The Stable, John Bright Street

An end-of-term trip to the German market culminated in a desire to be indoors, sit on a chair not an upturned bin and drink something other than gluhwein.

With our wallets draining cash like never before, we objected to £5 for a ropey slice of pizza and sloped off to the warmth of the freshly opened Stable for the real deal we hoped. All new and shiny, the Stable was looking mighty fine with lots of natural wood, exposed plasterwork and retro neon signs. The menu was full of inventive pizza labelled with cute, locally-inspired names such as the Perry Barr-Baa and the Smethwick Scorcher. Pies are a speciality with five mouth- watering options. Tasty-sounding salads and wraps feature too, but we were after warmth and lots of it. Cue two garlic breads between the five of us, a half carafe of sauvignon blanc and the cider tasting board to kick-off.

Firstly, the garlic bread was the best we’ve had in a long while. A proper crowd pleaser it was thin, crisp and salty with a massive punch of garlic. The cheese version was good, but we all agreed we preferred it without. Secondly, the option to have a half carafe of wine was brilliant. A bottle would have been too much, a glass not enough. A common dilemma solved right there. Thirdly, cider is one of the Stables specialities, so it seemed rude not to. Five 1/3 pint samplers arrived looking fetching. The top spot went to the Thundering Molly – sweet, light, not fizzy or too cold.

Back to the food, I plumped for a pie as did grandma. The Wild Rooster with chicken, gammon, leek and a thyme crust was served with a huge salad, chutney and a pickled onion balanced on a rustic board. Admittedly it was tasty, but make no mistake about it, the pizza was the star of the show. The bases were the same thin crisp discs as the garlic bread, so they were wonderful for a start. The Longhorn Jim was a triumph and not for the faint hearted. It was laced with ground beef, chorizo, smoked ham, mushrooms and roasted red onions and was top drawer. The kid’s margarita pizzas were perfectly formed in size and taste served with crunchy veg for a token bit of goodness. All in all we had a lot of fun and it was just what the doctor ordered – well, probably not actually, but you take our point. A word to the wise – while the pies are good, expect a sinking food envy if you order anything other than the mind-blowing pizza.

THE STABLE Unit 1 Orion, 115 John Bright St, Birmingham B1 1BE. Tel: 0121 643 8918