Review: Food Attack at The Meat Shack

It’s National Burger Day today, so what better way to celebrate then telling you about my visit to one of Birmingham’s hottest new venues, The Meat Shack at Thorp 17.

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The Meat Shack are not new to the Birmingham food scene, in fact they’ve been established for 5 years as a streetfood vendor, and have served their faithful followers at Birmingham streetfood Mecca, Digbeth Dining Club for a long time. It’s great to see that they’ve put down roots in the heart of Southside so how could we not go down for a visit.

The interior is light and airy with a nice few touches of street  art and corrugated steel to liven things up. We arrived early evening and we were glad we did, between arriving and finishing the place went from reasonably quiet to queuing out of the door. I think the burger smell had got to the Birmingham masses it certainly had got to us, it was also great to see cocktail extraordinaire Gary Anderson settling in to his new role as General Manager, his affable nature shining through whilst taking our drinks order.

I was dining with Wifey and “Award Winning #BrumHour” who joined us to see what all the foodie buzz had been about. The tap ale had ran out so I settled for a Sadler’s Dakota American IPA (yeasty, malty with citrus bite), Wifey on the Fentimans Elderflower (refreshing) and #BrumHour on the Hoxton Cidersmiths Craft Cider (green apple, tangy).

After drinks it was time to choose from the menu

It’s short, but some of the best are, and all the usual bases are covered, including a veggie option.

Between us we covered off:

  • Mr C – beef patty, american cheese, iceberg lettuce, red onion, pickle,  ketchup, shack sauce (Wifey)
  • Bella Emberg marinaded deep fried halloumi, mushroom duxelle, dutch cheese, ketchup, chipayo, crunchy onion flakes, iceberg lettuce, red onion (#BrumHour)
  • Dutch Piggy beef patty, dutch cheese, american cheese, streaky bacon, iceberg lettuce, red onion, pickle, ketchup, chipayo  with an extra Sloppy Kiss shack beef and pork meat sauce on top (me).

I actually was enjoying the burger that much i forgot to take notes, but it was just amazing, it lived up to the stair case with dripping filthy goodness. The bacon was crisp, the ‘hand smashed’ beef patty flavourful, cheese drippy and the sloppy kiss lifted it to a different level with a sweet meaty extra tang, I was half expecting a golden shaft of light to peek out from the clouds and hit the tray, whilst a chorus of angels hummed in the back ground, the contents were THAT good.

My only, very minor, criticism was the bun. Which was very nice and oft with a touch of crisp from a light toasting. It was a touch to tall for my preference, with a slab of ingredients that size it makes a large mouthful  and a slightly less voluminous bun would’ve been appreciated.

Noises from around the table confirmed the others were enjoying their burgers as much as I. Wifey even finished hers which is an unusual occurrence to say the least.

 

For sides we chose both Frickles and Onion Rings and 2 portions of Chipayo Fries, with #BrumHour opting for his Sloppy Kiss to be planted there.

The fries we nice, well seasoned and the Chipotle Mayonnaise added a nice zing to the proceedings. Onion Rings are always a good guide to quality and are Wifey’s default order whenever we go somewhere new and they’re on the menu. These were solid, crispy, golden batter which wasnt oily with a beautiful sweet onion inside which pretty much just melted away on contact. Don’t take my word for it Paul Fulford praises them mightily too here.

And the Frickles, what can I say about the Frickles. British peoples first instinct when pickling is the humble onion, or if you’re feeling racy an egg from the mysterious giant jar at the chippy. My favourite has always been a nice pickled cucumber. It’s sweet, it’s tangy it’s crunchy and it’s heaven with a beef and ham sandwich.

With the light battering supplied on these bad boys they’ve been lifted to an art-form. The batter adding extra crunch and that extra savoury edge. I’d have been happy as a pig in muck with a bucket of these and a cup of that delicious blue cheese dip.

The one thing I’d like to see, and agreed with the next table along, added to the menu would be a nice side salad, or coleslaw or something to just take the edge off the mostly fried nature of the menu and pretend we were at least being somewhat healthy.

