Dining options span cool cafes and cosy pubs to gastronomic extravaganzas, with dozens of innovative new openings every year. Inexpensive restaurants are scattered throughout Chinatown, on the southwestern side of the Bullring shopping mall.

The Beautiful Balti

Birmingham's Balti Triangle (www.balti-birmingham.co.uk), 2.5 miles southeast of the city centre, is formed by Ladypool Rd, Stoney Lane and Stratford Rd. Restaurants here serve balti, a Pakistani-inspired one-pot curry, as well as soft drinks, fruit juices and lassis (yoghurt shakes), and diners can bring their own beer or wine.

Many establishments here have closed in recent years as the cuisine has become much more mainstream, with numerous subcontinental options now in the city centre instead.

The Balti Triangle is liveliest at night, especially on Fridays. Take bus 2, 4, 6, 12, 31 or 37 from Selfridges stop PA3.