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See inside the much loved city restaurant making a comeback

Primitivo bar bounces back in to Barwick Street after Grand Hotel works forced closure two years ago

One of Birmingham’s much loved restaurants has been completely transformed after being closed for two years.

Bell-sized lamps over the stainless steel bar, arched windows and benched seating have given the redesigned Primitivo Bar & Eatery a church-style feeling with a contemporary twist.

Round the corner from St Philip’s Cathedral the restaurant is making a come back with a decor of white and grey, wood-coloured flooring and bronz lamps.

Complete with slate-grey menus, the result is a fresh new look for a timeless design.

Primitivo is back in business almost two years after it closed its doors for an expected six-month shutdown.

After nearly two decades in business, the owners bravely shut up shop in the summer of 2015 to help to facilitate the redevelopment of the adjacent Grand Hotel.

Birmingham Mail
Primitivo

Now, after being closed for far longer than expected, the bar will reopen to customers on Friday, May 12 with a food promise of “constructed dishes and light meals – modern British with a strong Mediterranean influence”.

Long before the current culinary revolution spawned an explosion in the number of bars and cafes promising atmosphere and independence, Primitivo was soon a standard-bearer on both fronts after being established in 1996.

Not being part of a chain gave it a different kind of feel to the corporate moods still so prevalent across the city even today.

Birmingham Mail

Primitivo was a favourite with local office workers, financiers and lawyers alike.

Originally due to expand into the adjacent unit, Primitivo Bar & Eatery is back in its original location but still has eyes on future expansion.

Even without the unforeseen delays, owner Prit Sagoo says: “The prospect of closing for six months was terrifying in itself without the unforeseen delays.

Birmingham Mail

“Now I am so excited that on lunchtime on May 12 I get to re-open the doors and welcome the city’s business community back into the bar.

“I was determined to return as the Primitivo that Birmingham knows and loves.”

Three long-serving members of staff are also returning.

Birmingham Mail
Primitivo

Prit addes: “Our drinks menu still features the best local brands Berkman Wines, Chase, Molston Coors and Purity Brewing Company and our chef has created the perfect complementary menu.

“I have been completely overwhelmed by the support and loyalty shown by our regular customers, suppliers and staff.

“They all helped to get us through this and they are the reason that we’re able to come back with such force after a series of obstacles and delays.”

Birmingham Mail
Primitivo

What’s on the menu?

Grazing and sharing plates for two range from £6.95 for flat bread with hummus and marinated olives to £15.95 for the Fisherman’s Plate, featuring Thai salmon fishcakes, smokes salmon, boquerones, salt and pepper squid served with a sweet chilli dip and aioli and a glass of Fino Jerez.

Starters and light plates range from £5.95 for sauted garlic mushrooms served on toasted ciabatta to £12.95 for a hot, smoked salmon salad niçoise.

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Main plates include shepherds pie with seasonal vegetables (£10.95), pea and asparagus risotto (£9.95), pan fried supreme of chicken £13.95) and a 28-day aged 8oz sirloin steak (£19.50).

Sandwiches are £5.50 to £9.95, served with dressed leaves and fries.

‘Prim’ burgers are £9.95 to £12.95.

Starting with chips, sea salt and black pepper, sides go from £2.80 to £3.50.

Birmingham Mail

Desserts are £4.50, including home made fruit crumble served with custard or double cream.

Bottles of wine are priced from £17.50 to £39.50 (white) and £38.95 (red).

The most expensive Champagne is a bottle of Laurent-Perrier Grand Siecle (£160), described as being of ‘brilliant yellow’ in colour and having ‘subtle aromas of honey, hazelnuts and brioche’.

When is Primitivo open?

Birmingham Mail
Primitivo

It will reopen at noon on Friday, May 12 and trade to members of the public daily from 11am, closing at 8pm on Monday and Tuesday and at 11pm from Wednesday to Friday.

Although closed at weekends to walk-in customers, it will be available for private bookings on Saturdays (free to large groups).

The ideal number is 40+ with a capacity of 50 seated or 100 for a buffet.

Primitivo Bar & Eatery is at 10 Barwick St, Birmingham B3 2NT.

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