Dishoom – Birmingham

I’m not sure if any of you have noticed but Dishoom have opened in Birmingham.

Birmingham’s top bloggers have probably already covered it, but I thought I’d take it as an opportunity to try and get some traffic to my website.

Then I thought, “hang on, Rob, you could give something back to the blogging community.” So, here’s a guide on how to write a food blog for those of you just starting out.

Ok, begin with some absolutely tedious personal information. Tell the reader that you’ve heard of Indian food before – if you’ve been to India DEFINITELY get that bit in.

Now, maybe go into some detail about the location. Waffle on about the interior for a bit. This bit is important – go to Dishoom’s website and find some information about them / their food and repeat it in your own words, this way it makes it sound like you vaguely know what you’re on about.

Next up, tell the reader that you perused the menu. You perused the absolute fuck out of that menu didn’t you? You naughty peruser.

Did you order a drink? You devil! Tell us!

Food? Say it was mouthwatering. Say something had a ‘chilli kick’.

Put a photo in, why not?

This is a picture of what I ate

Sign off, put a score if you want, say you’ll go back.

Congratulations, you’ve written a food blog and it was a complete waste of everyone’s time.

Walkabout – Birmingham

AD / Invited / I don’t know what you’re supposed to put here.

Being an absolute expert at:

A) watching sport
B) drinking
C) eating

It was only a matter of time before the people at Walkabout invited me to visit them.

You see, there is categorically no one in the West Midlands more capable of sitting on their arse, downing pints and eating chips – it’s just a fact.

Even more reason to get me involved is my knowledge of Australia and its ‘culture’, as my ex is an Australian and I lived in Sydney

So, let’s get down (under) to it.

I drank a beer. Heineken to be exact, a golden, fizzy lager from Holland. I could taste the Dutch influence and said to the barman, “dit schreeuwt om dronken te zijn,” – it simply screamed to be drunk.

Being a boy of food, I did eat, as they invited me to eat. I chose a charcoal burger as I thought it’d potentially give me an interesting angle for this blog, I upgraded to have ‘spiral fries’ with it for an extra 50p.


The ‘spiral’ fries also known as ‘curly’ in some circles were most pleasant. Think a normal chip, but in an unexpected shape. Golden, potatoey, crisp – what more could you want?!

charcoal burgerThat brings me on to the burger, what can I say about the burger? Nothing. Nothing nice anyway.

IMG_8531I counted no fewer than 4,000 screens in the venue, which means if, for example, you’re looking for somewhere to watch the remainder of the Six Nations where you can sit down, see a TV, drink beer and eat chips – then Walkabout has you covered.


Gino D’Acampo – My Restaurant – Birmingham

If you like Gino D’Acampo’s face as much as Gino D’Acampo likes his face then you’ll really like Gino D’Acampo’s restaurant. If you like Gino D’Acampo’s face and crap Italian food you’ll fucking love it.

His face is everywhere, it’ll haunt your dreams after visiting – especially bad for those of you who worry about being burgled.

My lunch began with Arancini – mushroom risotto with mozzarella in the middle. I’m a big fan of Arancini, if you’re ever in Rome – there’s nothing nicer than popping into Supplì Roma when you’re halfway through a day of drinking too much and sticking some deep-fried items in your face.

unnamed (3)Gino’s could have been OK, they were crispy and the mozzarella in the middle had melted as you’d expect – the problem was that whoever made the risotto decided not to season it at all. Mozzarella doesn’t taste of much, rice doesn’t taste of much so it didn’t taste of much. There were four on the plate and after eating one and a half I gave up.

The best bit about the starters on offer was how the calamari was served. Someone had the genius idea of putting them on a piece of paper with an Italian newspaper printed on it – Gino is Italian you see.

Cleverly, they settled on La Gazzetta from July 2017 where the lead sport story was about Ajax winger Abdelhak Nouri suffering a cardiac arrest during a game. I don’t know about you, but there’s something about a cardiac arrest that just makes me want to gorge on deep-fried food.
unnamed (4)

Then, here it came – the fettuccine bolognese.

I was pretty certain this was going to be shit, but I was willing to be proved wrong – honest. And talking of honesty, I honestly have no idea how you can make a bolognese sauce with so little meat in it that tastes of nothing. Quite an achievement.

