Happy New Year!! Before I share news on restaurant openings, restaurant offers and events for 2014, please indulge me while I take a quick look back over last year.
I was lucky enough to meet some fabulous new producers, attend great events and savour the culinary talent of local chefs and share them with you on my blog. So here are some of my highlights from 2013.
It took until 2013, but Birmingham’s first monthly street food market burst into our lives. Duncan Stanley’s Kings HEATh market launched and proved an instant hit. This is monthly food extravaganza where the 20 or so traders feed customers with every international dish that you can think of. With a couple more years’ experience under their belt, congratulations to the Digbeth Dining Club who brought home the Best Street Food Event from the British Street Food Awards in London.
More accolades were served up to local businesses. For the first time the BBC Good Food Show held a competition for the best street food in the Midlands. The candidates were so good that there were three winners! The Jabberwocky and Fresh Rrootz from Leamington and Squisito Deli from Warwickshire won a lot of new fans at the BBC Good Food Show in April.
It is no coincidence that I voted for these three food heroes, they are passionate about what they do and love introducing people to great food, so I feature them regularly on Midlands Gourmet Girl.
Not to be left out, Leamington Spa launched its first street food market Eat Street. @EatStreetLeam This small, but perfectly formed, market delighted local office workers and students, desperate for a changing lunchtime menu.
Seeing your food cooked freshly to order in front of you and being able to engage with the chefs that prepared it for you will always be a winner. In the more traditional restaurants, three chefs made notable entrances.
Andy Waters made a triumphant return to Brum by opening Waters on the Square. As his own restaurant Chef’s Dozen closed, Richard Craven found a new home just outside Stratford upon Avon, leading the brigade at the Fuzzy Duck . Also on the move, Alex Claridge left the Warehouse Café and catered for vegetarians at the funky new Bistro 1847 in the Great Western Arcade.
Bistro 1847 was one of a host of new venues that opened in Birmingham city centre as steak house Anderson’s opened a new place in the country. I think that the residents of Moseley are the luckiest in the eating and drinking stakes, as three good looking new venues opened. The Village, Bohemia Bar and Caféphillia are making Moseley one of the best neighbourhoods in Birmingham to eat and drink.
Not to be outdone, Leamington Spa is catching up with Birmingham as a foodie hotspot too. The Regency Arms showed how good quality food helps make a pub a neighbourhood favourite.
Being able to do more food and drink shopping locally became attractive, with the new Cheeses in Warwick and Barkers Deli in Warwick, The Larder in Leamington Spa and Squisito deli’s new shop in Rugby.
Two new food festivals shook up the traditional expectations of a food event. Thanks to funding from Warwickshire County Council’s Operation Footfall, Warwick launched a new food and film festival. http://www.warwickrocksfestival.co.uk . Under their successful Warwick Rocks branding the town rocked for a week of food markets and drive in movies in August.
With another first for Birmingham (or Birmingyum as it is being known) food blogger Ahmed from Dine Birmingham created and launched the inaugural #FutureFoodies. This exciting food and drink fair brought local independent producers together with social media – which will return in June 2014.
All in all a great year!
Thank you so much for reading my blog and following me on twitter, I really appreciate your support. I blog for love (not money) and will continue to keep the site focussed on unearthing those brilliant local independents for you.
As well as the regular reviews, destination guides and essential diary dates I have a few surprises in store for you this year, so keep following for updates!