Mi Amore, Birmingham

I am totally guilty of using Instagram to decide where I want to eat, and when delicious looking pasta and pizza kept going past on my feed, I knew I had to investigate. The blog coven assembled to try out new kid on the block, Italian Pizzeria Mi Amore

Mi Amore

style and ethos

From the outside, Mi Amore looks a little like a takeout pizza shop with the brightly coloured branding on the shop-front, but don’t be put off by that. Inside, it is sleek and modern, with well-spaced out tables and lots of light. There’s a lovely terreace for sunshiney drinks by the canal, and smartly dressed waiters are on hand to cater to your every whim.

The menu was developed by Chef Aktar Islam, and the website shouts about a focus on fresh, quality, Italian ingredients. This is…not strictly true, we discover on interrogating a waiter. Mi Amore don’t make their own pasta, a fact which strikes us as bizarre for place with that ‘fresh, quality’ claim. All the sauces and pizza doughs are made on site, though, so hopefully the pasta will soon follow. It seems very odd to me to be an Italian restaurant advertising Italian classics and not make your own pasta.

Aperol Spritz

drinks

To recover from the pasta shock, we order a round of drinks. There’s an extensive wine and cocktail list, and a small range of bottled beers. When we visit, there is no draft beer available at all, and we are never quite able to get to the bottom of why, with a somewhat rambling explanation about issues with beer taps, deliveries and some problem with the beer company. Hopefully whatever the issue actually was, it has been sorted out now, as we did think the bottled beers were expensive in comparison to a pint when you factor in the much smaller size.

That hiccup aside, I order an Aperol Spritz which I forgot to note the price off, but was tasty and refreshing. The ideal start to an Italian meal.

Tuna Carpaccio

Food

I decide not to bother with the pasta, and instead start with a Tuna Carpaccio (£6.95) from the Specials menu, which arrives looking pretty as a picture. The tuna is good quality and very tasty, but the portion is small, especially when compared to other starters we see going past.

Risotto

Next, I opted for Risotto con granchio e peperoncino (£11.50), or risotto with crab and chilli, to you and me. It’s an massive portion and I only manage about three quarters of it, but there is heaps of fresh, well-prepared crab. The risotto rice is perfect, fluffy with a little bite left. I find it a touch salty (and I love salt), so be aware if you’re not a fiend for the stuff like I am.

Unfortunately, Brumderland doesn’t fare quite so well, when her tuna pizza arrives and turns out to be…chicken.

service

Service is attentive, with no request too great, including lugging the specials board all over the restaurant, so diners can peruse it at their leisure. We are definitely that table, asking endless questions about the food preparation and making a fuss about beers, but our waiter never cracks, remaining helpful, friendly and professional throughout.

At one point, he appears at the table proffering a bottle of white wine we haven’t ordered. At first we assume it’s meant for another table, but it becomes clear it is intended for us. We also aren’t sure if this means we’ve been rumbled as bloggers and it’s a gift, or if this is a slightly odd upselling technique. If it is upselling, it doesn’t work. I’d rather be given a wine list, or an informed wine recommendation, rather than have a random bottle of white arrive table-side. Either way, we politely decline, slightly baffled.

The verdict

I did enjoy our visit, despite a few hiccups, and I would go back, as it was very reasonably priced for tasty food. I paid a little over £25 for two courses and a cocktail, and I’m fairly sure we weren’t charged for bread and olives that prefaced our starters, which is a nice touch.

I don’t think Mi Amore has quite decided what it wants to be yet. The decor and the service style come from a more high-end venue, with a mid-range menu and marketing. There were oddly erratic moments, from wrong orders, drinks confusion and the lack of freshly made pasta. The restaurant is still very new, so I’m certain it will settle into a very popular spot when it’s found its feet.

We paid in full. All words, images and opinions are my own. All prices correct at the time of writing.