Five Michelin-starred joints notwithstanding, Birmingham has a distinct lack of independent places that feed you well and affordably
No one who has visited Birmingham regularly over the past 20 years, as I have, could understate the way it has changed. A city once defined by a gaping concrete hole at its centre – the outdoor market in the Bull Ring – now has a focus and bustle. That original retail culture has been retained in its brilliant covered market, but has now been augmented by a thriving shopping district full of names both familiar and less so.
But to hold up the fact that Birmingham now has five Michelin-starred restaurants as proof of a cultural renaissance is as bizarre as Manchester beating itself up because it still has none. Full congratulations to Carters of Moseley on joining the Michelin club, but the tyre company’s aesthetic has long been, and remains, rather prissy and obsessed by ephemera. I like a fancy, ambitious restaurant as much as the next over-pampered greedy swine, but all those stars prove is that the city now has enough wealthy people to fill 4,000 seats a week at £60 a head and up.