Table Talk – August

After what feels like ages it is great to be able to share Table Talk with you again!

StrEATS food

So starting in Coventry with two new openings this week. The team behind Monsoon Estates Coffee  opened a new street food takeaway and coffee shop in Spon End on Monday.  StrEATS will be open till 8pm serving dishes including corn dogs, skin on fries and homemade slaw.

Byatts beer

On Thursday (20th) Playwrights Café is opening their second branch at Unit 12, St Nicholas Street, on the canal basin. Open for breakfast and lunch, check their Facebook page for menus.

The Court House Warwick afternoon tea

There are three dates to enjoy a new afternoon tea at the historic The Court House Warwick.  At £15 for adults and £9 for children, guests can tuck into a selection of sandwiches, scones and cakes served on vintage china on 22, 29 and 30 August. Booking is via Facebook  or 01926 830808.

Newbold Spirits.jpg

Newbold Spiced Rum and Dry London Gin (distilled in Leamington) are now stocked in Gallachers of Rugby 

The Almanac eat out to help out

The Clarendon Arms, Harringtons on the Hill, Rocking Horse Coffee Shop and The Almanac  are among the local venues in Kenilworth taking part in #EatOutToHelpOut this month. On Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday you will receive 50% off your food and soft drinks bill (up to £10 per person).

The Cookery School at Salt

Did you know that Michelin star restaurant Salt also has a cookery school upstairs? The Cookery School at Salt  will be delivering a wide range of courses from bread, pasta and pastries to dinner parties and perfect Christmas dinners which are priced from £95 for a half day course.

Warwickshire Gin Company

And finally! Look out for The Warwickshire Gin Distillery new distillery  which is due to open in Neilston Street, Leamington in September.

I’m making a couple of changes to this feature –  I’ll be posting this update monthly instead of weekly and I’m focusing on just Warwickshire, rather than the wider West Midlands area for now. The links to venues Facebook pages or websites will always be included so that you can click through for more info / booking which I hope helps.


Green shoots

Inside the 22 coffee hatch

Slowly and safely the food and drink sector is re-opening. With 40 businesses in Rugby alone now offering  collection, delivery and takeaway I thought that it was time to start the blog back up again! Continue reading “Green shoots”

Table Talk – Friday 9 August

Waffles, burgers and craft ale are all on the menu in to today’s Table Talk.

Stickie Fingers

In need of a sweet fix? Then head to the Custard Factory in Digbeth where a new café Stickie Fingers  will  soon be serving  pancakes, crepes, smoothies and waffle pops on Gibb Street (next to Kanteen).

Brothers of Ale

Two brothers from Stourport will be launching their own taproom, Brothers of Ale next Saturday (17th). Alex and Seb Vale have spent recent months converting a 200-year old unit into a brewery and taproom on Baldwin Road.

Libertine Burger No.06

In my home town of Rugby we are looking forward to the opening of  Libertine Burger. Roll on October till we can get our hands on their stacked, mouth-watering burgers, loaded fries, hot sauces and thick milkshakes.

1st Thursdays launch

1st Thursdays 5 March


It took ten weeks of planning to launch 1st Thursdays and I’m glad to say that the event was a success with the town buzzing with late night shoppers soaking up the entertainment and tucking into street food.

The next event is Thursday 2 April so follow @LoveRugbyTown for updates.

Thursdays in Rugby just got tastier

By working with the retail group 1st Thursdays and Scoff Street Food, I am delighted to announce that Rugby will hold its first evening street food market on Thursday 5 March.


Hungry shoppers can tuck into speciality chicken and lamb dishes, feast on gourmet hotdogs, enjoy guilt free vegan snacks , relish gourmet toasties and sink into freshly made waffles piled with sweet treats.

The Hungry Toad burrito

Fans of Tex Mex food should head over to The Hungry Toad for their signature dish. Free range chicken, fried in buttermilk and their secret coating, served with choice of toppings and homemade hot sauce, honey and lemon, seasame seed or blue cheese dressing.

Savanna Grill bunny chow

Savanna Grill specialises in South African street food, and their dishes for the night include the mighty meat feast Bunny chow – a lamb curry served inside a hollowed out loaf of bread and homemade biltong – air-dried beef marinated in coriander and spices.

The Vegan Grind House

Putting a healthy twist on junk food, The Vegan Grindhouse has their own take on the classic American Philly Cheesesteak. Their version is a freshly baked sub roll filled with marinated seitan steak strips, mushrooms, onions and jalapenos, topped with their homemade nacho cheese sauce.