Things were finished off with a tiramisu almost as good as the one from Sainsbury’s.unnamed (6)
The most enjoyable part of the meal was when I got to countdown as the TV showing Gino’s face on a loop went into sleep mode.

Eat Vietnam – Birmingham

Have I ever mentioned that I lived in Vietnam? Yeah, six months spent at the Viet Duc Industrial College in Sông Công, Thai Nguyen province back in 2004.

My time was spent teaching at the college and a bank up the road. I also spent a lot of time listening to my Irish flat mate crying. It was one of the most fantastic times of my life, there’s just something about hearing an Irishman quietly sobbing for his ‘mammy’ that really does it for me.

Other than providing high class education and drinking rice wine with the bank manager I also ate a lot of Vietnamese food.

As a result, I’m the actual number one food blogger in the midlands when it comes to quantity of fish sauce consumed – hopefully something which will finally be recognised at an award ceremony soon. I fucking love fish sauce.

With this in mind, the sign ‘fish sauce is not for everyone’ adorning the wall of Eat Vietnam in Stirchley made me feel like this was a safe space, so I immediately jumped on the table and loudly informed the staff and other diners that I had actually once lived in Vietnam, I then shouted my order towards the kitchen and sat back down.

“The seats here are slightly more comfortable than the little plastic stools you get at street side food places in Vietnam!!” I declared to my long suffering wife.

“You’re a tosser,” she replied.”

“Cút đi, woman!”


Duck breast and fennel salad with plum sauce. Lovely.

Steamed scallops with ginger and black bean dressing. OK – just because I prefer them fried with a bit of colour on them.

Aubergine with honey miso glaze. Excellent.

Crispy pork belly. Delicious.

Tamarind chicken wings. Insert another word for delicious here.

So, if you’re incapable of doing the arithmetic yourself – we thoroughly enjoyed it.

Why not do what we did on this particular Friday evening? Start at Attic Brewery for a couple of beers, Eat Vietnam for your food then head to Couch and drink everything on their menu – thank me later.

Cảm ơn.

Ynyshir – Wales

1 x taxi that didn’t turn up.

1 x train that stopped after 10 minutes and chucked everyone off because of flooding.

1 x taxi that broke down on the hard shoulder.

1 x cancelled train.

1 x lovely man from Machynlleth called Huw.

That’s how we spent our first wedding anniversary getting to Wales. Well, that’s how it started anyway, you can read more about the journey at (don’t click that link it has the potential to be muck).

In a room nursing a restorative negroni, a chef came over and provided us a bowl of duck broth. If I thought the negroni was improving my mood this made me forget trains even existed.

And so began, the best meal I’ve ever had.

Everything about our trip to Ynyshir was perfect. The venue is beautiful, our room was lovely, the wine (shout out to the delightful Rory) was fantastic and the food blew my little cock off.

Anyone who has seen my gut will know that I’ve had a few tasting menus in my time, and many of them have been really good. Normally, I find, in a 8/9 course situation you’re probably looking at a couple of dishes that you’re at best indifferent to.

This was 22 courses and I loved every single one of them.

From the Not French Onion soup to the Welsh Wagyu Fudge it just kept getting better.

The next day we were trying to decide which course was our favourite and it was actually impossible.

If I was pushed, I’d say the Chicken Katsu, chilli crab, hoisin duck, char siu pork, grouse, sticky toffee pudding and tiramisu all stood out.

Chicken Katsu

Chilli crab

Grouse with 100% chocolate


All that, and I haven’t even mentioned the three Wagyu courses. Having never eaten this type of beef before I wasn’t sure what to expect, and I’m not sure I’ll bother eating it anywhere else.

Wagyu burger

A burger was first up – the level of fat in it meant it dissolved in my mouth and resulted in me making strange noises. The second one ‘raw’ was covered in caviar and made me scream with joy, then the rib made me actually ejaculate.

Wagyu rib

There’s not much else for me to say, it was a perfect meal, you finished and felt like you’d just had something really special.

The next morning, a breakfast of crumpets, salmon, bacon and eggs was made even better by having a chat with Gareth as he prepped for an event that night.

