I’ve heard a lot of people rave about Fumo over the years but until recently was yet to visit it personally. Part of the San Carlo group, the swish Italian inspired restaurant and cocktail bar is situated on Waterloo Street and is, from what I can gather, always super busy at the weekend.
With one of my best friends (and all round excellent human) Loz celebrating her birthday last Saturday, I finally got to pop my Fumo cherry. With many members of our friendship group now spread out across the country it’s not often so many of us all manage to get together, so our reunion to celebrate all things Lauren was really welcome.
Arriving at the restaurant I was initially taken aback by how large it is – for some reason from the outside I assumed it was much smaller – and how striking the decor is. With all the bright white and gold it gives the feeling of opulence, and everyone in there was dressed to the nines. Seeing a woman quite literally wearing underwear and a see through mini dress I immediately felt a little underdressed in my pleather skinnies but I am what I am (lol at self).
We were seated at the back of the restaurant at a large table by the window and given our menus. In hindsight it’s a much better spot to be in as the smaller tables at the front (by the bar) are surrounded by other people standing around you and you’re sort of in the walk way between wine and the toilet – and who wants that?
The menu itself is massive – both literally and in terms of choice – and our waiter advised us that it’s common to choose 2-3 plates per person, or share plates like tapas. I’m usually more keen on one big plate of food (again, I am what I am) but I was quite enamoured by the idea of being able to have both pizza and pasta in the same meal. Alas, with so much delicious sounding food on the menu we all actually ended up choosing 3 completely random dishes to try and Mr Pasta got left behind.
Picking 3 totally unrelated items, I chose the crab and avocado flatbread, the calamari, and the gnocchi in Gorgonzola cheese sauce. Whilst many of us chose the gnocchi (we all love cheese, a lot) other friends chose dishes including beef carpaccio and pork belly.
The crab dish arrived first and was beautifully presented. The delicate shredded meat was lightly seasoned and tasted very fresh, and the addition of the claw was both pretty and provided another morsel of the delicious crab. The flatbread was more of a crisp, having a texture similar to a thin popadom which confused me a little, but it was a most enjoyable seasonal dish.
The next plate to arrive was the fried calamari, complete with a garlicy aioli dipping sauce. Tender and plentiful the squid was cooked well and the batter was light and non greasy. The deep fried lemon slice and rosemary garnish were so inviting several of the party gave them a try out of curiosity and we agreed they were delicious – although I’m pretty sure they’re not actually intended for consumption. When in Rome…
Finally, I had the gnocchi in a Gorgonzola sauce – my favourite dish of the night. The light little balls of potato were tossed in just the right amount of sauce so as to be tasty without being overpowering. Definitely one for cheese lovers, the parmasean basket cradling the gnocchi was tangy, crispy and full of flavour. I’d eat this plate every single day of my life and never get bored… although I’d probably get very fat instead.
I’d definitely recommend choosing 3 plates; not only to fill you up but also to experience the variety of dishes available. Most of the plates are between £5-£8, with some specials and seafood plates costing much more. It’s ideal if you like a tapas style dining experience, although I also saw diners creating meals by choosing a plate and adding several sides. I quite like that you can tailor your meal to your likes, appetite etc.
Fumo has a fabulous cocktail menu which, considering the clientele, is reasonably priced. Most cocktails were between £8-£9.50, making it no more pricy than Be At One (and its cocktails aren’t all that, let’s be honest). I had the espresso martini in place of dessert and found it to be quite delicious.
The service was OK without being exceptional (we didn’t feel like anyone went out of their way to make the experience particularly extra special) but the food was delivered quickly and the staff were polite during what was obviously a very busy Saturday service. They also didn’t rush us to leave our table after our 2 hours was up, which was appreciated.
All in all a great night with great food. I would definitely return to Fumo to try more of the dishes, although I would probably choose to visit on a week night for a slightly less crowded experience. Personal preference, of course.
Fumo, 1 Waterloo Street, Birmingham, B2 5PG
*Disclaimer: This post is not affiliated with any brand/company mentioned within. All views are my own*