Review: The Meat Shack

Given our usual tardiness at checking out new places in Birmingham these days, you’d be forgiven for not expecting this review for another year or so. But occasionally we just go and pull it out the bag!

The Meat Shack have recently opened up a permanent place on Thorp Street (near the Hippodrome) so we went along a couple of days before our holiday to check it out. Randomly, Lee used to actually work in that same building many moons ago when it was another restaurant, so the space was strangely familiar yet very different.

There’s a nice small selection of drinks – Lee tried a Sadlers Peaky Blinder.

But let’s get to the food. We’re no strangers to The Meat Shack’s ‘filthy dripping goodness’ burgers, with their never ending lines at street food events underlining just how popular they are. I can’t say I’m not glad to be able to sit and wait for that cooked to order burger though, rather than stand!

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I ordered the Buffalo Blue burger – with blue cheese, american cheese, candy bacon crumb, iceberg, red onion, blue cheese dressing and frankys buffalo sauce. I’ve had this one only once before and love the salty and spicy combination so much.

Lee went for a Dutch Piggy – dripping such cheese, american cheese, streaky bacon, iceberg, red onion, pickle, ketchup and chipayo, one he had not tried before, but kept up their reputations for being some of the best burgers in the city.

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We also tried the Shack attack fries (skin on fries with green chilli relish and Holy F*ck Suace) and sides of onion rings and frickles (fried pickles). We looooooved the Frickles, which made a great addition to the burgers. The fries, although nothin wrong with them, could have been so much more, which was our only (very minor) criticism.

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The burgers certainly live up to their tag line and as usual we loved every single bite. The city is a really great place now for burgers, with these guys and OPM doing a trade down in Digbeth so let’s hope there’s room in the city for both to thrive!


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Review: Wagamama Birmingham New Street

Wagamama is now one of those high street staples, along side Nandos, Pizza Express etc. You can find them in every major town and city and then some.  Despite this, it’s somewhere I’ve only every been twice before. Once when I decidedly hungover in Manchester  many years ago and really couldn’t have given two hoots what I was eating, and once a couple of years back when we were a bit underwhelmed with the food. With only these experiences under my belt, when so many other are so complimentary about a place, I wondered whether I was missing something, so when the guys at the New Street Wagamama asked us to come and try some of the new summer menu, it was time to try again, and I think I finally see what other people have been telling me.

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Review: Original Patty Men

It’s possible you may have to call me out here for currently being one of the most useless food bloggers in Birmingham. It has taken us a whole year to manage to get round to visiting Original Patty Mens permanent digs down in Digbeth. Blame it on babies, broken arms or whatever you like, all poor excuses I know. I’ve not been short of seeing praise for the guys on my social media feeds so when we finally got around to heading down I was a bit like a kid in a sweet shop. Or a burger shop. I wanted it ALL!

I liked the unusual soft drinks. The Karma Cola was delightlyfully old school with root beers and cream sodas also available amongst others.

I did manage to reign in the fact I wanted to eat ALL the food not he menu and restrained my self to one burger and sharing some sides. I loved the presentation of the food – old school style paper wrapped burgers on trays.

Lee chose the BACON CHEESE – Aged longhorn beef patty, maple coated bacon, American cheese, fresh red onion, lettuce, pickle, ketchup, mustard. It really was as good as the picture looks!

More points here for worst blogger of the year. I had the special burger that was on that day – can’t remember its name and can’t really remember what was in it apart from jalepenos. What I do know is that it was awesome.

We had some very moresih sides of O.D.B FRIES – Triple cooked skin on fries with o.p.m spice mix, creamy house slaw with coriander and lime, sriracha mayo, crispy fried onions & fresh spring onion and SLOW COOKED BEANS – House made bbq beans cooked with bacon. Both were totally spot on. Unlike a lot of loaded fries that just get lost in the toppings, get really soggy these were so much better.

Family friendly? Yes – there were several families eating there whilst we were there and a couple with prams too. Theres a few steps down to the main eating area but these are easily negotiated, but there are bench style tables also in the first space you come into where there are no steps. They have Ikea high chairs too which is a bit of a win!

Great burgers, Great place. Go.

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A Return to Nosh & Quaff

A couple of weeks ago saw a long awaited return to Nosh & Quaff, almost 2 years after it first opened. Nosh & Quaff is one of the fabulous restaurants in the Lasan Group. We really love a lot of the Lasan Group restaurants and were keen to try this one out again. This time we took along our 11 month old after our trip to In The Night Garden Live to see if it was geared up for family dining too!

