Primitivo is Back

Primitivo Bar & Eatery in the heart of Birmingham’s business district is back. 


As one of Birmingham’s longest operating independents, Primitivo Bar & Eatery is back after the Covid-19 shutdown.

The team are looking forward to welcoming back customers to Brum’s business district.

A number of measures are in place to ensure customers can enjoy their visit in safety. These include a one way system around the venue with separate Entrance and Exit.


A foot operated hand sanitiser is located at the entrance.


Safety screens are in place all along the bar.


Hand sanitiser points labelled ‘Be Wise, Sanitise’ are located throughout the venue.


Bathrooms are limited to one person to access at a time.

Despite being a city centre bar, Primitivo offers a large space to allow social distancing. The private function area has been incorporated to increase space for customers.

Primitivo owner Prit Sagoo speaking ahead of the opening told me “We’re looking forward to our 24th Anniversary on August 15th 2020 and we’re so pleased we can celebrate this milestone in the company of our loyal customers, many of whom have become close friends. The team have demonstrated strength, passion and determination and we can’t wait to throw our doors open.


The food menu is new. It has been designed to allow safe preparation on site.


There’s incredible art work on the walls including iconic images by Brum’s very own Jim Simpson.


Primitivo opens tomorrow morning (Wednesday 29th July 2020) at 10am and its a pleasure to see Prit and the team back in the city doing what they do best.

They are supporting the ‘Eat Out to Help Out‘ initiative offering 50% off food to a maximum value of £10 on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.

Primitivo Bar & Eatery 10 Barwick Street Birmingham B3 2NT 

0121 236 6866





Safety Features:


Not All Heroes wear Capes

Westside BID Warden’s high visibility work wear doesn’t guarantee everything they do is seen. 


Westside Business Improvement District (BID) exists to ensure the Westside area of Birmingham is brighter, safer and cleaner.

One of the challenge the district’s team faces on a daily basis is managing homelessness on its streets.

Westside Wardens speak to the homeless throughout the day and night in an effort to understand the issues of homelessness. This is a balancing act of their responsibilities to the business community and assisting the individuals who live on the streets.

One of the strategies Wardens have adopted to build trust with the homeless is providing them with water bottles. Hydration becomes increasingly acute in the Summer months when temperatures in the city soar.

This relives pressure on emergency services, assists in the physical welfare of the homeless and builds trust between them and the Wardens.

This line of communication allows Wardens to inform and update the homeless individuals they work with on support mechanisms including shelter and substance abuse.

General Manager of Westside BID Mike Olley explained ‘…this is the pastoral element of the Wardens which goes on behind the scenes and headlines of the district. We recognise the homeless individuals as part of our community and endeavour to raise their spirits in the challenges they face each and every day. An example are the Church services that are organised specifically for the homeless community.”

“Unfortunately the life expectancy of those who sleep rough is compromised, many will not survive their predicament. The annual Church Services allow those who have passed to be remembered. It is a reminder of the fragility of life and our responsibility to those around us.’

Westside BID on Twitter

Westside BID


Telecom Cabinets in front of a listed building? Hang on.

Westside displays its best side in defending the heritage of the district against a hasty telecommunications proposal to locate telecom cabinets in front of the Grade 2 listed Brasshouse. 

The Whisky Brothers hit the right notes in a low key protest that avoids putting pressure on emergency services. 


Westside BID, Birmingham’s entertainment hub, boasts an eclectic collection of buildings. These include cutting edge FTSE 100 corporate head quarters, Europe’s largest library, Brum’s tallest apartment block and heritage listed buildings. 


Given the choices then for locating five telephone exchange boxes, you would be surprised to learn the proposed choice is in front of one of the district’s few Grade Two listed building, The Brasshouse, a popular Pub and Restaurant. 


Westside BID organised a peaceful protest welcoming Birmingham Jazz Festival’s Jim Simpson and The Whisky Boys to perform a blues number in front of the venue to bring attention to this rash decision. 


Communication infrastructure is vital in a modern metropolis but decisions on where hubs and exchanges are located should not be made at the expense of heritage. 


