BPREVIEW: Kings Heath Dining Club @ Highbury Hall 01.07.18

Kings Heath Dining Club @ Highbury Hall / Wayne Fox

Words by Ed King / Pics by Wayne Fox – courtesy of Digbeth Dining Club

On Sunday 1st July, Kings Heath Dining Club returns to Highbury Hall for another afternoon/evening of food, drink, music, events… and probably a bit more food. Clue’s in the title.

Situated on the grounds of this Grade 2 listed building, which was once the Birmingham home of Joseph Chamberlain, Kings Heath Dining Club will be open from 11am to 7pm. Tickets are £6 (adv) and £8 – available online through Skiddle, click here. To visit the Facebook Event Page, for direct event information and further links to tickets, click here.

Fundamentally a celebration of street food, King Heath Dining Club will bring an array of traders to the B13 based Highbury Hall this weekend – currently advertising Original Patty Men, Low N Slow, Bournville Waffle Company, Cake Doctor, Leave it to Esmie, Buddha Belly, Homeboys, Chef Shack, Manila Munchies and The Middle Feast.

There will also be live music from The Original Players, The Equators, and Aphrodite Strings – alongside Digbeth Arts Markets, comedy, wellness therapies, and retro gaming from Dead Pixels. And whilst you can only eat and drink as much as you your wallet will allow, all the day’s entertainment is included in the ticket price, with no age restrictions.

Held in collaboration with the Hare & Hounds, Kings Heath Dining Club is the suburban split from the Digbeth based mothership – usually taking place on York Road, outside the venue that partners their Kings Heath events. Holding their first event at Highbury Hall back in April this year, Sunday 1st July marks the start of three further street food summer showcases at the Highbury Park based mansion.

How things change; it seems a long time ago that Digbeth Dining Club’s founder, Jack Brabant, gave up filming raves from across the globe to bring street food to the back streets of Birmingham – a culture of cuisine he had seen mushroom (pun intended) in London and further afield. Six years, in fact. But believe it or not, all this pop-up, avant garde, street/festival food malarkey started in our city from pretty much one box of bright sparks. And now the inferno is so rampant it’s hard to imagine Birmingham without it. Like Motorways or the Internet. Ah the youth of today, I remember when this were all Toys R Us and Woolworths…

Partnering with the Hare & Hounds seems like a shrewd move into the suburbs too, with the prolific entertainment venue having done more to shape the cultural cache of Kings Heath than a million plant pots or local councillors.

And with a bevy of tried and tested foodies coming to Highbury Hall, it’s difficult to see where this could go wrong. Just don’t look up, I guess. Although Sunday 1st July is set to be the hottest day of an already pretty scorching week, so I’d only worry about the weather is you’re made of ice cream.

All that’s left to do is cherry pick (again, pun intended) a menu to put to the taste test, and after some grueling investigative journalism (eating) we’ve gone for The Middle Feast – the Lucy Rhodes run Persian pop up that has some of the best Kebabs, shawarmas, mezze, and flatbread that you can get your mits on this side of the Mediterranean.

And on Sunday 1st July, The Middle Feast will be presenting a new dish: Persian Spiced Buttermilk Fried Chicken, which comes with fries, slaw and harrisa mayo. Also available from The Middle Feast will be Cooked Whole Cauliflower Shawarma, Diced Lamb Kebab with Charcoal Hummus – plus a range of salads, smoked yogurt, sweet pickled radish, gluten free and vegan options.

And whilst we couldn’t 100% confirm it, if you see the Halloumi Fries on the menu then we strongly suggest grabbing some before they sell out. In fact, get us some whilst you’re there too.

Kings Heath Dining Club @ Highbury Hall 01.07.18Kings Heath Dining Club comes to Highbury Hall on Sunday 1st July. For direct event information, and links to online ticket sales, visit www.facebook.com/events/775347119336101

For more from Digbeth Dining Club, including further event listings, visit www.digbethdiningclub.com

For more on the Hare & Hounds, including venue details and further event listings, visit www.hareandhoundskingsheath.co.uk 

For more on Highbury Hall, visit www.birmingham.gov.uk/highbury_hall

ED’S PICK: February 2018

Words by Ed King

The shortest month of the year is here. Luckily it’s also the turning point, as life starts to push up through the thaw and Percy Thrower can start planning his planters. OK, bad example, but there’s a joke about daisies in the somewhere.

But luckily for us mortal coilers, the venues and promoters of this city are still packing a pretty heavy punch with February’s event calendar. If there truly is no rest for the wicked, then it seem incongruous that anyone got Christmas presents this year.

