Meaty Delights at Rib Nights – Cafe Opus

I previously went to Rib Nights at The Church Inn back in my pre-blogging days of November last year. It was a great experience and I looked forward to the next one, so when I heard it was returning at Cafe Opus, I booked in straightaway.

Cafe Opus took over the space in the Ikon Gallery back in February 2013, and  part of its profits goes towards the gallery. It’s one of Wifey and I’s favourite brunch spots, especially with the view of cherry blossom over Oozells Square in late spring.

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Blooming Marvellous Art & Grub – BMAG & Edwardian Tea Room

Not your typical invite for a foodie event but the team at Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery (BMAG for us locals) wanted to show off their Edwardian Tea Room and a few new galleries as part of their update.

Wifey & I had visited the tea rooms prior as part of Birmingham Cocktail Weekend and we’re big fans of the ‘Birmingham: its people, its history’ exhibit.

DSCF2119

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Provisions by the Pavilion – Bournville Ale & Streetfood Festival

Late Summer, the sun was shining, and Wifey and I made a change from our usual City Centre haunts and ventured a little further afield to historic Bournville. those who know a little about the history of Birmingham  will know the vast majority of it was built for the workers of Cadbury. What you may not know is there are no Public houses in Bournville and Rowheath Pavilion (today’s destination) only began to serve alcohol at their members bar in the 1960’s.

So a unique destination for an Ale and Streetfood festival, lets check it out!

Rowheath Pavillion
Rowheath Pavillion

We arrived when the festival was in full swing. with a wide variety of stalls (and queues) to see and enjoy.

First stop was one of my personal favourites, Low’n’Slow, who’ve been subject to a few of my previous posts.

Today was no exception to Andy’s meaty maestro-ness and Wifey and i picked up lamb shank taco’s with Feta, Salsa and Coriander.

Lamb Shank Tacos from Low'n'Slow
Lamb Shank Tacos from Low’n’Slow

The lamb was soft, tender and melted in the mouth. It combined great with the crumbly, tangy cheese. A great start to our food for the day.

After lining the stomach it was time for a drink, however, a quick trip to the bar turned more into an expedition.

Bar Queue at Rowheath Pavilion
Bar Queue at Rowheath Pavilion

Of the two real ale bars, one was completely out and the second was down to one ale. the regular bar had opened up to help the flow of regular drinks, but a queue was tailing back and growing by the minute. the Ale and Streetfood festival turned more into a Streetfood Festival.

Good job I love streetfood!

Back outside it was time to visit the vintage Citroen H Van of the team from Pietanic, whom we previously saw at Sarehole Mill.

Pietanic Van
Pietanic Van

The choice this time was a Chicken & Chorizo pie with a mini iceberg of mash in an ocean of gravy (groan).

Chicken & Chorizo Pie from Pietanic
Chicken & Chorizo Pie from Pietanic

The mash was made from skin on potatoes to add extra texture but still kept a good amount of creaminess. The pie again was excellent. It was a struggle to wrestle it from Wifey’s hands as it was her first experience of Pietanic. From what morsel I salvaged the chicken was well done yet soft and moist. the chorizo added a welcome spicy pop without overriding the chicken.

Next along the food tour was another streetfood stall previously featured, Scratch Cooking, this time swapping wings for Paella

Scratch Cooking
Scratch Cooking Caterers

A beautiful slow cooked paella with plenty of seafood bubbling away nicely.

Scratch Cooking Caterers Paella
Scratch Cooking Caterers Paella

A generous portion was served up for me to take back to Wifey.

Paella from Scratch Cooking Caterers
Paella from Scratch Cooking Caterers

Wifey loved it, nice big prawns, fresh mussels  and veggie rice. The portion was too much for her. The only thing which was a misstep came from the heat. By the time I’d got it back to the seating area the the dish was more warm than hot but still with enough heat to keep it enjoyable. A bit more warmth would just make it better.

Whilst Wifey was going through her Mediterranean feast. I went for something a little more North American with Caribou Poutine, who’e been running pretty much as long as this blog, so a relative new comer to the Brum scene. It hasn’t stopped them making a splash with events such as Taste & Liquor, Brum Yum Yum and Digbeth Dining Club.

Poutine is a Canadian speciality involving chips / fries gravy and cheese curds. sounds a bit different from the usual cheesy chips eh!

Caribou Poutine Menu
Caribou Poutine Menu

I chose the Miss Piggy as I still felt the need for more meaty goodness. A bit of slow cooked pulled pork, streaky bacon and sausage seemed a marriage made in heaven to go with chips, curds and gravy.

Miss Piggy from Caribou Poutine
Miss Piggy from Caribou Poutine

it was HOT (heat  not spicy) and cooked my fingertips on the way back to the eating area. I can see why it’s so popular tough, a mammoth portion of fries were hidden under mounds of meat and cheese curds.

The dish was one of those which gives you an almost Ready-Brek glow of warmth and heartiness. I can see why its so popular in the cooler parts of Canada, even on a late summer day it gave me a cozy feeling. I’ll certainly be back again for more soon.

