We go for dinner at a New York restaurant in Birmingham’s most prestigious hotel - here’s our verdict

The New York style restaurant is in Birmingham’s most prestigious hotel, but does it offer a distinguished dining service?
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I love New York. It’s so big. So exciting. Yet so chilled - with its own distinctive urban vibe, oozing with coolness.

But can it be replicated at a restaurant in Birmingham? Well with the venue situated in the city’s most luxurious and prestigious hotel, there’s a chance it can - surely?

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I’ve visited the bar at Isaac’s at The Grand Hotel on several occasions. It’s a great place to catch up with friends after a shopping trip, or on the way to the theatre.

But I’ve never eaten in the restaurant. I came close, previously, when I mistakenly arrived at Isaac’s for a friend’s birthday, only to discover that everyone was meeting at Cafe Madeline. It was a shame because I’d had a peek at the menu and really fancied some of the contemporary New York dishes.

So eventually I made my way back there on a recent Saturday evening. The bar was bustling, full of lively chatter and atmosphere.

Isaac's restaurant at The Grand Hotel in BirminghamIsaac's restaurant at The Grand Hotel in Birmingham
Isaac's restaurant at The Grand Hotel in Birmingham

The restaurant behind it was busy too. It’s a distinctive venue with its ornate, shiny Victorian tiles and ceramic patterned ceiling. The restaurant is part of the original building which was opened in 1879 and constructed for Isaac Horton, a local property developer at the time and founder of the present-day Hortons Estate, which owns several historic buildings across Birmingham, including the Apple Building on New Street.

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Isaac had spotted an opportunity for accommodation demand with traders arriving in Birmingham at Snow Hill Station.

Mac 'n' cheese with slow cooked beef brisket at Isaac's restaurant at The Grand Hotel in BirminghamMac 'n' cheese with slow cooked beef brisket at Isaac's restaurant at The Grand Hotel in Birmingham
Mac 'n' cheese with slow cooked beef brisket at Isaac's restaurant at The Grand Hotel in Birmingham

The building was extended several times and became an iconic landmark for many years with guests including King George VI, Winston Churchill, Charlie Chaplin and James Cagney. But it was shut for 20 years and fell into disrepair before being lovingly restored to its former glory and reopened in 2021.

It’s wonderful that Isaac is remembered at the restaurant. It was a shame that the staff hadn’t remembered our booking though!

It wasn’t a big deal however, they swiftly found us some seats in the middle of the dining area. It wasn’t the best table, a little on the small side, and we felt a little exposed with groups seated in plush booths around us, but we soon got used to the area and got on with the important business of viewing the menu.

Homemade nachos at Isaac's restaurant at The Grand Hotel in BirminghamHomemade nachos at Isaac's restaurant at The Grand Hotel in Birmingham
Homemade nachos at Isaac's restaurant at The Grand Hotel in Birmingham
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The dishes all had a New York feel There were short rib burgers, New York style hot dogs, native lobster, Maryland crab cakes and more. With dishes divided into sections including small plates, a raw bar, seafood platter and steaks.

I opted for a small plate of Homemade nachos for my starter - served with guacamole, pico de gallo and sour cream (£6.50) and for main I went for a main plate of Mac & cheese with slow cooked beef brisket (£17). My friend chose the same.

Don’t know if there was something in the air that night. But instead of bringing out two starters, our waiter brought over a single  plate of nachos and mac & cheese at the same time.

We explained the error, and the service team were most apologetic and went about amending the order and brought over a second plate of nachos.

Inside Isaac's restaurant at The Grand Hotel in BirminghamInside Isaac's restaurant at The Grand Hotel in Birmingham
Inside Isaac's restaurant at The Grand Hotel in Birmingham
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These were wonderful, it has to be said. So crispy, so fresh, although I could have done with a little more topping on mine. The pico de gallo had a tasty kick and the guacamole was wonderfully mellow with the sour cream topping.

Inside Isaac's restaurant at The Grand Hotel in BirminghamInside Isaac's restaurant at The Grand Hotel in Birmingham
Inside Isaac's restaurant at The Grand Hotel in Birmingham

Both my friend and I were disappointed with the mac & cheese main. For the price and venue, it could have been a little more impressive. Nice tasty melted cheese and macaroni.

I did find a strip of beef after searching for a while. It was tasty enough and added some depth to the dish. The pickled vegetables on top were tasty too and added a welcome crisp texture. But this wasn’t anything special, it has to be said. 

The food might not have been spectacular, but it was a pleasant place to visit, nonetheless and I’m tempted to return to try out another dish at some point.

The full tables of families, including children, and friends certainly seemed to approve of the venue.

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