Choc-A-Block at Colmore Food Festival

Has it really been a year since the last food festival? Time flies fast in the second city!

The Colmore Food Festival is one of the highlights of Wifey and I’s year. Bringing the cream of the Colmore BID‘s bars, restaurants and cafes in a showcase over two days.

You can read last years posts here and here.

This year the stage had moved to the side of the Town Hall, giving wider avenues to progress down and choose your particular solid or liquid treat, a very sensible move. In the centre, there was a garden with seating hosted by The Opus Family (more on them later).

Wifey and I visited 3 times over the weekend, Friday lunch, Friday evening and Saturday afternoon, but still didn’t get around to trying half of it!


First stop was the marvellous Gary of Gingers Bar (located in Purnell’s Bistro). With a whisk of his magic fingers, 2 non-alcoholic cocktails were presented to us of G2O, a blend of Orange, Passion-fruit and Lime. This was a perfect refresher and helped with the brisk walk we both had from the other end of Colmore Row in the summer sun.

After slaking our thirst, we popped into the Opus Garden for a spot of lunch via Opus at Cornwall Street. Wifey and I both had an Opus classic: this was a Lincolnshire Leek and Haddock Fishcake, topped with a Poached Egg and butter sauce.

I’m not normally a leek fan but this was great with the haddock. The poached egg was perfect with a rich golden yolk.

Then, it was back to the office for a few more hours until the freedom of the weekend.

For our return, it was straight to Purnell’s Restaurant, always a firm favourite at the Food Festival. We were glad we got in when we did as they sold out pretty sharpish afterwards.

We went for the Pork Belly, accompanied by Pickled Pineapple, Black Pepper and Pork Crumble. We were impressed by crispy, crumbly, spicy pork belly accompanied  with the sweet sharp tang of pickled pineapple. I’m now sad to be waiting another year before seeing what they cook up next year!

Next stop was to an old favourite, The Jekyll & Hyde, serving a wide selection of gin based beverages. We went for a portion of Dr Jekyll’s Fruit Punch, it definitely packed one and was very moreish.

A few stalls away was Asha’s for a Lamb Saffron Biryani, this Lamb Biryani is cooked with three year mature basmati rice, green cardamom, saffron and cloves, served  with poppadoms, raita and gravy. As expected from one of Birmingham’s most renowned restaurants, very moreish and didn’t last long between Wifey and I.

Next, a break from the food, Seekasaurus was in attendance at the food festival with lots of coloured Dino’s lurking about the stalls and one midway up a lamppost. Wifey and Laura from Full to the Brum went for an explore whilst I popped back to Gingers Bar for another quick beverage.


This was a Frozen Strawberry Daiquiri Slushie, deliciously sweet and boozy.

That about wraps it up for Friday evening.

After compèring the hour of radio that is The Geeky Brummie Show on,it was time for visit number 3 for lunch and maybe some more alcohol!

First stop of the day was Jake’s Coffee Box, it’s  great to see an independent as good as Jake’s get to showcase themselves like this, and it’s at the heart of what the Festival is designed to be.

We chose one of Jake’s Picnic boxes, the first being the Savoury Box, with 2 Mini Gourmet Sausage Rolls (Pork, Shropshire Blue & Caramelised Onion, Pork Leek & Sage), accompanied by a homemade Scotch Egg, Rocket Salad, Cherry tomatoes and Black Pudding Crumb. The sausage rolls were delicious especially the caramelised onion one, which Wifey was particularly fond of. The Scotch Egg was also  great with a smooth creamy yolk and a hard albumen.

We also saw the Sweet Box, this contained a Triple Chocolate Brownie, Strawberries, Raspberries and Clotted Cream.

Next stop was booze! And a return to the Opus Garden. We were on the flip-side this time and visiting Bar Opus.

I chose a Marmalade Frozen Kalippo, which was Chase Marmalade Vodka, Lemon Juice, Orange Juice and a touch of Rosemary. Wifey chose The Great Chase, which was Chase Vodka, Chase Elder-flower Liqueur, Lemon Juice and Soda.

After that bit of booze, we made ourselves comfy in the deckchairs and watched a cooking demo by Jojolapa and hosted by Phil Oldershaw.

