Review: Cocobab, Selly Oak

It’s a brave decision to open a new food place in the middle of all this.

Slap bang in the middle of the weird hybrid Stirchley / Selly Oak / Selly Park area of Brum is Raddlebarn Road, host to the Country Girl, Paprika, the Dolphin Chippy and now Cocobab taking over the premises known as Tarafdars.

And I’m so glad it’s here. There’s not many Korean restaurants or takeaways in Birmingham, they’re mainly in the City Centre, huddling next to Chinatown with two others on the main student strip of Bristol Road.

The name, Cocobab, is a merger of Coco for chicken and Bab for rice, which is just the start of their menu.

I’m a big fan of Korean cuisine and when I saw that there was a new place just up the road from our new home, I’ve been chomping at the bit for their opening.

The menu is solid, with a numbering system for those whose Korean (like mine) isn’t pronounceable. You can order online or via their App (iOS and Android depending on your flavour of mobile).


We wanted to try a variety of dishes so we ordered:

  • Hameul Pajeon – Prawn, Squid and Mussel Korean Style Pancake with Spring Onion
  • Japchae (Popcorn Chicken) – Korean Style Glass Noodles in a sweet Garlic Soy Sauce with Vegetables and topped with Popcorn Chicken
  • Korean Kimchi Burger and Chips – 8oz Korean Style Beef Burger seasoned with Garlic and Soy Sauce topped with Lettuce, Cheese, Onion, Tomato, Fried Kimchi and Gochujang Mayo.
  • Side Dish Set (5 pieces – served cold)
    • Fried Seaweed Stem
    • Fried Fishcake with Soy Sauce
    • Egg Roll with Vegetable
    • Fried Tofu with Soy Sauce
    • Kimchi
Hameul Pajeon

Hameul Pajeon

The Hameul Pajeon was served in a pizza box with a nice little vinaigrette (?) dipping sauce. The omelette was fluffy and packed with spring onion throughout, which added a nice counterbalance to the seafood. The mussels were the main flavour but the prawn came through on the back end. There was no chewiness to the seafood and it came together as a really nice summer dish.

Japchae (Popcorn Chicken)


Wifey had the Japchae Glass noodles topped with Popcorn Chicken. Oh crispy little morsels of joy! Those popcorn chicken bites were a world away from those soggy balls of depression that come in limp cardboard from the Colonel. These were delicious crispy on the outside, moist inside and delightful.

The glass noodles gave a really nice difference from your standard Ramen or Udon. Sweet and packed with soy with crunchy veg, Wifey described it as perfect comfort food.

Kimchi Burger

Kimchi Burger

If you’ve ever watched How I Met Your Mother there’s a specific episode where Marshall goes on an epic hunt across New York to find his perfect burger. He can’t remember the name of the place but he knows when he finds it.

I can understand now. This burger was heavenly: beef, bacon, cheese, kimchi, onion, lettuce, tomato and gochujang mayo. It just works so well, a full symphony of flavour. The burger is the star centrepiece, tender, big, fat juicy. It’s all you could ever want in a burger. I was sorely tempted to order another. It’s definitely going on my regular list. Hats off Cocobab, I can see why it’s in the specials section.

The only downside were the fries, which were competent, but paled in comparison to the burger. A touch of zing like a sprinkle of gochugaru seasoning would really perk them up.



The Fried Seaweed Stem was similar in texture to the glass noodle with a little more crunch. The frying had tempered what can usually be such a strong overpowering taste, such as Nori, but this was much milder. The Egg Roll was very light but still with a solid crunch from the veg. The Fishcake was spicy and might be a tad strong for some tastes, a little tempering with the garlic soy would go well. The Fried Tofu was the star of the sides – well cooked fluffy inside with a crispy outside. The Kimchi is fantastic and so it should be. A great kimchi is a beautiful thing and it’s at the heart of Korean cuisine.

For a place open less than a week, we were very impressed and will be returning soon. It’s a fantastic new gem to have so close by and it’ll be a regular addition to our choices of takeaway. If you are in their delivery area or fancy popping by to collect Cocobab is a solid recommendation from me. You’d be Loco En El Coco to miss it, Bab.

When: 21/07/2020

Where: Cocobab, 23 Raddlebarn Road, Birmingham, B29 6HH

Socials: Facebook, Instagram

Spice and all things nice at Umami

Where did July go? Firstly, apologies I’ve not blogged very much the past few weeks. Work life and the radio station have been busier than expected but we’re now back to regular service!


It’s hard to believe Umami has been open in Harborne for (over) a year now. Providing stylish Indian cuisine to the leafy suburb of Harborne, it was set up with a mission to provide authentic, home style cuisine with a touch of class.

Located just off the main high street and opposite the leisure centre, it certainly has an impressive exterior with seating outside to catch a few rays of sun (when available in the UK!).


After taking a seat inside in the nicely styled modern entrance, Wifey and I had a flick through the new menu:

I’m a sucker for typefaces (the geeky side of me coming out!) and the new menu itself was on nice thick glossy stock, with striking photography.

Before heading in for main courses, Wifey and I picked up a couple of non-alcoholic fruit punches and a nibble on a few canapés:

The canapés certainly got our mouths watering. Of particular mention was the spicy and sweet Chatpatta Chilli Prawn. The vegetable samosa was crisp dry, not oily, with a bit of heat offset by a drizzle of raita.

Now into the main part of the restaurant. The decor continues to be modern and striking, complimenting their focus on modern authentic Indian cuisine.

One nice touch was their ‘At Home‘ meal box, adding an extra touch of class to the traditional takeaway by giving a robust container to carry your dishes in rather than the usual plastic carrier or brown paper bag.

Onto the the dishes themselves. We were given a sample of  5 dishes and 2 sides to try from their new menu:

This dishes:

  • Khadhaigoshtkhadda Masala – A Welsh lamb based wok dish  flavoured with coriander and cumin. This had a really nice rich tomato base with a spicy tail, the lamb was well cooked and melted in the mouth, and my fave of the dishes.
  • Chooza Makhani – the classic, famous, butter chicken. Umami’s version being made with pulled chargrilled chicken, and was a lovely example giving a delicious unctuous mouthfeel.
  • Alleppey Fish curry – A a specialty coastal dish from the district of Alleppey in Kerala, made from fish simmered in coconut milk and raw mango. This was Wifey’s fave with rich ‘meaty’ fish chunks which wasn’t swamped by spices, allowing the flavour of the meat to come through.
  • Aloo Palak – Instead of the usual Bombay potatoes, these were Jersey Royals cooked with a green spinach and mustard leaf puree and a tadka of garlic and ginger. The buttery potatoes gave a different aspect to the dish, with the mustard leaves bringing the heat.
  • Dal Taskabajrangi – A yellow lentil dal with cumin, garlic and deggi mirch. This was pleasant and smooth, but could have probably done with a touch more spice for our tastes.

The sides were Naan and Chicken Pulao Rice:

  • This disappeared quickly, light, crispy and very moreish, Wifey was a particularly enamoured.
  • The Chicken Pulao rice had large chunky chicken pieces, though was heavy on the cinnamon for me. Wifey would have preferred slightly smaller pieces to compliment the delicate rice.

All in all, it was a great first visit for us and we’ll definitely return again soon to try more dishes from the new menu.

Disclaimer: For this event, Wifey and I were guests of Umami who provided all food and drinks; this provides no bias to the post. 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: 22/06/2016

Where: Umami, 25 Lordswood Road, Harborne, Birmingham B17 1RP

Who:  Umami