To burn off a few calories Wifey and I went for a stroll around the park prior to making our exit. We were originally going to have a waffle to finish but the queue, which had been large all day seemed to be even longer. I’ll have to get them next time!

Waffle Queue
Waffle Queue

Here’s a few of the other traders present whom we wish we could have got round too. Surprisingly my appetite does have a limit so we couldn’t do them all!

A special shout out to the amazing Pip from Pip’s Hot Sauces (available on-line!).

And with that we were done for the day and get back to the city centre!

When: 27/09/2015

Where: Bournvlle Ale & Street Food Festival, Rowheath Pavillion, Rowheath, Bournville, Birmingham

Who: Low’n’SlowPietanicScratch Cooking and Caribou Poutine

Bavarian Bites – Reinheitsgebot! Oktoberfest at Purity Bar

A funny thing about Oktoberfest, it runs for 16 days with the last day being the first Sunday in October. Which of course means most of Oktoberfest is in September. Which is why one autumnal evening in late September, Wifey and I descended down to Pure Bar & Kitchen‘s basement for a few beers, wurst and Oompah!

Downstairs Bar at Pure Bar and Kitchen
Downstairs Bar at Pure Bar and Kitchen

I’ve reviewed Pure Bar previously (here) but this was a special occasion with a set menu and entertainment, the menu even included beer too (which they were more than happy to swap for wine for Wifey).

Beer, Wine & Menu
Beer, Wine & Menu

The beers were a little bit special to match the Bavarian bites, the Beyreuther Festbier my particular favourite.

Oktoberfest Menu
Oktoberfest Menu

And with that on to grub in the form of two delicious Bratwursts!

Pure Bar & Kitchen Bratwursts
Pure Bar & Kitchen Bratwursts

I dived into the pork one first. topped with popcorn-like Crackling on top with a smoky pork hot dog loaded with saurkraut underneath. It was Wifey’s fave dish of the evening. The crackling stands well up enough on it’s own I’d be happy to have a bowl as a bar snack, it was that good!

Sausage-wise I preferred the beef. It was tender, delicate and melted in the mouth. The sharpness of the saurkraut really brought out the umami in the beef and Wifey had to suard hers from my wandering foodie hands.

Billy's Big Brass Band
Billy’s Big Bavarian Brass Band

With our main’s under way Billy’s Big Bavarian Brass Band kicked up playing a mix of variations on modern tunes and traditional Oktoberfest music (Ein Prosit anyone?). The stand out song was ‘Polka Face’ which you can find on my Periscope (@brummiegourmand).

Then the desert course:

Apple Strudel & Beer Ice Cream at Pure Bar & Kitchen
Apple Strudel & Beer Ice Cream at Pure Bar & Kitchen

A curious take on a strudel, more an apple spring roll. However, the taste was spectacular.The roll was a light filo style pastry with a chunky , sharp and sweet filling. I couldn’t detect any cinnamon which makes a nice change and allowed the apple to stand put on its own. The toasted oats under the beer ice cream were amazing and worked well with the malty, almost savoury beer ice cream.

All in all , a great evening with outstanding food. Wifey and I will be back again soon, as their Christmas menu looks very tempting…

When: 24/09/2015

Where: Pure Bar & Kitchen, Waterloo Street, Birmingham

Who: Pure Bar & Kitchen, Purity Brewery

A Kings Feast – Kings Heath Street Festival

Well, that took longer than expected to get back to you all! My main laptop died last weekend, hence the delay in getting back to blogging. No matter, the spare has been brought in so I can continue telling you lovely folks about food in and around Birmingham. Anyway….back to it.

As you may be aware, we had been to Birmingham Independent Food Fair in the morning so our bellies were a little full. However, there’s always more room for streetfood! A short bus ride away is Kings Heath, a bustling suburb with a burgeoning streetfood scene (mainly due to BrumYumYum and their #KingshEATh at the Churchyard).

Today’s event was a slightly different affair from the usual as York Road was closed off by Enjoy Kings Heath to celebrate all that’s great about Kings Heath. It was a busy affair:

Kings Heath Street Festival
Kings Heath Street Festival

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Brum Bites – Hidden Spaces at Curzon Street Station

You may not believe it but I occasionally do non foodie things around Birmingham, as well as stuffing my face.

On the same day as Day 1 of  Birmingham Independent Food Fair 2015 as part of Birmingham Heritage Week, Hidden Spaces opened up Curzon Street railway station to the public. Wifey, I, and a few friends went for a poke around.

Hidden Spaces at Curzon Street Station
Hidden Spaces at Curzon Street Station

The building, though vacant, hasn’t lost its imposing stature

Hidden Spaces at Curzon Street Station
Hidden Spaces at Curzon Street Station

An astounding triple height ceiling with a recently refurbished octagonal skylight

Hidden Spaces at Curzon Street Station
Hidden Spaces at Curzon Street Station

The mummified cat was absent, perhaps it had found another life.

Hidden Spaces at Curzon Street Station
Hidden Spaces at Curzon Street Station

Backstory on the station.

