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Cote Brasserie Restaurant in birmingham

There could be few better locations for Côte Brasserie in Birmingham than on the canal side in The Mailbox, at the centre of Birmingham's city renaissance where commerce and culture blend with grace and the addition of a frisson of French cuisine sits well. Open all day for breakfast, lunch and dinner, Côte brings an informal and friendly ambience to matters of eating and drinking, and it came as no surprise when it won the Good Food Guide award for 'Best Value Restaurant in the UK for 2009'.  

Since then trends towards simple bistro cooking have gathered pace and Côte has become even more relevant to the times. When you work in a modern city life never seems to stop and the matter of breakfast assumes an identity more in keeping with its original intention. So the menu here explores a good range of the more exciting aspects of breakfast, starting with a touching alliance of the full English breakfast that we know so well, or the French crêpe complète where a warm crêpe enfolds two free range eggs, bacon and shaved Gruyère cheese. And the free WiFi is there if there's some urgent cage-rattling to be done before you hit the office.

With the day well started thoughts can turn to matters of lunch, dinner even, or a little light supper before an evening's entertainment at the theatre or something rather more rigorous at one of Birmingham's many clubs. There may just be a decision in principle, leaving the selection from Côte's generous menu until the event when, over a glass of Kir Royale one can indulge in some reblochon cheese and thyme, or anchovies and olives with parsley.

But before this some midday sustenance may be in order and their plats rapides offer minimal dallying linked with maximum recharging of the batteries. Steak frites, poulet grillé or moules frites all make for robust enjoyment at great value. If the weather's behaving well, a seat outside on the terrace against the background of a living wall has strong appeal.

Perhaps there is more time for lunch thanks to that early start, or a client to impress in which case a choice from amongst a dozen or so starters could yield Scottish smoked salmon with dill and shallots, a tasty prawn gratinée, or a plate of one of those wonderful soups the French produce so well. Light main courses offer a risotto vert that embraces grilled asparagus, broad beans, spring onions, courgette, green beans, baby spinach, pesto and rocket, or a classic tuna Niçoise served medium rare.

Moving on through a dazzling array of dishes that both tempt and restore guests will encounter steak haché, with a fried egg of course, roast duck breast or a seafood linguine, at which point it will have dawned that Côte are strong on the fruits of the sea. However, no self respecting Gallic inspired menu would be without its poulet Breton, a corn fed chicken from rural Brittany where that particular dish is akin to the holy grail.

And so to the steaks, wonderfully plump and juicy ones from Church Farm in the Peak District, that have been aged on the bone and are served chargrilled with frites and a choice of superb sauces that includes Normandy butter with Roquefort cheese.

A confident completely French wine list carries bins to remember, where the house wines are worthy and the ongoing list steadily more exciting as you progress. The Chateau Talbot St Julien is a fitting prize for those who might have a hard or successful day - or both.
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