Last night, I had the pleasure of dining at West 12 Bar & Grill, at Birmingham Marriott Hotel, just in time for the opening of the Rugby World Cup. For the duration of the Rugby season, the Marriott Hotels are hosting #BurgersandBubbles, motto of which is: ‘designed by champions, served with champers.’ Celebrating Rugby events in style, Marriott and International Rugby Players have collaborated into creating the bravest, beefiest and bulgiest burgers I have ever held in my two hands.

My dinner partner and I decided to go head-to-head with the two available Rugby Burger options. So, representing Australia, my guest went for The Burke burger, designed by the Australian fullback Matt Burke himself, who must have been a huge fan of sweet and sour, for the concoction of beef burger, grilled red onion, beetroot and pineapple behaved rather saucily in my partner’s mouth. At home, I represented New Zealand with the Hardman burger, created by Brad Thorn, the lock of the team, and I have to say, if I had even attempted man-handling the burger, it would have given me a locked jaw. Thankfully, we were both given steak knives to tackle the scrummy masterpieces. The Hardman was smoky and earthy with the venison, crispy streaky bacon, fried egg and tomato chutney combination. It was a draw, for both burgers equally delighted the taste buds of the burger captains.
Our evening was made extra special by the restaurant team, who did nothing more but care for us. It was very kind of the Hotel General Manager, Gordon Tyler, to personally welcome us, joke about the world cup and assuring us that we were very welcome at West 12 Bar & Grill. He told us, ‘it is a very exciting time of year for rugby fans,’ and though we are not dedicated Rugby fans, we were soon in the mood for celebrating. Our waiter Sam led the team with care, dedication and a pleasant smile that went with every course. He was very passionate about the wines that he let us sample, and was very good listener while we shared our views about each one. It was not quite around the world in eighty glasses, but as we gargled the tasters, it felt we were being transported to the climates of the hot countries of Chile, Italy, Spain, France, where the wines were made. Our favourite was a red wine which accompanied the red meats deliciously, and though the name has escaped my mind, it was a combination of a Shiraz and Cabernet, and boy did it dance around our heads.

I take my hat off to the chefs, who talentedly infused the finest ingredients by presenting both the starter and the main with formidable style and elegance, and the meaty burgers that made us fall-back and made us feel slightly self-conscious that our hands were not qualified to master the handling of the meat in between the two gigantic sesame-seeded buns.

England beat Fiji 35-11, last night. So, it was an all-around successful night.

Reviewed by: Alex DaSilva

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Telephone: +44 121 452 1144

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Star rating: ★★★★★ (explained)

Cost rating: £££ (explained)

Tipping policy: Discrectionary 12.5% added to you bill
by Alex Da Silva