By Liljia Polo-Richards
Have you ever visited Birmingham or has it been years since you last visited the city? The Birmingham dining scene has grown and evolved over the last ten years, with five restaurants now proudly displaying their Michelin star on their windows, and ten more being recommended by the Michelin guide for their great cuisine.
Birmingham has a special place in my heart – this is where I went to University (I attended the University of Birmingham between 2003 and 2007) and where I met my husband James while I was doing my Masters degree and he was studying to become a lawyer. Yes, it was a long time ago! After University, James and I lived and worked in Birmingham for a number of years before moving to Warwickshire; therefore, we have lots of fond memories of living in the city, and so I really wanted to write a blog about a place where I spent so many years of my life.
You probably will have heard that the Commonwealth Games are taking place in Birmingham this summer, between the 28th of July and the 8th of August, so this might be your chance to mix some sport watching with some lovely dining experiences. Whilst Birmingham overall has a great dining scene and a lot of choice, I have picked a few venue options that have been reviewed on the Allergy Companions website, and that I think would offer different cuisine types and menus for people with a variety of dietary requirements.
Things to do in Birmingham
Although I could spend my days talking about food and where to eat in Birmingham, I think it would probably be useful if I inspired you with some things to do if you are planning to spend a weekend or few days in the UK’s second biggest city.
- Victoria Square – Victoria Square is a pedestrianised public square in Birmingham, and it is home to both the Town Hall and the Council House, and directly adjacent to Chamberlain Square. The square is often considered to be the centre of Birmingham, and is the point from where local road sign distances are measured. It is a short walk from St. Philip’s Cathedral on Colmore Row and is on the main pedestrian route between the Bull Ring and Brindleyplace areas (Wikipedia).
- The Library of Birmingham – The ten-level Library shares a spacious entrance and foyer as well as a flexible studio theatre seating 300 people with the Birmingham Repertory Theatre. Sited in Centenary Square, along with The REP and Symphony Hall, forms a new cultural heart for the city. An outdoor Amphitheatre, surrounded by wild flower planting, in Centenary Square provides a performance space for music, drama, poetry reading and storytelling. There are two outdoor garden terraces, children’s spaces and a panoramic viewing gallery at the summit, where visitors are able to enjoy stunning views from one of the highest points in the city (Visit Birmingham).
- Brindleyplace. Brindleyplace is a large mixed-use canalside development, in the Westside district of Birmingham, England. It was named after Brindley Place, the name of the street (in turn named after the 18th century canal engineer James Brindley) around which it is built. It was developed by the Argent Group from 1993 onwards. In addition to shops, bars and restaurants, Brindleyplace is home to the National Sea Life Centre, Orion Media, Ikon Gallery of art and the Crescent Theatre (Wikipedia). A lovely area to visit, especially on a sunny day.
- Birmingham Hippodrome. Over the last couple of years, the performing art industry has felt the terrible impact of the pandemic, so why not try to enjoy one of the many brilliant shows the Hippodrome has to offer? I used to regularly attend the theatre to go and see the Birmingham Royal Ballet, so I would definitely recommend checking out their schedule before you book your visit to Birmingham.
- Mailbox for some luxury shopping… or window shopping, whichever one suits! If the Bullring is too vast and busy for you, you might enjoy the quieter environment of the Mailbox, also home to the BBC Birmingham studios and BBC Visitor Centre. “Whether you want to update your wardrobe, change your hairstyle, see the latest blockbuster, catch up with friends or enjoy a luxurious city staycation, the Mailbox has everything you need and more (Mailboxlife).
- Jewellery Quarter. Whether or not you are planning to buy some jewellery while you are visiting Birmingham, the Jewellery Quarter is a fascinating area of the city that I would urge you to visit, as there is no place like it anywhere in the country, or arguably, anywhere in the world. “The Quarter contains one of Europe’s largest concentration of manufacturing jewellers. Combining the very best of traditional craftsmanship with innovative designs and high-quality materials, they create beautifully crafted custom jewellery. Home to a community of independent makers, a flourishing food and drink scene and a heritage that attracts visitors from far and wide; the Jewellery Quarter has established itself as a global destination.”
If you are looking for somewhere to stay, we have teamed up with the guys at Bloc Hotel Birmingham to offer you a 10% off your room or apartment. Click here to access their website and the pre-populated discount code, AC10.
Our restaurant recommendations
From experience, you don’t necessarily want to eat fine dining food for lunch and dinner when you are away for a weekend, so I have tried to offer some balanced recommendations to keep your interest and appetite going for a few days!