I can’t think of a more perfect way to spend our first wedding anniversary. Next time you’ve got something to celebrate – get yourself there.

I’ve used the word perfect a few times here haven’t I? Have another one:


Cornerstone – Hackney

“A cornerstone is literally a stone at the corner of a building. It’s an important stone, so it also means “the basic part of something,” as in, the cornerstone of the suffragette movement was getting women the right to vote.”

Not my words, the words of

The suffragette movement is an interesting angle for this blog post. I think the gist of it was women getting the vote and being able to do whatever mad things they want.

Talking of women, I have a wife. She does what she wants most the time, but one thing, call me old-fashioned, that I’m not eager on is her having relations with celebrity chefs. It’s why we can’t go to Tommy Banks’ place and why I went with a man friend to Cornerstone owned by Tom Brown.

(This isn’t true, I’m not insane, but I needed to write a few words before I got on to telling you whether dishes were ‘not very nice / quite nice / nice or very nice’).

I actually used to live in London, it’s something I don’t like to talk about often but it’s just a fact. What I’m getting at is East London is nothing new to me. (Thanks for asking, I lived in Mile End, Bethnal Green and Homerton, indeed, you’re right to be impressed.)

Finding myself with an evening free in London’s trendy London I organised dinner at Cornerstone.

What then?

Sat down, ordered a drink and looked at the menu.

“I didn’t realise it’s just fish,” my friend said.

“Do you like fish?” I replied.


“That’s good then”

Honestly, we exchange quite scintillating banter.

Smoked cod’s roe and some sourdough to smear it on. Nice, 7/10. It’d be hard to give me a smoked cod roe dish that I’d give less than that, to be fair, I’d be happy to try to live off the stuff.


It’s a ‘sharing’ style menu, so you order a load of stuff, then halve it, then wish you could have eaten it all yourself.

First up was grey mullet tartare, egg yolk seaweed and soy and it was very nice 8/10.


Crab crumpet, rarebit and Worcestershire sauce was excellent and the easiest dish to share between two people as crumpets lend themselves delightfully to knife action 8.5/10. thumb_IMG_5968_1024


Plaice, roast chicken butter sauce, wild mushrooms, sweetcorn. The chicken sauce was amazing, proper get some more bread to mop it up amazing. 8.5/10.


My dish of the night was the hake, roscoff onion, chilli, anchovy. UMAMI, bit of spice. YES. 9/10.


So, there you go. Feels a bit like I’ve knocked this out in record time because Tom Brown is on Saturday Kitchen and I’m thinking I can push it out to get some serious #numbers, that would be cynical and I’m ashamed of you for even suggesting it.

The Woodsman – Stratford-upon-Avon

The Woodsman – the man of wood, woody. Sometimes erections are referred to as ‘wood’ aren’t they? ‘The Erectionman’ – probably wouldn’t work as the name for a restaurant, the soft launch would be confusing and they’d never get your mum out of there.

ANYWAY, I was looking for something to do for our first wedding anniversary and had a look at tickets for the RSC and dinner at Salt.

However, the only Billy Shakespo play they had was King John. What the fuck even is that?! I ended up looking at other things to do in Stratford though and somehow came across The Woodsman restaurant. William Sitwell and Giles Coren have reviewed it, so it simply must be worth my time. A play and Salt postponed, I booked.

The Woodsman was recently listed in the Good Food Guide Awards 2020 as the ‘Best New Entry’ (maybe The Erectionman would have worked after all) and it showed, it was rammed!!!!!!! INNUENDO FUN!

Meaty affair

To start, a drinks trolley was wheeled in our general direction and a lovely Scottish woman explained what was on offer. I had a perfectly decent Negroni, as I am nothing if not horribly predictable.

We were then shown the big, sexy chunks of beef on offer. I asked to see the methane output from each of the cows the cuts came from.

“WWGD?” I shouted.

“Eh?” Replied the waitress.

“What Would Greta Do?”

“Oh, I’m not sure.”

“In that case we will share the Roe deer shoulder for two. As everyone knows deers don’t fart.”

Before the deer main, I had hare ragu, with pappardelle, parmesan and autumn truffle to start.

