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The Chameleon Restaurant and Bar

A gestation of 30 years is a pretty lengthy time for anything to procreate, but it is the time taken for The Chameleon Restaurant and Bar in Victoria Square to go from dream to reality, now offering a European menu in the centre of Birmingham, Britain's second city.

Part of the vision was that people should be able to eat, drink and dance, all in one place, all at the same time if so wished. They do so beneath contemporary colour-changing chandeliers in a classic dining area with the chameleon theme, as seamlessly the venue itself involves the café, bar, restaurant and club, each with its own level of attention.

Gastronomic needs are seldom quite so easily contained so the menu is designed to pander to the needs of an ever changing clientele, from a well-crafted range of bar nibbles that might include mini Thai crab cakes, the bracing chorizo pie, on to elegant 3-course meals in The Green Room Restaurant at the hands of the head chef Matt Wagstaff and his brigade.

But as ever, it's the weekend when the action reaches a peak, with live music evenings on Friday, followed on Saturday nights by the resident DJs as the giant custom-made glitterball, spectacular lights shows, dancers, percussionists and stilt-walkers strut their stuff to the insistent beat.

The à la carte menu is a creation for all occasions; be they celebration, extended lunch, pre theatre supper or the very special dinner for two, you will not be short of choices to make. The Chameleon Platter make a wonderful ice breaker - if one is needed - or centrepoint for the introductions before moving to an Asian squash salad with crispy Szechuan beef, pak choi and toasted sesame, or Thai crab cakes with lime sweet chilli and bean sprout salad.

The celebrated oyster bars of old are thin on the ground now but the next best thing is a display of crustacea such as that at The Chameleon, with double A grade rock oysters, Coquille Saint Jacques - baked half shell scallops - and Lobster tortelloni with wilted sorrel and Pernod veloute.

Wagyu Kobe beef features amongst the grill choices, or there's the market fish of the day. The half grilled chicken in Jamaican jerk vies with Moroccan spiced chicken tagine and a Wagyu Kobe beef burger. Just imagine - a burger made with some of the best beef in the world. How far we've come. Witness an Asian spice halibut baked in a banana leaf and served with green curry rice, and an exciting blend of flavours that amazingly complement each other combines open ravioli of wild mushroom and tarragon with mascarpone and white truffle oil. The pace is maintained by caramelised pineapple tart tatin with grey goose vodka granita.

There is no doubt whatsoever that even though it only opened in mid 2010 The Chameleon is setting a pace that will compete and encourage, making Birmingham an even better place and maintain that title I used at the start - Britain's Second City.
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