For several months, acclaimed Birmingham chef Aktar Islam has been working away on his latest project- an Italian place called Legna.
After the success of his first solo venture, Indian fine dining restaurant Opheem which opened on Summer Row in May, the Saturday Kitchen star proclaimed its new sister restaurant, would be a "sultry new Italian - an iconic restaurant unlike anything else in the city.”
On our preview visit we were able to confirm the restaurant may have surpassed even Aktar's grand predictions.
Legna which is Italian for firewood, is a drop dead gorgeous addition to our food and drink scene.
This is the most dramatic and decadent looking restaurant opening of 2018.
The rich wood interior combined with stylish Italian furniture and white apple blossom dotted around makes this a truly luxury restaurant experience.
The venue which includes a private dining room with doors that open up to overlook the canal, is part of Aktar and business partner Alan Rees' goal to 'redevelop Summer Row.'
Aktar's AI Restaurants group has more Brum restaurants planned in the future.
The 70 cover bar and eatery is housed inside the former FSK restaurant which was most recently operating as Mi Amore
The stunning focal point of the venue is the central bar which seats 32, and faces diners as soon as they walk into the plush venue.
As well as being a stunning place to sip Negronis, the bar is wide enough for drinkers to enjoy the full food menu -whether you fancy a few small plates or a three course meal.
Aktar told us: “We wanted Legna to be sumptuous and sultry.
"If you think about Italian food and Italian culture - dramatic and sultry is what comes to your mind.
"That's what I wanted to convey, none of this jars of olives cliche of what an Italian should look like.
"It's about challenging people's perceptions of what Italian restaurant should be - just like Opheem doesn't look like anything like an Indian restaurant.
"My cooking has helped give Birmingham a new appreciation of what is a modern Indian fine dining restaurant. I hope Legna will give the same new appreciation for Italian food. It's a fresh look at Italian cooking."
So is Aktar cooking at Legna now?
No. Although he will be hands on for the first few weeks of opening, Aktar's day job remains head chef at Opheem.
Steve Woods, former head chef of Pure Bar and Kitchen will be helming the kitchen at Legna.
What's on the menu?
Don't expect the usual Italian comfort food classics. This is a fresh, super modern fine dining take on Italian food.
The menus will change regularly depending on what's in season and what's fresh, so there is no set menu. As well as a la carte menu diners can choose a tasting menu of smaller sized Italian mains.
Dishes include Stuzzinchini da convidore - oyster, beetroot, Jerusalem artichoke, butternut squash and kohlrabi and tagliatelle - celeriac, trompette, Winchester cheese, truffle and Coniglio - rabbit rillette, balsamic, cipollini onions.
Desserts will include the Torta Al Limone - Amalfi lemon and creme fraiche.
Who is Aktar Islam?
There is a state of the art wood fired pizza oven in the kitchen in case you do fancy more familiarly Italian dishes.
Legna opens on Summer Row on Tuesday December 11