Hidden Spaces at Curzon Street Station
Hidden Spaces at Curzon Street Station
Hidden Spaces at Curzon Street Station
Hidden Spaces at Curzon Street Station

Down into the basement

Hidden Spaces at Curzon Street Station
Hidden Spaces at Curzon Street Station
Hidden Spaces at Curzon Street Station
Hidden Spaces at Curzon Street Station
Hidden Spaces at Curzon Street Station
Hidden Spaces at Curzon Street Station

Looks like the party finished a long time ago.

Hidden Spaces at Curzon Street Station
Hidden Spaces at Curzon Street Station

Hidden spaces signage in the old phone exchange room.

Hidden Spaces at Curzon Street Station
Hidden Spaces at Curzon Street Station

Looks like the keys to half of Birmingham!

Hidden Spaces at Curzon Street Station
Hidden Spaces at Curzon Street Station

Breakfast menu for the long gone Rosa’s cafe; if it was open now, a bacon and sausage sandwich for 60p would put Mr Egg to shame.

Hidden Spaces at Curzon Street Station
Hidden Spaces at Curzon Street Station

The old phone exchange box featuring logo from the 80’s!

Hidden Spaces at Curzon Street Station
Hidden Spaces at Curzon Street Station

Other parts of the basement.

Hidden Spaces at Curzon Street Station
Hidden Spaces at Curzon Street Station

Old yellow bin! Remember them?

Hidden Spaces at Curzon Street Station
Hidden Spaces at Curzon Street Station

View over Eastside

Hidden Spaces at Curzon Street Station
Hidden Spaces at Curzon Street Station

Conservation award from 1984, shame the conservation did not carry on.

Hidden Spaces at Curzon Street Station
Hidden Spaces at Curzon Street Station

Better view of the octagonal skylight

Hidden Spaces at Curzon Street Station
Hidden Spaces at Curzon Street Station

Boarded (and broken) windows

Hidden Spaces at Curzon Street Station
Hidden Spaces at Curzon Street Station

Better view of Eastside with Bullring and Beetham Tower in the distance

Hidden Spaces at Curzon Street Station
Hidden Spaces at Curzon Street Station

Rotunda

Hidden Spaces at Curzon Street Station
Hidden Spaces at Curzon Street Station
Hidden Spaces at Curzon Street Station
Hidden Spaces at Curzon Street Station

First floor balcony

Hidden Spaces at Curzon Street Station
Hidden Spaces at Curzon Street Station

View up to the second floor, with some 60’s spot lights

Hidden Spaces at Curzon Street Station
Hidden Spaces at Curzon Street Station

Back outside

Hidden Spaces at Curzon Street Station
Hidden Spaces at Curzon Street Station

View from across the road

Hidden Spaces at Curzon Street Station
Hidden Spaces at Curzon Street Station

Hopefully, HS2 will help to restore this architectural gem back to its former glory. Our tour was done, now back to the Birmingham Independent Food Fair.

When: 12/09/2015

Where: Curzon Street Station, Birmingham

Who: Hidden SpacesBirmingham Heritage Week

Because I Feel Foodie! Birmingham Independent Food Fair 2015 – Day 1

Birmingham Independent Food Fair is now in its second year, following on from #futurefoodies @ Hotel LaTour in 2013 (#futurefoodies was Wifey and I’s first foodie event in Birmingham and we were the first visitors to arrive!).

Created by the minds behind Dine Birmingham, Birmingham Independent Food Fair is a flagship event in Birmingham’s foodie scene, bringing together streetfood vendors, suppliers, independent stores and some of Birmingham’s best bars and restaurants.

This year, as per the previous year, the event was held at Millennium Point, it’s also two days long which means double the time for food!

 Wifey and I popped along to see what was happening (settle in, this will be a long one!).

The sun was shining as we strolled along through Eastside Park to the food fair and got to see a glimpse of the goodies, with the outside stalls, before picking up our wristbands.

Streetfood stalls outside Millennium Point
Streetfood stalls outside Millennium Point

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Vast Victuals with Vicky’s Kitchen at the Victoria

The Victoria is currently going through a menu renaissance. Their kitchen was previously run by Soul Food Project who’ve since move to the other side of town to The Church in Hockley.

Victoria Exterior
Victoria Exterior

Now run by Vicky’s Kitchen, the current retinue of burgers and pizzas is being expanded to include some classic and inventful American inspired cuisine. To celebrate the occasion, myself, Wifey and a good selection of Birmingham’s blogging community were invited along to have a sample.

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Greed: Pure Gin’ious at The Jekyll & Hyde

I was invited to attend a special bloggers event by the wonderful Vicky Osgood of Brumderland, and the team at Jekyll & Hyde. Go, go now and have a look at Vicky’s website  (it’s amazing), I’ll wait right here for you to get back!

The Jekyll & Hyde (part of the Bitters ‘n’ Twisted group), has introduced a gin inspired menu to match their Victorian Gin Parlour and fellow bloggers and I (no wifey this evening) were invited along for a taste, with a few gins to help it down…

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