The Jabberwocky scotch egg toastie

After eight months of research, The Jabberwocky is premiering a new gourmet toastie. The Scotch Egg toastie is full of free range egg, covered in cheese and with sausage meat from a local butcher.

Big Daddies Diner

Gourmet hot dog fans will remember ‘The Edna’ from Big Daddies Diner’s previous visit to Rugby Food Festival.  This is an all beef dog in brioche bun served with lashings of homemade beef chili, dressed with cheese and homemade jalepeno relish. Not for the fainthearted!

Shakeypix Images

Those with a sweet tooth won’t be left out. For dessert The Bournville Waffle Company will be serving Rocky Road waffles with marshmallows, chocolate chip cookies, chocolate chunks with freshly whipped cream and chocolate sauce from their pretty, pastel converted ice cream van.

For the chair of the 1st Thursdays team Simon Ainley, it was an easy decision to locate the street food market on Jubilee Gardens.  He says “Right in the heart of the town centre we have this lovely triangle of grass, trees and benches in which to soak up the delicious tastes and aromas of our street food chefs. It is an underused public space that we are delighted to be able to make the most of for our late night shopping extravaganza.”

From 5 – 8pm visitors can eat alfresco and relax under gazebos in Jubilee Gardens to the soothing sounds of local musicians Ben Watts, Kate and the Moon Cats, Becki and The Dove and The Rattletones.

Appetites will also be sated by shopping for locally produced cheese, pickles and other deli delights inside the Clock Towers and savouring hot dogs and burgers crafted from locally reared pork by the Red Banger outside Rugby Tap.

Rugby’s 1st street food night

I’m counting down the next six weeks until Thursday 5th March when Rugby’s first night time street food market launches!

The Jabberwocky Birmingham Post

Working with the lovely Flic and Barny, from Scoff and The Jabberwocky, we are lining up a tasty array of traders to give the town centre a boost in the evening.


This is all part of a new initiative by local retailers to generate fans for the town’s businesses and bring the town alive after 5pm with special promotions and entertainment.  Held on the first Thursday of the month, the town centre will be buzzing with shops and businesses remaining open until 8pm. Shoppers can enjoy some retail therapy, catch up on appointments without taking time off work during the day, or just soak up the party atmosphere as a night out.

Rugby Real Bread scones

There will be plenty of gourmet treats to take home too. A mini artisan market of delicious local produce will be set up in the Clock Towers. A range of stallholders will be selling freshly made bread and pastries, speciality cheese, preserves packed with seasonal fruit and vegetables, exquisite handmade chocolates and flavoursome cooking sauces.

Red Banger

Over the next few weeks, we will be announcing which street food traders and local food businesses are taking part – like The Red Banger from Southam who use pork reared on their farm in the sausages – so keep checking the blog for updates and come along!

Ferguson’s Rugby, restaurant review


I had mixed emotions when Ferguson’s opened in Rugby last Autumn, as it was taking over the site of Vermilion, which had become one of my favourite places to eat locally.

The excitement of a new chef and menu soon kicked in though and I broke the unwritten rule of restaurant reviewing by visiting during its opening weeks. Although for customers there is a buzz about being in the latest place, the restaurant may still be trying to find their feet and this is exactly how we felt after our first meal there.

So six month later and we’re back to see how Ferguson’s is shaping up.

Read my full review on the Reviews page.

Squisito opens a shop

Reversing the trend of rural Post Office and shop closures, my local Italian deli Squisito is opening a new butchers and delicatessen in Yelvertoft  village, on the outskirts of Rugby.

Squisito Deli

The Squisito rural shop will stock their own and local produce from farms around Rugby, plus a selection Italian basics from plum tomatoes to olive oil and the pick of award winning English cheeses, local breeds and charcuterie from our fellow Midlands producers. The shop is due to open by December.


Trio of new food festivals

Alcester Food Festival

From the 22 applications for Operation Footfall support to revitalise town centres, Warwickshire County Council has awarded funding to three new food festivals.

Alcester & Forest of Arden Autumn Food Festival – as with the Spring festival, the Autumn Food Festival on Saturday 19 October will have over 100 exhibitors displaying a delicious and unusual array of foods and beverages, with competitions and surprises also added to the mix

Rugby Food and Drink Festival, with a real ale trail – a weekend of food and drink in Rugby town centre, due to take place in the Autumn.

Warwick Food and Film Festival – launching in the Summer, follow #warwickrocks for updates on this new event.

These festivals are a great way to put Warwickshire on the culinary map and I’m looking forward to visiting all of them.