Wifey and I had just enough space to get in a dessert. We both plumped for the take on Eton Mess with fresh peaches and mango amongst whipped cream, decadent and delicious. Next door had the Chocolate Torte and reports between mouthfuls were very positive nods. The dessert menu is under development at present so expect to see more options soon.

One of the things going around the foodie scene is if there’s enough Birmingham foodies to support two amazing burger restaurants in the city (these guys and the Digbeth chaps, OPM). In a city with over a million people, and a food scene which has exploded over the past few years, it’s daft to think that both wont thrive and co-exist happily.

For me and my cohort it was a very happy, fulfilling and positive first visit. It certainly wont be our last if we can beat the queues. I’m a man who needs his dripping filthy goodness after all, I mean how else do I maintain my figure.

If you’ve not been yet, GO NOW, today’s as good as any…

 

When: 18/08/2017

Where: The Meat Shack, Upstairs @Thorp17, 17 Thorp Street, Southside, Birmingham, B5 4AT

Who: The Meat Shack

 

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!

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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.

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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 BrumRadio.com,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

 

Feeding Time at Foodies Festival

For a change, there was some blue sky present this summer. It was a glorious sunny Sunday and for the third year in a row, Wifey and I escaped the city (just about) and headed to Cannon Hill Park.

The main reason for our visit was not the usual excellence of the MAC, or for a run. Instead, it was to  have a taste of the Foodies Festival. Now in it’s 11th year starting in Brighton at the end of April, and then touring the country with food festivals in ten locations throughout the Summer.

The Birmingham event showed off some of Birmingham’s best talent with Nathan Eades Richard Turner, Brad Carter, Ben Ternent and James Wong.

Also TV talent was in attendance in the shape of Great British Bake Off Winner, Nadiya Hussein, and MasterChef’s Tony Rodd and Dhruv Baker.

Accompanying the demonstrations were some streetfood stalls, bars and produce to purchase and try.

The first stop off for Viv and I was a bit of Caribbean spice in the shape of the Levi Roots camper van, serving up wings and nibbles. Wifey managed to grab a wing smothered in Reggae Reggae sauce, with a bit of chopped spring onion and mayo.

The wing was nice and hot, and the Reggae Reggae sauce worked well as a marinade. We’ll definitely be trying it at home at some point.

Next stop was keeping in the Caribbean theme with a visit to the Appleton Rum Bus.

This Jamaican Rum is a firm favourite of Wifey’s extended Jamaican family and it’s nice to see it reaching the UK!  We were shown how to mash sugar cane, which reminded us of our holiday to the Dominican Republic a few years back. Wifey got to pretend to be bus driver, had a rum tasting of Appleton’s signature blend and then finished off with a couple of cocktails.

A Jamaican Mule for me made with ginger ale and lime whilst Wifey plumped for a Fruit Punch with Orange, Pineapple and Grenadine. Both were delicious and didn’t last very long!

Onwards to the Chef’s Theatre and we bumped into Birmingham’s best Chilli Sauce provider in the shape of Pip! Pip’s Hot Sauce is  a devilishly spicy chilli sauce brand,
crafted in small batches to ensure quality and made right here in Birmingham.

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We picked up a bottle on the way for Wifey’s dad, a bit of a connoisseur of fiery stuff, and arrived at the theatre in time for Nathan Eades’ chef’s demo.

Nathan Eades has taken over Head Chef duties at Simpsons for just under a year now, 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).

For today’s demonstration, Nathan was cooking Seared Scallops with asparagus, shrimp and squid ink.

 

It was a fascinating demonstration with lots of good foodie tips on preparation, and getting your ingredients weighed and sorted prior to cooking saving a lot of time.

After witnessing that display, it was time to get munching. Our next stop was a Prosecco and Squid bar for Wifey.

A hefty portion of squid and chips with a squidge of mayo. The squid in batter was quite light, not suffering from excessive chewy-ness and the chips not too greasy.

My lunch also went with an aquatic theme but with an added quack.

I had a portion of crispy rotisserie duck, spring onion and hoisin sauce accompanied with duck fat chips.

