Monthly Kings Heath Street Food market returns on Saturday 8th April. 



The Kings Heath Street Food Market officially launches on April 8th, in Kings Heath Village Square and will have a host of beauties for Veggies and Vegan foodies. 

The Kings Heath Street Food market is officially sponsored by Birmingham Brewing Company. A brand new micro Brewery located in Stirchley, all beers are Vegan friendly. 

They will provide a fully stocked and licensed bar at the street food market. 

The Brewery recently launched their Pale Brummie and Bitter Brummie Ales both on offer on the day. 


Food will come from Veggie Foodie favourites Buddha Belly, with their delicious Vegan friendly Thai Yellow Curry and Jasmine Rice, plus Lightly spiced vegetable noodles, and Baked in Brick which serves pizza and flat breads from a converted mini. They were Named Best of the best at the recent British Street Food Awards. 

Dishes from Baked in Brick include: Veggie friendly Margherita pizza, cheesy garlic bread and goats cheese pizza, but no Vegan option it appears. 

Buddha Belly deservedly won the people’s choice award at the British Street Food awards. 

Vegan Thai curry by Buddha Belly 

See my review here: 

https://t.co/xFnVIjQKB9

Other traders on the day include: 

The Middle Feast, Street Chef and Hungry Penguin and Libertine. 

The Middle Feast will have a veggie burnt aubergine and halloumi kebab and Vegan friendly burnt aubergine kibbeh.

All served in a flat bread or gluten free wrap with fresh salad, hot harrisa, applewood smoked yogurt and honeyed nuts and seeds. 

Street chef will have veggie friendly Halloumi fries, handmade mushroom Cajan ketchup and chia seed salad and sweet potato and spinach quesadillas. 

But no vegan option. 

Libertine will have just salted and cheesy fries. The salted verb vegan friendly also. 

Hungry Penguin will have a selection of crepes with selected toppings. 

The Full Menu is: 
(v) – Vegetarian / (ve) – Vegan / (gf) – Gluten Free / (h) – Halal

Buddha Belly:

Marinated crispy Thai chicken with veg noodles – £7/ (£3.5 Taster) (h)

marinated in thai herbs, coated in a crispy batter and served with veg noodles and homemade sauces

 Southern Thai Chicken Curry with Jasmine rice – £6.5 (h)

Succulent chicken, toasted cumin and coriander seed, Jasmine Rice

Southern Thai Vegan Curry with Jasmine Rice – £6 (v) (ve)

#HellaVeg Thai yellow curry with Jasmine Rice

 Lightly Spiced Vegetable Noodles – £4 (v)


 Street Chef 

Chilli chicken quesadillas & black pepper nachos £6 (h)

Halloumi Fries , handmade mushroom cajan ketchup and chia seed salad £6 (v) (gf)

Sweet potato and spinach quesadillas £4.50 (v)

Baked in Brick:

Margherita Pizza (v)

Cheezy Garlic Bread (v)

Goats cheese Pizza (v)

Beef Shin Ragu Calzone

Chorizo Pizza

 Libertine:

Grass Fed Beef Burger – from £7

Buttermilk Chicken Burger – from £7

Salted Fries – £1.50 (v)(ve)

Cheese Fries – £2.50 (v)

Dirty Fries – £3.50

Children’s Burger – £5

 The Middle Feast:

Lebanese chicken kebab with lemon & saffron

Burnt aubergine & halloumi kebab (v)

Burnt aubergine kibbeh (v)(ve)

(All served in a flatbread or gluten free wrap with tons of fresh salad, HOT harissa, applewood smoked yoghurt & honeyed nuts & seeds)

Halloumi Fries (v)

 Hungry Penguin:

Freshly made crepes with a selection of toppings.

The food market replaces KingshEATh from Brum Yum Yum which had run for three years up to last summer. 

The market has now been taken over and run by the All Saints Community Development company who manage the village square. 

Looks a fabulous community event with excellent Vegetarian options. 

See you there. 

Thanks for reading, 

Andy 😊

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A Feast of food for Vegetarians and Vegans in Wolverhampton. 


Feast-Food is Wolverhamptons own Vegetarian and Vegan delivery lunch service.

Delivering healthy and nutritious food each meal is £5 and simple to order. 

Message via social media or head to the website. 

Dishes such as Vegan friendly Raw courgette and spinach risotto, sweet potato, chick pea and spinach salad, pea Nut curry and chick pea burger are all or have been available. 

This week try aubergine and green bean curry (Vegan) or black bean chilli. 

Previously shepherds pie (vegan) cashew hotdogs, or lentil Dahl and mango chutney have appeared on the menu 

See full menu below. 

