Drier than Jack Dee's raisins

RESOLUTION RESCUERS:
BRUM'S BEST DRY RESTAURANTS

If the thought of resisting a large glass of something convivial whilst eating out strikes you as bit far-fetched, remove temptation from the equation and take the opportunity to hit up Brum's burgeoning bevy of dry restaurants, cafes and food bars. Here's our six favourites. Do not BYO.
Venue: Damascena, Moseley
Pick: Mixed meze (£4.95)

Getting impressive reviews from all quarters, this recently refurbed cafe and restaurant of Middle Eastern persuasion is shoulder-josslingly popular. Whether you opt for meze, a shawarma or any type of fatayer (pastry), there are no wrong choices. Open until 9pm.
Venue: Leverton and Halls, Bournville The pick: Chana daal (£7.50)
Well known among Bournvillians for its day affirming breakfasts (which can be taken at any time) and W.I. beating array of homemade cakes, Leverton and Halls also pedals home comforts of the lunch variety. The team's Kashmiri lamb curry, beef lasagne and chana daal all come highly recommended. 
Otoro Sushi, city centre
Pick: Salmon Oyakomaki (£6 for two)

Because January is not the time to commit to tuna costing in excess of £100/1lb, the pauper's pick is the salmon oyakomaki. Topped with an explosion of salty roe, and a dab of proper wasabi, a hand formed ball of rice is wrapped in top grade, just carved salmon. Get miso. More.
Venue: Tipu Sultan, Moseley
Pick: Hyderarbadi Handi (£8.95)
Securing both best restaurant in Birmingham and best design in the British Curry Awards, Tipu Sultan is probably the most established establishment when it comes to unlicensed Brum. Go for a rich, north west Indian dish like the Hyderabadi Handi (the recipe is entirely secret).
Venue: Peach Garden, city centre
Pick: Roast duck (£10/half a duck) Mugs of piping hot Chinese tea replace booze in this hard-to-find alleyway gemPossibly the best roast duck in the city and arguably the only authentic Hong Kong style cafe, not a single member of staff speaks English and why should they when the comfort food's this good and this affordable?
Marmaris, Kings Heath
Pick: Adana Kofte (£5.50/£7.50)
Barely a month old, this Turkish diner situated opposite(ish) Sainsbury's, has an authentic ocakbasi grill, giving lamb chops and koftes that Istanbullian smoky beauty. Staffed by genuinely lovely chaps, it might not be the complete answer to Brum's lack of a superb Turkish, but it's well on the way.

FROM RUSSIA WITH... ACCORDIONS?


As part of a production so new we're reaching out to pop the bubble wrap, the Moscow State Circus is bringing together daredevils, highwire-walking ballerinas and springboarders for a complete one-off performance at the Symphony Hall. The globally revered troupe of clever is for the first time in England performing 7 Zhelaniy - a show based on Valentin Petrovich Katayev’s Russian folk story The Flower with Seven Colours, which forcefully flicks the Vs to gravity and features enough enchanted gardens to make Lewis Carroll spin out entirely. To witness this ethereal and often aerial one time happening - which takes place a week today (January 28) - or, to run away with the circus if it's one of those sort of weeks, book a ticket (from £15 to £28).
Venue: Chi Kitchen, Debenhams, Bullring, Birmingham B5 4BE; website 
Choice: Grilled tuna steak (£17.95) Chooser: Sid, Supervisor

We're creating an award and simultaneously announcing the winner. For the most eclectic array of drinks we've come across whilst remaining in these here British Isles, Chi Kitchen, we salute you. There's chilled bubble tea, with explosive globules of flavour (and a wide straw), there's a sweet Malaysian tea created with condensed milk – and the showstopper - a sparkling sake (served cold), which goes really rather well with what followed. Until the end of January, the second edition of the Pan-Asian grill (the other one is in London) has created a protein and veg focussed menu, the pick of which is the grilled tuna. Served pink and encrusted in a hot but not overpowering spice mix, we're not usually a fan of citrus-based sauces in Asian cooking but the ponzo went admirably with the nuggets of fish and the tart chunks of yuzo (think of a mandarin but slightly sourer) served atop the dish. There's also more wallet-friendly options for those still assessing the damage from December.

MOVIE PICK: THE BIG SHORT


Who’d have thought the most lucid film about the 2008 financial crash would come from the director of Anchorman? It turns out Adam McKay’s years spent pointing a camera at Will Ferrell improv-ing about whale vaginas was excellent preparation for getting loose, fun performances from more serious actors – Steve Carell has been ported from his comedy work, but McKay gets gold from heavyweights like Ryan Gosling, Brad Pitt and even frowner-in-chief, Christian Bale. This is important, as in the film’s (true) story – a bunch of outsider hedge-fund types make a mint by seeing the crash coming and making their bets accordingly – sure needs a pinch of sugar to go down. You might be surprised to hear a fun, poppy flick has emerged from the complex financial wreckage wrought by Wall Street, but the amiable half-smile means the satire hits home. Times

A VERY MICHELIN ROAST


There's no shortage of accomplished roasts to accompany your Sunday papers in Brum. But a new player is about to step onto the scence which pretty much changes everything - bar the whole roast meat with gravy and veggies concept - they're into that. And if we tell you they've continuously held a Michelin star since 2000... From this Sunday (January 24), Simpsons is offering a roast of precisely the quality you'd expect, which will be carved at the table. The meat offered will rotate weekly, with the first being Cotswold White chicken. An intensely flavoured, naturally slow grown, free range bird - in addition - expect plenty of sides, as well as your choice of starter and dessert from the a la carte menu. The roast can be ordered for a table of any size, with pre-order (by the Thursday before you dine) being a requirement. Three courses costs £55. Book.
  • The Electric's year long season of classic films has begun. The first month's Cinematic Time Machine includes The 39 Steps, Sunrise and - this Sunday - Singin' in the Rain
  • Tilt's monthly pinball league starts on Monday (Jan 25). Though we're not personally close to any pro ballers, all levels are welcome. There'll also be cake from Bake. 7.30pm
  • Adam's re-opens in its new multi-floor Waterloo St digs on Tuesday (Jan 26). A kitchen table for up to 12 will follow. See inside
  • Davenport brewery is seeking planning permission to open a craft beer and cocktail bar in the former HSBC in Moseley
  • On Tuesday (Jan 26), get buttermilk popcorn chicken, fries and a seat at a mystery movie at the Mockingbird. More
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"Everyone, deep in their hearts, is waiting for the end of the world to come." - on screen quotation in The Big Short from Haruki Murakami's IQ84
WORDS: Katy DrohanJordyn Newton, Andrew Lowry

I CHOOSE Birmingham, Unit 317, Zellig, Gibb Street, Birmingham, B9 4AA

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