So this week my nuggets of news feature an eating and drinking hub for car and bike culture, the UK’s first bio-degradable crisp packet and a new burger joint coming to Birmingham.
Behind this lovely building all sorts of wizardry is going on. When it opens on 27th October , Caffeine & Machine in Stratford upon Avon won’t just be a new place to eat and drink, oh no. The promotional blurb promises a coffee house, licensed bar and restaurant, boutique b&b, and living art gallery. “C&M is designed very simply as a place to go, a destination in and of itself if you appreciate moving things and will become a hub for car and bike culture.”
Its crunch time for crisp packets as two Herefordshire farmers have launched a new range of crisps using 100% compostable packets. The new range called Two Farmers is the brainchild of south Herefordshire farmers Mark Green and Sean Mason. Their crisp packets are made from Eucalyptus pulp from sustainable sources – even the ink is compostable, so that they will break down to nothing in just 26 weeks in a home composting bin.
Available in four flavours, seasoned with locally-sourced ingredients – Hereford Bullshot, cider vinegar, lightly salted, and Hereford hop cheese and onion, Webbs of Wychbold near Droitwich is the first retailer to stock them.
Watch out Birmingham there will soon be some new burger boys in town! Rory, Oli, Nick, Tom, Beth + the BT crew, dropped me an email to say that Bristol’s favourite independent burger joint is coming to the city soon. Burger Theory is opening a kitchen as a residency in Kongs Bar. Due to open in mid-November on Victoria Square (where The Chameleon Bar used to be). BT only uses grass-fed beef from a single source, free-range chickens, UK cheeses and they make all of their own sauces to keep a high quality of food.
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 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
The next time you hanker for an authentic mac ‘n’ cheese, head to Grand Central in Birmingham. From June this will be the home of Anthony Duffy’s debut restaurant Holy Moly Macaroni, which will be serving authentic Harlem soul food inspired by his trips Stateside.
You may have seen Anthony in his Mac Shack at Digbeth Dining Club, or street food events up and down the country, as he has spent the last couple of years perfecting his recipes.
Get ready for dishes including The Fun Guy – mac and cheese with smoked pancetta and wild mushrooms – and The Vampire Slayer – macaroni with roasted garlic oil and Parmesan. As well as their four cheese macaroni double dipped fried chicken in a ginger beer batter , baby back eight-hour smoked ribs and New York cheesecakes will feature on the menu.
Anthony says: “I am so excited for the opening of the restaurant. It gives me such pride to open an independent restaurant in Birmingham that has it individuality and personality. It’s not a corporate and never will be.”
Opening towards the end of June, Holy Moly Macaroni will be open every day from 11 am to 10 pm. More details on their FB page www.facebook.com/holymolymac.
In Birmingham, OPM has opened a new bar, Kilder, next door to their Digbeth eatery. The bar serves craft beer, cider, natural wine and a host of tasty bar snacks including pork pies made from locally reared Paddock Farm pigs.
Denstone Hall Farm Shop has scooped both the Large Farm Shop and Midlands Retailer of the Year awards earlier in the week at the Farm Shop and Deli Show. Congratulations! The family run farm shop and café on the Staffordshire and Derbyshire border is part of a thriving beef and arable agricultural business They use their own produce from the farm and source high quality local produce with provenance.
Locals in Stratford upon Avon are counting down the days to The Four Alls pub re-opening in May. Following a £1.9m refurbishment and redesign, works include the addition of a glazed extension which faces the river to provide a light-filled restaurant for up to 80 guests, a new inglenook fireplace in the bar plus a barn will also provide additional dining for larger groups and parties.
In this week’s Table Talk you can wash your triple stacked burger down with a pink gin or freshly brewed coffee.
Does Birmingham city centre have room for another coffee shop? Apparently so. In March latte lovers should head to Bull Street for the new Waylands Yard. Owned by Sam Smith, this is the second branch for the ex rugby player whose first coffee shop in Worcester supports local suppliers.
A new independent venue has quietly opened in Coventry. The photos of their burgers on Instagram caught my eye and I liked the nod to the city’s heritage. From Friday to Sunday Seven 17 offers a triple stacked ‘Cathedral’ and is working on a 2Tone burger too.
If you like your gin pink, then look out for the English Drinks Company’s new Classic Pink Gin. Flavoured with pomegranate and cinchona bark this is a luxury, small batch gin made in Shropshire that can be savoured on its own or blended into cocktails. RRP £35.
The latest news from Lasan, The Steamhouse Company, Restaurant 23 and Patina in this week’s table talk.
Lasan in Birmingham has closed its doors – but don’t worry its only temporary! The restaurant is being refurbished and a more spacious interior plus new menu will be revealed in October.
Steamhouse, the coffee and bagels café in Leamington, has expanded and opened a new branch in Stratford upon Avon on the High Street.
Restaurant 23 in Leamington has welcomed Abigail Connolly to the team. Abigail is taking over from Eduardo Neto as Restaurant Manager and Sommelier.
A new bakery has opened in Kenilworth. Patina is owned by Amy Clarke, who was previously pastry chef at The Cross. Ingredients used for her wedding and celebration cakes come from fair-trade sources and often local ones too – with flour from nearby Charlcotte Mill.
A boozy table talk this week, with news of new bar openings in Coventry, Birmingham and Stratford upon Avon for you.
The Botanist bar and restaurant has submitted an application for an alcohol license, which if approved could see them opening up in Unit 4 of the Broadgate Centre in the heart of Coventry. How the city will fare with hanging kebabs, watering cans of cocktails and even mini wheelbarrows to serve food remains to be seen.
I missed the launch party due to train woes (maybe I should have taken a barge instead!) so I am keen to get inside the newly opened Canal House and try some of their home distilled gin. The former home of 18th century engineer James Brindley has been transformed into two levels serving food, premium craft beers and cocktails, alongside live music.
Italian wine café Veeno has become the first restaurant to open at the Bell Court complex in Stratford-upon-Avon. The 90-seat venue serves wines from the family vineyard back in Sicily and Spuntini – platters of meats, cheeses and other appetisers imported from selected Italian producers.
Afternoon and Gentleman’s Tea will be available from tomorrow (Wednesday) at The Lost & Found bar in Birmingham.
Fans of the traditional afternoon tea can sample delicate sandwiches of smoked salmon, Hendrick’s-infused cucumber and cream cheese, feta, red onion and honey pastries, Earl Grey panna cotta, raspberry trifle and a bittersweet popcorn tiffin, all served alongside warm fruit scones with clotted cream and jam for £18.95.
The Gentleman’s Tea also offers small baguettes bursting with crispy chicken and chorizo and a warm Scotch egg before the sweet section for the same price.
With National Afternoon Tea Week coming up I’ve been looking at different menus and venues to tempt you with so watch this space…
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.
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.