The infrastructure will detract from the aesthetics of The Brasshouse which sits on the Birmingham Canal Old Line. Surely an alternative spot can be identified. 

…please respect our city

Canals6 copy

Mike Olley, General Manager of Westside BID commenting on the proposal “Even in the dark days of the Corona crisis we can still have a bit of fun in getting over a serious message.  I am delighted Jim Simpson unofficially kicked off the Jazz Festival supporting the heritage of Broad Street with his protest ballad. Special thanks also to the Whisky Brothers and friend for their live protest performance. 


This economically charged, lazy and irresponsible planning application needs to be called out for what it is: design on the cheap at the expense of our delightfully crafted city.  I urge the officers and planning councillors to boot it out on those grounds alone. 


I ask the applicant to consider our beautifully built environment over their shareholders dividends and to instead put in a considered, balanced application.  I would make the point that we have no objection whatsoever to two other similar applications nearby. After all we love our smartphones but please respect our city.

Look out for updates on this story from the Westside BID social media platforms.

Watch the Protest Song on YouTube:

Follow Westside BID on twitter @westsidebid

Follow Westside BID on Facebook

Visit The Brasshouse



Normality after COVID-19 equals the opening of nightclubs

Real normality after COVID-19 will only come with the opening of nightclubs, according to Mike Olley, general manager of Westside BID.

19 Mike Olley outside Velvet Music Rooms

No one doubts the dramatic impact that the coronavirus has had on all our worlds.  Who could have contemplated the era of lockdown during the last few months?

To date nearly 40,000 deaths have been attributed to the virus and, perhaps even more depressing, the “excess death rate” for the period is above 60,000.  That perhaps a better indicator of the cost in lives to our nation.

The death count grows but this itself may tarnish the fact that this desperate time is coming to an end.  On 8 April, a daily high of 1,260 deaths was reported.  In the next three weeks that rate was to half and half again.  The downward trend is well and truly with us.  

It could well be that by the end of June 2020 all may well be close to normal.  I am aware that many will be concerned that the trend could be subject to a “second spike”.  Yet the conditions in Denmark and Austria, who are both several steps ahead of the UK, indicate that a second spike is not a given.  That data is encouraging.

On 1 June horse racing started again, the last race meet being 20 March.  Some year groups in schools also went back on 1 June, and shielded patients, those with acute health indicators, have been allowed out with the rest of the population.  All these are significant and huge steps towards recovery.

On 4 July many of the pubs in and around Broad Street will be reopening.  All will be taking baby steps to ensure their staff and customers are safe and well.  A nurse, under current circumstances is the 2nd most dangerous occupation in the UK.  A police officer the 27th.  Bar staff are number 292 on the list and, just for good measure, accountants are at 317.  It appears, if we as punters apply a bit of common sense and stay alert, all will be well.

therefore welcome the return of the great British pub.  But when will nightclubs reopen?  Naturally, it is the government who will have the final say on this, but matters are now rolling out at a pace.  The desperate health condition coronavirus has visited on the UK is horrid.  Yet we are also confronted with an economic catastrophe unless we intelligently act to deal with this imperative.

I see a clear measure of normality revisiting our shores once nightclubs reopen.  Nightclubs are a bit more demanding in terms of close contact, but then they tend to be a lot larger than pubs.  I know many nightclub operators and, believe you me, they are more than capable of overcoming most any obstacles.  

Driven by the critical dimension of economics they will develop imaginative and safe ways to open.  I feel this could well be August, maybe September, with a bit of care and consideration.

One of the Westside BID nightclubs, Sugar Suite featured on an ITV Central piece about the reopening of this sector of the night time economy. Sisters Dani Collins Hadley and Eilis Collins explained how their popular venue will be adapted to accommodate demands for social distancing.

17 Dani Collins Hadley and Eilis Collins (Sugar Suite)


Sugar Suite offers VIP booths where clusters of guests can be accommodated. Table service will prevent the need to visit the bar and bathrooms can be restructured eg a middle wash basin in a group of three can be taken out of service.

