The Fiddle and Bone – Sheepcote Street
If visiting the Fiddle and Bone, make sure you approach from the canal. From this side, you enter through the bunting-decorated beer garden in the shadow of the Grade II Listed Round House building next door. This historic place of interest provides a lovely backdrop to the courtyard filled with vivid flowers and brightly-painted benches. Even when it is too chilly to sit outside, to sit in a window seat and look out to the canal across such a picturesque scene is a serene and tranquil experience.
Inside, the pub was deserted at 11am on a Saturday. A number of staff members were setting up for the day ahead, but we were the only people taking advantage of the brunch available from 9am till midday at the weekends. We quickly ordered and our food quickly arrived. A pot of tea arrived with sugar lumps on the side of the plate and the milk in a miniature milk bottle.
Eggs royale, spinach and hollandaise sauce on a muffin, was a well-cooked version of the dish. A lovely runny yolk glooped out of the egg as soon as I touched it, and the sauce was a good consistency.
Sadly, the full English didn’t quite get a rave review. Fried bread and black pudding cut into little cubes set this apart from other versions of the dish we have tried in Birmingham, but for the same price, you can get much higher quality ingredients elsewhere. The sausage was especially disappointing.
On a more positive note, the toilets looked like no one had ever used them before, they were so pristine. They are constructed from Playmobile-style screens and units dividing the room up into a row of cubicles and sinks; on a live music night with a packed audience upstairs, there are plenty of easy-to-clean toilets if demand is high. Everything worked, and there was plentiful soap in every dispenser.
We left through the main street exit; up the stairs you find yourself in the main room used for the live gigs regularly held here. It is a great space, and on the nights we have heard music here the atmosphere has been busy and buzzing. I wouldn’t come back for the breakfast, but the pub garden on a summer’s evening, or the upstairs bar on a live music night remain a powerful draw.
Atmosphere and design: classic pub interior on the ground floor, musical instruments decorate the upstairs live music venue, and brightly-coloured benches fill the pub garden
Food: very standard, shame about the quality of the sausages
Toilets: super clean and plentiful
Enjoyment: rather lonely and deserted for Saturday brunch, but a picturesque setting