Scratch beneath the surface of our city and you'll find some real hidden gems. So we have set out to explore the best-kept secrets and unsung heroes of Birmingham. This week, Natasha ventures to The Mockingbird...
Tucked away in the heart of Birmingham's Custard Factory, The Mockingbird theatre and bar is a social venue whose main focus is independent entertainment whilst offering specially selected food and drink for customers. Well served with pay and display parking, various bus services and located only a ten minute walk from Birmingham's Bullring shopping centre this eclectic venue is very easy to find in the Scott Lake section of the Custard Factory whether you're on foot, on public transport or driving.
Upon arrival you can feel the creativity being exuded from the venue with its modern and interesting decor including beer kegs fashioned into seats. I particularly enjoyed the industrial yet fashionable mix of wood and metal furniture which gave the venue a casual and relaxed feel while keeping it current. Visiting just after the lunch time rush on a Wednesday, the venue was quiet with a handful of customers scattered within the venue and outside where outdoor seating is provided. We opted to grab a seat inside and skimmed through the food and drinks menus which were no fuss and easy to read and understand. After a few minutes looking through we went up to the bar to order and also find out a little more about what the venue had to offer.
Specialising in american style cuisine as well as having a great selection of bespoke beers, tasty cocktails and fine spirits; there was definitely something to whet everyone's taste buds. My friend and I both went for Old Mount ciders and ordered a few small plate dishes from the to go along with them. I went for the Cajun prawns (which were my second choice as the venue had run out of wings), the mac and cheese and some Cajun fries while my friend opted for the house salad and the mac and cheese.
The food came out in good time and we were pleasantly surprised by the portion sizes and the taste. The prawns had a great spicy flavour and were encased in a crispy batter while the mac and cheese was also very impressive and had enough moisture and cheese so that it was not dry and claggy. The Cajun fries were definitely my highlight and were brilliantly seasoned. They had a nice and crispy outside but were nice and soft on the inside just as I like them. The salad I must say was lack lustre and was just some rocket leaves chucked on a plate with some sliced plum tomatoes and red onion. Other than that one dish everything was tasty and all our plates were cleared.
We paid a total of about £24 for our meal including drinks which I think was pretty reasonable. I intend on visiting again on an evening to try out a dish from the main menu and maybe some of their cocktails.
After speaking to the staff at the venue we also found that The Mockingbird was not just the perfect place for a lunch time visit but also a great space for evening drinks and creative entertainment alike. A quirky and creative space whose concept is focused around the screening of cult classics and independent entertainment, The Mockingbird is perfect for film and entertainment lovers and whether you're looking to watch a classic film like The Breakfast Club or simply want to watch a comedy show with your peers, this is definitely the place for you.
Unfortunately nothing was showing when we visited but the manager kindly allowed us into the theatre to have a look around and get a feel of what to expect during one of their screenings. Seating up to a 100 people the auditorium is a decent size and is the perfect intimate space for private hire for special events and screenings which The Mockingbird offers as a service.
We truly enjoyed our afternoon visit to the Mockingbird theatre. We intend to return on an evening to watch one of their screenings and enjoy the night time atmosphere in order to get a complete picture of the venue. I definitely recommend going along to The Mockingbird theatre and bar if you're ever in the Custard Factory for a solo lunch, an evening date or even a group outing. It is truly one of Birmingham's hidden gems complete with good food, good drinks and the most friendly and helpful staff. For more information on events and screenings at the Mockingbird theatre, check out their website: mockingbirdtheatre.com