Add a healthy snack to your order, such as vegan fruit and nut or vegan chocolate and coconut bite for only £1.



Getting good and healthy veggie food can be quite difficult and this seems a brilliant addition to the Wolverhampton food scene. 

http://www.feast-foods.co.uk/

Feast Foods are holding a Pop up Vegetarian Restaurant on the 7th April at Perton Park golf course, Wrottesley Park Road, Perton, Wolverhampton, WV6 7HL. 

A three course Middle Eastern meal for £30 plus cocktail. See below for ticket info: 

https://billetto.co.uk/en/events/feast-pop-up-restaurant

Thanks for reading, 

Andy 😊

Restaurant Review: Wahaca, Oxford Circus, London. 


  
There’s something cosy and comforting about Wahaca that makes you feel relaxed from the moment you walk in. Ruth and I on a recent visit to London decided to feast on some delicious Mexican food, after a full on cultural Royal Academy art visit. 

Neither of us had been before, though it had been on our list for years, since former Masterchef winner Thomasina Myers started the chain in 2007. 

From its bright and cheery outside to its light, airy and cheerful riot of Frida Kahlo colour interior, Wahaca shouted out fun and good times. 

The Mexican style cantina that is Wahaca has sprung up all over London in recent years and then in Liverpool, Manchester, Cardiff, Bristol and Brighton, but sadly no Birmingham yet. Why? So sadly travelling is the name of the game. 

For a lunch time, Wahaca was busy. Through been busy it felt on walking in to be bustling, lively and full of fun. A light filled restaurant comfortable in its own vibrancy. A place to sink your teeth into. 

It’s hard to resist a Margarita when eating Mexican food. The freshness and zingy nature of the cocktail is refreshing and goes well with the spicyness of the food. In fact Wahaca’s Margarita’s were superb, on the rocks, sweet and sour, hitting the spot. 
   Margarita 

    

  

The menu at Wahaca is split into numerous sections. Nibbles, streetfood, tacos, Burritos, sides and then desserts. 

Never be afraid to ask for advice in Wahaca from the staff. They are happy to advice and recommend a dish based on taste and what you fancy. 

We ordered some nibbles to begin with. We ordered Guacamole with Tortilla Chips: The Guacamole freshly made, bursting with lime juice and packing a deep punchy Corriander flavour with the ripe and creamy Hass Avocados. Superb. With crisp Tortilla chips, perfect with the Margarita. 

  

  Guacamole and Tortilla Chips. 

  Fiery chilli sauce 

Deciding not to order from the tapas part of the menu we ordered from the main part of the menu which included Burritos. 

I ordered the seasonal Sweet Potato Burrito. It was a plump, large and savoury burrito. Toasted flour tortillas wrapped around fillings of frijoles, shredded cabbage, green rice, Crema, and avocado salsa. 

The burrito was full of flavour, with lovely sweet potato notes running through. The potato bulking up the filling and with the lovely frijoles (Refried beans) and the green rice made for a substantial and filling bigger plate that hit my hunger perfectly. The salsa was also nice with a good tomato and garlic chunkyness about it with a good chilli kick. 

A delicious burrito, perfectly made and full of subtle spicy flavour. 

We are our bigger plates with some stunning Sweet Potato side. Chunky and dressed with a superb smoky caramelised mojo de ajo. Heavenly and highly addictive. The nicest I’ve had anywhere. 

    

    

I’m not sure that you can visit Wahaca without trying the Churros y Chocolate. Mexican doughnuts with deep chocolate sauce for dipping. 

Because we both ordered the Churros our waiter brought us a rich Salted Caramel dipping sauce too. So we shared the two pots. 

The Churros finished the meal off perfectly. Dusted with cinnamon they had a beautifully light, crisp batter, a dribbly sauce, the chocolate deep and rich, the caramel sweet but salty. 

The Wahaca Churros were the best I’ve tried, fresh, soft and fluffy and indulgent. A delicious dessert. 

Alongside the Churos we ordered two Pacifico Clara Beers served with a classic Chelada (freshly squeezed lime and salt). Arriba.

    Churros y chocolate.

  

Eating at Wahaca was an excellent experience. With a wide and varied menu, it has superb options for Vegetarians. Food is the right side of spicy and brilliant for sharing. The service is friendly, informed and able to recommend dishes without hesitation. In fact the service makes the meal feel complete, with its genuinity and efficiency. 

The food feels healthy, fresh and is reasonably priced. It’s commendably good value and is a fantastic place to eat lunch in a genuinely relaxed and vibrantly lively environment that though cannot be booked in advance is a perfect kick back and chill spot after a full on cultural morning. 

