Review: One Week in Birmingham

“When a man is tired of London’s shit, he moves to Birmingham.” Jamelia.

I’m not going to start telling you the pros and cons of London and Birmingham, what would be the point in that? You’ve already decided exactly what you think of them and your mind will never sway, and fair play to you, stick to your guns, or knives, or acid – whatever floats your boat.

Long and short of it is I’ve moved from London to Birmingham, “but why would you do that? There are loads of restaurants in London, and in Birmingham there’s nothing but Big John’s and 45 Harry Ramsden’s,” (autocorrect really wanted to change ‘Ramsden’ to ‘Ramadan’ which has given me an idea for a pop-up, get in touch for investment opportunities or if you’re a chef called Harry who can work nights).

Well, it turns out there are loads of great places to eat in Birmingham, and it only seems to be getting better. When I last lived in the Midlands in 2007 you could probably count on one hand the number of decent places to dine (that might be a lie but I can’t be bothered to research), but here we are August 2017 and I’m back, and what you really want to hear about is where I’ve been eating this week. WELL, hang on a fucking second and I’ll get to it. Jesus.

Harborne Kitchen

“Oooh, would you look at that. I bet they do lunch.” I said to the woman who has moved here with me as we walked down Harborne High Street looking for somewhere to go for lunch.

And bugger me senseless, they did do lunch, two courses for £18! Imagine! In London that would have cost me £4,500.

To begin we had some Sourdough and some churned, whipped buttery goodness. The best bit about this was that I got to indulge in one of my favourite past times – licking stones (which is one of the reasons I’m not allowed round Ronnie Wood’s house).

Sourdough Harborne Kitchen

Sourdough Harborne Kitchen

Salmon, I never usually order salmon because it’s BORING but I didn’t fancy the veloute or the parfait. Good news, it was nice, with a lovely pickley-ness knocking about to maintain my interest.

Salmon Harborne Kitchen

Salmon Harborne Kitchen

The beef was goooood, and with the smoked mash, peas and crispy onions on top you’ve pretty much stuck all my favourite food items on one plate you bloody genius.

Featherblade of beef Harborne Kitchen

Featherblade of beef Harborne Kitchen

I had a lovely glass of Fleurie with my beef, the woman accepted the waiter’s recommendation for her two glasses of white wine, they cost £13 a glass so I’m not talking to her anymore.

The Indian Brewery

On my first Friday night in Birmingham I met an old friend and decided to show off how ‘bang on trend with all the top cool shit going down’ I am these days by taking him to The Indian Brewery near Snow Hill.

This small venue does craft beer and Indian street food snacks, this gave me an excellent opportunity to pretend to know about beer and also talk about the time I lived in India.

We ordered a couple of pints or Birmingham Lager and a selection of food.

Indian Brewery Birmingham

Indian Brewery Birmingham

The stand outs were the fat naan with chicken tikka and red onions, and the Bombay Wings which had a batter round them that sort of tasted like onion bhaji. The masala fries were a bit of a non-event and could do with some more spice to them.

The Plough

I went here after work on Wednesday, and seeing as it’s at the end of the road and I imagine I’ll be going there all the time I’m almost certainly going to give them 4/5.

It was taco night on Wednesday, you get four for £12.50, so I ordered the slow cooked chorizo and chilli,  spiced pork belly with slow-cooked apple, chilli battered cod and buffalo chicken tacos. The other on offer was a veggie one which obviously I didn’t choose as I’m a man.

Tacos at the Plough Harborne

Tacos at the Plough Harborne

These were all pretty good, the cod was the best, followed by the chorizo. I always feel a bit disappointed with tacos, as I’m usually not entirely satisfied and I’ve got juices all over my hands – a bit like your dad in his shed.

I’ve booked to go to Adam’s next month which will hopefully bring about the first 5 boy review of this new and exciting era. My favourite review I’ve seen of it so far is by this guy who was clearly pissed off that a taller, better looking man was talking to some women.

8 months ago
Went there with my wife, food was bland very bland to be honest nothing special however am concerned about a waiter that is tall short back and sides first of all he smelt of cigarettes and chatting up with a group of girls I think it was a party rude attitude should take immediate action for a 5 star restaurant

Review: Zindiya

Having lived in London for the past six years I was totally under the impression that the very concept of ‘street food’ had been invented here. It turns out people have actually been selling food items outside of restaurants and shops for thousands of years! Who knew?!

With this newly acquired knowledge I decided to stick it to London and get a train to Birmingham.

Birmingham’s one of those places that feckless dullards say “it’s shit,” about whenever its name crops up in conversation. These people have never mustered an original thought of their own and tend to go through life parroting opinions they’ve heard that they think will be socially acceptable to their peers.

Not like me, I have loads of opinions of my own. Don’t believe me? Tweet and ask for one: @FoodieBoys. This not going along with the crowd thing can probably be put down to the fact that I’m incredibly well travelled and interesting. Not only have I lived in Vietnam, but I also lived and worked in Delhi for a year. That’s right, Delhi, in India.

Indian food a short taxi ride from Birmingham city centre

You can only imagine my delight when I discovered there was a recently opened Indian street food establishment in Moseley, Birmingham. I booked a table for two and dusted off my Hindi dictionary.

“Bhains ke aage been bajana,” I said as I walked towards the bar.

“Sorry?” The waiter responded.

“Playing the flute to a buffalo is a waste of time.” I said, with my eyes closed, nodding slowly in a wise manner.

“Table for two is it?”

“Ek anaar, sau bimaar – one pomegranate is all there is, and a hundred men are sick trying to get it.”

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Lager and a From Oozy with love cocktail

After sitting down and looking at the menu we ordered some drinks, then some food. A tale as old as time – this is commonplace in restaurants.

Being a man, I ordered a pint of lager and my lady woman ordered  a rose cocktail that came in a plastic bag. A lovely touch. I attempted to come up with a suitable anecdote from my time spent in Delhi, India.

“Oh, that’s such a lovely touch. It actually reminds me of a time in Chandni Chowk when… a… when a… erm plastic bag… erm, fell… from the sky and it made me think… about… plastic bags.”

Fortunately the menu offered more opportunities to reminisce, for example with Pani Puri. I looked back fondly on the time in Delhi when this particular treat gave me a few days of watery diarrhoea.

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Aloo Tikki Chaat

To begin we ate Aloo Tikki Chaat – Potato cakes and spicy chickpeas, drizzled with tamarind chutney and yoghurt. LOVELY.

I ordered Lady Fingers as I wanted to do an Alan Partridge impression, it goes like this: “Oooh, lady fingers.” Pav bhaji is something I ate in India too, actually in Mumbai.

Sure, I’ve been to Mumbai. Where else have I been I hear you ask? Thanks for asking, I’ve also been to Jaipur, Kolkata, Amritsar, Varanasi and others. Incredible, India.

Chicken tikka – now, I like chicken tikka, chicken tikka is good and tasty. I am pleased, NAY, THRILLED to announce that this chicken tikka was delicious. The meat was perfectly moist, and the edges were slightly charred which gave it a lovely depth of flavour.

The seekh kebab was very good too, with a decent level of spice present.

I often think the best part of an Indian meal is the starters, Zindiya with its tapas style Indian street food was perfect and allowed me to talk about myself at length, wonderful.

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Four boys out of five.