Table Talk – Friday 7th September

A new bar in Digbeth, award –winning smoked salmon from Droitwich and a champagne bar for Shrewsbury all feature in my news round-up this week.

Finders Keepers bar Digbeth

The next time you are in Digbeth, check out a new bar – Finders Keepers which has taken over the old Rainbow Pub. Expect lots of exposed brick, street art, a huge range of gins and a Happy Hour on cocktails until 7pm.

Macneil's Smokehouse slamon

Congratulations to Macneil’s Smokehouse in Droitwich. The Great Taste Golden Fork has been awarded to their Beech Wood Smoked Salmon as the best food or drink from the Midlands. Cured and then smoked in a vintage Norwegian smoker, this salmon ‘s “gorgeous texture dances on the tongue in tango with the perfect smoke, resulting in a very moreish mouthful. “

Ten & Six champagne bar logo

The champagne corks will soon be popping in Shrewsbury as Ten & Six bar gets ready to launch. Located in what used to Jonathan’s gift shop, the historic building is currently being transformed taking inspiration from Alice in Wonderland. When it opens in September, Ten & Six will also offer a range of cocktails, dining platters and afternoon teas.


Table Talk – Friday 31st August

Blanc NRI paneer tikkaI’ve been reading about a new Indian restaurant which is due to open in Stone next week. Husban Ahmed already owns the James Dhal restaurant in Birmingham and is in the midst of spending more than £300,000 to refurbish the Bengal Lodge to be his latest eaterie. Called Blanc NRI  (which stands for Not Really Indian) the new 80-cover restaurant will serve traditional and contemporary Indian cuisine and is expected to open on Monday 10th September.

Becketts Farm bakery

Good luck to all of the eateries nominated in the Visit Herefordshire and Visit Worcestershire awards, which will be announced on Tuesday. The Eating Out category sees Becketts Farm Shop go head-to-head with Castle House Hotel and Cellar Door bistro in Hereford,  Churchfields, famous for their icecream, of Droitwich and Feli’s of Worcester.

Hilltop Farm Shop and Cafe breakfast

I wish I could make the Yoga & Brunch at Hilltop Farm, but I will be at the Leamington Food Festival instead.  On Sunday 9th September you can take a 75 minute outdoor class, followed by a delicious brunch of freshly prepared smoothies, a meat or veggie option breakfast plus teas and coffees. Price per person is £21.50 which is payable in advance and booking is essential.

September Events

September is always a good month to visit food festivals, to meet producers and enjoy seasonal produce. My round up this month takes you from Shropshire to Warwickshire, with the return of huge well known events like the Ludlow Food Festival to lesser known celebrations like the Ginger and Spice Festival.


In Staffordshire, the StrEATfood Social at Burton’s Market Hall and a Wolseley Wine Loft wine tasting of wines from handmade, small producers caught my eye.

It’s a busy month for foodies in Shropshire  – you can become an expert in cheese at the Turnbulls Cheese Experiences Academy of Cheese; Deliciously Ella will be signing her latest cookbook; Ludlow will be hosting  hundreds of food producers for the Ludlow Food Festival and at the end of the month The Ginger and Spice Festival is held in Market Drayton.

I’ll be going to one of the biggest food festivals in Warwickshire (which I’m pleased to say is still free entry) the Leamington Food & Drink Festival. The Arden Hotel in Stratford upon Avon is celebrating 100 years of the RAF with a special RAF Afternoon Tea and the whole town toasts theStratford upon Avon Town Centre Food Festival on the 22nd and 23rd of September.

In Birmingham Opus Restaurant is hosting a Cheese Dinner, you can sup a few pints at the Ale & Cider Festival, which is set in the gardens of Blakesley Hall and the Midlands Whisky Festival returns with a huge selection of drams.

All the details for addresses, opening times and ticket prices are over on the September Events page.

Table Talk – Friday 24th August

Let’s raise a glass to a wine merchant in Worcester, an award-winning micropub in Warwick and Shropshire’s first wine school.

