Not all of my blog posts will start with me ducking into a restaurant to avoid the drunken advances of an over-eager stranger but I found myself doing exactly that, late on Christmas Eve. Plans had been made to be tucked up in bed by 9pm with a good book but like so many plans before, this one has gone a little awry, with the help of a few friends. The owner of Santorini didn’t bat an eye as the four of us dashed in – quickly dispatching the hopeful fella who’d followed us and taking our impromptu orders.
Santorini Tapas Bar and Grill is located on Hurst Street, next to the legendary Snobs and you’d be forgiven for mistaking it for yet another greasy chippy, as we did. Once inside, it’s surprisingly spacious and there was even a well-stocked bar tucked to one side that is open until late. Whilst it caters to the passing trade, it’s clearly more of a greek sit-down restaurant than a simple chippy. The atmosphere was relaxed and the staff more than friendly, it had a local feel that you don’t often find in eateries situated so close to pubs, clubs and bars.
Whether it was numerous amounts of cocktails we’d already consumed or the quality of the cooking is open for debate but the conclusion was unanimous – the simple grub ordered was the best damn food we’d ever tasted. Not how we’d planned to ring in Christmas Day but bellies full, Kopparberg in hand – no complaints from us.
As it turns out, we’re not the only fans of Santorini. John Barrowman (currently portraying Dick Whittington at the Birmingham Hippodrome until the 29th January 2017) also praised the restaurant after enjoying a meal there this week. Honestly, I’d take his word over mine – he was presumably a little more sober than us during his visit!
Overall, extremely impressed with Santorini – much more to it than meets the eye. I’d never taken notice of it before but definitely planing to a good sit-down meal there in future. I’ll leave the full review until then but looking forward to a visit after this brief encounter.
Props must go out to The Victoria for the fabulous cocktails and Christmas Eve hospitality. I have a weakness for bartenders that offer to mix a cocktail that’s not on the menu or to share a favourite that they think will go down well. Risky business but The Victoria nailed it, service was good and queues short all night despite having a full house.
In summary, never trust the phrase – we’re only going out for the one drink. Especially if it’s Christmas Eve!
Santorini Tapas Bar and Grill – 16 Hurst St, Birmingham, B5 4BN
The Victoria – 48 John Bright St, Birmingham, B1 1BN