For my first official review I was invited down to a pub in central Birmingham. The Jekyll and Hyde is one of the most recommended pubs in central Birmingham, and for many very good reasons.
Firstly, it is one of the country’s best Gin Parlours, stocking more brands than any other hostelry between here and London (over fifty varieties). But unlike a lot of pubs it sells it’s wares with a due sense of awareness.
Gin, in it’s day, was the crack of nineteenth century London. The staff are most keen to avoid such a fate befalling the people of Birmingham. Their staff give courses in drink awareness and knowledge.
The Gin Parlour is open every Wednesday-Saturday night from 5pm onwards.
Secondly they have a fantastic chef, and when they invited me over to sample the menu, how could I say no?
It transpired that I had only just missed the sub-Editor of Diffords Guides who were doing an update of the best pubs in the city. Clearly I was on to a winner then.
Most pubs struggle to entertain their customers in the days when Sky Sports is woefully overpriced. The Jekyll and Hyde did things it’s own way. It hosts pub quizzes, cocktail nights, and most popular, cinema nights (Wednesday from 8.00pm).
The manager, Carl Hawkins, told me that when the company took it over it was an old man’s pub, with Carling being the drink of choice. When the Carling was removed, everybody predicted doom and gloom. Of course, it never happened, they just attracted a new, different crowd. Carl himself came from an advertising background, but he was always a cocktail fanatic and put his skills to use in his new venue.
So, to the menu. They had the usual fare of a pub menu with a few little twists here and there. Their main selling point is their pies, supplied by A&P Doherty in the Bullring. The flavours are as various as they are luscious. Rabbit and pheasant in a port sauce anybody?
I was in a burger mood so I went for something just a little bit different. An Ostrich burger. No, seriously, it tasted a bit like a beefburger but with a slightly milder flavour. It came on a nice floury bun with bacon and onion marmalade. The chips alongside it were home made and the salad and coldslaw were clearly very fresh. I asked for some condiments and I was given Heinz ketchup (nice), but I had to ask for salt and pepper. Although when it did arrive it came in two very ornate grinders, which I considered ‘borrowing’.
The service was very good though, with friendly, smiley staff the smartest-dressed pub manager I have ever met. In all, it sets a shining example of what pubs should, and indeed, could be like.
To find out more check out their website.