The pasta was perfect, the sauce was decent but a bit watery and lacking in depth, although very nice when mopped up with the remaining bit of focaccia that I haven’t bothered telling you about (7/10).

The slow cooked, glazed shoulder of roe deer was delicious. It came with sides of a charred, wedge of hispi cabbage – very nice, celeriac – very nice and dirty mash – nice (8.5/10).

I think I didn’t put ‘very’ next to nice for the mash as I’d built it up in my mind to be something earth shattering and it wasn’t. Plus, can we all stop describing food as ‘dirty’.

“Your house is dirty.”

“Oh, thank you.”

“Now let me eat your dirty house.”

Dirty isn’t a good thing. It’s Christina Aguilera’s fault I suppose for that song she wrote about the time she put some chilli con carne on a burger.

Desserts, I had a treacle tart which was good (7/10) my wife had a peach melba soufflé that if the noises she was making was anything to go by was a strong (9/10).

We also had a pretty crap bottle of Chianti Classico, I wish places would put the wine lists on their websites so I could stop making such foolish, costly errors.

As the place got busier the service definitely dropped off. We sat with our finished dessert plates for about 15 minutes until we asked for the bill and for them to be taken. Also, it would have been nice if the bloke who took the bill payment had made some minor small talk as to whether we’d enjoyed the meal, or maybe said thank you after my money had been taken…

This has inspired me to write a blog about good service in restaurants. You’re all going to hate it, think I’m a twat and tell me I’m wrong. Something for us all to look forward to.

Oh, and if for some reason you’re wondering what we’re doing for our first wedding anniversary it’s Ynyshir, which I am more than a little bit bloody excited about.

Eating food in Bristol

Bristol – where you go when you leave London but you’re not edgy enough to move to Birmingham. Not my words, the words of Russell Howard*. *Russell Howard did not say this.

Recently I had a free weekend, and whereas normally I’d spend this sat on my arse, watching football and ordering at least two meals to be delivered directly to my face, I decided to leave the house. Fancy.

Where to go? What to do? I looked at various places I could get to easily from Birmingham then did some quite complicated mathematics.

Cost of train + abundance of places to eat = 

With the numbers crunched, and never having been to Bristol before, I consulted the good people of about where to eat. I was told my best bet would be Wilson’s. And, would you believe it, the people of were right for the first time ever.

I arrived in Bristol and immediately hopped on another train to Redlands. A brief walk which involved more than a couple of thoughts of ‘oooh, it’s quite nice here,’ I arrived at the door of Wilson’s where a chap in chef’s whites was chatting to some locals.

“Good day, I’ve been sent from Birmingham to try your wares.” I announced, pushing the Bristolians away. Jan the owner in the chef’s whites led me inside. 

With a negroni in hand a selection of snacks came out. Malted sourdough with a pigeon liver parfait was excellent, it turns out pigeons have livers?! Who knew.



My favourite snack was the buttermilk fried rabbit with tarragon emulsion. A crispy, salty, delicious nugget of rabbit. If my investors ever get back to me you can expect a KFR in every town across the UK very soon.

My favourite courses from the tasting menu were:

Mackerel, lovage, kohlrabi and oyster poached in mackerel bones.

Quail, sweet corn purée summer truffle.

Guinea fowl, girolles, guinea fowl leg with cauliflower moose and old sourdough.

The guinea fowl in particular made me feel very pleased with my decision to leave the house.

Then, dearest reader, a Gooseberry soufflé arrived. Now, I don’t normally order soufflés as once I had one in France (YEAH, FRANCE) that was so shit I vowed to never waste my dessert again.

This successfully erased that memory, my god it was amazing. Delicate, light but packed full of flavour. Turns out Jan knows Rob Weston the head chef of La Trompette the only other place I order soufflés. After wanking on to Jan about how much I wanted to sit there and eat soufflé all day, I left, full, a bit pissed and quite content.

I marched towards some massive, fuck off bridge, stared at it for a bit and then went for a pint. Then I got up and walked some more. Interesting this bit isn’t it? ‘I wonder where he walks to next?’ you’re thinking, well, hang on a minute and I’ll tell you.

Ready for another pint, I spotted a pub in the distance. There was a cat in the window which immediately aroused my suspicion. Don’t worry, ‘suspicion’ is not what I call my penis. Bag of Nails is the name of the pub, I strongly recommend reading the Google reviews as there are some crackers.

