Up close and personal with the Birmingham Mail’s incorrigible multimedia journalist and restaurant reviewer, Sanjeeta Bains.
TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF
I’m Sanjeeta Bains, a journalist for the Birmingham Mail. I write a lot of food and drink content and I also review new restaurants. It’s hard work – honestly! There are so many new places opening up all the time and it’s my job to keep up!
HOW DO YOU GET INTO TOWN?
The Midland Metro tram. It’s super convenient, quick and overall very reliable.
IS BRUM A GOOD PLACE TO WORK?
It’s a very exciting place to be. This year we were named the most rapidly improving city in the UK to work and live. The opening of Grand Central in 2015 has encouraged a more positive perception and helped attract more investment over the last couple of years. We still have a way to go but the good news is we’re finally getting there.
Home cafe, Church Street serves great coffee… and excellent cake! I also love Second Cup in New Street. Very cosy – and there are lots of sockets, so the perfect place when I’m working remotely.
The lunchtime possibilities in the city centre are endless, and too much for me to handle! That’s why I stick to good old Pret. I know I should be giving love to our independents but at lunchtimes it’s all about grab-and-go.
I walk everywhere. It’s the easiest way for me to fit in daily exercise. It benefits my work too – I often come across a bar and restaurant that is just about to open or a place that’s suddenly shut down.
WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE PART OF THE CITY?
St Paul’s Square is beautiful. The last remaining Georgian square in the city, it’s a little oasis of calm from the hustle and bustle. I like to have work meetings at Saint Kitchen cafe overlooking the church. It’s always quiet and a good place to do some serious work.
I love going to Fumo – when I’m feeling glamorous. They are famous for their cocktails (they do a mean Cosmopolitan) but they also have a mocktail menu – their Virgin Mojito is very refreshing. For a more laidback atmosphere, I like 1000 Trades, Frederick Street – a great pub and they operate a kitchen residency. Each month, they have new chefs with a new menu.
HOW CAN THE CITY BE MADE BETTER?
By making the extension of the city centre Midland Metro route a priority. It is due to be extended to Centenary Square by 2019. But it took FOUR YEARS just to connect Snow Hill and New Street. A further line from Bull Street through Digbeth is also planned for 2023. It can’t come soon enough as currently Digbeth is out on a limb on its own.