Digbeth Dining Club – Original Patty Men, Manila Munchies, more Canoodle and Esmie’s

After last week’s tum tickling fabulousness, we decided to head to DDC again on Friday to sample the delights of some food vendors we hadn’t tried before. My husband classes a good burger as right up there in terms of his favourite food items, and the Original Patty Men recently won a UK burger battle challenge which was held in Birmingham, so their wares were on his must try list.

OPM

Obviously lots of other people had the same idea, because when we got there at around 7.15 the queue for their stall was huge. It didn’t look huge, until you got closer and realised they’d put metal barriers out so people were snaking round and round like a queue for the funfair. And then, when you got to the front to place your order, you were given a ticket and had another 10-15 minute wait after that. All in all we waited an hour and 20 minutes to get our mitts on a burger. Although it was payday, so probably more people out than usual, but still.

I had a Bean Bean King – burger topped with pulled pork and spicy beans and cheese.

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I was all up for trying their Krispy Kreme burger (basically a glazed doughnut in place of the bun) but they’d already sold out by the time we were half way through the queue. Other choices seemed fairly tame compared to what I’ve seen on offer before, which was a shame considering they’re known for unusual and innovative toppings.

Was it worth the wait? Well, in my opinion nothing is worth waiting that long for. It was good, it was tasty, it was fresh and juicy and well cooked. The burger bun was sturdy enough to hold the contents and the flavours worked well together. But really, an hour and a half? I’d say Original Patty Men have become a victim of their own success. And obviously that’s not their fault in any way. But queuing for that long on a Friday night (or any night) is just daft. Although the burger was very good.

Husband had a bacon cheeseburger – the bacon being flavoured with maple. And here it is!

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The queue was so long that I used the time as an opportunity to grab something from one of the other stalls. Manila Munchies serve Filipino street food.

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The menu looked good, with 4 different offerings (including one vegetarian). I opted for the pork liempo, which was slow cooked belly pork in spicy sauce served with rice and vegetables.

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Very tasty – the meat was delicious and cooked to perfection, tender and succulent with just the right amount of bite. The vegetables and rice were a great accompaniment. It was a fab starter! (although service was slow; I waited around 10 minutes and there were only 3 people in front of me. You’ll get the picture that I don’t like waiting for food!)

Finally I returned to Canoodle for more tasty goodness following the success of the previous week, this time trying their Sri Lankan pork curry.

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Again the meat was cooked amazingly, and the rice and pickled veg worked perfectly as an accompaniment. Overall the dish was slightly too citrusy for me as it was flavoured with lemongrass (not a favourite of mine) but there was no denying that it was very tasty and well executed (and I ate it all anyway!)

Being on different food wavelengths (as in I’d had three dishes to husband’s two) he wanted one more thing, and decided on Esmie’s.

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The queues for this Caribbean food vendor had been consistently long all night and he was drawn in by the scallops. They were in a tortilla bowl (an edible dish, brilliant!) on a bed of rice with asparagus spears and he also ordered fried plantain.

Plantain

Naturally I had to try it, purely in the interests of research, and it was delish. A few people had been caught out by the hot sauce which they’d smothered all over their meals and then had to counteract with lots of cooling yoghurt sauce, but by exercising caution the kick of the dressing was a delicious accompaniment to the subtle seafood.

Pricewise: burgers were £7 each, Manila Munchies Pork Liempo was £7, Canoodle’s Sri Lankan pork curry was £6.50 and the Caribbean scallops were £7, plus £2 for fried plantain. Not cheap, but certainly good quality and cooked right in front of you.

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