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Cafe Ikon (Birmingham)

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Address: 1 Oozells Square / Brindleyplace / Birmingham / B1 2HS / England

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      08.04.2010 16:14
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      Fantastic, authentic tapas in the center of Birmingham

      Cafe Ikon is an excellent and authentic Spanish Tapas restaurant, situated within the Ikon Gallery in central Birmingham. Right next to the hip and happening, regenerated Brindley Place and the canals, it is quite a cool place to visit and the addition of this very good restaurant is a real bonus.

      We discovered it purely by chance when we were on our way to a gig at the nearby Academy and wanted some quick food. The menu is wonderfully authentic, featuring everything from olives and fresh bread to marinated meatballs, chorizo with chickpeas and sherry, spanish tortilla and sardines stuffed with tapanade.

      Tapas dishes on the evening menu range from £1.75 for olives up to £7.95 for some of the seafood dishes. Most of the main dishes cost around the £5 mark. We generally find that sharing 4 or 5 tapas dishes, some bread and olives is plenty enough for a light meal and generally with a couple of beers thrown in the bill comes to around £35 for two of us which is not bad value at all when you consider the location and the quality of the food.

      The space this restaurant occupies is quite minimal, until recently it literally had about 15 plain white tables with plastic orange chairs and you really did feel like you were in an added on room of an Art Gallery (which you are). However, they have recently revamped it and it now feels like a venue in its own right.

      The staff are very attentive and the service is good. Food is served pretty quickly and its clear that everything is fresh. The owners / managers are actually Spanish which is reassuring and probably explains why the food is so good and feels so authentic. You will quite often hear them shouting to each other over the counter in Spanish and it just makes it feel like you could actually be in a bar in Madrid, which I like.

      Because of the speed with which they get food out this place is very popular with people on their way to the theatre and to gigs. It tends to have quite a nice, lively atmosphere because of this but people do not tend to hang around too long after they have finished eating, it seems to be a place people literally drop into for food.

      They do a lunch offer here which is three tapas plates off a (quite extensive) set list for £7.95 or off the same list you can buy individual dishes for £3.25 each. This menu is available from 12-3pm Monday to Friday and seems to be pretty popular with local office parties. They do also offer a range of toasted sandwiches, soups and salads at lunch times - although I have to say I have never tried these, I always go for the tapas!

      As far as drinks go, they do have a wine list and some of it is very reasonably priced (a decent bottle of Tempranillo or Chardonnay for around £15), however, we always tend to go for beer with our tapas and they offer both Estrella Damm and San Miguel (bottled) for £3.10 each.

      This place is a great restaurant in a pretty handy and central location, it is worth seeking out if you are in the area, just look for the signs to the Ikon Gallery and then turn right when you get in the main entrance and the restaurant will be in front of you on the ground floor.

      I highly recommend the food and the ambience here, plus it is very good value and an enjoyable and sociable way to eat.

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