The duck was a touch on the dry side but otherwise flavoursome, and the chips were amazing like crispy roasties and chips combined.

To cool off, it was time to return to an annual favourite of ours, Whipsmiths. These guys do Liquid Nitrogen Ice-cream in their Cryo-mixer, a purpose designed liquid nitrogen ice-cream machine, and allows operators to handcraft individual portions of ice-cream in just 30 seconds.The queue took 30 minutes but it was worth it.

Wifey had a green combo of Pistachio and Matcha whilst I went for Popcorn and Coconut. If you’ve never tried it, it’s a lot creamier than normal ice cream as the crystals have less time to form, therefore, are smaller and smoother. Wifey’s ice cream was almost savoury in flavour but disappeared rapidly, mine was crunchy with some real popcorn thrown into the mix.

And that was pretty much it.  We’ll be returning next year, however, the majority of stalls in the streetfood aisles were repeats of previous years, hopefully next time there’ll be some further variety as we’re running out of things to try!

When: 05/06/2016

Where: Foodies Festival, Cannon Hill Park, Edgbaston / Moseley,  Birmingham, B13 8RD

Who:  Foodies Festival,

 

 

 

Texan Tasting – Low ‘n’ Slow @ Bar Opus, a menu inspired by travel

Before you start, no, this isn’t a repeat of my Magnum Meat post (read it here), this is more of a part 2.

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It’s been just over 6 months since I had the pleasure of visiting one of Low ‘n’ Slow’s takeovers at Bar Opus and since then, Andy and Donna (head honchos) had a trip over to the good ole USA and came back with some ideas for tasty food…

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Now into his third year on the Birmingham street food scene, Andy has popped up at a few venues over the past few months including Brewdog and Hare & Hounds. This one was a little bit special and sold out quickly.

Wifey again couldn’t attend; luckily an old friend managed to find space in his belly to join me! We also had a lovely surprise having Vicky from brumderland on our table, accompanied by the March Hare.

Whilst we chin-wagged over a few pints of Opus Lager, our first course of Barbacoa Ox Cheek with Grits

The grits were stunning! Like a comforting savoury corn porridge and warmed from the feet up. The ox cheek melted away in the mouth with the pico de gallo adding a beautiful piquancy to the dish. I was tempted to lick the bowl but managed to resist.

The next course was a triple plate of Oak smoked Black Angus Brisket, Jalapeno Cheddar Hotlinks and baby back ribs, accompanied with BBQ Beans, Jalapeno & Bacon Potato Salad and Lemon Vinegar Slaw.

 

The brisket had the delicate woodiness of the oak permeating through. The baby back ribs were plump and meaty with a beautiful flavour, a low burn coming through afterwards. The star of the show was the Hot Links. A nice taut skin stuffed with juicy meat and spice with a gooey cheesy high note, absolutely delicious!

The fixings we great too: a glossy crunchy slaw with a zingy bite, sweet BBQ beans with the savoury meatiness of the oxtail a hit of umami . The potato salad was sweet and smokey and reminded me slightly of coronation chicken in it’s colour!

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Whilst fetching more beers, I stumbled upon the special drink for the evening! I didn’t partake as I had work the following morning but I was sorely tempted to see what it was like.

Back with more beers and a blended Mojito from Bar Opus’s excellent cocktail menu (you can read about some of those here too!), it was time for pudding. A slice of Pecan Pie with Chantilly Cream:

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This was A-maz-ing! A delicious thin crust, a nice sticky sweet pie laced with a touch of bourbon and sweet light whipped cream. It was definitely sweet and sticky enough to knock my socks off, I was even tempted to see if I could bag a second slice.

Oh well, I will just have to wait until next time…

When: 10/03/2016

Where: Bar Opus at One Snowhill

Who:  Andy Low’n’ Slow

 

A double hitter of Taste & Liquor

Regular readers of the blog would know I’ve visited tasteandliquor‘s Food Feast-ival at The Coffin Works previously (read about it here). Whilst the last glimmers of summer were licking around, I thought it was well worth time for a revisit.