“When my friend asked for a Strongbow dark fruits she replied “well I’ll have to see your ID if your asking for a drink like that”, which was extremely patronizing and made us feel very unwelcome.”

Pints polished off and a few cats stroked (yes, I could have put some rude P based alliteration here but frankly you should all grow up) I headed off in the direction of dinner.

Paco tapas is situated by the water of the River Avon, very nice.


Croquettes were great. I mean croquettes are always nice, but these were really nice.

The Presa Iberica (poorly pictured in the background) was cooked to perfection over the hot coals – I think I’ll write melt in the mouth. Pathetic bit of prose but I nearly need to get off the bus.

The only thing I didn’t enjoy was a charred leek with romesco sauce, not because it didn’t taste nice, for it did taste nice, but the knife I had wasn’t sharp enough to cut through the leek, so it just ended up being a straggly mess, a bit like your mum.

I asked for a sharper knife and was told they didn’t have one, but I suspect it’s because they knew I’m from Birmingham.

Concluding notes: Bristol is nice, I would return. Many thanks.


A History of Pizza Eating in Birmingham and Where to Eat it Now

Some of you may be surprised by the number of pizza restaurants rising up in Birmingham recently – research suggests we can expect no fewer than four dough flinging outlets per person in the city centre by 2020, quite the prospect.

Of course, anyone with an even reasonable grasp of history won’t be surprised by this, as Birmingham’s obsession with pizza goes much further back than just the last few weeks.

Pizza Hut, where pizza was invented back in 1980, used to own the Rotunda and plied the good people of Birmingham with the stuff.


Brummie historian Carlton Chinny:

“I’ll never forget my first stuffed crust pizza. I was in the Bullring market minding my own business when pizza started flying down from the sky. It was a PR stunt by Pizza Hut, they were lobbing meat feasts from the top of the Rotunda. 11 people had pepperoni based burns.”

The other important occurrence of the 80s was the birth of Father John in Sparkbrook. At the age of 15 he had his first pizza in the Rotunda. “This is shit,” he said, “I could make better fucking pizza than this.” And so he did, Father John’s Pizza was born. With sales not matching his expectations, he decided to take drastic action and Papa John was born.

What other bullshit can I come up with about Pizza and Birmingham.

Pizza Express was invented on the Aston Expressway.

Where to eat pizza in Birmingham

Now I’m going to show you three good places to eat pizza in Birmingham city centre. Three places that every other food blogger in Birmingham has already told you to eat pizza in.

I’m not going to bother explaining what pizza tastes like because, come on. Oooh the tomatoes were tomatoey! The anchovies were particularly anchovyey.

Franco Manca – 19 Bennetts Hill, Birmingham B2 5QJ


Rudy’s – 9-10 Bennetts Hill, Birmingham B2 5RS


Otto – 14 Caroline St, Birmingham B3 1TR


Which was my favourite? Thanks for asking. I thought it was Rudy’s because they’re cheaper but I was wrong – Otto is the best by a country mile. I could write, ‘and the rest is history’ here as a nice little out. I’m not going to though.


Eating food in Copenhagen

Mermaids. Hygge. Herring.


A man I know moved to Denmark a couple of years ago. That man? That man is one of the co-founders of the most important food blog of all time –

That’s right, we set this up back in October 2014 to take the piss out of the food blogging scene in London. Our first blog was about London Cocktail Week, but we went and reviewed a Wetherspoons. All very, very clever.

For some reason we called ourselves Toby and Tony and used to write stupid reviews of places we’d been. We’d somehow get invited occasionally to eat food for free, either because someone thought we were funny or someone was utterly crap at their PR job.

Then, in 2017 I moved to Birmingham and ‘Toby’ moved to Copenhagen. What a loser. Imagine choosing Copenhagen over Birmingham.

I decided to continue this blog because frankly, I need something to do on public transport. I’m glad I did, this year I’ve had more views than in 2017 and 2018 combined – what an absolute hero.

Sadly, it wouldn’t have been possible for ‘Toby’ to continue contributing as he has not only moved to Denmark, but he also doesn’t like fish and now lives on nothing but hot dogs.

