The Reggae Caribbean Cookout

Mr Jerk street food montage

In the scheme of things, £2,000 does not seem like an insurmountable sum of money to establish a food project that also benefits the community. So I’m wishing street food trader Mr Jerk the best of luck in his endeavour to find a new home for his Reggae Caribbean Cookout.

The Reggae Caribbean Cookout delighted foodies at The Coffin Works in Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter last year. It’s a good old fashioned Caribbean style BBQ with jerk chicken, rum cake, curry goat, rice and peas. Listen to reggae, ska and rock steady music whilst drinking Wray and Nephew rum, Appleton Estate cocktails and cold Red Stripe beer.


If the full £2,000 is raised via a Crowdfunder campaign, Mr Jerk hopes to provide a social network for people so they do not feel isolated within the Birmingham community. He says: “It is somewhere to meet friends, play dominoes and listen to reggae.  Somewhere for all the family and where local reggae singers and bands can show their talent.”

You can pledge your support from £10 at their crowdfunding page here and check out the food and vibes on Bank Holiday Monday at St Pauls Square Church in the Jewellery Quarter.

Coming soon to Birmingham…

coming soon to Birmingham

A trio of new openings in Birmingham will be offering an appetising menu of truffle-topped pizza, street food and gin.

After India, Argentina and the USA, the Lasan Group are looking to Italy for their new concept which opens in the Selfridges Food Hall later this month. Izza! will serve sourdough pizzas, antipasti, cured meats and salads. The thin-crust pizzas will be baked in a beechwood-fired oven. Expect to pay £8 for a basic Margherita to around £15 for a truffle- topped pizza.

The Mosaic Pub and Dining Group (who own the Button Factory in the Jewellery Quarter) is turning the former Fiddle & Bone into The Distillery. The canal side pub will re-open after Easter with a gin bar upstairs and pub serving real ales downstairs.

During the Easter weekend, on Saturday 15 April, the Custard Factory will be launching Street Food Saturday their first monthly street food event. Expect German sausages from @yumlaut curries and chaats from @TheIndianRasoi homemade soups and deli sandwiches from @little6T3 and a selection of international dishes from @ChefShack627. For the sweet-toothed, @Churros_Susanna  will be on hand with their Spanish churros and chocolate sauce and there’ll be cakes, bakes, and proper tea from @HMS_Cupcake  @TheGinBoxUK will be serving  gin-based cocktails from their lovingly converted horse box.

New cooks on the block

Writing this blog is a great way of discovering new culinary talent. So when I heard that One Twelve Kitchen is bringing their fine dining pop-up to 1000 Trades next week, I got in touch to find out more about them.

 Who are One Twelve Kitchen?


“We are a small collective of Birmingham based chefs.  The team includes, Neil, Sanah, Josh, Joe and Ajay – this is the initial team, we will also have other members in the kitchen during service, such as old friends or co-workers.

“Chef Neil Withers has a background in kitchens both home and abroad, and is currently head chef a Nosh and Quaff. The rest of the team members are also staff at Nosh and Quaff and have come together to fulfil the desire to produce our own food, in our own way.

Why did you create One Twelve Kitchen?

“We all have an interest in fine dining and have taken this opportunity to be able to showcase what we can produce. The ability to produce our own dishes as a team is important to us. Everyone within the team plays an important role into making sure we put 100% into our methods, dishes, ingredients, and service.

How did One Twelve Kitchen start?

“We gravitated together sharing a passion for fantastic produce and dishes. After working with amazing suppliers and seeing the produce we could work with, we decided to go for it and make it our own. Buying all our ingredients ourselves from high end suppliers such as Rungis Markets in Paris, to purchasing the finest free range meat from Walter Rose and Sons.

“We prioritise the importance of fine ingredients, ensuring that our produce is treated with the upmost respect using our skills to create fresh, simple and wholesome dishes. Our menu includes lots of meat and fish dishes including brill and beef and we have provided a vegetarian menu as well as catering for other dietary requirements and allergies too.


Where do you draw your inspiration from?

 “As a team we have been inspired by top chefs across the world, from classical restaurants to modern establishments, we gain information and learn new things that we can then input into our style of food.

“As well as fine dining, we are also driven by the city’s massive independent dining scene, such as Digbeth Dining Club. Those guys are as much of an inspiration as the world’s best chefs, as they hold just as much importance within the city. We are proud to be part of the ever-growing dining culture in Birmingham, as we believe it is the best outside of London in terms of standard and price point.


After the 1000 Trades pop-up what’s next for you?

“We want this to be an enjoyable and educational experience for all involved, and hope to progress the pop up further, maybe venturing out into other cities. With a young team we strive to learn and educate ourselves within the ever-changing food and hospitality industry.”

