You might be bored of the onion bhaji scotch egg chat surrounding Brum’s newest bar/restaurant/beer haven, Pint Shop – but we’re going there anyway. If you haven’t heard about said scotch egg, get out from under that rock.
We’re partial to an old building with a stunning interior and this place, nestled next to The Welly on Bennetts Hill made us giddy. High ceilings, dramatic staircase, great lighting and a colour palette worthy of its own Pinterest account, pleased us lots. Birmingham is the third city to be graced with Pint Shop, following Cambridge and Oxford. The inspiration is the beer houses of the 1830s when people were given the go-ahead to brew and sell their own beer from the comfort of their homes.
The ground floor bar area serves all the beer and dreamy snacks – scotch egg included – as well as sausage rolls, meat and cheese, biltong and the like, the idea being that if you pop in for a drink or two and fancy a nibble that’s more than a packet of nuts, but not quite dinner, you’ll be happy.
Upstairs is more restaurant-y, but still pretty relaxed with cosy corners, an open kitchen and flattering lighting. The beer list is as long as Mr Tickle’s arm and while we’re not aficionados, we lunched with one who made positive noises as he worked his way through. Gin is a big deal too with a hundred-plus. We slurped a Malfy gin with Sicilian lemon and basil tonic which hit the spot nicely.
Four words. Onion. Bhaji. Scotch. Egg. While we don’t want to feed your FOMO, you are actually missing out. Go, get one. A dish that we didn’t expect to see here which blew us away was a delicate octopus carpaccio with confit shallots, lime dressing and crispy seaweed. While it didn’t feel bang on brand, it was seriously good.
Coal-baked flatbreads filled with slowly cooked blackened brisket, pickled cabbage, crispy onions and a good handful of mint was utterly delicious on every level. There’s a tandoori masala chicken version too with a cooling yogurt-y sauce and toasted almonds. Really good. Crunchy truffled chips sprinkled with Berkswell cheese were a triumph too and, in a city spoilt for choice in the burger stakes, the dirty burger made the grade.
A mixture of beef and pork with the fat chucked in to keep it moist was enhanced by bacon jam, smoked cheese, pickles and a Pint Shop version of big mac burger sauce. Desserts were the least exciting part of the menu, but in fairness we’d eaten our own body weight by that point, so don’t take our word for it. If you’re not a carnivore, a beer drinker or a bread lover, don’t be put off by the ‘Meat Bread Beer’ branding. It’s so much more than that and a brilliant addition to Birmingham’s food scene.