5 Eilis Collins and Dani Collins Hadley

Sugar Suite owner Dani Collins Hadley looking forward to the return of club regulars told ITV ‘All businesses in hospitality will have to adapt quickly. We’re optimistic, we have to learn how to embrace change. People have embraced social distancing, we get it. I have full confidence in my staff.

The days of the traditional dance floor will be on pause for now, but that doesn’t mean we can’t still have our top DJs, top quality sound systems and create that club type vibe.

Business partner Eilis Collins added ‘Our customers enjoy VIP tables and table service, so for us that’s our natural progression, we’re going to deliver that throughout the whole venue focusing on giving more customers that opportunity to take up that VIP service.

Sugar Suite is located above Velvet Music Rooms offering a traditional Irish pub feel with a twist. Cool, quirk, contemporary decor, traditional ales and delicious menus.

15 Dani Collins Hadley and Eilis Collins (Sugar Suite)

At weekends the venues comes alive with live DJs, with Sugar Suite upstairs opening its doors to the hottest urban events in Birmingham.

14 Dani Collins Hadley and Eilis Collins (Sugar Suite)

Watch this space as when nightclubs do reopen it will be a key indicator of the nation getting back to normal.


Mike Olley is General Manager of Westside BID, the Business Improvement District that looks after Broad Street, Brindleyplace and the surrounding area. 

Velvet Music Rooms


Driving Traffic at Expo

Jas Sansi visits the Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce Expo at Villa Park.

He wonders how Exhibitors steer traffic to their stands. A blog including some great tips on making the most of Exhibiting. 


Business Expos exist to exchange information. They represent the marketing stage of business. They generate leads, ignite conversations and ultimately brings buyers and sellers together in the exchange of goods and services.

Expos make the world go round.

I’ve attended Expos for a number of years. I’ve never left without learning something, making a connection or catching up with a colleague. They’re a valuable tool in the arena of business.

CEO of Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce, Paul Faulkner explained their purpose ‘….people do business with people. Expos are a great way to take a little time to engage with other members of the business community. Expos provide an opportunity for more detailed conversations.’

As I walked around the Expo, I was intrigued as to how businesses attract delegates to their stands. What strategies are in play to break down barriers between both parties and light the touch paper of trade.

I approached a number of exhibitors and asked them that very question ‘how do you drive traffic to your stand?

Macdonald Hotels 

Kirsty Nicholls, Sales Development Manager introduced a putting green to her stand. Delegates who sink three golf balls in a row can win a round of golf.

This is a very clever hook because the Birmingham hotel where Kirsty works does not have any outside space but it allows her to tap into a new market; the Golf Fraternity.

Golf enthusiasts may need a hotel to stay in whilst enjoying their golfing holiday.

For more information email Kirsty on

Brum Breathes 

Birmingham will be introducing a Clean Air Zone in Summer 2020.

The team were exhibiting today at Villa Park and shared with me a seasoned technique called Hooker, Helper, Hero; attract a delegate, discuss their needs and solve a problem they may have.

The Birmingham City Council team also use the Expo as an opportunity to inform other Exhibitors about the Clean Air Zone initiative.

I learned public buses in Birmingham are amongst the cheapest 10% in the country to use.

Go to to see if your car is compliant.

Birmingham St Marys Hospice 

This much loved Charity use a bright pink colour and collateral to attract the attention of delegates.

There is also an interactive True or False quiz about the Hospice with a Chocolate reward for taking part.

Lean more about St Marys Hospice at and follow on Twitter @brumshospice 

Feature Medical Training 

Feature Medical Training (FMT) provide First Aid Training and Mental Health awareness.

The team from FMT use social media to announce their Expo attendance ahead of the event, and again when they have their stand number.

Jo explained ‘…we exchange business cards at Expo and follow up within 24 hours.

For more information about Feature Medical Training, Email Jo at

On Facebook at

Villa Park, home of Aston Villa 

The hosts were also exhibiting at Expo.

I caught up with Isaak Damico who explained the importance of making the right impression with a strong backdrop and high quality Collateral.

They offered a business card draw with the chance to win a bottle of Champagne.

