Hotel Indigo, Birmingham
HOTEL INDIGO: BIRMINGHAM
WHY YOU SHOULD VISIT:
It’s central location
The modern interior style
For panoramic views and a cocktail
For nearby shopping and eating
I used to visit Birmingham quite a lot, as my best friend from uni is from there, and we often had a little mini break together in the summer holidays, where we’d shop until we dropped and then dance the night away with lots of indie boys in nightclub ‘Snobs’. Those were the days.
This time it was an altogether different trip to Birmingham as I was away for the night for my birthday with my husband Steve. Birmingham has changed a lot since I last visited many years ago and the city centre really is a great shopping destination with The Mailbox, The Cube and the high street to fulfil your shopping needs. I’d also never really explored the area around the canal before, and after watching Peaky Blinders and finding out that some of the series is filmed here, it was somewhere I definitely wanted to visit. Fortunately, the canal was literally at the back of where we were staying, Hotel Indigo.
The hotel is in a really central location, situated in The Cube and right near The Mailbox, where we headed to explore the newly opened Made.com showroom. It’s also only a 10-minute walk from New Street train station. There are lots of bars and restaurants along the canal and there is a newly opened bowling alley in The Cube, Lane 7, where we enjoyed a couple of games and a beer. I also got to sample the hotel’s spa and had a gel manicure, which was a nice birthday treat.
The hotel has recently undergone a huge revamp and it has a really modern and colourful interior, inspired by the city’s canals and city centre landmarks. On arrival, you are greeted with mid-century style chairs, patterned wallpaper and leafy green plants. We were checking into a suite on the 24th floor and it really was enormous!
With a blue and grey geometric patterned carpet, dark navy walls and dark wooden furniture with hints of brass, the mid-century modern feel continued from reception and was mixed with industrial decor, such as hanging cage pendants.
Alongside this massive open-plan bedroom/lounge, there was a corner balcony with sun loungers and chairs (beware of heading out in your PJ’s though as the balconies are overlooked by the restaurant and other rooms!) and a bathroom with a large shower. The only slight disappointment was not having a bath and it would have definitely added a wow factor if there had been a freestanding bath in the room.
The hotel has two restaurants – Bardolino and Marco Pierre White’s Steakhouse, which is situated on the top floor with sky-high panoramic views. We were eating in the latter and headed up ahead of our dinner reservation to enjoy some 241 cocktails (every night until 7pm), where we sampled a Porn Star Martini and an Espresso Martini. As one of my favourite cocktails, I have sampled a lot of Porn Star Martini’s and unfortunately this one was disappointing, as it lacked sweetness and the vodka taste was too sharp. The Espresso Martini, however, was good.
We were seated for dinner in an enviable window seat and it was pretty impressive to see day turn to night and the lights of the city sparkle in the distance. With a glass of wine each in hand (Marco Pierre White’s Sauvignon Blanc for me, Malbec for Steve), we got down to the all-important task of deciding what to eat. This is what we ordered from our very helpful and friendly waiter:
Starters: Calamari and Potted Duck
Mains: Fillet Steak (we chose the same) with one Red Wine Sauce and one Peppercorn Sauce, Fries, Green Beans and Peas.
Desserts: Alex James’ Cheddar with Fruit Cake and Millionaire’s Cake
If you’ve tried Rillettes in France, then the potted duck was a little similar and like a shredded duck pate. It was tasty but would have benefitted from more seasoning. Steve’s calamari arrived nicely crisp but first impressions were dampened by the blob of Tartare sauce slopped onto the side of the pot alongside it.
Eating in a ‘steakhouse’ you’d expect the steak to be perfectly cooked but I ordered my fillet steak to be served medium but it arrived rare. I didn’t send it back as I didn’t want to disrupt our meal, as Steve’s steak was cooked as he’d ordered, but I was disappointed as surely it’s the main thing to get right in a steak restaurant? Despite the incorrect cooking, the steak was delicious and full of flavour and both sauces were delicious.
We were also surprised that they’d run out of both fries and mash – two of the main (and in my opinion, best) accompaniments to steak – so we had to order chips instead. These looked and tasted like McCain Homefries and weren’t really what we’d been expecting.
Even though we were rather full, we decided to order pudding and coffees. Steve was intrigued to try Alex James’ cheddar, which was served with fruit cake. And it literally was just that – a small slab of cheese and a great wad of fruit cake. There was nothing else on the plate for decoration and it definitely wasn’t particularly pleasing to the eye. The Millionaire’s pudding was rich with chocolate and caramel and it was definitely big enough to share.
Despite being called Marco Pierre White’s Steakhouse, it felt a bit like somewhere he has put his name to but isn’t really a part of. Aswell as the undercooked steak, presentation was a big issue for us, as even the coffee at the end of the meal arrived spilt all over the saucer.
We ordered breakfast to the room the following morning, as it seemed a shame not to in such a big suite, and it was great. Everything was cooked well and felt fresh and I was even surprised with a Birthday plate of Macarons, which started the day off well.
We enjoyed our night at Indigo. The hotel is in an ideal location for exploring Birmingham and the hotel is modern and has helpful staff. The restaurant however really needs refining and isn’t somewhere we would personally visit to eat again.
Hotel Indigo, The Cube, Wharfside Street, Birmingham, B1 1RS.
Dotty Dishes was a guest of Hotel Indigo Birmingham.