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

BREVIEW: Hypnotic Brass Ensemble @ Hawker Yard 27.08.17

Words & Pics by Cesilia Trecaquista

On an unusually hot and pleasant bank holiday Sunday evening, I set out to Hawker Yard with my partner from a far off land – determined to demonstrate that Birmingham, with its rich musical and cultural history, could rival anything that the capital could offer.

Hawker Yard is a relatively new venue, or at least new for me; ingeniously crafted using a mixture of scaffolding and shipping containers (who knows how they got that concept past the health and safety regulators), the inventive lighting arrangements made it an inviting yet unpretentious atmosphere.

As the night continues, I watch breakdancers perform to the funk and soul provided by DJ Silence (I always did wonder where one could go to do a bit of breakdancing after the beloved Yardbird closed its doors in 2014) but I’m struck by how few people there are in attendance. Could the low turnout be down the fact that many Brummies had escaped to the beach to take advantage of the sunny weather, or more likely to Shambala Festival? I choose to believe either of these options over the alternative; that a group of internationally renowned musicians from Chicago had come to play and tickets costing just £10.50 hadn’t been taken advantage of.

It’s nearing 10.30pm now and still no sign of Hypnotic Brass Ensemble – the nine piece brass collective consisting of the sons of the Jazz trumpeter, Phil Cohran. The small, but happy and chilled out, audience’s anticipation becomes more and more eager, as I try to ignore the nice man beside me who is informing me that Hypnotic Brass Ensemble wanted tonight’s show after being tired from their Shambala performance the previous night.

Then, as if by magic, a plethora of musicians, dancers and a sound engineer cram themselves onto the stage in front of me – easing us into the show with a smooth number, before directing us all to make peace signs and introducing an explosive version of the track ‘War’, arguably Hypnotic Brass Ensemble‘s most recognisable composition (‘War’ was featured on the movie soundtrack of The Hunger Games).

The intimate party at Hawker Yard is in full swing by the time the appropriately named ‘Party Started’ was underway. Gabriel Hubert (A.K.A Huddah) invites us to partake in what turned out to be some amusingly out of tune sing-alongs, whilst breakdancers once again take to the floor and complement the unique artistry taking place on stage.

At times, watching 10 men crammed into a makeshift shipping container stage seems surreal. But the lack of performance space does nothing to stifle the infectious energy that radiates from an impeccably coordinated and rehearsed group of musicians, who, when in full flow and seemingly without breaking a sweat, provide an instrumental hotpot of jazz, swing and hip-hop.

And as the evening comes to a close, I leave Hawker Yard feeling satisfied that my partner and I had been in a great place for Birmingham entertainment this Bank Holiday Sunday night.

For more on Hypnotic Brass Enselble, visit www.hypnoticbrassensemble.com

For more from Hawker Yard, visit www.hawkeryardbirmingham.co.uk

BPREVIEW: Bank Holiday Weekender @ Hawker Yard 25- 27.08.17

Hypnotic Brass Ensemble - Bank Holiday Weekender @ Hawker Yard 27.08.17Hawker Yard is bringing a Bank Holiday Weekend live music special to Birmingham, 25-27th August. Beginning with Blak Twang + Mr Thing and culminating with Hypnotic Brass Ensemble, the al-fresco eatery is celebrating the long weekend with a combination of dirty beats and delicious food.

Birmingham’s first purpose built street food centre, Hawker Yard opened in 2016. Founded by Brum Yum Yum’s Duncan Stanley, the shipping container and scaffolding structure (somewhat dubiously described as ‘cargotecture’) aimed to bring some ramshackle permanence to Brum’s emerging street food scene.

Styled with lanterns and lights, the formerly derelict yard now houses a variety of bar areas, lounging and eating options. The Pershore Road site was, however, put up for sale earlier this year as Stanley was seeking to relocate and recreate his East London vibe in, er, London.Blak Twang + Mr Thing - Bank Holiday Weekender @ Hawker Yard 26.08.17

Now promoters Feel the Vibe and Hawker Yard LIVE have combined to devise a Bank Holiday Weekender to tempt the ears as well as the taste buds: renowned turntablist DJ Mr. Thing and British rapper Blak Twang kick off the weekender with a ‘till late party promising street dance performances and scratching aplenty.

Saturday will see Sneaker Hawks launch the city’s newest ‘vintage, kicks and urban clothes’ event, with some of the £3 entry price supporting Birmingham Children’s Hospital. Non-shoppers wishing to indulge in some weekend philanthropy should appreciate the graffiti art, break dancing and fresh food, if not the ‘fresh garms’.

Sneaker Hawks - Bank Holiday Weekender @ Hawker Yard 26.08.17Hypnotic Brass Ensemble, the seven sons of jazz trumpeter Phil Cohran, will round off the weekend. The group has real pedigree, having recorded and performed with the likes of MosDef, Wu Tang Clan, Prince, Childish Gambino, Maxwell, Erykah Badu, Gorillaz, and, of course, their father. No doubt their big eclectic sound, encompassing hip hop, jazz, funk and calypso will boom around Hawker Yard: the promoters promise a ‘bloc party vibe’ and the South Chicago band is likely to deliver with their delectable ‘hypnotic’ style.

Birmingham Review last saw Hypnotic Brass Ensemble at The Glee Club back in June 2015, click here to read the BREVIEW from Helen Knott with pics from Ella Carman.

For more on BLAK TWANG & DJ MR THING at Hawker Yard (Fri 25th), click here.

For more on the Sneaker Hawks launch party at Hawker Yard (Sat 26th), click here.

For more on the Hypnotic Brass Ensemble at Hawker Yard (Sun 27th), click here.

For more from Hawker Yard, visit www.hawkeryardbirmingham.co.uk