The business cards are collated and acted upon with specific queries prioritised.

Reach out to Isaak Damico on Linkedin for more information about Villa Park:

Canal and River Trust 

Expo Sponsors, Canal and River Trust look after 900 km of Rivers and Canals in the West Midlands.

They are in the process of planting fruit trees along the canal network from Birmingham to Wolverhampton. This will create the longest orchard in the world.

Local communities will be able to access and pick free fruit whilst enjoying the canals.

I learned all of this from Terry Hodgetts, Business Engagement Partner at the Trust. He added ‘…with the increase in house building, the canal network may be the last accessible green space available for people to enjoy.

Their stand exercises the power of chocolate to attract delegates. There are also accessible stress balls until the opportunity to relax waterside.

For more information email Terry on

Follow on Twitter @CanalRiverTrust

Edgbaston Park Hotel 

Edgbaston Park Hotel and Conference Centre is located on the University of Birmingham campus.

The team had a Spin the Wheel competition with a range of prizes ranging from Afternoon Tea for two, a notebook, lip balm, chocolate or a set of high lighters.

This was a very powerful tool in attracting delegates. I even tried to blag a second attempt having failed to secure the Afternoon Tea but alas, pleas for teas fell on deaf ears.

Phone 0121 414 8888 to book Mother’s Day Lunch (limited availability) or Easter Sunday lunch (both £27.50)

Birmingham City University
Tips provided by BCU included the power of eye contact and ensuring there is enough space to engage. To engage socially as well as professionally.
The exhibiting team had a Business Card bowl. These are followed up on the next day identifying specific requests and those for general information.
Hands on at Work 
Wellbeing in the workplace is a key buzzword. Hands on Work provide seated massages in your office.
This company has a unique offer, whilst exhibiting, they have massage seats which are always a popular draw for visitors who may have been on their feet for hours.
In addition to this, they are also available for hire for other exhibitors. They will wear your corporate colours and provide shoulder and back massages to your stand’s visitors.
Sound good? Contact Kathy Scott on or 07989 367 669
University of Birmingham
When exhibiting, the University often display a three foot high Wind Turbine made of Lego. This is a powerful draw for Expo visitors and ties in with the University’s Energy Agenda.
It’s eye catching and relevant.
The next University of Birmingham Business Club Event is on 31st March, more information at or follow @KatieJatWork


So there you are, just a small sample of Exhibitors and the strategies they adopt in attracting delegates to their stands.
Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce deliver over 250 events a year including the Spring and Autumn Expo.
Join the Chamber, get involved and grow your businesses.
Link to the Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce website for information on membership, events and much more:


Jas Sansi is a freelance photographer based in Birmingham, a Trustee for LoveBrum and contributor to The Asian Today newspaper 

@jassansi 07930 837 505 






Is Dieting worth the effort?

The countdown to the end of my diet is on.

Was it worth it? 


I have two weeks remaining of my weight loss program. Have I enjoyed the process? Hell no. Do I appreciate the extra energy shedding weight affords? Defo.

Is it worth it? Hmmm.

It’s difficult to lose weight when surrounded by temptation. The very first biblical story was temptation; the temptation to eat from the tree of knowledge.

We have all the facts we need. Poor diet choices lead to weight gain. This has negative consequences in our every day lives.

We have public parks in which to exercise. Private gyms without contracts and more miles of canal path to stroll along than you know where.

Your body is made up of 360 joints, you were designed to move

And yet, as a city region, we struggle with weight. Physical attributes affect our mental health as well as our physical.

I wish I could tell you weight loss is easy. It isn’t. And maintaining weight loss is difficult too.

As human beings, its against our instincts to be hungry. Our bodies may not need constantly feeding but our cravings do.

Try these body hacks over a period of 100 days. They worked for me, they may work for you.

