I overheard someone say it was their first ever visit to Birmingham, earlier this week. I was working so didn’t get a chance to ask what she thought of the place. It’s difficult to convey how extraordinary Brum is right now, especially if you weren’t around in the bad old days, the 1970s and 80s.
The city’s architectural crown jewels; The Town Hall, The Council House and Chamberlain Fountain endured aesthetically noisy neighbours. These included the brutal Central Library, a tired Bull Ring shopping centre and New Street station screaming you should have stayed on the Inter City 125, mate.
It was a riot of in your face concrete, mercifully strangled by a ring road but refusing to die. Lifting the human spirit of Brummies sat low on local authority priorities. And yet despite all of this, it was home. For all it’s structural deficiencies and social faults, we loved the place. We just couldn’t persuade others to love it.
Fast forward to now; the new Library of Birmingham is a work of art, celebrating the spoken and written word. The Bull Ring Shopping Centre; removed, rebuilt and rebranded Bullring, offers world class retail at the heart of the city. New Street Station and Grand Central, the spectacular gateway we waited patiently and impatiently, for so long.
And we learned the way to a visitor’s heart is through the stomach. Birmingham has witnessed a food revolution second to none. We discovered the confidence to plate up the dishes of our diverse cultures with a garnish of civic pride. We built this city on heavy metal and steel foundries, we’re taking it global with conferences, festivals and Michelin Stars. There has never been a more exciting time to say you’re from Birmingham.
This week saw the launch of Gaucho Birmingham. A restaurant specialising in Argentinian Beef with a wine list sourced by the group’s buyer and wine maker, Phil Crozier. The restaurant, showcased in the city’s Colmore business district, is simply stunning.
There’s a number of high end restaurants in the business district that end with the letter ‘O’. Collectively they sound like Brum’s version of the Marx Brothers; Gaucho, Fumo, Primitivo and Gusto.
Gaucho Birmingham is the latest offering in a city, embracing food so passionately, it even boasts a nearby motorway link called Spaghetti Junction. Gaucho fires up it’s grills beneath 55 Colmore Row. There’s a discreet entrance on Church Street opposite Hotel du Vin and next to Utopia. Now there’s a mini pub crawl for you.
I can’t describe how stunning the interior of Gaucho Birmingham is. If I could do it justice in words, I’d be the proud recipient of a Pulitzer Prize. Do not visit Gaucho in casual clothes, sure they’ll welcome you warmly but it would be like signing the Magna Carta with a leaky biro. The place warrants sartorial effort. The lighting is low, standards are high.
It’s a heady cocktail of pride and pleasure to see restaurants like Gaucho open here. Record visitor numbers to Birmingham suggest others are beginning to develop a relationship with the place, and dare I say it, starting to LoveBrum. Gaucho Birmingham is a very welcome addition to a city for which the stakes or rather the steaks have never been higher.