Coming Back Down to the CBD Food Festival – Day 2
After a restful night’s sleep and a (very) light breakfast, it was time for a wander back down towards Victoria Square for a few more samples highlighting the range of choice in Colmore Business District…
It was just as busy, if not more so, than Friday as people came out to enjoy the sun, streetfood and supping.
Due to the heat, it was off for a round of beverages. I popped along to the Purity tent for a swift half of Longhorn IPA (again, currently in the running for top 10 in the Britain’s 100 Hottest Beers. Whilst I queued, Wifey and Friend went back to Bar Opus to continue the cocktails on from the previous day.
Wifey went for a ‘Brummy Mary’: a nice spicy Bloody Mary, garnished with a cherry tomato, pickle and a bite of mozzarella. She wasn’t expecting it to be so potent a kick but after the initial hit, it was supped up.
Friend went for the ‘Silk Purse – Sauza Ear’ featuring a big hit of Sauza Hornitos Tequila, wrapped up in a fruity frappe blend. It was a big hit and went down a treat, just the thing to beat the heat.
Whilst the cocktails and beer were slipping nicely, it was time for some grub. We joined perhaps the longest queue at the food festival, Asha’s.
Though the queue was long, service was fast and well organised. Wifey and Friend went for the Chicken Saffron Biryani whilst I had the Kababs ‘Tak-a-Tak’
The rice was delightfully light and fluffy, the chicken well seasoned and the accompanying raita offset the spice in the dish. The only slight disappointment was the gravy which though nice, didn’t seem to gel with the rest of the dish.
With my Kababs ‘Tak-a-Tak’, there was not a single thing I’d fault. The lamb seekh and chicken tikka done to perfection, the onion tomato masala just the right side of hot and the mint sauce had to be guarded from the others who wanted to pinch it for their Biryani. I wouldn’t be surprised if Asha’s and Lasan were soon to join the other four Michelin- starred restaurants in Brum (namely Purnell’s, Turner’s, Simpson’s and latest joiner Adam’s).
i was still hungry so it was time to move to the other side of Asia and try a little Chung Ying Central:
Originally set up in 1981 by James’s father, Siu Chung Wong, Chung Ying is one of Birmingham Chinatown’s oldest and well established restaurants and deserves its reputation.
We couldn’t resist a quick peck of Dim Sum (Wifey’s favourite in the world, no major surprise as she’s Chinese!). We went for a Spring Roll, Crispy Prawn Wonton and a smatter of Crispy Squid.
The spring roll was on the crispy side but the inside was hot, crunchy and well flavoured. The wonton had just the right level of crispness and a juicy prawn nestled in the batter. The highlight was the crispy squid. a nice light batter with tender squid melted on the mouth.
With that it was time for one more savoury dish:
I moved over to the next stall along, The Bureau for a Deli Dog. Near neighbours to Chung Ying Central on Colmore Row and open since 2013, their rooftop bar pops up quite frequently in lists of best beer gardens in Brum.
A pork sausage nestled under a mound of oak smoked pork shoulder and sweetcorn relish. Pulled pork seems to be ubiquitous nowadays, but this was a fine example and the smokiness balanced the sweetness of the relish and the meaty sausage.
Whilst I busied myself with the deli dog, Wifey had one of the other things on offer from The Bureau: a pineapple cheesecake. In her words, a little piece of heaven in a plastic cup. A biscuit, pecan and pine nut base, creamy cheesecake and a pineapple jelly topping. It was her favourite dish of the day.
Onto more drinks! First stop was a beer for me from The Wellington. Most likely the most well known real ale pub in Brum with 16 ales on the taps it’s won CAMRA Pub of the Year no less than 5 times. By the time I arrived, taps were already running dry but I plumped for an excellent HPA from Wye Valley to recharge.
I was dispatched by Wifey to Ginger’s Bar for more cocktails. Wifey went for a Strawberry Daiquiri and Friend went for a St Oli.
Unfortunately, neither cocktail lasted long enough for pictures or for me to grab a proper taste, I think that is enough of a solid review as it is!
The final stop of the day was to Yorks Bakery Cafe. Open since August 2012 on Newhall Street (just along from Purnell’s Bistro / Gingers Bar) they’ve just branched out with an Espresso Bar at the other end of Colmore row from Victoria Square and it’s a regular spot for Wifey and I to drop in for a coffee or four! This time though it was for a spot of cake:
The heat was getting to the cake a little as the chocolate had reached melting point by the time I had a bite but an airy dough, rich chocolate and tangy cherries made for a great combo.
Finally, we were done for the day and CBD Food Festival, for me, was done for the year. I’ll look forward to the circling the calendar for the return in 2016.
Where: Victoria Square, Birmingham City Centre