The main problem I have these days is the name we chose, as often people don’t realise it’s all a bit of a joke and actually think I’m the sort of wanker who would describe themselves as a ‘foodie’, but anyway, there we were and here we are.

Despite his total lack of commitment to the art of Food Blogging I decided to go and visit ‘Toby’ in CPH. I’d heard it’s a real foodies heaven! Foodie foodie foodie.

Breakfast – direktørsnegl at Lagkagehuset

Be still my beating heart, literally, my heart will stop working if I eat too many more of these.

Every day I went to a branch of the Lagkagehuset chain and bagged myself a direktørsnegl. A chocolate and cinnamon pastry swirl.

“Denne fede mand kræver et direktørsnegl, tak,” I’d say, and they’d happily oblige.

Oooooh baby they’re good, so good. If someone starts selling them in Birmingham I will break in and steal every single one of them while you sleep.

I think the good thing about having something you know you shouldn’t be eating for breakfast is you’re more likely to choose healthily for the rest of the day. Which brings me on to…

Lunch – BBQ at Warpigs

“James (that is Toby’s real name), for the love of Christ take me to the trendy meatpacking district. If I don’t see some meat being packed ASAP I’m going to force-feed you pickled herring until you vomit,” I demanded.

He obliged, and next thing you know I was knocking back fucking expensive Mikkeller beer in the sun.

Handily they let you eat food while you drink beer, and it’s good drinking food: BBQ from ‘two gigantic high-quality smokers, the biggest in Europe, that can smoke up to 2 tonnes of meat a day.’ Two tonnes of meat a day, almost more than your mum.

There wasn’t much brisket left, but I got the last little bit after I fought a man to death. I also ate hot links, buffalo chicken wings, macaroni cheese. WHOA MAMA!

The wings were a bit on the scrawny side but everything else tasted marvellous.

Second lunch – Grill Art – Reffen

Reffen is a street food market by the harbour. Street food is going to be massive, mark my words. What it is, right, is food but rather than sitting and eating it in a restaurant you eat it from a tray stood up or at a bench, honestly, it’s mad.


I went to Grill Art because it smelt good, and they were giving out tasters.

The taster was a bit of beef, very nice, so I naturally ordered the special which was a rack of lamb. Excellent it was too. With this in mind, have a photo of the view and not of the food I ordered.

Light snack – Hallernes Smørrebrød – Tivoli Food Hall

If I was to guess, I reckon ‘smørrebrød’ almost definitely translates as ‘stuff on bread’, for that, dear reader, is what it is.

As a man who doesn’t really like sandwiches (wraps are the way forward) these were almost definitely designed just for me.


Rye bread, covered in stuff. We chose the following stuff: pickled herring, prawns, chicken liver and smoked salmon. If chickens had any sense and lived in the sea you could say we had a seafood feast.

I loved the pickled herring, which no one else did, so I mainly ate that. Very Scandi of me. Watch me pay more tax and be generally happier. Losers.

Dinner – Marv & Ben

At Gatwick the day before we flew, I got an email – it was from Noma informing me that a table had become available the following day. “FUCK,” I said, and contemplated booking it. Then I remembered I’m not a millionaire.

Instead, for our fancy meal we went to Marvin and Benjamin, and what a lovely meal it was.


I’d had a few beers when we went to this, and had a aperitif and also did the wine pairing, and BOY do they not hold back on the wine pairings. Seven large glasses, well, nine, because my wife didn’t want one of hers and I really liked one of them so they gave me more. I was what I can only describe as ‘a bit pissed’ by the end.

However, I can tell you that there were a few standout courses.


New potatoes, lovage and cured witch flounder. This was delightful and reminded me of a dish from Sat Bains. Dipping the spoon into the foam and bringing out some rich, crunchy deliciousness.

Lamb, wild garlic and gooseberries was also excellent.


You also get a constant stream of bloody tasty freshly baked bread throughout the meal, which probably stops most people getting hammered. NOT THIS GUY THOUGH, GOOD TRY, DANES.

All in all, if you like food you might like Copenhagen.

Obviously I didn’t actually eat all this in one day, but hasn’t it given the blog the most lovely structure?