After that, Wifey couldn’t resist getting a portion of Momo’s, which nice and doughy and packed full of delicate chicken. They were accompanied by spicy rich tomato sauce.

Finishing off with another pair of cocktails from Gingers Bar (of course), it was time to bid a fond farewell to The Food Festival for another year!

When:08/07/2016 – 09/07/2016

Where: Victoria Square, Birmingham City Centre

Who: Colmore Business DistrictPurnell’s Bistro / Ginger’s BarOpus @ Cornwall StreetJojolapaPurnell’sThe Jekyll & Hyde,  Jake’s Coffee Box & Bar Opus at One Snowhill


Moseley’s Soul – Carters of Moseley

For my 50th post,I thought I’d treat you all to something a little special. Birmingham is very lucky to have 5 Michelin starred restaurants.

Wifey and I have so far visited three of them. We visited Purnell’s pre blog days for a special birthday; visited Simpsons with Birmingham Breakfast Club a few months back and now we can add Carter’s of Moseley, Birmingham’s latest member to the Michelin Club.

Since opening in November 2010, Chef Brad Carter and Co-proprietor/ Maitre’D Holly Jackson have been establishing themselves in the Birmingham restaurant scene and won numerous plaudits including 2 AA Rosettes, Good Food Guide’s Restaurant of the Year, in both Square Meal and the National Restaurant Awards Top 100 restaurants in Britain and of course, the prestigious Michelin Star.

We went on Thursday 24th March, a very wet and windy night, and were glad to be embraced by this cosy 35 cover restaurant, just off the main Moseley Village High Street on Wake Green Road.

We were dining with a couple of good friends, who had arrived before us, and we were seated towards the rear with a lovely view of both the wine cabinet and a window into the busy kitchen. Before we dived in, we started off with a few drinks, three of us went for gin and tonic whilst Wifey went for a vodka and tonic.

To keep us fed alongside our drinks, we had some crunchy wholemeal bread, with flour milled just up the road at Sarehole Mill. The bread came accompanied with two types of spread, one  a simple salted butter, the other a nice pork dripping.



Wifey loved it being in a small brown paper bag and I liked the wooden butter knife. The bread was very crunchy with a thick crust and was very moreish and filling.

Whilst we munched on our bread and supped our shorts, we went through the menu and chose the full 7 courses with wine pairing. We thought if we were doing it, do it properly!

To start, there was a selection of five snacks for whetting our appetite:


The snacks were:

  • Chicken Liver Cereal – The liver was beautifully rich and went well with the crispy cereal and sultanas
  • Ogelshield Gougeres – These little balls of delight were scrumptiou and my favourite of the snacks the savoury choux pastry really complemented the rich raw milk creaminess of the cheese.
  • Smoked Cod’s Roe Cracker, Seaweed & Fish Floss – A little pearl of roe dusted with seaweed and topped with fish floss, it was quite salty but iIparticularly enjoyed the dusted seaweed.
  • Blood Cake with Bramley Apple – Wifey is not a fan of blood cake or black pudding normally but made an exception in this case. The blood cake was quite smoky with a strong offal note, which I really enjoyed and was counterbalanced well with the sharpness of the bramley apple.
  • Cider Cured Sprats & Dill – These were Wifey’s fave of the snacks. Deliciously pickled little fishes with an intense dill sauce.

After a brief break and more chatting, it was time to start our 7 courses. Our first course was an Orkney Scallop with a lava bread and brown butter sauce.


The Oyster Scallop was HUGE, it was cooked perfectly, piping hot and delicately sweet flavour with a rich salty sauce made from ‘Welshman’s caviar’ and was beautifully presented on a scallop shell.

The wine pairing was a Muscat, a full bodied fruity buttery wine which complemented the scallop well.

Our second course was Yukon Gold Dauphinoise, with Spring White Truffle paired with a Chardonnay. Unfortunately, I didn’t get a decent enough picture but it was a well cooked dish with the perfect potato pick for me with its rich buttery gold colour and firm texture. The Chardonnay was closer to a white burgundy in flavour with a complex taste.

Course number three was Cotswold White Chicken with Bread Sauce & Calçots.


The chicken was again perfectly cooked and tender, the gravy was exceptionally rich and the bread sauce was the best I’ve ever had. The  Calçots, a relative of the spring onion, added a light bitterness to offset the richness of the gravy. Accompanying the dish was a Arneis. It was a very citrusy wine with subtle overtones of blossom, yet sweet, and merged well with the chicken.