Bottles wine merchant Worcester

If you are a fan of rosé wine, then Bottles wineshop in Worcester has a date for your diary. ‘Rosé Wines From Around The World’ is the theme of their next monthly wine tasting club on Thursday 30th August, where they will be showcasing a selection of summery rosé wines alongside some tasty nibbles. Tickets are £15 per person.

The Old Post Office micropub Warwick.jpg

Congratulations to The Old Post Office in Warwick, who has won Warwickshire Pub of the Year 2018. The family run micropub on West Street offers a selection of real ales, craft beers and traditional ciders. The Old Post Office impressed the judges with their outstanding quality, service and community involvement.

wine glasses

If you are quick you might be able to grab a ticket for a Charcuterie and Wine Workshop at The Lion Hotel in Shrewsbury. Hosted by the Shropshire Wine School, on Friday 31st August, guests will be able to match six different types of charcuterie with six classic wines from France, Spain and Italy. From 7 – 9pm tickets are priced £35.



Perking up Birmingham’s coffee culture

Birmingham already has a great selection of independent coffee shops.  I’m thinking of Yorks, Quarter House Coffee, Waylands Yard and Damascena, as my favourite places for a quality brew. Now added to that line-up is Ngopi – Birmingham’s first Indonesian coffee shop.

Ngopi Coffee Birmingham

Ngopi means ‘let’s have a coffee’ in Indonesia. The country is renowned for its high quality beans and is the fourth largest producer of coffee in the world. The majority of Ngopi’s coffee is made using the Indonesian bean, Toraja Sapan, which is roasted  in-house.

As well as the drinks, take a look at their menu too for the bakwan (vegetable fritters) curry puffs and martaba (stuffed pancake) which make a light and tasty lunch.

Originally from Jakarta, Ngopi owners  Birama Gladini and his wife Elmira Hamdi previously ran a coffee shop there for three years. They moved to Birmingham so that Birama could complete his Enterprise Systems Management MSc at Birmingham City University and thought that this would be a great location for their new business after he graduated.

Birama Gladini said: “We are staying to our roots and offering a modern yet authentic Indonesian feast, to fill the void of dedicated Indonesian cafes or restaurants in the Midlands. We hope that everyone, including locals and Indonesians living in the UK, love what we have to offer.”

Ngopi coffee shop
56 Dale End, The Square Shopping Centre, Birmingham
Open 7.30am – 4.30pm

Photo credit: Birama Gladini by Birmingham City University

Table Talk – Friday 10th August

Shropshire Salumi

It has been a good week for Shropshire Salumi. The company produces handmade Salumi the traditional way, with high quality locally sourced ingredients, using artisan methods. First they were awarded a silver medal at the first British Charcuterie Awards, announced at the BBC Countryfile Live Show. Then they featured on ITV’s ‘Give It A Year’ programme where Karren Brady follows new start-ups. You can listen again to the programme here and the obstacles Will Macken overcame to launch his food product.

Shaun Ward Ludlow Gin

It is one of my favourite tipples, so I will be looking out for a new brand of gin next month. Ludlow Gin is a hand-crafted, single batch, copper pot distilled gin that will be launched at the Ludlow Food Festival in September by Shropshire Hills Distillery. Find out more at

Seven17 burgers.jpg

I reported on their opening, so I was sad to read on Facebook this week that after only a year in business  Seven17 burger shop in Coventry has closed. The owners said “ We started this journey and put our heart and soul into it, but it just didn’t work the way we had planned. We won’t look at it as a fail but more as seeing what works best with our concept and the shop we had just wasn’t right for us.”  Even though the restaurant is closed, it is not the end of the road for these burger boys.


Table Talk – Friday 3rd August

Church Farm Brewery

Slurp in Leamington is offering a free Church Farm Beer tasting next weekend.  Just pop into the shop between noon and 3pm on Saturday 11th August to try some expertly made, local craft ale and beer. (Can’t guarantee that the lovely dog will be there though!)

