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Simpsons in Birmingham

As rites of passage go, getting your A-level results and finding out which, if any, university will take you must fall into the same category as “first kiss,” “first heartbreak” and “first hangover.” Being indecisive, it was just as well my choice of university was taken out of my hands. The two institutions …

Sushi Passion, Great Western Arcade, Birmingham

It’s got a train. It’s got a ruddy train! How can you not like a restaurant that’s got a train? An engine chugs around the sushi counter, trailing carriages decked with Japanese food. All aboard the Sushi Express. I might be able to tempt my father-in-law Bob, a railway enthusiast, to eat …

Fischer’s, Marylebone, London

London restaurateurs Chris Corbin and Jeremy King are purveyors of fine detail with a luxury spin. Swanky London outposts such as The Wolseley and The Delaunay leave diners panting with excitement about the décor, the ambiance, the service, and generally, the main bit, otherwise known as the food. How strange …

Topokki, Birmingham

The Bullring is many things to many shoppers and it presumably makes a significant contribution to consumer spending, and therefore, economic turnover, in Birmingham. It is, or was, the biggest shopping centre north of Kettering when it threw open its doors in 2003. In doing so, smart-arsed marketing bods were allowed …

New Sum Ye & Peach Garden, Birmingham

The blade of the cleaver has a dull metallic hue. Frankly, it looks like it has been in the wars. There are small blemishes and the edge of the blade has a couple of tiny nicks that have smoothed out over time. But do not under-estimate the clinical effectiveness of …

Purslane, Cheltenham

I have compiled some lesser known yet compelling facts about our rarified spa towns in recent months. I think they make for fascinating reading and would commend the findings to the local tourism bods. Leamington Spa, for instance, has the highest concentration of street beggars per square foot of Regency …

Red N Hot, Hurst Street, Birmingham

I am in the mood for a long, cool one. It is high summer in Chinatown, I’m hot and I’m in a gay bar waiting for Shanghai Lily. I  haven’t driven because Lily told me earlier she’d be up for a few drinks. It is still early evening and the …

Adams, Bennetts Hill, Birmingham

I did an odd thing after my first meal at Adam’s ­– I went back, a week or so later, to see if I had got it right, or wrong. I wanted to be wrong, but I think I was right. Some of the food was very good, some was …