We headed down to Birmingham last weekend to see Lower Than Atlantis and Hands Like Houses at the O2 Academy which was pretty great! Before our gig we headed to Strada at the ICC for some pre-show munching so I thought I’d tell you what I thought. The ICC is just by Brindley Place and the canal so the setting is lovely as you can see out of the window. In the summer, I bet it’s amazing as Strada can open up the doors for a little al fresco dining.
The restaurant at the ICC is huge! It’s a pre-concert venue so they told us it was going to get very busy, it did definitely get busier as we arrived around 5pm, a bit earlier than normal dinner time. The manager was lovely, so friendly and chatty but we didn’t see her after she’d seated us as she was so busy for the evening.
For drinks with our starters I had an Aperol Spritz, my favourite and we tucked into Arancini, Strada’s ‘crispy rice balls stuffed with melting mozzarella, served with spicy tomato passata and aged Parmesan’ and ‘crispy fried squid with caper mayonnaise and sweet paprika’. I think this was the best course, the crispy squid was so tasty and the arancini had a really lovely flavour and were really comforting. Would massively recommend these!
Time for main courses! Luke went for the Classic Strada Burger – a 7oz burger, lettuce, tomato, mayonnaise and skin-on fries. This looked pretty good and the fries were tasty (obviously I stole a couple!) but the burger had been caught on the grill slightly so was a bit too chargrilled. It was nice and hot though which is a blessing!
The service for the entire meal was a little haphazard! After completely forgetting our water glasses so I had to grab some from the next table, our waiter forgot that I ordered my pizza to be a ‘pizzetta’ (which is a mini pizza with salad) so when I pointed this out he said he’d just get the chef to take off half of my pizza which made me laugh and I told him to leave it because I didn’t like the idea of the pizza that I’d just ordered just either chilling in the bin or being eaten by the guys in the kitchen when I could be eating it. I’ve worked in a kitchen, I know what happens!
I’m glad I kept the whole thing as the pizza was so thin, I needed the other half. It tasted nice but it wasn’t the most amazing pizza I’ve ever had. This was the ‘Rustica’ pizza with tomato, mozzarella, roast Luganica sausage, caramelised onions, capers, artichokes and I added mushrooms too. I just think it could have done with some more seasoning and maybe a stronger cheese too.
For dessert, Luke went for the chocolate fondant. “Warm and oozy chocolate pudding with salted caramel ice cream”. It wasn’t that warm and the cake outside the liquid middle was quite dry so wasn’t the best. I just had three scoops of ice cream which was actually amazing. Their ice cream supplier, Jude’s artisanal ice cream, is so, so tasty. I chose, Very Vanilla, Salted Caramel and Honeycomb and I wasn’t disappointed. I’m not sure if this is just the Birmingham supplier for their ice cream or a Strada one as a whole but it’s incredible!