Libertine Burger to launch in Leamington Spa

Libertine Burger street food

Street food trader Libertine Burger has found a permanent home in Leamington Spa, so have set up a kickstarter page to crowdfund their dream of opening their first burger shop.

They are taking over what used to be the Aubrey Allez café on Warwick Street and hope to fill the gap left by the closure of Meatcure for a family friendly place to eat great quality burgers.

Created by local chef Charles Harris, Libertine Burger started its life 18 months ago serving hungry punters double ground beef patties using the best dry-aged Aberdeenshire beef . Their van has wheeled into the Digbeth Dining Club and a kitchen take-over at The Royal Pug in Leamington Spa. In a short space of time, the burger boys have been a finalist in both the British Street Food Awards in 2017 and in this year’s National Burger Awards.

Libertine Burger

Charles explains “We have travelled all over the country flipping our wares, making sure that our customers know that Libertine Burger is the first word in taste and value. Along the way we have been nominated for some very prestigious awards and even been given spots at the country’s top street food markets. It’s been one hell of a ride, and one that we are not ready to disembark just yet.

“Call it serendipity, kismet or destiny, but we have now been given the opportunity to turn our street food dreams into an actual restaurant. And all we need to achieve that goal is your help in raising £12,000 to make sure that our equipment and signage are up to the high standard that our customers have come to expect from us.

“In return, we will commit to giving you some amazing rewards, ranging from tasty Libertine Burgers to awesome merchandise, and even the chance to design your very own burger to add to our ever-growing burger index. “

Libertine Burger is set to open in May, initially from Thursday to Sunday.

Check out more on FacebookInstagram or online.

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Table Talk – Friday 9th March

A regional flavour to this week’s table talk, with an extension to Hanbao in Worcester planned, a new craft beer pub in Stafford opening  and Digbeth Dining Club’s first visit to Shrewsbury.

Hanbao Worcester

If they receive planning approval, burger fans in Worcester will have more space to enjoy at Hanbao. The restaurant and cocktail bar would like to add a rooftop bar to their Foregate Street premises. Due to open just in time for the summer.

Titanic Brewery beers

Titanic Brewery has designs on the former Co-op in Bodmin Avenue Stafford to transform the building into a café bar. Scheduled to open in April, the new venue will serve craft beers alongside food and coffee.

Dim Sum Su

The Digbeth Dining Club is on its travels again, this time going over to Shrewsbury for the first time. Teaming up with Severn Social, they will bring ten of their favourite street food traders from around the UK to start off a summer of monthly events in the town. Featuring Fat Snags, Dicks Smokehouse, Dim Sum Su, Baked in Brick, Bournville Waffle Company, Urban Cheesecake, Pimp My Wings, Street Souvlaki and Leave it to Esmie’s. From Saturday 7th April. Noon to 9pm £2 entry.

March-ing on our stomachs

March 2018

When will it ever be spring? There is gin to swig, Easter eggs to craft, cocktails to sip and street food to tuck into! See what’s on the menu for March over the Events page.

Digbeth Dining Club comes to Coventry

Some of my favourite street food traders are heading over to Coventry, thanks to the Digbeth Dining Club who is setting up a new monthly lunch club.

Leave it to Esmie

Head over to Friargate on the last Wednesday of the month and you can tuck into UK Street Food Awards’ Best Burger winner The Flying Cows, Middle Eastern dishes from The Middle Feast, a Caribbean feast from Esmies, sourdough wood-fired pizza from Handmade Pizza Co and to finish churros, hot chocolate and coffee by Bare Bones Churros. From 11am to 3pm. Launches on Wednesday 28th February.

February’s feast

February 2018

Whether you want to taste champagne in the historic Highbury Hall, enjoy a six course dinner paired with beer in Burton on Trent, or tuck into some of the UK’s best street food in Coventry, head over to the Events page to find some great events for February.

2017 – a year in food

Empty plate

I dread to think how many plates of food have been consumed this year in writing this blog, but it is with a big smile and full stomach that I review 2017 – a year in food.

