A Mediterranean-style fish restaurant is moving to Brindleyplace – with the owners citing the city’s growing reputation for gastronomy for the venture.
Le Monde Fish Bar and Grill, which specialises in serving meat and fish selected by diners from a food counter, is opening only its second restaurant in Birmingham, after it was originally founded in Cardiff.
The new restaurant is set to open towards the end of May in a former office unit on the corner of Central Square and The Water’s Edge, above Cafe Rouge, and represents a £400,000 investment by its owners.
The first Le Monde was founded almost 30 years ago and offers customers a wide range of fresh fish and steaks cooked to order.
The Birmingham restaurant will adopt the same principle, with shellfish, fish, poultry and steaks on display for customers to choose exactly which cut, weight and quantity they would like.
Those who prefer a more conventional dining experience can also order via a menu.
The restaurant will have 150 covers, including a private area for events or meetings and also a bar area where late night music is planned.
Le Monde general manager Simon Howard said they had chosen Birmingham after extensive research, in part because of its growing reputation as a dining destination.
“We looked at several cities as sites for a new Le Monde but Birmingham impressed us because of the tremendous culinary reputation it has established and its ever growing business community,” he said.
“It’s an environment where people appreciate quality food and features all sorts of restaurants and styles. Birmingham has an enormous variety of restaurants that suit all levels and tastes and I think we will slot in quite nicely.”
The city is famed for its four Michelin-starred restaurants, but Mr Howard said he would complement the fine dining end of the market.
“Our food is simple but quality,” he said. “It’s not Michelin-starred and not fine dining but we don’t pretend to be.
“What we offer is simple food, of premium quality, cooked well.
“It’s a very honest environment if that makes sense. You see exactly what you are getting and we don’t hide behind a menu.
“If you like the look of something you pick it and we cook it. We use fresh ingredients, of the finest quality we can get and it’s cooked simply in an open kitchen.”
Birmingham’s Le Monde will be characterised by décor described as “dark and atmospheric”, mirroring the art deco style in Cardiff.
It will have a variety of table layouts, including many for large groups alongside more traditional twos and fours. It will also feature an abundance of polished glass and chrome.
Mr Howard said he appreciated the irony of a specialist fish restaurant being as far from the coast as was feasibly possible but added that he was particularly impressed by what could be sourced locally.
“Our specialism is fish, as well as steak, and this is about as far away from the sea as we can go - which is interesting for us,” he added.
“We’ve been around and had a look, we did our homework and had a good look at fish markets around. I was very surprised at the quality and variety available.”
Mr Howard, has been involved with the Cardiff Le Monde for 26 years.