Tag: food

Bar review – One Trick Pony Club, Moseley Birmingham

Moseley is a suburb just outside of Birmingham with lots of restaurants and bars. Its always been fairly bohemian and cool, and has plenty of individual retailers, standalone coffee houses and eclectic cuisines. Unfortunately, on Friday and Saturday nights it can attract the pub crawl crowd due to the proliferation of bars in a small area, but outside of those times it has a lovely laid back atmosphere and plenty to choose from on the food and drink front.

I’m not sure where the time has gone, but 3 whole weeks ago today, on the first day of my redundancy, we popped out with the intention of having a late lunch.

One Trick Pony Club is the newest addition to Moseley. Previously O’Neills, it used to attract the football and cheap beer crowd but its had a superb makeover and is now home to Ruby Jeans Diner food. The interior is fab; lots of wood and exposed brick and industrial features and great lighting.

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We accidentally stumbled into the opening night back in January where the proprietors were offering free food and drink (what’s not to like about that?!) My husband was especially excited about the arrival of One Trick Pony Club as their menu comprises mainly burgers (his fave), with some unusual combinations (monster munch and emmental cheese anyone?) as well as a build your own option. And we have also eaten there on one other occasion, to further test the quality. Sad to say, it didn’t live up to the hype. Too much bread, not enough meat was our first comment. Burgers were overcooked and not juicy enough, They didn’t taste like the gourmet offering we had expected (and should have been served for the price). And so we haven’t eaten there since.

But it’s a great bar for drinks. And so we settled into the comfy sofas at the front of the bar, and had some drinks. And then some more drinks. And we looked at the menu, willing ourselves to like it because we were cosy and happy. But it just didn’t tick the boxes. The alternatives of fried chicken, ribs or mac ‘n’ cheese – all good American diner offerings – weren’t what we desired. So we ordered some nachos which would tide us over whilst we decided where else to eat.

Well. There are two nacho options – one at £5.75 (standard) and one at £9.25 (grande, loaded with chilli). For an extra £3.50 purely for chilli you’d expect a whole heap of it, right? And loads of nachos? Wrong! We were served a piddly little basket with maybe two spoonfuls of chilli. Poor show.

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This is a cool looking bar with great décor and some unusual features (the lighting is especially well done) but it massively lets itself down on food offerings, and at £11.25 for a pint and large glass of wine, it’s pretty pricy for drinks too.

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Not willing to write the place off (because we love Moseley) and wanting something sweet after Sunday lunch yesterday, we popped in for dessert. OMG! Salted caramel chocolate cheesecake. If you look closely you can see the sea salt sprinkled on the top. The dollop of whipped cream was smooth and the drizzled chocolate sauce was sweet. The cheesecake. Well. Words fail me.

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Suffice to say I will return for the cheesecake alone. And a cheeky drink, of course.

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Digbeth Dining Club – Pietanic and Big Daddies Diner reviews

Digbeth Dining Club (DDC) has been running for over 2 years, and continues to go from strength to strength, winning Best Street Food Event awards for two years in a row. It’s a very simple concept – bringing a collection of street food vendors together on a weekly basis to offer good quality, stripped back tasty nosh. And tasty it is! For some reason I’ve only ever been 3 times, which is quite ridiculous considering it’s pretty much on my doorstep, but I intend for that to change this year, for sure.

DDC is hosted at Spotlight, a large warehouse space bar with a DJ, comfy sofas and picnic tables inside. Drinks are reasonably priced and the bar was both well stocked and well staffed.

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I have to be honest that last night’s vendors didn’t really ding my dong compared to some of the other regulars, but it was my last night of “holiday” as I start my new job next week, and some friends were planning to be there, so I thought I’d make the best of it. How wrong I was to be reticent. The food was fabulous.

Starting with Pietanic.

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The Pietanic van is a retro cream and brown affair with their name painted across the side. They’re fully self sufficient and serve via a hatch in the side of the van. I went for Chicken and Chorizo, which was served hot from a foil container that resembled a deep pudding pot more than a shallow pie. There was a choice of either mash and gravy – an obvious pie accompaniment – or potato salad. With the weather doing a great summer impression I went for the latter, and what a choice it was. Skin on crushed potatoes, fresh and flavoursome. The whole lot was sprinkled with crispy fried onions.

The star of the show, as you’d expect, was the pie. Just delicious. Pies can sometimes be too much pastry and not enough filling, but this was the perfect combination. The outer was less of a crust and more of a soft doughy protective case around it’s precious contents of tender chicken, meaty chorizo and sweet spicy tomato sauce.

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My husband may or may not* have had a second one to take home with him at the end of the night.

*He did.

The beauty of street food events is eating more than one cuisine. Second choice for the night was Big Daddies Diner. Specialising in hotdogs, they had a choice of around 8 different types – from a basic dog right up to fully loaded varieties. I’m not a huge hot dog fan, but the beauties I was seeing people holding meant there’s no way I couldn’t try one for myself.