The One Twelve Kitchen pop-up of six courses at 1000 Trades in the Jewellery Quarter runs from Monday 6th – Saturday 11th February. Tickets are available via eventbrite

Birmingham in UK’s top ten cities for eating out

Birmingham has secured fifth place in the latest edition of Harden’s Best UK Restaurants 2017.

This annual guide is based on one of the country’s most detailed surveys of regular restaurant-goers. In Harden’s 26th poll of diners 7,500 participants contributed 50,000 reviews for food, service and ambience.


Congratulations to top scorers Adam’s, Carters, Lasan and Original Patty Men with 5/5 and Al Frash, Gourmet Burger Company and Jyoti with 4/5.

The full listing of Birmingham restaurants (including a new entry for Rofuto) are:

The Karczma
Opus Restaurant
Purecraft Bar and Kitchen
Purnells Bistro
San Carlo
Turners at 69

Birmingham street food favourites


In case you missed it, here is the link to a great feature on street food in the Birmingham Post, with the Digbeth Dining Club traders in advance of their 2nd birthday party celebrations next Friday.

Time for tea

A colleague asked me for an afternoon tea recommendation this week. She was looking for something luxurious that would suit a day time hen party with two pregnant guests, so without missing a breath I said Hotel la Tour.

Christmas afternoon tea Hotel la Tour

Their pastry chef creates wonderful, sometimes whimsical confections, with a nod towards the seasons that are almost too pretty to eat. As you can see from this Christmas image, the attention to detail is lovely and makes afternoon tea the special treat that it deserves to be.

Most of the Birmingham city centre hotels provide an afternoon tea and now Marco Pierre White Steakhouse and Grill has launched their own version.

Laurent-Perrier afternoon tea

Up on the 25th floor of The Cube, the city views from Laurent- Perrier Bar are stunning. Here a selection of finger sandwiches, Marco’s daily cake selection, a chocolate brownie and the traditional warm sultana scones with clotted cream and preserves are served.

A glass of Laurent-Perrier champagne and unlimited teas are included in the £30 price. Available between 2 – 5pm, five days a week, the restaurant pledges to donate £1 from the sale of each afternoon tea to Cure Leukaemia.

*Thank you to Sarah Morrris at Ed James PR for the invitation and MPW Birmingham for your hospitality.

Marvellous Baker Boys

During a rare day off on Friday, I tuned into ITV’s Britain’s Best Bakery to see how Birmingham patisserie Maison Mayci fared on the show.


After a technical perfect afternoon tea, with beer sourdough rolls and mini sticky toffee puddings, the Gallic gourmets upped the ante with a Balti and monkfish quiche.

Chef Peter Sidwell said “They brought in an eclectic range of local produce mixing it up with French flair”. But it was the judge’s choice cake of layered lime and coconut that sealed the deal for cake maker Mich Turner and see Maison Mayci go through to the national final.

The suburbs of Birmingham welcomed Maison Mayci’s bakery when it opened in Kings Heath in 2005, followed by a café in Moseley in 2010 after customer demand.

Maison Mayci bread

David and Remi supply high quality French patisserie and bakery products with a rustic lunch menu, which includes daily soup, quiche and pasta specials.  All of their produce is freshly baked and cooked on site every day, using the finest locally sourced ingredients from a local butcher based in Harborne and the fruit and veg markets.

Best Bars in Brum

Design My Night Awards 2014

From decadent drinking dens to raucous warehouse wonders, it’s time to decide who will reign supreme. Vote now for your favourite bars, clubs and pubs in Birmingham in the Design My Night Awards 2014 by following this link.


A view from The Balcony

When you’re out shopping in the Bullring and have an urge for Brussels sprout tapas (as you do) just head to Selfridges for their new bar and brasserie.

Arnaud Stevens Big Hospitality

Opening on Saturday, The Balcony on the fourth floor will be serving food and drinks with a playful twist by Birmingham born chef Arnaud Stevens. Arnaud has worked extensively with chefs including Gordon Ramsey, Pierre Koffman and Richard Corrigan and says: “Selfridges is known for its cutting-edge, bold and stylish personality and The Balcony will very much aim to reflect this.”

The Balcony Bar Selfridges Shopping in Birmingham

The Balcony’s brunch menu includes dishes such as chicken and waffles, chorizo hash and silver dollar pancakes. There will also be afternoon tea every day from 3pm, with cakes inspired by the great fashion houses. The main menu will be served all day and into the evening, with plenty of healthy choices alongside more indulgent options, such as lobster lasagne, super food salad and Oreo cheesecake.


The Bureau Bar

110 Colmore Row in Birmingham has been empty for a while now since One Ten’s bar, restaurant and private members club closed, so I’m interested to see what The Bureau Bar have done with the space.

The Bureau Bar soup

They are due to open this weekend, promising a bar with innovative and classic cocktails, plus deli with locally sourced charcuterie, cakes and hotdogs. I have ‘The Earl of Birmingham’ on standby to conduct a review for you very soon.