Review: The Lost and Found Refurbishment | Redbrick | University of Birmingham

Review: The Lost and Found Refurbishment

Chris Burden spends a luxurious evening at Birmingham’s newly refurbished Lost and Found bar, sampling both their new food and cocktail menu.

The Lost and Found is a staple of a high-brow Birmingham bar crawl. An extensive and reasonably priced cocktail menu, as well as a great food menu made it the perfect starting point. However, does their recent renovation and much lauded new menu live up to expectations?

You cannot help but feel in luxury
To begin with the physical renovation is fantastic. The Lost and Found has retained all the Victorian allure that made the place unique but stripped it back to modern simplicity. The long, curved bar has been replaced with a simple, straight affair, freeing up enormous amount of floor space for generous seating. You’re surrounded by imposing, yet distinctly camp columns holding up the impressive ceiling of this historical bar, and you cannot help but feel in luxury.

We were led to one of the new seating areas where we were sat on luxurious beaux-arts-esque sofas. I was dubious at first, to be frank, but soon found myself reclining into the womb-like embrace of the soft furnishings. Above us was the finest example of an internal pergola I’ve ever laid eyes upon. Truthfully, it’s the only internal pergola I’ve ever laid eyes upon, but I would request it to be a standard henceforth. Of the places in which I have perused a cocktail menu, this was certainly the most decadent, and without doubt the most reminiscent of a late-Victorian garden party. Niche.
For my first cocktail, I settled for a Mr. Black. Like Mr Grey, but a few shades darker, I assumed. I was offered it with cream. I obliged, naturally. Chocolate, coffee, hazelnut and vodka were all combined perfectly, and they packed flavour with unbounded pugnacity. Like a Ferrero Rocher with an anabolic steroid problem, this cocktail punched above its weight and delivered on all counts. Between 5 and 8pm, cocktails from the Found menu are just £5 which make this the perfect place to start any night out.

It is, however, the Lost and Found's food menu which has seen the most dramatic change. While many cocktails have remained the same, there has been a complete overhaul in the kitchen. The installation of a Josper (I had to google it too) being the biggest catalyst of change. It turns out a josper is basically a giant indoor barbeque, purportedly a traditional cooking device, though I’m not enormously convinced the Midlands had a historical propensity for outdoor cooking, though we live and learn. The josper has all the features of a fashion piece. It looks a bit unique on your menu but is basically an inconvenient and unreliable oven which is quite wont to burn things, but at least it burns them in style.  

There’s plenty more fish in the sea, I suppose, but that’s because there certainly aren’t many of them on the menu
For all the changes, it seems most of the effort in the new menu was finding a use for their edgy new barbeque. Traditional offerings such as fish and chips have been short-sightedly dropped and vegetarian offerings are surprisingly weak for relaunched menu. There’s plenty more fish in the sea, I suppose, but that’s because there certainly aren’t many of them on the menu.

We opted for some of the more traditional starters. “Lightly Dusted” Squid (The menu opted not to tell us with what they were lightly dusted, though sawdust was my guess) and Truffle and Parmesan Arancini. Both were reasonably tasty, though under seasoned in both cases and didn’t pack any memorable flavour. A sriracha mayonnaise added flavour but was no substitute for a lack of salt. My arancini lacked the promised pugnacity of truffle but were acceptable none the less. Disappointing for the price, but perfectly fine as free-standing dishes.

The prawns were thoroughly ‘alright’ though coated in enough oil to make me think BP had been involved in the cooking process
The mains came, a prawn linguine and a steamed hake with coconut rice. Again, both were perfectly reasonable. The flaky, white hake was cooked perfectly, but once more drastically under seasoned. There was a light reprieve from the punchy mango chutney, but the small quantities made it short lived. The prawns were thoroughly ‘alright’ though coated in enough oil to make me think BP had been involved in the cooking process.  

Though all of this was blown away when the desserts arrived. We both opted for the sticky toffee pudding. There are no other words for this than “triumph”. The flavour was incredible. Literally faultless. So deep in flavour, and so light while remaining hearty. I simply could not rave about this pudding any more!

While some of the food was disappointing, I was still blown away by their service and attention to detail at the Lost and Found. The cocktails were fantastic, and the pudding eclipsed any previously held disappointment. There’s certainly a value for money with their happy hour which other bars in Birmingham would struggle to match. There are very few places in the country where you could recline in such luxurious surrounds while on a budget, though the Lost and Found provides this in hearty measures.


12th March 2018 at 9:00 am

Images from

Chris Burden