The news had come in this Monday that Carters of Moseley were number 87 in the National Restaurant Awards 2015. Along with Purnells (88) they alone from Brum were recognised by their industry peers. Of course Brad and Holly had been invited to the award ceremony but had to decline because Carters were popping up at Loaf Bakery and Cooking School in Stirchley. It had been coming, after talking about it for a while, a collaboration between the two was well overdue. I was lucky enough to get to design and cook the menu with them.
Still digesting. It’s been almost a month but the other worldliness of the streetfood in Hanoi’s Old Quarter takes some processing. Four nights and nearly forty dishes later I think the surface has been scratched, just need any slight excuse now to go back and dig deeper. I’ve been cooking at home trying to understand, recalibrate my palate so I can communicate and reinterpret with the ingredients I have available in the UK. Underlying everything is one simple concept, freshness. Vibrancy is an oft used term in describing food. The dishes and produce in Hanoi will make me think twice about using “vibrant” again for anything less! Continue reading
Belated photos from the last UK Burger Battle 15th Feb on this clickity link here (perfectly safe for work).
On the night London posse Gone Burger beat local beef slingers The Flying Cows in the diners and judges vote. Well done guys, their burger was a classic chargrilled pattie in a sesame seed bun. It was well seasoned and the simplicity of it won over the diners. The Flying Cows burger looked fantastic but the pulled pork did nothing for the burger. The beef itself was superior tasting but really under seasoned. A shame because a local win would have been great!
Another fabulous event from Ahmed and the team, so good it won the readers award for best event in Birmingham on designmynight.com. The next one is 26th April and you can get your tickets here.
I could probably eat a whole Cantonese roast duck by myself as my final meal, I’d slip away happy and content. It’s not an extravagance, all you’d have to do for me is go to any Chinatown and pick one up from a roast meat shop. But imagine if you went to the wrong shop, I’d curse you with my last breath. Real soul food is comfort food unique to oneself, only you know what makes that dish just right and satisfies your soul. So in as much as it’s in my own interests that you buy me the best roast duck you can possibly find on my last day (hopefully not soon) here’s an updated Birmingham Chinatown Roast Meat Battle. You might also find it useful when deciding where to eat the best dish Birmingham has to offer, triple roast rice 三燒飯, which includes crispy belly pork 火腩, char siu pork 叉燒 as well as roast duck 燒鴨.
There are food moments I’ll never forget. Eating at Asador Etxebarri in the rolling Basque hills between Bilbao and San Sebastian is one of them. Victor Arguinzoniz is a grilling genius, the menu is a masterpiece. Every ingredient the best the region has to offer, cooked simply over fire using pioneering instruments and techniques. The main part of the meal ended with a Galician beef chop, a txuleta (or chuleta in Spanish), perfectly charred on the outside and crimson rare inside.
Every Brummie knows a good samosa when we eat one. They started to appear as office treats around the turn of the millennium. Asian colleagues would come in laden with boxes of meat or veg samosa and sometimes paneer spring rolls. Always warm, the smell filled the office, you’d be drooling into your keyboard whilst you wait for the “come get em!” email to ping into your inbox. Like a flash you’d have downed two, one meat one veg of course, it would be rude not too. So much better than cheap and nasty supermarket doughnuts or sweets.
Ramen, at the moment it’s everybody’s favourite noodle. And why not? Cheap and delicious. An everyday Japanese dish with so much variation and endless refinement there’s something for every taste. For me, a bowl of Hakata style tonkotsu is my favourite ramen. Rich pork stock, marinated egg, sweetly soft slithers of chashu and of course those firm ramen noodles. You can get good tonkotsu in London now so I don’t have to go back to Kyushu for them. Though sadly Birmingham is still sorely lacking any, let alone good, ramen joints.