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Unfortunately,Wifey wasn’t feeling great on Friday so instead I thought i’d introduce my friend a streetfood virgin, Glen (a freelance web developer), to the variety of treats available. I heard a rumour about Cubano’s (a fave of mine since watching the streetfood movie Chef) being available so it was the perfect opportunity!

The Southern Oven
The Southern Oven

However, first stop off (post beverages) was to something a little different. The Southern Oven offering southern US-style cuisine.

The Southern Oven - Menu
The Southern Oven – Menu

Po’Boys were the order of the day: a Louisiana-style sub sandwich with French bread. I opted for Shrimp and Glen opted for Roast Beef.

Po'Boys
Po’Boys

Mine came with a generous portion of lightly fried shrimp, with the batter giving enough crispness to counter the soft bread. The remoulade tasted like a cross between salad cream and aioli and I warmed to it quickly. Glen’s beef came in his opinion “perfectly cooked amazing beef”, the undercurrent of cajun spice and mustard running through the sandwich nicely.

With that, it was onto Cubano’s from the brand new Press de Cuba, who’ve been up and running since the end of July:

Press de Cuba
Press de Cuba

The gluten free option had gone by the time we arrived but for me, all I was interested in was the Mojo Pork Cubano.  I decided to split one with Glen as we had just finished the Po’boys.

Press de Cuba
Press de Cuba

Whilst we were waiting for the plancha to do it’s work, the staff were busy chatting away to the crowd. The smell was heavenly as the smell of pork, cheese pickle and mustard drifted over. Within a couple of minutes, a taste of Havana was handed over.

Press de Cuba Mojo Pork Cubano
Press de Cuba Mojo Pork Cubano

It was everything a man could wish for in a sandwich. Buttery, crispy, cheesy, hammy goodness. It was so good Glen went and doubled down on another for himself, whilst I went for a beverage.

Vintage Punch bar
Vintage Punch bar

New for this time around was a vintage punch bar with a varied selection of drinks to try. I went for something a little different than the usual beer and had a spiced rum.

Spiced Rum
Spiced Rum

It gave an impressive kick; the mint sugar and nutmeg gave a nice kick to the nostrils as you drank. The only thing it probably could have done with was a bit of ginger to bring the rum out to its full glory. I will certainly go back for another try next time I’m down to Fleet Street.

Drinks sorted, it was back on my culinary adventure. This time it was for wings from Scratch Cooking

Scratch Cooking Wings
Scratch Cooking Wings

I went for a mixed batch of wings evenly split with BBQ and salt & pepper.

Scratch Cooking Wing Selection
Scratch Cooking Wing Selection

The BBQ wings were a nice fruity bbq followed with a spicy after kick. The salt & pepper were as you would expect, salty and peppery, Both were nice and hot, well seasoned and tasty, Between Glen and I, they didn’t last long, and if I wasn’t so stuffed I think I’d have gone back for another portion,

We had left a little room for a sweet treat though, and it was back to Southern Oven for some pecan brownies.

The Southern Oven Pecan Brownies
The Southern Oven Pecan Brownies

The pecans really gave an extra crunch to the moist brownie, a nice sweet praline on the top gave it extra sweetness and the raspberry coulis gave an added tartness.

With that, Glen and I waved goodbye for the evening and went on a mini pub tour before heading home.

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The Next Day..

Suffering a little from a small hangover the next day. I convinced Wifey hair of the dog and more street food was in order wo we popped along to Harborne for my second dose of taste and liquor at The School Yard Market.

The School Yard -  Harborne
The School Yard – Harborne

Based in a converted school (unsurprisingly), Taste and Liquor have been a regular for the past month or so and will be there each Saturday for the remainder of the summer.  Unfortunately when we first arrived a few issues had meant a delayed start but we went for a shop whilst things were prepared.

The Saturday market is a slightly different flavour to Friday nights with clothing stalls added into the mix.

DJ & Clothing Stall
DJ & Clothing Stall
Vintage Clothing!
Vintage Clothing!