Comedy starts strong with the ‘queen of the acerbic broad smile’, or Katherine Ryan as she’s known in  other publications, bringing her Glitter Room tour to the Symphony Hall (2nd Feb) – a week before the Machynlleth Comedy Festival Showcase (9th Feb) comes to mac with Joe Lycett, Tom Parry, Mike Bubbins, Rachel Parris and Danny Clives. Then it’s back to the Glee Club for a little end of the month self help, as Lloyd Griffiths (23rd Feb) walks us through what it’s like to feel in:Undated in ‘a show about overcoming the overwhelming.’ I call them mornings, but we’ll see what he brings to the table.

Hurst Street is the home of dance this month, with Matthew Bourne’s Cinderella coming to the Hippodrome (6th – 10th Feb) whilst round the corner DanceXchange and Mark Bruce Company present a reworking of Macbeth (8th-9th Feb). And no doubt making St Valentine’s Day less of a massacre for many in this city, see what I did there, Birmingham Royal Ballet present The Sleeping Beauty back at the Hippodrome (13th – 24th Feb).

Music has everyone from the soon to be great to the already good coming through the city, kicking off with a cross city battle between Peach Club at The Sunflower Lounge (6th Feb) and While She Sleeps at the O2 Institute (6th Feb). A week later we have Iron & Wine at Symphony Hall (13th Feb), followed by Bedford’s alt rockers Don Bronco at the O2 Academy (15th Feb) as Dermot Kennedy plays the O2 Institute (15th Feb). A day later there’s Mondo Royale spicing it up at the Actress & Bishop (16th Feb) bringing a few different strands of your music rainbow across our city. In the days after that, we see Cabbage at the Castle & Falcon (17th Feb), one not to be missed, The Ataris at The Asylum (17th Feb), Irit at the Glee Club (19th Feb), Laura Misch at the Hare & Hounds (20th Feb), Big Cat at the Indie Lounge in Selly Oak (23rd Feb) and Puma Blue at The Sunflower Lounge (24th Feb).

All the ‘big gigs’ this month are at the Genting Arena, in the shape of Imagine Dragons (24th Feb) and the man himself, or one of them at least, Morrissey (27th Feb). But there’s a few home grown releases this month worth saving your sheckles for too, as Amit Datani releases his debut solo album – Santiago (17th Feb) and Table Scraps send another fuzz monster into the world with their latest long player – Autonomy (23rd). Watch out for March’s listings for showcase gigs from both.

Exhibitions come from a multitude of angles this month, with the two blips on our radar being Factory Warhol at The Sunflower Lounge (10th Feb) and The Dekkan Trap from Sahej Rahal in mac’s First Floor Gallery (17th Feb) – with a few ancillary events to introduce both the artist and exhibition.

Some suitable love story based theatre starts treading the boards in this most Hallmark of months, with Penguins (1st –10th Feb) and Brief Encounter (2nd – 17th Feb) coming to the Birmingham REP, as The Last Five Years get played out at The Old Joint Stock (14th – 18th Feb). Then it’s the arguably less seductive A History of Heavy Metal with Andrew O’Neill & Band in mac’s Theatre (18th Feb), before the award winning Mental has a three day at The Old Joint Stock (21st – 23rd Feb) and Terence Rattigan’s The Windslow Boy begins it’s run at REP (21st Feb – 3rd Mar). And for one night only each, LEFTY SCUM: Josie Long, Jonny & The Baptists and Grace Petrie present a mix bag of ‘Music! Comedy! Revolutionary socialism’ again in mac’s Theatre (27th Feb) whilst back at The Old Joint Stock there is single An Act of Kindness (28th Feb) to round off the month. But don’t worry, it’ll be back in March.

So, enough to keep you lovebirds busy this month – or to distract the kings and queens of singledom on that depressing light letter box day. But whether you face this world alone or together there’s always Fight Club for £1 at The Mockingbird Kitchen & Cinema (12th Feb). Cheaper than a card, at least. 

For more on any of the events listed here, click on the highlighted hyperlink. Ed King is Editor-in-Chief of Review Publishing, which issues both the Birmingham Review and Birmingham Preview.

ED’S PICK: January 2018

Words by Ed King

January 1st… no finer day to cross off the calendar. But as the world crawls out of bed with hangovers and resolutions, Birmingham’s events diary looks forward to a pretty vibrant January. It seems the ‘quiet month’ is not so dormant this year. Which is a good thing, right? I mean, who needs to stay in and save money? Food and heating are for quitters.

Some pretty big gigs happening this month, with the rock powerhouse that is Paramore (ain’t alliteration ace) coming to the Genting Arena on Jan 14th. Tickets may be sold out by the time I finish this sentence, so you’d better act rápido por favor (just finished watching Narcos) if you want to catch them tour their fifth album, After Laughter, through the second city. On the Lord’s Day as well… dios nos perdone.

