When you don’t live in Birmingham, getting around all of the amazing independent food and drink places can be difficult, I get that. Don’t worry – all is not lost. Lucky for us out-of-towners, the friendly guys at Independent Birmingham organise the perfect way to try some of Brum’s finest independents all in one day, in one place. Welcome to the Independent Birmingham Festival!
I first went last year to Aston Hall where I spent a sunny Saturday afternoon with my gal pals drinking all the fizz, eating everything from fried chicken to burgers, and listening to great live music. Oh, and getting our faces painted with glitter. A lot of glitter.
Given the fabulousness of that day, when I saw they were throwing another festival at The Bond in Digbeth in Birmingham (and that it’s DOG FRIENDLY), I decided we’d make a family outing of it. And so, last Saturday, Mr M, the pooches and I headed into Birmingham on the train to sample all of the delights on offer.
The Bond itself is a great venue, with plenty of outdoor space to house pop-ups of everything from El Borracho‘s paella to Baked in Brick‘s barbecued lamb. There were bars, an indoor market and a stage complete with live music. Add plenty of people, some of my blogger pals like Laura from Bite Your Brum, George from Caramel Latte Kiss (whose birthday it was on the very day of the festival) and Katie AKA the Hangry Blonde, and a LOT of dogs and you’ve got all the makings of a great day out.
I won’t go on. It’s an epic day out. They’re doing another one and you should go. And I will now present some evidence as to why. It won’t be verbose, it will be in the simple form of pictures covering what we ate. Here we go.
We started with a burger from Original Patty Men, affectionally know as OPM. If you haven’t heard of them, these guys are up there with the lovely Libertine Burger when it comes to epic burgers. Their festival special was the ‘chorizo jammin’ and, as you can see, delightful.
Next up was my personal dish of the day – Sai Buddha Belly are regulars at Digbeth Dining Club and were one of my fave dishes at last year’s festival at Aston Hall so I was keen to introduce Jamie to them. We had the Southern Thai chicken curry which was everything I dreamed of and more – spicy, fragrant, filling, pretty. I could go on. I won’t.
Halloumi Fries from Street Chef, fresh out of the fryer and paired with mushroom ketchup. This guy made halloumi fries famous and Mr M declared his creations the best halloumi he’s ever tasted.
I’ve written about Baked in Brick before – their street food treats, their epic Mini turned into a barbecue, and their restaurant in Digbeth. They were serving up spit-roasted lamb in a variety of ways so we went for the ‘Sunday lunch’ complete with Yorkshire pudding, salsa verde, potatoes and gravy. Props to owner Lee for letting me take a bit of his lovely lamb for the pooches to try (yes, they’re lucky!).
We nearly missed out on paella from El Borracho de Oro but managed to snag a portion of this holiday loveliness (with a cheeky little glass of sangria for me too).
Pudding was one of Bournville Waffle Co’s impressive creations – an Oreo cheesecake version piled high with sweet cream cheese, crumbled Oreo cookies, strawberries, chocolate sauce and chocolate buttons. Yes, it was sweet. Yes, I ate most of it.
Of course, we washed all of this down with a healthy variety of the drinks on offer, from raspberry ripple slushies to gin from the Jekyll & Hyde, beers from El Borracho and cider from Kilder bar. A fantastic day.
So why am I telling you all this? For some smug gloating sense of satisfaction that I went and maybe you didn’t? Well actually, no. Because they’re having another one! July 20 and 21, put it in your diary. They’ll be back at Aston Hall and word has it that the festival is going to be bigger and better than ever. I can’t go, but I think it’s pretty clear that you probably should.
You can find more info here – get in, get your tickets quick, and get planning. You won’t regret it. And if you don’t believe me, just look how happy Jamie and Bruce were after a day spent there!
We paid in full for our tickets to the Independent Birmingham Festival. And it was worth every penny. You heard me mention that Bite Your Brum had been at the festival too – check out her blog post to see some of the other great stuff that I missed.