  • Drink water. Sometimes, your body demands hydration not food. Its easy to misinterpret signals of thirst for hunger.
  • When you feel hungry, sip water. Give yourself 20 minutes. If you’re still hungry, then you may need to eat.
  • Distraction. To avoid fantasising about unhealthy food, do something productive. Take a walk, swim, read, watch a film, anything that takes your focus away from food.
  • If you’re watching TV and they show a scene with food or alcohol, switch channels.
  • Avoid social media when hungry. Food bloggers post great food images that sprinkle a trail of crumbs to the biscuit jar.
  • Get rid of the biscuit jar. 
  • Check the weather forecast, if the temperature is above 10 degrees, go for a walk. 10,000 steps will take about 1 hour 40 minutes and shed your breakfast calories.
  • Treat yourself to an item of clothing as soon as you notice physical change. You’ve earned it.
  • Drink Green tea.
  • Get 8 hours sleep.
  • Take the stairs instead of escalators or lift.
  • Switch to wholemeal foods; bread, pasta, noodles etc.
  • Snack on mixed nuts such as Almonds or fruit if you get hungry between meals.
  • Don’t have cheat days. Keep your eyes on the prize.
  • Be as active as possible. Your body is made up of 360 joints, you were designed to move.
This is the toughest one and much easier said than done; accept the harsh reality that you are only shedding weight when hungry. If you are full, you either maintain your existing weight or gain weight.
Language matters; the smoking lobby, after Government decided to campaign against smoking, pressured public health to adopt slogans like ‘Quit Smoking, Stop Smoking and End Smoking.’ Why? Because Quitting, Stopping and Ending are all negative notions.
Humans instinctively don’t want to fail, and stopping, quitting and ending are all associated with failure.
Don’t think of dieting as weight loss but rather gaining lightness, achieving better health, earning more stamina. Keep it positive.
Achieving healthy weight is ironically up hill. You will stumble, you will fall, you will experience failure. We’re all human. We’ve spent thousands of years stumbling, falling and failing.
Don’t let being human stop you achieving what you want to achieve.
Is it worth it? Its’s always worth doing something positive, productive and life changing. 


Jas Sansi is a freelance photographer based in Birmingham, a trustee for LoveBrum and contributor to The Asian Today newspaper.

@jassansi 07930 837 505




Westside BID #BoostBusiness at The Gin Vault

The second in a series of #BoostBusiness events from Westside BID, Jas Sansi joins an intimate Canal side gathering at The Gin Vault.

An evening of Gin, Tapas and Taxis. 


Birmingham is blessed with an intricate canal network that weaves throughout the city centre. It provides a unique backdrop for the bars and restaurants nestled across the pathways that run alongside the calm waters.

We have a lot to thank the city planners and engineers who gifted this heritage to Brum.


The development of Birmingham continues to this day. Broad Street is being transformed with the extension of the Midland Metro network linking New Street Station to HSBC headquarters and further up to Five Ways.


The transport connectivity investment is very welcome. It has attracted property development to the district. Look down on Broad Street to see recipients of the Walk of Stars, look up to see the towering homes of Brum’s future communities.

Broad Street Tower 1

The compromise in all of this is the immediate effect development work is having on the venues in Westside BID. Establishments, part of large chains are better shielded against the effects of construction. Smaller independents, less so.


Westside BID’s #BoostBusiness initiative supports local businesses operating under these conditions.

Westside Business Improvement District (BID) exists to create a more attractive, better marketed, brighter, safer and cleaner business environment in Broad Street, Brindleyplace, Five Ways, Centenary Square, Broadway Plaza and all the surrounding areas.


This week, the spotlight falls on The Gin Vault, a Gin bar situated on Canal side between Brindleyplace and The Mailbox. It offers over 420 different Gins and Tapas inside a very cosy waterside bar.


I’ve walked past the Gin Vault hundreds of times and assumed it led upstairs to a bar on Gas Street. I couldn’t have been more wrong. The Gin Vault sits inches above the canal and its fabulous.


I’m going to allow the photographs to do most of the talking in this blog.


Gin has enjoyed a remarkable renaissance in recent years and the popularity of the drink is reflected in the number of Gin Bars in the city. This is one that deserves attention.


As evening progresses, canal side lights provide illumination outside whilst inside, the lighting is magical. The bar is lit with fairy lights throughout and it makes for an incredible ambiance. The attention to detail is second to none, background music allows for conversation without having to raise your voice.