On the smaller stages in Birmingham, Surprise You’re Dead are tearing the city in two on 24th Jan – as Ohio’s metalcore Miss May I come to Mamma Roux’s, whilst London’s pop punksters The Bottom Line are joined by Nottingham’s Lacey at The Asylum. In fact, overall it’s quite a strong start to 2018 from SYD as the Birmingham’s stalwart rock/punk promoters are also bringing Dead! to The Flapper on 31st Jan and The Bronx to Mama Roux’s on 17th Jan – although The Bronx gig has already sold out so check the relevant corners of t’interweb for returns.

Elsewhere in the land of live gigs, we have the rising stars Riscas headlining an uber line up at The Sunflower Lounge on 19th Jan – with Spilt Milk Society, Candid and The Real Cool all in support. If this gig doesn’t sell out then I will 1) buy a hat, 2) eat my hat, 3) buy another hat. 2018 is set to be a big year for Riscas, we reckon, so catch them when and where you can. Then The Hunna return to the O2 Academy on 11th Jan, whilst Setting Son Records present Average Sex and Semantics (one of our faves) at the Hare & Hounds on 24th Jan.

Hot on the heels of their recent triumphant homecoming, KIOKO headline a stellar line up of local acts at The Crossing on 26th Jan – with Namiwa Jazz, Zara Sykes, VITAL, Elektric, and revered local poet Kurly all performing as part of the Love Music Hate Racism event at the Milk Street venue. Trish Clowes presents her latest album, My Iris, with a new ensemble of the same name at Eastside Jazz Club on 25th Jan. Whilst those somewhat silent psychedelics, Moon Duo, come back to the Hare & Hounds on 30th Jan courtesy of This Is Tmrw. Then there’s the gig I’m throwing my metaphor in the ring for – This is the Kit showcase their new album, Moonshine Freeze, at The Glee Club on 24th Jan.

January also sees a strong line up of comedy in the city, kicking off with Tina T’urner Tea Lady Steamy Bingo at The Old Joint Stock on 5th Jan. Tracey Collins will be bringing her ‘camp alter ego’ back to The Old Joint Stock in March, so if you miss your numbers this time around you can always try again in spring.

Stand up also starts strong at The Glee Club, with Andy Zaltzman bringing his Satirist for Hire tour to The Arcadian Centre venue on 19th Jan – a week before Fern Brady’s debut Suffer Fools tour lands there on 26th Jan. Quick tip, if either of these stand ups ask you to email in suggestions or comments… don’t. Or at least don’t sign your name. Or sit in the front row. You have been warned. Whilst over at the Town Hall, Ed Byrne brings his Spoiler Alert tour to Birmingham on 27th Jan – a room big enough for some safe anonymity, for the audience at least.

Theatre stamps a reassuringly eclectic foot down on the first month of 2018, with Outer Circle Arts presenting The Death Show at The Rep Door on 26th and 27th Jan. Whilst a stone’s throw behind them in Hockley, Blue Orange Theatre present The Late Marilyn Monroe – running from 30th Jan to 3rd Feb. Then over at The Patrick Centre is the somewhat less self-explanatory Translunar Paradise  – Ad Infinitum’s unspoken story ‘of life, death and enduring love’, presented at the Hurst Street venue for one night only on 31st Jan.

Saint Petersburg Classic Ballet present Swan Lake, also for one night only, at the Symphony Hall on 7th Jan. Whilst The Mockingbird continues to its mission to save The Custard Factory from the cultural abyss with a double screening of Clerks and the documentary behind Silent Bob’s directorial debut, Shooting Clerks, on 19th Jan. There will also be a Q&Q with the latter’s director, Christopher Downie, and some cast members at 9pm.

For more film, mac hosts Playback from 7th to 24th Jan – a touring and ‘interactive exhibition’ of over 200 short films from ‘krumping and parkour dance shorts, to an animated tale of teenage love that unearths our desire to be as cool as the zines we read’. Held in the arts centre’s First Floor Gallery, with free admission, Playback carries a Tubbs and Edward local angle too, as ‘some of the films were originally made in and around Birmingham, where young people based in the Midlands were given the support and funding to create a short film.’

Then rounding off Birmingham’s cultural cache for the New Year, The Chefs’ Forum present their ‘Pay What You Can’ lunch at University College Birmingham on 15th Jan – a networking, trade and showcase event with four courses from some of the city’s top restaurants. Having launched its Midlands’ agenda at UCB back in February this… sorry, last year, The Chefs’ Forum is hosting their Jan ‘18 lunch to raise funds and awareness for its Educational Foundation which supports young chefs across the UK.