Course number four was Skrei Cod with Fermented Garlic & Monk’s Beard.


The cod was delicate and flaked with a brush from the fork. the black garlic sauce was rich almost treacle like in colour and oh so complex in flavour, almost chocolatey, sweet and bitter at the same time with a powerful hit of umami. Monk’s beard (Goat’s Beard) hails from Tuscany and is only in season five weeks a year. It’s probably quite unknown in this country but tastes similar to spinach with a high minerally flavour. It was a very well balanced dish and perfectly accompanied with a Gavi. This wine is made from Cortese grapes in the DOCG protected region of  Cortese di Gavi. This was another fruity wine, mainly with peach coming to the fore with a little bit of gooseberry following it up.

Our fifth and ‘main’ course was beef with string beans and  gravy:


It was my favourite dish of the day, the beef was cooked with enough pinkness for me and well done enough for Wifey. The gravy was a joy with a deep richness and really bringing the umami of the beef to the fore.

It was accompanied by a beautiful Beaujolais, my second favourite red after Chateauneuf du Pape. It was fresh and fruity and almost verging on a white in flavour but it went down a treat.

Wifey, not being a red wine fan had an alternative white, however Holly was kind enough to let Wifey sample an almost rosé Red, which Holly had converted her mother with previously. Unfortunately, I don’t think I’ll ever get Wifey to drink red on a regular basis!

Course six and our first dessert was a watermint sherbet


Watermint is a less well known mint compared to garden, pepper and spearmint but it is abundant in northern Europe’s waterways and has quite a strong menthol flavour. It was combined with the sherbet (a sorbet made with milk rather than a fizzy powder). The accompanying Moscato d’Asti was very sweet with pineapple and grapefruit being the main flavours. Combined with the carbon dioxide, one of our friends coined it similar to an alcoholic Lilt in flavour!

The seventh and final course was Sheep’s Curd & crystallised blood orange.


The sheep’s curd was very rich, like a very soft cream cheese; the crystallised blood orange added both sweetness and sharpness.  It disintegrated on the tongue and blended into the curd. A wonderful end to a great meal. The final wine was a Demi-Sec and matched the dessert elegantly with its strong citrus and honey notes.

A special mention must also be made for the service. It was faultless , informative and informal, a relaxing change for fine dining.  The sommelier was very knowledgeable and more than happy to change some of the red wine pairings for Wifey.

There was one final extra little treat. We were presented with with cardamom-flavoured chocolate nestled in a bed of edible cocoa shavings. We ate this the following day, too stuffed to eat any more, and it was delightfully bitter with the spicy sweetness of cardamom pervading throughout.


We had an amazing evening and wouldn’t hesitate to return, the food and service was amazing and I’d recommend it to anyone looking for a special meal in Brum. Next time we’ll probably hit the lunch menu.

When: 24/03/2016

Where: Carters of Moseley, 2c St Mary’s Row, Wake Green Road, Moseley, Birmingham, B13 9EZ

Who: Carters of Moseley

Get feeling foodie on a Friday! #FridayNightFoodie is back!

In the run up to Michelin starred maestro Glynn Purnell’s Friday Night Kitchen on October 7th at Villa Park’s Holte Suite, Twitter followers are being given the chance to win a pair of tickets!

The #FridayNightFoodie competition runs from Friday 1st April and every Friday afterwards and Twitter followers are encouraged to send in a picture of their Friday night dinner using the hashtag #FridayNightFoodie and tagging @GPFNK


The ultimate winner gets two tickets to the event in October, in aid of CureLeukaemia and their winning dish will be in the cookbook.  Here’s how it works:

  • Starting 1st April, @GPFNK followers need to send in a picture and short description of their Friday night dinner using #FridayNightFoodie (FRIDAYS ONLY!)