Westside BID Manager Mike Olley spoke passionately about the Gin making process, and the unique offer available at the Gin Vault.


The staff are friendly, welcoming and intrinsically knowledgable about their product. Tell them what you like, and they will suggest an excellent Gin.


I learned the most popular choices include Rhubarb Gin and Pink Gin. The most expensive is Herno at £11 a shot, they suggest drinking this over ice without a mixer.


The menu offers a Gin Experience for £30; a cocktail, tapas and paddle board of three single shot Gins with a mixer.

There is a bottomless brunch available of weekends for £35.


I opted for three tapas for under a tenner; Salmon Bruschetta, Spicy Chicken Skewers and Prawn Tempera. All fabulous. Vegetarian and Gluten Free options are clearly labelled.


The Gin Vault can accommodate up to 60 people. Here’s a tip, book table number 3. It affords the best view of the waterside.

If you’re looking for a great night out in Brum, and want a unique experience, the Gin Vault ticks all the boxes.

Tuesday is Doubles for Singles but as always, drink carefully.

The Gin Vault. All the details can be found at

On Twitter @VaultGin

Westside BID

Full set of images:

Jas Sansi is a freelance photographer based in Birmingham, a Trustee for LoveBrum and contributor for The Asian Today newspaper.

@jassansi 07930 837 505

London has sailed

Jas Sansi spends the day in London pondering how far the capital has moved from the rest of the UK. 

And yet the anti HS2 brigade continue to push against the opportunity for the regions to fight back. 

London Street 3

I was in London yesterday to attend International CONFEX, the annual exhibition for the Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions (MICE) industry. 

It was held at ExCeL London. 

I jumped on a very early train from Birmingham New Street to Euston. A journey without  incident.

London Street 2

I arrived at Euston on time and Googled how to get from there to ExCeL.

The instructions were very clear; walk to Euston Square station, take the Circle Line to Tower Hill. Walk to Tower Gateway Station to catch the Docklands Light Railway to Custom House and then walk to ExCeL. 

There was no need to purchase a ticket from the machine at Euston Square, simply tapping my Credit Card on the turnstile. The train was pulling out the station as I entered. The next one arrived one minute later. Stood for half the journey, sat for the second half to Tower Hill.

London Street 5

I crossed the road to Tower Gateway. A driverless train was waiting at the platform. I walked on. I asked a ticket inspector if this was the right train for ExCeL. It was. Purchased a ticket from him using his hand held scanner. 

The light railway zipped across East London for 20 minutes. I tapped the scanner on exiting Custom House Station and arrived at ExceL two minutes later.

A entirely seamless, frictionless, and easy nine mile journey. 

London Street 6

Along the entire overground journey from Tower Hill to Custom House, I saw wave after wave of development, cranes, construction and activity.

The level of investment is eye watering, and though envy is not a desirable trait, I confess to being jealous of the capital. 

London is no longer England. London is a country in itself. It’s quite remarkable really.

London Street 7

I was a student in London in the 1990s. I enjoyed my time there but I always knew I would return to Brum to build a life after graduation.

I want us to have this level of investment, development and attention. And this is in addition to the changes we are undergoing as we await HS2.

The argument against HS2 on the grounds of cost are a complete joke. Anyone in the Midlands who fought against HS2 on the grounds of cost paid a disservice to the young and to future generations. 

London Street 8

I’m one of the biggest flag bearers for HS2, I have been ever since Lord Adonis raised the notion many years ago. 

The reality is, I will never benefit from HS2. I’m nearly 50 and by the time the ultra modern slick HS2 trains slide into Curzon Street Station, my work will be done.

God willing, my children will be economically active adults, whilst me and my wife will be scouring websites for the best price on Deep Heat sprays. 

London Street 9

It is a lot of money, hundreds of billons, but spread over two decades, it represents a drop in the ocean for the fifth largest economy in the world.

And if the money is not spent, here on HS2, to benefit the region and the next generation, it’s not as if it won’t be spent. It’ll be spent where it’s always been spent; London. 