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I went for the Edna – 2 dogs in a soft bun, loaded with chilli and cheese. Yum.

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Husband chose a Turbo Pete – topped with pulled pork and red slaw. His opinion was also yum.

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Big Daddies Diner uses a combination of pork and beef dogs that are cooked right in front of your eyes. They’re thick, succulent and juicy. I was definitely converted. The chilli and cheese on mine were perfect bed fellows, although it did necessitate eating with a fork due to the sheer size! Big Daddies Diner was definitely the most popular vendor of the night, with queues of up to 30 people at a time running back across the car park. Was it justified? Hell yeah!

Its testament to the popularity of all the vendors that all of them were displaying sold out signs across at least one of their dishes by the time we left at 9.30.

DDC is open every Friday night from 5.30pm, as well as the last Saturday of every month. The key is to get there early and wear your Joey Thanksgiving pants!

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I’m eating out again tonight – I fear for my waistline!

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A bit on the side

I enjoy cooking (mainly because it means I get to eat!) but I only ever cook low fat healthy foods. I would feel too guilty eating something that I had seen myself put heaps of sugar or butter into, so I save my indulgences for eating out or takeaway food.

It also means that I can offset the piggyness of my dining experiences so that hopefully I don’t gain 5 stone and none of my clothes fit.

One of my favourite side dishes when cooking at home is stuffed peppers. They’re quick and easy, healthy, and you can change the filling to suit yourself, or to use up whatever is in the fridge and freezer.

Here I used one green and one red pepper, cut them in half, and put them cut side down on a baking tray

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Sprayed with one cal spray oil and cooked for around 10 minutes until softened.

For the filling I used white onion, mushrooms, courgettes and spinach. Frozen spinach is really useful to have to hand for dishes like this, I defrosted it in the microwave for time’s sake.

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Again used a little spray oil to fry the onions. Added the mushrooms and courgettes and covered. Then added garlic and crushed chillies (from a jar – convenience is key for mid week meals), spinach and tomato puree for flavour and to bind it all together.

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Filled the peppers and popped into the oven for around 5 minutes. I also added some dots of low fat cheese (one mini Babybel across all 4 pepper halves) for a bit of extra yummy gooeyness. Excuse my terrible photography – it’s blurred by the steam as these were straight from the oven!

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Other good fillings are sweetcorn, peas, chopped or cherry tomatoes. You cold make them more substantial by using mince meat or Quorn with herbs and spices. Mixing your ingredients into a thick cheese sauce is absolutely lovely, but that’s where the calories start to mount.

I served these stuffed peppers with chicken and asparagus. Yum.

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Restaurant Review – Shogun Sushi and Noodle Bar, Birmingham

On Sunday my husband and I went for food at Shogun Sushi and Noodle Bar. We’d purchased a Groupon voucher pre-Christmas and not got around to using it for one reason or another, and the fact that it expires today meant it was use it or lose it. The deal was salad appetiser; haromaki (japanese spring rolls) and yakitori (chicken skewers) to start followed by rice, vegetables, salmon, tiger prawns and teriyaki chicken. The restaurant is in the bottom of The Cube – the latest addition to Birmingham’s skyline and the popular Mailbox area of the city.

The Cube

I have mixed feelings about The Cube, mainly due to the awful colour of the exterior cladding, but it’s certainly adds a welcome extra dimension to Birmingham’s food and drink landscape.

The deal was valid pre-7pm and we arrived at round 6pm, expecting it to be pretty quiet, but it was surprisingly full (lots of people using up their vouchers, obvs). There were a number of people seated around the sushi bar, with the teppanyaki cooking plates situated towards the rear of the restaurant. We were seated alongside another couple who had just arrived and immediately served our starters which were fresh and tasty.

Shogun Teppanyaki starter

While we were eating a member of the team came out and cleaned the cooking griddle area with steaming water. After our starters had been finished and cleared away, our chef came to the cooking area and again cleaned the area thoroughly. Then the show began! He was incredibly friendly and enthusiastic, and looked like he was genuinely enjoying his job. He did some fancy showboating with his cooking tools, juggling and banging them like drums – much to our delight! His hands were so fast, it was hard to get an in focus picture!

 

 

He began by frying fresh garlic which was then pushed to one side to be used in future dishes; then added a pile of white rice and vegetables, followed by 6 eggs which were cooked into an omelette roll (after he’d juggled with them). The speed and presentation were brilliant, and he engaged with the diners by throwing bits of omelette in the air for us to catch with our mouths. The rice was served which we began to eat while he then moved onto cooking the salmon and prawns, followed by the teriyaki chicken. Everything was so fresh and tasty, beautifully cooked and delicious – right in front of our eyes, from raw.

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I can imagine that this dining experience would be a whole lot of fun with a group of people. We were the only 4 people on our teppanyaki table so it was over more quickly than we would have liked. The theatrical side of it for a large number of people would really be quite something, especially with the nature of our exuberant chef.

Definitely one to consider for a future group night out.

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