  • Each week will have a theme, giving people the chance to challenge themselves to make something out of their comfort zone, rediscover an old favourite or find a new favourite recipe

  • The first theme is nice and easy to get started – your signature dish! Whatever it may be, it’s your chance to show them what you’re made of

  • Each week they will pick a winner. The top dish will become one of their finalists and will automatically make it into this year’s cookbook – to be handed out at the event (here’s a sneak peek at last year’s book!)*

  • Glynn himself will pick the overall winner from all the weekly finalists and that person will win two tickets to the event

  • There’s no limit to how many times you can enter – the more weeks you try, the more chance you have of making the list of finalists

*Just so you know, they may use Tweets, photos and anything else sent in throughout the competition as part of the cookbook – it can be a recipe from an existing book, just let them know when you send it in!

They’d love for you to join their quest this year to find their new #FridayNightFoodie, last year had over 100 entries which they’d love to beat!


If cooking isn’t your thing, tickets are now on sale for the fun-filled, live show-cooking event that over the last two years has gained the reputation of being the best Friday night out in the Birmingham social calendar.


The ‘Yummy Brummie’ will be joined by X-Factor winner Sam Bailey.


The East Londoner, now living in the Midlands, will join Glynn on stage to assist with the cooking along with other celebrity friends of Glynn, before performing for over 400 guests at the prestigious Midlands venue.


Award-winning presenter Suzanne Virdee will host the evening alongside Heart West Midlands presenter Ed James and BBC Coventry & Warwickshire presenter Phil Upton. The night will include on stage guests discussing and cooking their favorite dishes with Glynn before the audience enjoy the dishes themselves.

The one and only raffle prize on the night will give guests the chance to win a meal cooked at home by Glynn and his Purnell’s team for up to six people a money can’t buy experience. Glynn and his team will turn up, cook Sunday lunch and clean the kitchen up before they leave!


To round off the evening, guests will be treated to live music from The Subterraneans, the resident band from The Jamhouse, and Heart FM DJ Russ Morris until 2am.

You can book now at Tickets cost £135 per person and VIP tickets £155. Tables of ten can be secured for £1350 and VIP tables for £1550.

Breakfast Bonanza – Birmingham Breakfast Club at Nomad

Nomad don’t do things by halves. Described as “Birmingham’s most unusual restaurant”, its philosophy is based around bringing foraged and unusual cuisine to the fore.

Founded by Alex Claridge (formerly of The Warehouse Cafe and development chef at Bistro 1847), it spent most of 2014 and 2015 as a pop up at locations all over the city. Since winter 2015 it has had a permanent home on Dudley Street inside BOM.

After our previous experience at Simpsons, Simon S of Birmingham Breakfast Club (reviewer of breakfast locations far and wide around Brum) had arranged a special one-off surprise breakfast menu and how could I miss out on that opportunity!

Sitting down with a cup of tea and a mead cocktail (which consisted of English Mead Wine, Honey and Torello Cava) I had the opportunity to catch up with other bloggers and tweeters on our table, namely Laura from award winning FullToTheBrum, Ellen and Jamie from EatWithEllen, Coral and Phil from Travelling Coral and Mark from Cybrum.

Whilst we sipped our assembled teas, coffees and mead cocktails, we had a good chinwag about all things Birmingham and then our first surprise dish arrived.

Our ‘starter’ consisted of Eggy Bread with Tansy, Reindeer Moss with Bacon, Eggs and Coffee a wonderful piece of Forest of Arden Honeycomb served with fresh homemade yoghurt.The eggy bread had a delightfully light and fluffy texture to it, which was counterbalanced by the gooey honey and crunchy moss. Combined with the tart yoghurt, it gave a very complex, yet simple, textured dish.


To whet our appetite for the next course, we were treated to another cocktail, Sea Buckthorn Mimosa; the Sea Buckthorn gave a tartness to the flavour that didn’t last long.

The mimosa was a hint to our ‘main’ dish: Pearl Barley and Spelt Kedgeree with a Poached Egg and Sea Buckthorn sauce. As you can see from the picture, the presentation was exceptional. The grains were perfectly cooked, tender with a tiny bit of crunch, the fish fell apart with a touch of the fork and my egg was perfectly poached and the Sea Buckthorn sauce adding tartness.


Another beverage break, this time with a fresh pressed chilled apple juice.



The final course, our ‘dessert’, was a caramelised milk mousse and mixed cereals and a free toy!

There was an extra special ingredient too. High in magnesium and iron and ounce for ounce, one of the best sources of protein.