The dozens of cranes, apartment developments and infrastructure extensions that lipstick the banks of the River Thames will absorb all of that money.

London Street 10

We will witness the economic tectonic plates of the UK shift further, creating gaps between the South East and the rest of the country that will never be bridged. 

It’s a position future generations will never forgive us for.

London Street 11

I took the Docklands Light Railway back to Tower Hill but decided to walk from there to Euston. I snapped the pictures on this blog during that walk with my Nikon compact.

London Street 1

I don’t want to be jealous of London, I want to be proud of what we have and that includes being at the heart of the UK’s High Speed Network.


Jas Sansi is a freelance photographer based in Birmingham, a Trustee for LoveBrum and contributor to The Asian Today newspaper.

@jassansi 07930 837 505





Westside BID #BoostBusiness

In the first of a series of #BoostBusiness events from Westside BID, Jas Sansi joins some of the region’s Bloggers, Business and Professional community for dinner at Celebrity Indian Restaurant on Broad Street.



Westside Business Improvement District (BID) exists to create a more attractive, better marketed, brighter, safer and cleaner business environment in Broad Street, Brindleyplace, Five Ways, Centenary Square, Broadway Plaza and all the surrounding areas.

The BID’s #BoostBusiness initiative supports the companies operating in the area in light of the Midland Metro Tram extension along Broad Street.

The Tram extension is a very welcome addition to the connectivity of Brum but it does pose a number of short term challenges. The work has effectively turned Broad Street into a construction site.

There’s no doubt Birmingham is transforming as it looks forward to the Commonwealth Games 2022 and the arrival of HS2. It feels like there is a lot happening right now. In my half century, I’ve never known such a buzz in Brum. It’s infectious.

As Lord Digby Jones said last week at the launch of the new Elonex office in Brum, ‘Here in Birmingham, we’ve never had a river flowing through our city to boost trade unlike every other major city in the world, but we have a people who don’t care who you are, where you’re from, the colour of your skin or what God you pray to. Our people are our greatest asset.

The first #BoostBusiness takes us to Celebrity Indian Restaurant. This popular venue operates above The Brasshouse occupying the entire first floor. Its sheer size is the first impression made on entering.


Westside BID’s General Manager Mike Olley welcomed the gathering of some of the region’s bloggers, business and professional community. The restaurant was originally situated next to The Birmingham Rep attracting the great and the good from the stage, hence the name ‘Celebrity.’

02 Krissie Wolfe, Erica Hughes, Elaine Weir and Alev Dervish

The vast majority of Indian Restaurants in the UK are operated by members of the Bangladeshi Community. Brum’s most famous Indian chef, Aktar Islam hails from this very background.

03 Mike Olley and Geoff Weir

The Commonwealth nation is home to 163 Million people. The geography of Bangladesh is defined by the Ganges Delta. The waters are a double edged sword; an invaluable source of food in the fish they harvest but expose the nation to the catastrophic consequences of flood.


Celebrity Indian Restaurant celebrate heritage offering a number of dishes that originate from Bangladesh. Let’s take a tour of some of these mouth watering specialties.


Tandoori Jingha, King Prawns marinated in mace, cardamon, ginger and garlic, then barbecued.


Subzee Milijuli, assorted vegetables cooked in a medium strength curry sauce.


Shahi Salmon, prepared in a sauce of peppery gravy, capsicum and green chillies.


Seabass Khazana, fillets of seabass, marinated in various spices, pan fried with fresh herbs and served on a bed of creamed vegetables consisting of paprika, onions and tomatoes.


Jingha Zafroni, King Prawns cooked with distinctive herbs and spices in their shells.


Machli Bengal, Bangladeshi white fish, pan fried with fresh chillies and lemongrass then simmered in a hot and spicy rich sauce.


Cox’s Bazaar Jingha, King Prawns from the tropical coastline of Bangladesh cooked with fresh herbs and spices in a delicious sauce.