And with Louisa Ellis (The Wilderness), Mark Walsh (Opus Restaurant), Luke Tipping and Leo Kattou (Simpsons) and Olivier Briault (The Edgbaston Boutique Hotel) all chipping in a course, it should do just that. Although, the non-fixed donation approach is gratefully received in mid January.

Now if I can just find an energy provider with the same approach…

**Also straddling this month and the next are the two rescheduled Lady Gaga concerts, as the uber-star kicks off the UK leg of her Joanna World Tour at Arena Birmingham on 31st January before returning to play the Genting Arena on 1st February. Tickets to both arena shows are priced at £48.50 (+ fees), as presented by Live Nation UK.

In memoriam of her paternal auntie and namesake, Lady Gaga’s latest song, album and tour appear as personal an affair as you can offer when delivering it to millions of strangers. A curious dichotomy, but one Birmingham will get to see on stage first as the Live Nation machine sets down in our city before anywhere else in the UK. Kudos.

And with tickets being transferred from the previous dates in October 2017, it’s fair to say there may be a bit of a bun fight to get in to these gigs. No doubt it’ll be worth a few scuffed elbows though, but even if ‘I’m never going to know you now, I’m gonna love you any how’. OX Joanne.

For direct gig info, including venue details and online ticket sales, for Lady Gaga at Arena Birmingham on 31st January, click here. For Lady Gaga at the Genting Arena on 1st February, click here.’

Tickets for the originally scheduled Lada Gaga shows at the Genting Arena (12th Oct ’17) at Arena Birmingham (15th Oct ’17) can be transferred to the new dates. According to the venues’ websites, ‘if you cannot make the new date, refunds can be obtained at your point of purchase for a limited period’.**

Playback @ mac 7th to 24th Jan

For more on any of the events listed here, click on the highlighted hyperlink. 

Ed King is Editor-in-Chief of Review Publishing, which issues both the Birmingham Review and Birmingham Preview titles.

BPREVIEW: The Middle Feast @ Hare & Hounds 12.05

The Middle Feast

Main with web colour bcg - lrWords & Festival No6 pic by Ed King / Lead image courtesy of The Middle Feast

Starting out with a successful debut at Festival No6 last year, The Middle Feast is a relatively new addition to Birmingham’s burgeoning ‘street food’ and event catering community. But think bigger, think better. This is some seriously yummy stuff.

Taking over the Hare & Hounds on Thursday 12th May, Lucy Rhodes brings her ‘Middle Eastern inspired kebabs & mezze’ onto the tables tops of Kings Heath for a sumptuous sit down affair. The Middle Feast @ Festival No6 / By Ed KingPitched at £25 a head you get an absurdly rich three-and-a-bit course meal, with a veggie or meat option depending on your blood lust.

And it’s hard to cherry pick (…no pun) something from the menu to wet your whistle – although since reading ‘Clementine & ricotta fritters, pistachio – dark chocolate crunch, orange blossom syrup’ it’s been hard to think about much else.

But don’t get distracted by desserts, or even pre-desserts; from the tongue twisting ‘Barbecued saffron-lemon chicken, sumac roasted cauliflower purée, preserved lemon salsa & toasted hazelnuts’ to the simply elegant ‘Hickory smoked yoghurt’ there’s almost too much to handle here. I kid you not; check this mamma jamma menu out:

Barbecued saffron-lemon chicken, sumac roasted cauliflower purée, preserved lemon salsa & toasted hazelnuts
Saffron artichoke, sumac roasted cauliflower purée, preserved lemon salsa & toasted hazelnuts (V)

MAINThe Middle Feast logo - web, RGB
Very slow cooked lamb belly with Lebanese spiced honey glaze
Goats cheese & burnt aubergine kibbeh (V)
Halloumi fries
Chargrilled flatbread
Parsley & dill tabouleh
Spiced carrot salad
Honeyed nuts & seeds
HOT harissa
Hickory smoked yoghurt

Espresso panna cotta, raw cacao, arak cocktail with rose water & pomegranate granita

Clementine & ricotta fritters, pistachio – dark chocolate crunch, orange blossom syrup

…the words you’re looking for rhyme with ‘rolly duck’. And, arguably, ‘what are we doing tomorrow night..?’

An Evening with The Middle Feast comes to the Hare & Hounds in Kings Heath on Thursday 12th May. For direct info & online booking, visit http://hareandhoundskingsheath.skiddletickets.com/event.php?id=12691153

For more on The Middle Feast, visit https://feastfeastfeast.co.uk/

For more from the Hare & Hounds, visit http://hareandhoundskingsheath.co.uk/

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