The best thing I ate this year is a close tie between pollock, with loveage and seaweed at Restaurant 23 or the fish and chips by The English Indian at Digbeth Dining Club. The worst was a below par pasta dish at Lorenzo’s in Rugby which was bland and flabby.

Hats off to the friendliest staff at Salt in Stratford upon Avon (named Best New Entry in The Good Food Guide 2017) and the nicest chef award goes to Brad Carter for genuinely caring about his suppliers.

As I try and wean myself off gin, Seedlip was a welcome discovery as were the halloumi fries at Pharmacea and Becki’s Brownies salted caramel spread, that mysteriously finds its way into my bag at every food festival.

The only problem I faced this year was trying to get to all of the new openings in Birmingham, which  were well into double figures again. Street food chefs found permanent homes, London based operators expanded into the city, shops were transformed into cafes and new life breathed into refurbished pubs.

Independent craft beer bar Thorp17 and Digbeth Dining Club regular Meat Shack took over the former Stageside Bar and Restaurant building opposite Birmingham Hippodrome.  Birmingham’s first all vegan café Natural Healthy Foods opened in March and I have still to try their brunch.

After India, Argentina and the USA, Lasan Group looked to Italy for their latest dining concept and opened Izza! to serve sourdough pizzas, antipasti, cured meats and salads in the Selfridges Food Hall. The retailer also welcomed two new eateries from Italian San Carlo group, with a swanky new restaurant and patisserie.

The Mailbox welcomed Tom’s Kitchen by Tom Aikens, Kanteen opened in the Custard Factory and after a successful run of pop-ups, Ben Tesh opened his first restaurant Folium in the Jewellery Quarter.

Old venues were also given a new lease of life. Jewellery Quarter coffee house Brewsmiths was transformed into an Indian street food cafe The Indian Brewery with a bar selling craft beer as well.

Davenports Brewery bought The City Tavern in Bishopsgate Street and reopened it as The Bulls Head, with Indian street food snacks on the menu, which I reviewed back in October. The former Lisa Shepherd hairdresser in Temple Row became the second outpost of Turkish café Damascena.

Gin fans rejoiced as The Distillery was created from the former Fiddler and Bone pub, serving various gins, spirits and craft beers in a canal side setting.

Worcester had a flurry of new eateries open too. With good news for meat lovers as Friar Street Kitchen claimed to have the best steaks in town and Burger Shop and Carl Sampson at The Conservatory served up gourmet burgers. Also new this year is The Old Pheasant and after investing £500K into the makeover, the Shaker Group opened The Orangery Restaurant and cocktail bar with outside seating and private dining areas in Redditch.

We also were given plenty of choice for places to drink too. The gorgeous looking Bower House opened in Shipston upon Stour, Warwick welcomed Rigsby’s Cellar Bar, drinkers in Stone enjoyed the sunny weather on Edison’s roof terrace, craft beer drinkers flocked to Alsager’s micro-pub Kraftworks, inspired by Hungarian bars The Ruin opened in Digbeth  and in Leamington the secret Ape Hangers bar opened underneath Procaffeinate.

It wasn’t all good news though, in Birmingham we also sadly said goodbye to seafood restaurants Lobster Peninusular and Le Monde, French restaurant Annexe, tapas COMiDA@21 only six months after moving, Thai Edge, Meating and Two Cats Kitchen (despite rave reviews).  Over in Leamington Meatcure and Restaurant 23 closed, leaving the town without a gourmet burger café and one less fine dining restaurant.

What about our favourite chefs?  Aktar Islam announce that he was leaving Lasan and the group of restaurants he had built up with business partner Jabbar Khan to pursue new, solo projects.  Nathan Eades plated his last dish for Simpsons as he moved on to Cotswold’s pub The Wild Rabbit.  Chef de partie Louisa Ellis from The Wilderness wowed the judges to make it to the final three competitors in Masterchef the Professionals 2017.