I started off with a cocktail – the Peach Breeze. This really impressed me, being sweet and bitter at the same time and really refreshing. The menu has changed quite a lot since our first visit, and is now quite a lot larger. There is a long list of sides, which you can also have as starters and the choice of about 10 mains. We decided to for a more traditional starters and mains this time round, and ordered the Buffalo Wings, Lobster Cakes and the Mac ‘n’Cheese Bites. We were going to go for he Reuben Poppers which sound AMAZING, but unfortunately they had run out.

These 3 dishes thoroughly impressed us. The buffalo wings were the best I’ve had in a long time, with a perfectly balanced hot and buttery sauce. The lobster cakes were so tasty and lightly spiced and the beer batter light and not oily. I expected the mac ‘n’ cheese bites to be heavy, but they weren’t at all and the tomato chutney they were paired with really lifted them.

On my first visit I really enjoyed the lobster, although its slightly disappointing that they get them from Canada rather than our shores. Despite the pull of the sweet juicy meat I decided to try something different so went for the Chick Norris – A Southern Fried Chicken Burger with Hot Sauce, Blue Cheese Mayo and Pickles.

Again I couldn’t really fault this burger. Chicken burgers are often dry and bland but this one was very successful. Lee went for the Sucklebuster –  a rack of BBQ glazed Pork Ribs. These were very tender and fell off the bone, with a good flavour, but despite the tenderness of the meat, it was a bit chewy in places and we felt could have done with even more glaze.

Family friendly? The staff were really friendly towards Imogen and there is plenty of space for highchairs and pushchairs, particularly at lunchtime when it isn’t quite as busy. I can imagine with the afterwork business crowds it might be a tad more difficult with regards to prams. No problems at all with the range of facilities.

All in all we really enjoyed the meal, I would go back in a flash for a bucket of those chicken wings!! It’s not necessarily previously somewhere I would have though of for a family friendly place to chill and eat good food on a day out or shopping trip, but I certainly would now!

If you want to see more of our day out – check out our Vlog of the day below

 


Disclosure: We were invited by Nosh & Quaff to review the food thus our meal was free of charge. All opinion honest and our own. 

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Review: TGI Fridays Solihull

When I was a teenager I’m pretty sure I spent a good proportion of my time at TGI Fridays. It seemed THE place to go for any occasion – birthday parties, lunches while out shopping etc! I can’t even remember what food I had back then, but I do always remember being literally in love with one of the dips that came with the starters!!

Fast forward 15 years, and I’m not sure the last time I set foot in TGI’s  – its possible it was before my 18th birthday! A few weeks ago whilst out shopping in Touchwood Solihull we needed somewhere for a spot of lunch and being bored with the usual chain options they have in Solihull – (Ask, Nandos blah blah) we decided we would give it a go, under strict instructions from husband that the word birthday must not be mentioned in any type on conversation, in case there were suddenly singing waiters standing on our table.

I was immediately very impressed with TGI’s though – they are obviously inundated with children as a highchair arrived by the table before we were even at it, the pram parked for us right by the front desk and swiftly after this a children’s pack arrived complete with a pink balloon dog for Imogen!

Feeling instantly relaxed I decided to have a cocktail!

The menu was reassuringly familiar, despite the length of time that had passed. :Luckily, after reading the menu, I was pretty sure what starter it was that had that amazing dip  – the JACK DANIEL’S® SESAME CHICKEN STRIPS topped with toasted sesame seeds and chilli flakes. We also chose another chicken starter – Boneless Hot Wings  – Crispy chicken breast chunks, tossed in hot sauce and chillies with a Bleu cheese dip and shared them both. 

Now lets get this straight, this isn’t food that’s going to blow your mind with its intricate presentation or imaginative flavours BUT it was well cooked and really tasty and actually, I was impressed.

For my main I went for something that sounded a little different –  CRISPY NOODLE SALAD – With red chillies and tossed in a hot and spicy Thai dressing. Topped with toasted sesame seeds, chilli flakes and cilantro and a garlic chicken breast.

The crunch noodles were odd, but in fact worked pretty well. I expected a tame dish in terms of spice and heat, event ought the desperation states a hot spicy thai dressing often in chains I think they play it safe. Not the case, the dressing blew my head off ( in a good way!)

Lee went for one of the hot dogs – JACK DANIEL’S® CHILLI Topped with Jack Daniel’s® beef chilli, onions, Colby cheese, chillies and American mustard. Again, for this type of ‘fast’ food Lee was pleasantly surprised. Better than a few hot dogs we’ve had in other places of supposedly better qaulity (Rub Smokehouse, The SmokeHaus..)

Family Friendly? Very, you really couldn’t ask for much more. Good kids packs, balloon animals, great staff and spacious changing areas.

Overall we were so much more impressed with TGI’s than we expected and would t definitely hit up the chain again when out and about with Imogen! (Really, it’s all about that Jack Daniels Sauce…TGI’s if you’re reading this please bottle it and send me some)

 

 

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