The much loved traditional Jalfrezis, Tikkas, Kormas and Bhunas are all on tap but these can be enjoyed in an infinite number of Indian establishments. The seafood selection available at Celebrity Indian Restaurant set out above allows a unique experience.


The restaurant affords an elevated view of Birmingham’s canal network. If you are a party of ten, request the table on the lower mezzanine.


The service was friendly and professional. Starters allowed a gastronomic tour of the chef’s skills and they did not disappoint. Vegetarians, Gluten Free and interestingly even a diner who did not eat onion are all accommodated without fuss.


Thank you to Westside BID and Celebrity Indian Restaurant for hosting a wonderful evening. Monday evening was chosen on the assumption the kitchen would not be stretched. It was heartening to see the restaurant gradually fill to near capacity as the evening progressed. I would therefore recommend booking to secure a table if you plan to visit over the weekend.


Westside BID has an infinite number of bars to enjoy before and after your meal. All businesses are operating as normal throughout the Tram construction works.


Celebrity Indian Restaurant is highly recommended for its seafood offer. All the roar of a Bengal Tiger and more impact than a Tyson Fury right hook.

Celebrity Indian Restaurant 44 Broad Street, Birmingham B1 2HP 0121 643 8969

Westside BID

Jas Sansi is a freelance photographer based in Birmingham, a Trustee for LoveBrum and contributor for The Asian Today newspaper.

@jassansi 07930 837 505


The Weight of the World

Jas Sansi expands on his claim the odds are stacked against those trying to lose weight. 


I’ve been amazed how many people have read, shared and commented on my weight loss blog. Thank you to everyone who engaged with the post, it is very much appreciated. 

The blog ‘The Weight is Over’ states the odds for losing weight are stacked against you. I’d like to expand on why. 

We are exposed to over 2000 adverts per day. Many of which promote fast food, sugary drinks, alcohol and chocolate; basically all the stuff we enjoy. 

The corporate brands behind these adverts have multi million pound budgets to literally stuff their products down our throat. 

Here in Birmingham, we are officially the most obese city in Europe. The Marketing departments are pushing on an open door. Thank God for Bobby Singh and his Love Your Postcode screens, if nothing else, Bobby offers a respite from all those empty calories.  

In addition to the adverts on digital screens and bill boards, there is television, radio, newspapers, magazines and social media. 

I was in the gym the other day. The radio was playing in the background. Music gave way to an advert break. The second advert was a Fried Chicken one delivered by a male voice. The fifth advert was from the same company, similar message but clock this; a female voice. That’s right, whether you respond better to a male voice or a female voice, the Colonel has all exits covered.

Traditional media channels spray, display, and pray their products hit the right consumers, but with social media, those algorithmic bad boys tailor their output around who you are. How do they know? Well every time you click on something, you broadcast a signal of who you are. 

I love Social Media and this blog is not a criticism of it.  You are reading this because it’s been shared across Social Media. You’ve been exposed to this blog because we are either friends, family, associates, in a business relationship or networked. 

Whatever our relationship, there exists an element of trust. You are reading this because you know me, or you know the person who shared it across their timelines.

I have a lot of Social Media friends who are food bloggers. I follow them because they are interesting. They are passionate about food, and passion always makes for interesting updates. 

They often post images of food that are fabulous. I’ve been on a reduced and calorie controlled diet since January 1st and the blogger images are hard to see and hard to resist. They pour fuel on my permanent hunger fire. It’s the price you pay for friendship. 

It’s another example of how odds are stacked against attaining a slimmer body. Our own trusted networks conspire against us.

These are just a few of the odds that are stacked against anyone, who is trying to bring the needle on the scales back into the green zone. 

I have 34 days left of my 100 day program. I can see most of my rib cage without an Xray. My watch is loose despite never aspiring to reduce the circumference of my wrists.

These beacons of progress are tempered by the reality that if I tattooed a map of the world onto my stomach, it would be an accurate rendition of a globe. 

34 days to conquer a flat earth. What are the odds? 

Jas Sansi is a freelance photographer based in Birmingham, a Trustee for LoveBrum and contributor to The Asian Today newspaper.

@jassansi 07930 837 505