Liam Dillon was awarded an AA rosette for The Boat Inn in Lichfield just six months after opening, Chris Monk moved from Le Champignon Sauvage to the Crown Inn pub Hallow Wild Shropshire chef James Sherwin hosted a demo at the first Ginger & Spice Festival in Market Drayton.

This year was all about food festivals for me. I enjoyed a day talking to producers and shopping at Stone Food and Drink Festival and even compered the second day at Ragley Hall’s  Food Festival. Next year I am also adding the Hereford Indie Food Festival to my diary.

Before we say goodbye to 2017, I’d like to say a massive THANK YOU! to the fantastic people who have grown, cooked and served all the amazing dishes I have eaten this year. As another tasty year comes to an end, I am definitely looking forward to an even more appetising 2018!

 

 

 

Table Talk

Table Talk 14.08.17

Beer of champions is – Goats Milk!

Congratulations to Warwickshire’s Church End Brewery for winning CAMRA’s gold award at the  Great British Beer Festival in London. Goat’s Milk is a blend of pale barley, crystal malt oats and  aromatic hops, that is the brewery’s best selling beer. Church End sales manager Paul Hamblett said: “We originally brewed and named it for a festival taking place in the Goat pub, and the beer just caught on.”

New Indian eaterie

Fans of The Indian Rasoi street food at Digbeth Dining Club (DDC) will be pleased to hear that the owners have taken over the former site of Adam’s restaurant in Birmingham. The new restaurant and cocktail bar, called Indian Streatery, is due to open on 17 August on Bennett Hill, with lunch and evening menus.

Birthday celebrations

While we are talking about DDC I need to wish them many happy returns! Celebrating their fifth birthday, the team have some exciting plans up their sleeve – including expanding into Nuneaton in September – but before then they are having a party on Friday 18 August.

With events across the Midlands DDC will be celebrating their roots in our original home — Lower Trinity Street, Digbeth where it all started. Lineup for the night includes:

Original Patty Men
Spectacular Goat
Low ‘n’ Slow
Baked In Brick
Flying Cows
Buddha Belly
Polenista
English Indian
Fancy Fries
Bournville Waffle Company
Esmies
Holy Moly Macaroni
Indian Rasoi
Pietanic
Platinum Pancakes
Street Souvlaki

(Tickets are available for the event now at £1.50 with entry on the door £2.50).

Jump into January

By now the post New Year ennui should have worn off, so I’ve lined up a great selection of food and drink events for you this month.

January 2016 events

My recommendations range from wine tasting with a cheesemaker and gin tasting to Burns Night celebrations and the return of the Digbeth Dining Club. As usual you’ll find the details on the events page. Enjoy!

 

Fabulous February

Over on the Events page you’ll find my top ten picks for food and drink events this month.

Feb events

The Sketts Fine Foods Market in Victoria Square and Food Market at the mac are great places to buy hot food to eat there and then as well as treats to take home.

Over a leisurely four courses,  Portugese and German wines will be tasted at Hotel du Vin and Square Door wine tasting dinners.

The art of tea is explored at Itihaas and following Chinese New Year Lap-Fai Lee tutors a Chinese Family Feast evening class at Harborne Food School.

Street food fans need to know that Leamington’s own Fresh Rootz make their debut at Digbeth Dining Club, while street food guru  Low n Slow is back at Brew Dog for a pop-up. Andy’s signature ribs, alongside ox cheek tacos and brisket fries will be on the menu.

The popular Opus Dinner Series continues with Carrolls Heritage Potatoes hosting the next evening. Over at their sister venue Bar Opus, you can shake it up with Sam during an hour long cocktails masterclass.

So whether you are food shopping with local producers, learning about wine regions, tucking into street food or mastering new culinary skills it all adds up to being a fabulous February!

 

 

Birmingham street food favourites

Canoodle

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. http://www.birminghampost.co.uk/lifestyle/food-drink/birmingham-street-food-guide-whos-7607752