Wifey had a rifle through whilst we waited for food to be prepared,

The stalls were two of the attendees from the previous evening. Scratch Cooking and Paella Paella, which was great as I didn’t get chance to try the paella the previous evening.

Scratch Cooking & Paella Paella
Scratch Cooking & Paella Paella

First off was another round of wings and I picked same selection as previously. Wifey enjoyed the BBQ until the heat came through then swapped to the salt and pepper which she liked.

The paella was still cooking so whilst we waited with a few drinks.

Strawberry Cocktals
Strawberry Cocktails

A couple of strawberry cocktails, with rum and vodka helped with the heat as the sun came out.  The cocktail was cooling and not overly sweet.

It was time for the paella. which had bubbled away in the background and gave off a great aroma.

Paella Paella Paella
Paella Paella Paella
Paella Paella Paella Portion
Paella Paella Paella Portion

Paella to me is a bit of a double edged sword. When it’s good it’s amazing, when it’s bad it’s atrocious. I’m happy to report that this was good. Juicy fat prawns, steamed mussels, tasty squid rings and perfectly cooked rice.

A perfect end then to two days of great street food.

Disclaimer: For these events, all food was paid for but a couple of drinks were complimentary. This blog is my own personal opinion and strives to provide an independent view, promoting, enjoying and reviewing the range of exciting food and venues in and around Birmingham.

When: 07/08/2015 – 08/08/2015

Where: The Coffin Works, Fleet Street, Birmingham and The School Yard, High Street Harborne

Who: tasteandliquorThe Southern OvenPress de CubaScratch Cooking & Paella Paella.

A Sunny Sunday at Sarehole – Flying Teapot Food Market

In my relentless pursuit of getting out of cooking on weekends, last Sunday my wife and I popped along to Sarehole Mill. A few miles from Birmingham city centre it’s a beautiful little spot hidden amongst houses. Also, Flying Teapot Events have been running a street food, folk, ale and craft fair there every other week since April.

We were out and about for a few visits to family and felt a light repast may help enliven the journey midway through.

Continue reading “A Sunny Sunday at Sarehole – Flying Teapot Food Market”

Lunchtime Liaison – Hibiscus Grove at Sketts Fine Food Fair, Victoria Square

Rather than purchase the regular meal deal from one of the insidious supermarkets slowly taking over the Colmore Business District, my wife and I popped along Colmore Row to Victoria Square.

It was a glorious day and Sketts had put on one of their fortnightly food fairs which are on every first and third Wednesday of the month. Continue reading “Lunchtime Liaison – Hibiscus Grove at Sketts Fine Food Fair, Victoria Square”

Taste & Liquor Entrance

TASTE & LIQUOR, SOUTHSIDE BIRMINGHAM: An inaugural event for my inaugural post

Birmingham’s having a very busy weekend! The Dragonboat Race is on at Brindleyplace, Villa are playing right now in the FA Cup and there’s a new pop-up food festival down in Southside. No prizes for guessing where I went to.

www.tasteandliquor.com
Taste & Liquor Poster

Taste and Liquor opened today so there was no better way for me to start off this blog than a visit to a brand new foodie event. Open 12pm – 6pm  every Saturday for now onwards, it’s designed to be a mixture of food, socialising, pop up shops and sport / film events. After a walk around Jewellery Quarter with my better half and the clock approaching 2.30pm, the tummy was rumbling and it was time for some grub.

Parking nearby at the Arcadian car park It was a short stroll down to the Nightingale Club, where Taste & Liquor is based, with the tantalising aroma of Jerk Chicken, meat and sourdough accompanying the journey.  Next to the LoveWaffles van and All Terrain Caffeine Land Rover on the left hand side was the entrance.  A pound entry for myself and my wife got us in (it’s free for under 1’s) took us in. It was packed by the time we arrived, surely a good sign, and though in a small space there was lots of choice available. The event is open to all ages and it’s good to see a lot of future foodies enjoying the various delights available.

Continue reading “TASTE & LIQUOR, SOUTHSIDE BIRMINGHAM: An inaugural event for my inaugural post”