Fine dining boss Rai Singh on his love for Broad Street, Edgbaston and the Number 9 bus…
TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF
I am Rai Singh, creative director of Pushkar Cocktail Bar & Dining – although originally I was destined for a completely different career path! After studying economics at Cambridge I turned down an offer from Goldman Sachs to pursue a career in fashion PR. I then did a few years recruiting for MTV in Tel Aviv before my brother persuaded me to join him setting up a restaurant business. We wanted to create something special in Birmingham and fortunately our backers were very supportive – I can’t believe we’re going to be five later this year!
HOW DO YOU GET INTO TOWN?
We are on Broad Street which is just a six-minute drive from where I live. I usually drive down the Hagley Road, though I have jumped on a bus on a few occasions. The number 9 is a legendary institution and it’s fun to hide at the back and listen into some of the outrageous conversations taking place.
HOW’S THE COMMUTE?
I’m always going against the traffic so it is quick and simple. It’s one of the advantages of working in a highly social, late-night environment.
IS BRUM A GOOD PLACE TO WORK IN?
It’s a great place to work and run a business because it is such a culturally diverse city. Plus, after London, we have the most Michelin stars which means it’s also a great foodie destination. The bohemian vibe and buzz of Broad Street is a great place for a restaurant like ours. We are also surrounded by five international hotels which bring in great business. The whole business community here is so supportive.
I’ve had the occasional espresso before a gym session although I’m really not a coffee drinker. I much prefer a green tea and often head to the Jury’s Inn Hotel or Bank for a pick-me-up.
It’s not often I get time, but when I do I love to pop into Brindleyplace for something with a Mediterranean feel, like Cielo where they do a fabulous corn-fed chicken. I also like Fumo on Waterloo Street
I go the gym three times a week but if I need to recharge then Birmingham’s canals provide the perfect place for a good walk. Canon Hill Park is also great as is Edgbaston.
WHERE’S YOUR FAVOURITE PART OF THE CITY?
Broad Street, naturally. It’s vibrant and alive night and day. I like the difference in mood as the day progresses. I also spend a lot of time in Edgbaston making use of the fantastic leisure facilities.
Bank in Brindleyplace for a glass of champagne. I also like The Edgbaston – the last time I went there, the bartender made me a masala mai tai which was very nice. It’s great for the city that new places like The Edgbaston are opening here.
HOW CAN THE CITY BE MADE BETTER?
Birmingham needs to shout much louder about what a wonderful place it is – we should increase the budgets for Marketing Birmingham to help them do so. And as much as I love the Number 9 bus, it’s time Birmingham got its own underground system.