They were, of course, roasted crickets which went well with the crunchy cereal! If I hadn’t known they were there, I would probably have not noticed them. The milk mousse was creamy and sweet and I made short order of working through the dish.

It was a stunning introduction of Nomad to me and I’ll be back again with Wifey for a meal soon.

I also can’t wait for the next Birmingham Breakfast Club event either and can’t imagine what Simon has planned for next time…


When: 13/03/2016

Where: Nomad Restaurant1 Dudley Street, Birmingham B5 4EG, England

Who: Birmingham Breakfast ClubNomad Restaurant




Breakfast Banquet – Birmingham Breakfast Club at Simpsons Restaurant

It’s not often Wifey and I go somewhere a little different. With one of the most prestigious pedigrees in Birmingham, and Britain, this time was going to be a rather special breakfast…


Founded in Kenilworth by Chef owner Andreas Antona, then relocating to Edgbaston, holders of a Michelin Star since 2000, Simpsons is not normally known as a breakfast destination.

However, Simon S of Birmingham Breakfast Club (reviewers of breakfast locations far and wide around Brum) arranged two special seatings .Wifey and I naturally jumped at the chance for a visit and it was a great chance to look around the recently refurbished restaurant.


For those not up to date on happenings at Simpsons, former Head Chef Matt Cheal left after 16 years on and off,and two years as head chef under Chef Director Luke Tipping, to establish Cheals of Henley.

Recently, Nathan Eades has taken over Head Chef duties after a successful run at his own, Epi @ The Courtyard in Bromsgrove, and pop ups at The Kitchen Garden (Kings Heath) and The Pickled Piglet (City Centre).

To go with the change in the kitchen, Simpsons has had a makeover too, with a full refurbishment giving the place a lighter, ‘Bauhaus’, Japanese, Scandinavian, mix of light and airy style:

After removing our coats, we were ushered to take out places in the beautiful dining room:


But before I ate, Simon had arranged a very rare treat for fellow bloggers and I – a look behind the curtain and watch these food maestros in the kitchen:

It was a privilege to see how much effort the team were putting into our breakfast, especially considering they were still conducting normal service in between fitting us in.

After that, it was back to the table for a spot of tea, toast and juice for Wifey and I and time to look over our three (!) course breakfast menu:


The bread, a crusty crunchy sourdough, was very generous and served with a delicious pale and soft butter. The juices were all amazing quality (as expected) and tea was served in beautiful clear glass pots.

Our first course was a twist on the classic breakfast dish of Kedgeree, smoked haddock risotto accompanied with capers, parsley and quails egg:


I usually hate capers; the bitter, salty, sour medicinal taste usually sends me running.

But this kedgeree was something else. Well presented chunky flakes of smoked haddock, glossy quails eggs and wet but perfectly done rice meant I was in heaven. Wifey was apprehensive as rice for breakfast reminded her of childhood memories of Congee but she fell in love with this also, heaping praise on the delicate smokiness of the fish.

The ‘main’ was another twisted dish, a Full English featuring crispy duck egg, chorizo & coco bean, confit tomatoes, walnut puree and smoked bacon emulsion.

This miniature masterwork came with an egg hidden in a birds nest, waiting to be opened like a treasure chest. Silence descended on the table whilst we dove in and you could hear nothing but the scraping of knives and groans of delight!


The egg was exceptional and surpassed the quails egg from the previous course, a hard challenge to beat. The bacon emulsion providing a tang, a nice earthiness and zing supplied by the chorizo and coco bean. The twist on brown sauce was amazing too.

Our final dish on the breakfast tour was Granola, with toasted almonds, English apples and yoghurt:


I wasn’t expecting a foamed yoghurt but this was delightfully pleasant. It was  a refreshing end to the meal with a balanced apple compote peppered with hidden huge blueberries.

After our big repast, Wifey and I patted our contented bellies and with goodbyes done, started the day with a sense of contentment. Wifey will definitely be back for another meal soon.

The Birmingham Breakfast Club held a second event last Saturday (28th November) which had a different (but likely no less superb). Luckily, for you readers, Vicky from Brumderland attended and you can read her experience soon!

When: 31/10/2015

Where: Simpsons Restaurant, 20 Highfield Road, Edgbaston, Birmingham, B15 3DU

Who: Birmingham Breakfast Club, Simpsons Restaurant