Pinchos, Edmund Street

This wasn’t a planned review of Pinchos. We found ourselves in the middle of Brum feeling hangry and parked right next to the bijoux restaurant. We just needed sating before our next meeting and presumably Pinchos was up to the job. We were wrong. It did a lot more than ‘the job’ and a speedy lunch turned into a magical hour that wasn’t at all expected.

The restaurant felt like it had been lifted from the cobbled streets of the Gothic Quarter in Barcelona and popped back down in the middle of Brum. So authentic was its vibe that one of us switched to speaking Spanish the minute we sat down before realising the other didn’t speak the lingo. It felt exciting and different. Sure, there are a number of decent Spanish restaurants in the city, but Pinchos has the ability to transport you in a way that I’m not sure the others have, although I’m happy to be corrected.

The open kitchen is the size of your average under-stairs cupboard with a lone chef working away. Cured meats hang temptingly from the ceiling and the bar area invites you to perch by its rustic loveliness, catching up with friends over a few plates of tapas and a glass or two of Voignier. The place is small and our window table was a bit of squeeze once a couple of drinks and a board of tapas arrived, but it only added to the charm. I would find this hugely irritating in another setting, but it worked here.

The food. We ordered three cold tapas (three for £12) and three hot (three for £14) which Valentina, our lovely waitress thought was about right. She may have been confused by the GCSE Spanish from my colleague, but she didn’t show it. Sweet, sticky glazed figs wrapped in salty cured ham was one of the best things we’ve eaten while meatballs in a rich tomato sauce was a knockout.

Top notch manchego with a punchy chilli jam worked a treat and we were feeling all the salty, paprika vibes from the chorizo with crumbled feta. We had also ordered prawns in garlic butter, but received Spanish omelette with chorizo instead. It didn’t matter and we didn’t grumble. The omelette was seriously good. Fiery baby peppers stuffed with soft cheese were fresh and lively while a basket of bread which we thought looked a bit OTT turned out to be the perfect amount for mopping up the delicious sauce from the meatballs.

If you love Spain or even if you don’t, just go. It’s charming. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, we’ll see you there, probably far too often. Our new fave.

PINCHOS COFFE AND TAPAS HOUSE, 121 Edmund Street, Birmingham, B3 2HJ. Tel: 0121 233 3469 www.pinchoscafe.co.uk