So, Birmingham’s ‘Milan’ Indian restaurant (yes, it’s true. Whatever next? French cuisine at ‘Guadalajara’? Dim Sum in the cosy surroundings of ‘Le Macclesfield’?). I have never felt quite as insulted as a diner as I was here. Ok, so we didn’t make a reservation and should think ourselves lucky that they squeezed us in at short notice. But we did hear them say, “we’re very busy” and did all we could to be speedy diners. It’s not our fault that the three course veggie banquet took a while to prepare. We didn’t hang about. And I asked for the bill before we’d slurped down the last of our coffee. But I wasn’t quite prepared for the “Right, now, can you leave now because this table has been booked” as my credit card was returned, with no sign of an after-dinner mint anywhere. So, next time you’re in Birmingham, avoid heading to the ‘Milan’ quarter.
The Hotel Du Vin, though, where we stayed, is well worth a look into. And the room, with its massive bed and funky bathroom, certainly had the ‘wow’ factor. It’s only on free trips like this that I enjoy being a member of Her Majesty’s press corps. I’ve never seen such an impressive shower, nor been in such a deep bath. Oh yes, it was an incredibly hygienic stay, which is what you’d expect when your hotel is located in a former eye hospital. And no loose eyes anywhere, which was a real bonus. I’m absolutely certain that we had the worst car of all residents. And I wish I’d cleaned it inside and out before handing over the keys to have it taken to the car park. We must look a cut above because they tried to palm us off with a Jaguar as we checked out. Never have the words, “oh, no, it’s a Toyota Yaris” sounded so out of place.