- Harborne Kitchen, 175 High Street, Harborne, Birmingham, B17 9QE. I think Harborne Kitchen is the perfect way to start your time in Birmingham. Having personally been recently, I cannot recommend their food and cuisine enough: innovative, creative and tasty! Their shorter chosen menu, or “light lunch” menu, represents amazing value for money and will give you the opportunity to try some of their incredible dishes. I felt the staff really cared about catering for people with allergies, and were able to reassure us throughout our meal with our son. I would recommend to a couple or friends, or family with older children. Full review on our website here.
- Otto Pizza, 14 Caroline Street, Birmingham, West Midlands, B3 1TR. Who doesn’t like pizza? Otto Pizza is awesome, yummy and informal… just what you need at the end of your first day in Birmingham. The manager, Gary, is super welcoming and will be able to put your mind at rest when it comes to ordering with allergies. Their kitchen doesn’t handle nuts, which for a lot of you will be a great relief, although some of their desserts have a may contain nuts warning, just in case you fancied something sweet. They are able to cater for all allergies apart from gluten due to the nature of their kitchen. If gluten is one of the allergens you are avoiding, then keep reading my next recommendations! Good to know: if you are staying at Bloc Hotel in the Jewellery Quarter, you can enjoy a free glass of wine or beer with your meal if you are dining at Otto! Full review on our website here.
- The Plough Harborne, 21 High Street, Birmingham, West Midlands, B17 9NT. If pizza isn’t for you, or you were in fact looking for a more extensive menu with gluten free options and alternatives, the Plough might be what you were looking for. Their allergen menu clearly states “Allergies and special dietary requirements are taken very seriously at The Plough” and their review on Allergy Companions testifies just that… they do take allergies seriously. Lots to choose from and based on their allergen menu, plenty of options for different allergies. Please make sure to call them in advance to discuss your dietary needs before your visit. If you are staying at Bloc Hotel, you can enjoy a 241 pizza offer, Monday to Friday.
- Tattu Restaurant and Bar, 18 Barwick Street, Birmingham, West Midlands, B3 2NT. Showcasing modern Chinese cuisine, Tattu feels like the perfect way to make a weekend away that bit more special. Their interiors are beautiful, luxurious and calming, and their menu looks simply spectacular! They cater for a variety of dietary requirements, and they also have a great selection of vegan and vegetarian options for you to enjoy. Please check with the restaurant before booking if they can cater for your allergies or dietary restrictions. You can read their full review here.
- Adam’s Restaurant, 16 Waterloo Street, Birmingham, West Midlands, B2 5UG. Adam’s opened its doors in 2013 and have since relocated and expanded their restaurant to accommodate their diners, clearly a sign of their success. I personally visited Adam’s many years ago, and it used to be a restaurant James and I used to love visiting for a romantic meal out or a sociable evening with friends. We have not been able to visit them recently, but rumour says it’s still as amazing as it was when it first opened. I would love to be able to take my kids there for a special celebration one day, although I am not sure they would appreciate their incredible cuisine right now, as they are so young. You can read their 5❤️ review here.
If you want to see all the reviews that Birmingham has received so far, please visit the Birmingham page on our website.
Things to take away from this blog
Birmingham is the second biggest city in the UK, with many attractions to visit, an amazing shopping scene and many fantastic restaurants. With the Commonwealth Games taking place this summer, it might be a great time to explore the city, do some sport watching and enjoy what this incredible city has to offer.
I have given you some tips on where to eat, based on our personal experiences and the reviews received from our community, which I hope you will find useful. Don’t forget to refer to our dining out with allergies guide, if you want to make sure the restaurant you are booking is right for you. The reviews on the Allergy Companions website are there to offer you some restaurant options; however, as all of our experiences and dietary requirements are different, it’s always important to make an informed decision based on your own personal preference.
If you decide to stay over, why not take advantage of the fantastic discount code offered by Bloc Hotel!
What you can do next
If you have found the information in this blog helpful, or you know someone who is looking for some inspiration for a weekend away, please share this page with them. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to share any additional tips or information, or if you are a food venue and would like to showcase your allergen care and knowledge on our website.
If you have visited any restaurants, cafes and food venues in the Birmingham area, please don’t forget to share your review on the website!
Thank you for taking the time to read my blog ❤️
You might also enjoy reading one of our guest blogs “Life with coeliac disease, and a son with egg allergy”