was bang on the money when he proclaimed them to be "the best hot dogs in Britain – no question".

The burger (£14) consists of course cut, dry aged, naturally reared beef in a buttermilk bun, served with smoked paprika mustard mayo, pickles and caramelised onions. From bite one this is a close your eyes and slump-back-in-your-chair joy. Not the best burger in Britain, but probably in Brum. 
At £20, the ethically fished Nova Scotian lobster is a steal - and they're not cutting corners. The lobsters are stocked live on site, so that they arrive at your table high-fivingly fresh and fist-bumpingly bounteous. Lord knows whether they're operating lobster at this price as a loss leader, but either way, we win. (Pssst, as of next week they'll be serving lobster rolls at £10, and hot dogs at £8, as takeaway options.)

But the heroes of the piece are the ribs. The slow-cooked double beef rib (below) comes in a hickory smoke and molasses glaze. The meat is tenderer than a Richard Curtis movie, while the £20 pork rib (four-bone rib of Hampshire pig in a peppery, mustard rub) would wow the most critical of carnivores. 
All mains come with fries, but onion ring lovers should fork out £4 for the Blooming Onion, which we could tell you all about but a picture speaks a thousand words.

So there it is, Nosh & Quaff, ladies and gents. Form an orderly queue. And order everything on the menu. (Opens tomorrow, Friday July 31)

MISSION IMPOSSIBLE:
ROGUE NATION


Let’s face facts – you’re not coming to a Mission Impossible movie for the depth of characterisation. After four films, what do we know about Tom Cruise’s Ethan Hunt other than that he loves foiling evil plots? Well, who cares? These films are about allowing a succession of interesting directors loose on a Bond-ish plot and seeing what they come up with, and Usual Suspects scribe and Jack Reacher helmer Chris McQuarrie brings a welcome combination of smarts and grit to what could be an identikit thriller. Cruise and co (Jeremy Renner, Simon Pegg, Ving Rhames) are once again pitted against a global terrorist, but this time a focus on Cruise’s almost-miraculous physical prowess and the costs that being super-spy presumably have on his soul make this a satisfyingly unfussy actioner.

MAKE GOOD
YOUR ESCAPE


Fancy paying to be locked in a room with sixty minutes to escape and a panoply of puzzles between you and the door? We were sceptical too, but having survived the Crystal Maze-esque experience, can report that the JQ's Escape Live is all kinds of ace. Pick between two experiences: a visit to Dr Wilson's Office, or, inside the decidedly sinister hospital walls of Room 13, where an abduction has just taken place. And get accustomed to a bit of pressure - a digital countdown, a video stream to the increasingly vocal victim and a blood blister inducing number of combination padlocks are just a few of the features to expect. We're keeping as quiet as a gold fish at a shark's birthday party about the rest. Just off St Paul's Square, the experience is suitable for groups of up to five, costing from £14pp.
Venue: Yakinori, 520 Bristol Road, Selly Oak, B29 6BD; yakinori.co.uk   Choice: Prawn Gyoza (£4.95) Chooser: Front of house

If like us you've been struggling to hold it together until Woktastic's Grand Central relaunch, we've got the very best kind of news. The team behind the late lamented city centre sushi and noodle bar has launched Yakinori, a small but perfectly formed Selly Oak edition. And it's really rather good. We oohed and we aahed our way through the katsu curry, a nigiri selection and the redoubtable pick, the gyoza. Crammed full of meaty prawns and crunchy, fragrant veg, the moreish morsels are steamed then grilled and served up with a tangy yuzu sauce (which basically amounts to a thwack of all the East Asian citrus you probably haven't heard of). Comfort food at its absolute finest. Expect a brief wait for a table, or, you can take away if your urge is just too great. Full menu here.

ILLUMINATING BIRMINGHAM, ONE TUBE LIGHT AT A TIME


You've probably noticed that we're absolute suckers for anything with a Brum skyline, so the current window display at More by Design puts us in something of a transcendental state. And as we've let the editor convince us that not everyone dreams of owning a director's chair quite as much as we do, it's the Custard Factory independent's tube lights that are claiming centre stage in this piece (but boss chairs are a thing, right?). Designed and made in the UK exclusively for More by Design, the cityscape creations come in little (30cm height) and large (85cm height) for a rather reasonable £45 and £89 respectively. Bespoke designs are also actively encouraged - pay a visit to the ever so pretty shop or get to the team's Great Western Arcade pop-up, which opens this Saturday (August 1) at 11am.
  • All things Absinthe are happening on August 22 at Le Truc and £25 gets you three specially crafted cocktails together with this little lot
  • What do you get if you add Digbeth Dining Club to the Hare & Hounds, then multiply with a touch of music by Leftfoot? Kings Heath has all the answers, this Sunday, from 12pm-8pm
  • If half price house Champagne and live acoustic music is your idea of a strong start to the weekend, HdV's courtyard is where you should be heading from 6.30pm on Fridays
  • Oktoberfest is coming to The Old Crown. Mark the first Friday of October in your diaries and don't accept any engagements for the rest of the weekend. More here
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"Anonymity is like a warm blanket." - Max, Mission: Impossible
WORDS: Katy Drohan, Andrew LowryTom Cullen
I CHOOSE Birmingham, Unit 317, Zellig, Gibb Street, Birmingham, B9 4AA

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