When Phil and I first started seeing each other, child free dates were a total luxury as we started out with 4 kids between us. After we got married we wanted to keep date nights going, even if it was just once a month, thankfully my folks were on board and we managed to stick to for the last 7 years together. Phil is a muso if I haven’t mentioned it before, and so I wanted out December date night to be really special for both of us. I booked tickets to see Handel’s Messiah at the Birmingham Symphony hall and we decided to make our Christmas date night in Birmingham that extra bit spectacular by throwing in dinner and a walk around the German market before the performance too. My Mum was having the children over night to spoil them a little too.
We wrapped up warm and headed into Birmingham about 3.30pm on the Friday afternoon, Phil finished work early so we could spend extra time together which was lovely. We caught a taxi to the train station and caught the train from Redditch to New Street. It’s handy because Redditch is only about 40 minutes by train to the heart of Birmingham, meaning we had time to have a proper look around Grand Central before our dinner reservation. I have to say the prosecco bar looked super appealing but then so did the tapas bar.
We had booked our dinner in Carluccio’s and it did not disappoint. I liked the fact I could check out the dairy free options on their website before we even got there. It made deciding a lot easier for me, as I already had an idea of what I could have before we arrived. We ordered a lovely bottle of Pinot Grigio, the seafood linguine and sides of garlic mushrooms and olive oil focaccia. The linguine was superb with delicious clams, mussels, prawns and crab meat. Seriously tasty and so filling. Phil finished his meal off with a chocolate chip panetone and ice cream while I had the lemon sorbet.
We didn’t feel rushed to hurry through our meal and the staff were super attentive, clearing plates and topping my glass up. It was intimate and wonderfully grown up. The perfect precursor to a stroll through the German Market on our way to the Symphony hall.
I was prepared for the German Market to be rammed to be honest, and it wasn’t. I’m not sure if that was down to the weather and not as many people wanting to visit on a Friday evening or what but I loved walking through the cabins of delights. The waft of Bratwurst sausage, roasted chestnuts, sweet donuts and beer made me want to hand around and myself silly! The lights everywhere, the banter of friends out celebrating and the stalls filled with glass decorations was wonderful. In a way I wish we had been able to spend more time there, but we needed to get a shift on to the Symphony Hall some 5-10 minutes’ walk away.
I have been to the Symphony Hall a couple of times, but more to visit my uncle in the ICC where he used to work. I once went into the Hall for a concert for a Norwegian composer which was a wonderful experience. However I had never been to anything like Handel’s Messiah but always wanted to go.
Phil had been many times previously, but was excited to be the one taking me for the first time. He talked me through the program so I knew what was going on, and when I needed to stand for the Hallelujah chorus. He even told my why we stand for it, he is a bit geeky like that but I love it about him. His enthusiasm is infectious. Anyway the performance was spectacular and I don’t want to share too much because I think it is something you need to experience first-hand. There is something quite special about sitting before an orchestra and choir and having the collective sound wash over you in waves. It is emotional, spiritual even, and utterly wonderful. Regardless of whether you have a faith or not, Handel’s Messiah is a beautiful and unforgettable experience.
Our walk back to the station was cold, freezing in fact, but we talked and laughed all the way home, even on the packed train. We caught a taxi easily in Redditch town centre and curled up in our pjs with hot cups of tea, utterly content to have spent a wonderful evening together.
Date nights really are the best, and I have a feeling we may well be returning to Birmingham in the New Year for another night out and maybe try a few of the other great restaurants.
Have you been for a date night in Birmingham? Where would you recommend?