Let’s face it: peri-peri chicken is moreish, and those fries that come in a red packet are tough to beat. But what happens when you want to try something locally-sourced, made with love or even – dare I say it – more ethical?
That’s when you turn to your local independents. Birmingham is rich with independent food and drink venues, producers and events.
Here’s a list of just nine to get you started. You can find many of the businesses below at Birmingham Independent Food Fair.
Pure Bar & Kitchen
This craft beer bar and restaurant is a collaboration between Purity Brewing Co and Simpsons, a Michelin-starred restaurant in Birmingham. The vibe is relaxed, rustic yet at the same time modern and decidedly cool. Expect dishes like Cornish Crab on Toasted Sourdough, paired with a carefully crafted local ale from the long beer list.
30 Waterloo St, Birmingham B2 5TJ, www.purebarandkitchen.com
In Sutton Coldfield, you’ll find an authentic tapas bar serving up dishes like Chicken Thighs with Sherry Sauce, and Crispy Aubergine with Spanish Honey. Run by a dedicated husband and wife team (he is from Gran Canaria), Don Diego’s warm Spanish touch will remind you of that lovely little restaurant you discovered once on holiday.
5 Manor Rd, Sutton Coldfield B73 6EJ, dondiegobirmingham.co.uk
All Greek Delicatessen
OK, so the feta and tzatziki at All Greek come from the motherland rather than the Black Country. But while the wide variety of produce is not local, it is sourced from traditionally-run farms in sunny Greece. The owner visits these regularly, ensuring that your stuffed olives and apricot cookies are wholesome and delicious.
33 Stephenson Street, Birmingham B2 4BH, www.facebook.com/allgreekdeli
Lewis’s Deli & Grocer
A 15-minute drive from Birmingham city centre takes you to Moseley, an area that retains a village atmosphere and boasts many independent shops including Lewis’s Deli. You’ll often find Lewis himself behind the counter, ready to recommend a particular local cheese, point out his latest stock of artisan Italian pasta, or just have a chat with you. The neighbourly atmosphere is as good as the food on sale.
11 St Mary’s Row, Birmingham B13 8HW, United Kingdom, twitter.com/LewissofMoseley
Relatively new to the city, Alfie Bird’s is a multi-level hipster paradise. It has a ground-floor lounge complete with the essential red telephone box, a retro cocktail bar next up, and then a smoking terrace overlooking The Custard Factory, an industrial-warehouse-turned-creative-studios-and-vintage-shop-complex.
The Custard Factory, Digbeth, Birmingham B9 4AA, alfiebirds.co.uk
Bodega Bar & Cantina
The cocktails at Bodega are inspired by Latin America, featuring exotic spirits like pisco, cachaca and the more familiar tequila. Regularly fully booked, if you want to try out the South American street-food-style menu, you’ll need to make a reservation well in advance.
12 Bennett’s Hill, Birmingham B2 5RS, www.bodegabirmingham.co.uk
Digbeth Dining Club
Digbeth Dining Club organiser Jack Brabant is widely credited with bringing the street food revolution to Birmingham, having set up the city’s first street food event back in 2012. Birmingham attracts a wide range of different traders, including Italian sausage specialists Squisito, and Bare Bones Pizza, with their authentic wood-fired creations.
Spotlight, Lower Trinity Street, Digbeth, B9 4AG, www.digbethdiningclub.co.uk
Harborne Farmer’s Market
On the second Saturday of every month, farmers and producers from the countryside around Birmingham descend on the genteel Victorian suburb of Harborne to ply their wares. Cured meats, home-pressed juices, granary breads and farm chutneys are just a few of the things on sale at the market.
Birmingham Independent Food Fair
A whole variety of food and drink traders, venues and producers are showcasing their goods at the new food fair, taking place at Millennium Point. Locally-distilled premium gin Langley’s is heading up the Spirits & Wine section, while a range of street food traders and independent producers will offer food to try and buy.