Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past few months, you’ll have heard about the grand reopening of a certain Birmingham venue. In fact, you may already have paid it a visit. Aside from Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games updates and the Floozie being restored, it’s been the most talked about Brummie news of 2021… hasn’t it?

Located on Colmore Row, the luxury Grade II listed Grand Hotel reopened in May following a £45million refurbishment. 

The response to the refurb has been phenomenal - and deservedly so. Boasting 185 guest rooms and suites, a stunning grand ballroom and a glamorous cocktail & Champagne bar called Madeleine - to name but a few highlights - one of the city’s most iconic venues has been returned to its former glory.

What you may not know, however, is that nestled beneath this beautiful building is a ‘New York-style brasserie’ called Isaac’s.

With its own entrance on Barwick Street, the eatery’s Big Apple-inspired menu takes in comfort food such as sidewalk-worthy hot dog with sauerkraut,  mustard and ketchup, 30-day aged New York strip steak, classic Caesar salad, iconic brasserie dishes and a selection of seafood - from rock oysters and lobster, to seabass and cod with grits. Old and New World wines are on offer too, as well as indulgent milkshakes, bourbons, classic cocktails, and beers on tap.

Delighted with the lager on offer, and admittedly more Tokyo than NY, my partner and I each ordered a pint of Asahi to start whilst browsing the menu. From the ‘raw bar’ section we opted for a dozen Porthilly rock oysters at £3 a pop and the steak tartare.

Now, admittedly, raw meat and raw egg aren’t everybody’s cuppa, but they’re certainly mine when they come in the form of steak tartare! The Isaac’s version of the classic dish did not disappoint. Fresh, well seasoned and served with toasted sourdough, the sizeable portion was hastily devoured. The oysters, served with a lemon & shallot dressing, were, as you’d expect from rock oysters, plump, juicy and boasting a salty undertone. An enjoyable start indeed - but the stand-out dishes for me were the ones that followed… all three of them.

The evening’s highlight was a toss up between the 30-day aged Hereford beef 10oz rib-eye and Lobster Newberg. The lobster meat itself was beautifully cooked - soft and tender to the bite, coated in an ever-so-moreish amalgamation of butter, cream, cognac, sherry and cayenne pepper, topped with a delicious Madeira sauce and lightly grilled. The creamy, peppery and subtly hot flavours were perfectly paired with the sweetness from the lobster. A terrific match! The dish came with a pot of ideal chip-dipping cayenne Hollandaise, too - always a bonus.

The beef was thoroughly enjoyable. Well basted and full of flavour, it was the nicest steak I've eaten post-lockdown. I highly recommend it to my fellow carnivores.

I couldn’t leave without trying the pecan pie, as I had heard good things. Served with toffee sauce and a creamy vanilla ice-cream, it was sweet, warm, comforting - everything it should be - and a fantastic way to end the evening.

As well as the food, our waitress, Chelsey, deserves recognition for making our debut visit to Isaac’s such an enjoyable one. She was friendly, welcoming and, most importantly, ensured that we were never without an Asahi!

Isaac’s should thrive - there’s nothing else quite like it in the city. The prices are reasonable, the food of a high quality. Commendations to the Grand Hotel - although given its status, I expected nothing less.

**** Lauren Foster

Isaac's is situated at the Grand Hotel Birmingham. Tel: 0121 827 9600