They opened officially on Monday but there were two soft launch evenings over the weekend. Edd and I popped in for a cocktail or two on Saturday evening.
The thing about new openings is that there are staff everywhere and they really want to talk to you and say their piece. As soon as we walked through the door there was no danger of us feeling confused as a member of staff immediately greeted us and showed us where we could sit for food or for drinks. Hopefully they will keep that up!
After we had got our drinks at the bar, someone who I assume was a manager approached us and made sure we had somewhere to sit to enjoy the cocktails! We hadn't spotted the couple of seats hidden away so we did appreciate that. The same manager later on talked us through the food menu...more on that later.
I really liked the design- vaguely industrial with lots of wood and cool light fittings. I loved the details like an old Cadbury sign on the wall- a nod to Birmingham's industrial past and all that.
The cocktail menu was excellent- a few good quality classics plus lots of their own inventions. While our drinks were being made I chatted to the bartender and he told us they had been really busy and were having a great reaction.
First I went for a Lunar Society Punch (£9) Hendricks Gin, Chambord Black Raspberry, lemon, strawberry, cucumber and sparkling rose.
That's pretty much my perfect summer drink! This was fresh, floral and a little sweet. However I felt I'd tried it before- it didn't blow me away. Saying that, I can't wait to have another one, sitting in their outside area in the summer.
Edd picked a Cox's Grave Spinner (£8) Rum, lime and a spiced mango reduction.
I'm not a big rum drinker but I liked the warmth it added to the drink. It was the opposite of mine in that I could see myself drinking it on a cooler day or if I was feeling a bit under the weather. Very comforting and full of flavour.
Our cocktails had been so good that we couldn't resist going for a couple more. I chose a Clover Club (£7.95) Bombay Sapphire Gin, raspberry, egg white, lemon.
Again, a very Heleny sort of drink. I love Gin, I love egg white in a cocktail and raspberry and lemon always add the sharpness which is needed. I know this is a classic cocktail but bizarrely I hadn't tried it before. Based on Gas St Social's version, I will certainly be having a Clover Club in the future!
We didn't have food but I asked for a look at the menu and as I said someone came over to explain it. The focus is on sharing plates and boards and it all looks lovely and the sort of thing I like to eat- cured meats, smoked salmon, fancy scotch eggs, scallops and arancini.
As I said, I haven't tried the food but I've heard good reports. The prices seem a little high (£16.75 for Sea Bass) and I don't know if they're quite set yet. The cocktails are also around £1 higher than average. I expect they are putting the price point deliberately high to set themselves apart from the previous occupants (Bar Room Bar) and other chain places in the area.
Naturally I will have to try the food to find out. The cocktails are certainly worth the price.
I still don't know what a DJ Kitchen is though :(