Filini, Radisson BLU Hotel, Holloway Circus, Birmingham. 0121 654 6000

For those that remember one of Birmingham’s best loved city bars, Circo was a venue that brought musical greats from around the world to the 2nd city. When it closed down a tall contemporary tower rose from the ground with an ocean coloured shimmer to its exterior and people all over the West Midlands wondered what the new venue was. 

Now, a few years on and the Radisson Blu is one of our favourite hotels, internationally recognised for its epic facia and slick and stylish rooms that boast the best views in Birmingham, the Radisson also has a secret weapon – it’s infamous restaurant Filini. 

Ever since it opened it had a plethora of great chefs from Chris Duffy to Jonathan Parnell much of the restaurants success can be paid to the excellent ingredients it uses. 

When we arrive restaurant services manager Florien is there waiting to greet us. He knows everything there is to know about Filini and takes time to guide us through the wine and food list before introducing us to our excellent waitress Natalie. 

Already on the table are some giant olives complete with a selection of homemade breads which consist of wafer thin scented breads, gorgeously doughy focaccia and some lightly baked bread sticks which come complete with a dipping sauce of balsamic vinegar and oils. 

My partner decides on a non alcoholic cocktail with apple and raspberries and I opt for a 2007 glass of Riserva, Mezzacorona (Trentino). This is a Pinot Grigio with a complex fragrance of well-matured fruit which is just the right balance to have with my starter,Insalata di calamari al peperoncino. This dish is delicately seasoned and the squid is tender and juicy. The chilli oil gives it a kick but the refreshing Riserva wine washes this down to perfection. 

Antipasti di verdure is more to my other halves fancy. This is a mixed vegetarian starter with Grilled aubergine, zucchini, roast peppers, marinated mushrooms, lentil salad, green beans & bruschetta with vine ripe tomatoes. This is a great dish for sharing to and allows room for a dessert, not being too heavy. 

Inside the restaurant the interior is warm and elegant with draping curtains that hang from the high ceiling to the roaring wood burning over that is a centrepiece for the eyes while you watch fresh pizzas bubble and cook. Filini has an aromatic fusion of flavours that is the trademark of Italian cuisine. Filini, which refers to matchstick-thin pasta, is a key aspect of an innovative culinary philosophy. The concept was designed by Roy Ackerman and is based on the premise that meals should be simple and authentic. 

On to the main, our waitress Natalie guides me toward the beef which cooked medium is too tempting not to try. I also decided to go for the highly recommended mashed spuds, spiked with garlic and parmesan, which were of perfect texture and flavour. A glass of 2005 Sicilian Shiraz was a great friend to bring out the best flavours of the meat. 

Of course, the interior d├ęcor swayed my partner, she took one look at the open view Italian wood burning oven and decided on a freshly baked Margherita - pomodoro, mozzarella e basilica. This arrived with the cheese visibly melting wonderfully and the edges just curling on the plate. 

After the delights of the best creamed garlic mash mixed with the aged well beef I still felt like something savoury which led me to tasting a plate of cheeses some warm and other soft and cool. My partners’ sweet tooth and a recommendation by Natalie helped her choose her dessert, a stunning chocolate fondant with pistachio ice cream, the fondant exploding out its warm and sticky treats once the sponge had been broken through. 

To book a table call now, 0121 654 6000.