The Blue Bell Inn Kidsgrove

Kidsgrove’s The Blue Bell Inn has re-opened after a £75,000 makeover. The canal side pub has a selection of real ales and 30 different gins and will be offering a warm welcome to dog walkers, ramblers and visitors by barge.

Atlantico Rum

Looking ahead to National Rum Day, Atlantico Rum has teamed up with Malmaison to celebrate the spirit on Thursday 16th August, with a five-course menu crafted by Malmaison’s head chef and five rum cocktails created by Rob Wood (the man behind Smultronstalle and 18/81). Tickets are £55 each.

Celebrate Summer


Take a culinary trip to the Caribbean, Greece and Thailand in this month’s events as we celebrate Summer in August.

Check the Events page for more details of Yiayia Mama pop up, Rum & Reggae night, A Taste of the Mailbox, Sophie Hyam’s pop-up, An Afternoon Tea & Tasting with The Cotswolds Distillery and Birmingham Whisky Club plus the Lichfield Food Festival.

Table Talk – Friday 27th July

So many delicious things to eat in this week’s Table Talk, from a new deli in Leamington to a Greek-Cypriot pop-up in Birmingham and sizzling sausages in Shrewsbury.Tuck in!

Sampling at Fred & Virginia deli Leamington Spa

Congratulations to mother and daughter team Jacquie Smallwood and Lauren Castle, who opened the doors to their new deli in Leamington yesterday. Fred & Virginia on Regent Street offers fresh food for breakfast and takeaway lunches as well as pantry items, ready meals, soups, bread and cakes. It will also stock a selection of luxury hampers and gifts. The plant-based deli also plans to hold meet the producer events for sampling artisan produce.

Tim Phedon

Recreate that holiday vibe in the heart of Birmingham, with chef Tim Phedon who is launching his inaugural Greek Cypriot themed pop-up restaurant, Yiayia Mama. On Friday 3rd August Tim will create authentic dishes from the villages of his grandparents in Cyprus, mixed in with creative reinterpretations of some classic recipes. Menus will be themed around mezze, and all dishes – from bread and dips to a Cypriot custard filo pie for dessert –  will be homemade.

sausages and cider Shropshire Live

For a sizzling banger, head over to Shrewsbury on Saturday (28th) for the new Sausage and Cider Festival. The team behind the Shrewsbury Food Festival and Shropshire Oktoberfest  is staging this one day celebration in the Buttermarket. Entry is £5.

Table Talk – Friday 20th July

Hot! Hot! Hot! Cool down with a pint of craft beer after a fiery chilli festival and an evening of rum, reggae and Caribbean street food. On the menu in this week’s Table Talk are Warwick Chilli Festival, Mart’s Brewhouse & Tap plus Rum & Reggae night at Fargo Village.

Jackys Pantry Warwick Chilli Festival

This weekend Market Square in Warwick heats up with the annual Chilli Festival. Chilli flavoured food to eat and buy, plus a chilli eating competition and a chilli con carne cooking competition will be taking place from 10am-4pm.

Leave it to Esmie

Friday 3rd August is a date for your diary if you love Caribbean food as the Rum & Reggae event returns to FarGo Village in Coventry on from 5pm. Tuck into dishes from Leave It To Esmie, Dookie’s Grill, Cornography and West Jerk Centre and speciality rum and cocktails to enjoy from FarGo Bar, Trailer Made Cocktails and Backhaus & Co. There will also be live music from Phase One Steel Orchestra and DJ Dave Marshall Barrett will be on the decks. Tickets cost £3 in advance from Eventbrite and £5 on the door.

Marts Brewhouse and Tap Hanley

A new tap bar has opened in Hanley, so that real ale fans in Staffordshire can enjoy a pint made from an on-site brewery. Mart’s Brewhouse & Tap has opened in the former Club International unit in Piccadilly, by husband and wife Will and Holly Haywood along with former Coachmaker’s Arms landlords, Sue Grocott and Jason Barlow. The two level bar can accommodate 90 people and offers up to eight real ales brewed on site and 14 tap beers, plus a selection of spirits.