Wahaca is hard to beat for tasty, colourful Mexican food and though not groundbreaking is a real winner. It feels independent though isn’t and is highly recommended on any visit to London, Vegetarian or not. 

Muchas Gracias.

  

    Chelada in the base of the glass. 

Thanks for reading, 
Andy😊

Home

Locations

Oxford Circus

Disclosure: We paid for our meal and drinks in full. All opinions are my own and honest as always. 
 

Wahaca,  Oxford Circus, 26-28 Great Portland Street, London, W1A 8QT. Near Oxford Street. 

 

Restaurant review: Purnells Bistro, Birmingham.


  
If the way to get to a good restaurant is to go through a good bar, then Purnells Bistro is quite probably top of the hit parade. 

Ginger’s Bar embraces the relaxed vibes of Manhattan, inspired by Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire, the decor and ambience is cool and collected with smart re-mastered classic cocktails. Ruth and I have visited numerous times, The Negroni is superb, the Old fashioned glitters. The Gin Martini possibly the best in Birmingham. 

Purnells Bistro offers a menu inspired by rustic British fare. It is very much ‘rustic home cooking with an eclectic twist’ where dainty traditional food meets more exotic ingredients. Founded by Michelin Starred chef Glynn Purnell (his wonderful restaurant Purnells restaurant is around the corner) it shows his passion to good food in slick and chilled surroundings. 

The Bistro decor has a relaxed and pleasant feel with soft moody lighting which felt quite chilled and modern on a quiet Monday lunchtime. It’s semi fine dining, nice pared down tables, smart cutlery, it felt like a place to celebrate in, which was a good thing as it was Ruth’s Birthday in the lovely company of her Mum. 

On this occasion we went straight to the table rather than have a drink in the bar.    

    Old fashioned.

  Cocktails at Gingers.

  
  Purnells Bistro

  Ginger’s Bar

 

We ate off the Extended Weekend menu. Which is on offer only on a Monday where all items on the menu (including bar food menu) have discounts up to 50% off, which I think is a great deal.    Having settled in the Bistro, which wasn’t surprisingly quiet for a Monday lunch time, we were given some pleasant rather than spectacular bread to have as we looked at the menu. 

 
The starter I ordered Potato and Gruyere terrine, poached egg, Autumn Purée, potato crisp, bursting with flavour of the assertive Gruyere cheese, into an earthy noted and Moreish terrine, with a runny egg to give the depth of luxury into what mounted to a lovely brunch like dish. The purée adding a seasonal harmony or just simply shouting I am lunch. A real starter of note. 

    Potato and Gruyere terrine, poached egg, Autumn Green purée, potato crisp.  £3.00

Pumpkin Risotto, Goats Cheese, Watercress. £7.25.  

So onto the main course. Risotto’s fall into three camps for me. The not good at all, bland, grainy, why? The ok, (so many Italian restaurants in Birmingham do it this way) and the wow risotto, I’ve had two in my life. One in Florence (of course) deep earthy mushrooms, in season, outside in the evening sun. Then the best of all at Raymond Blanc’s gastranomic temple that is Le Manoir Aux Saison another Wild mushroom and Alba Truffle concoction (again in season) that blew me away and remains to this day the best I’ll probably ever eat. I vowed to not eat another risotto again, this lasted for only six months until the Asparagus season began, but still I feel Risotto desire when I think about it.

So began the journey to another temptress the (Pumpkin, goats cheese and watercress Risotto.)

The discovery pleased me, as it proved to be the second most enjoyable Risotto I’ve ever had in the UK. 

The best Risottos  are the simple ones, less is more. Pumpkins slap bang in the Autumn/Winter season, with harmonious gentle goats cheese. Soothing, comforting, satisfying, with plenty of deep seasonal flavour . A well executed risotto that surprised me. A triumph of simple things done simply well and with the confidence to lavish love on a plate. A stylish plate of food.

We also ordered some excellent seasonal vegetables that were a welcome addition. 

  Pumpkin Risotto, goats cheese, watercress. A bargain.

  Seasonal vegetables. £1.37.

By this time I was glowing like a glow worm on a sunny day, and felt impassioned to dive into a gooey pudding. So I ordered the most gooey and chocolatey pudding on the menu, the Dark Chocolate cheesecake, ‘Cafe Liegeois’, Amaretti crumble. An elegant and refined desert without been fussy. Deep, dark chocolate, with a swish of coffee flavour from the cafe Liegeois, beautifully presented on a black slate, the amaretti crumble deconstructed and adding the desired crunch against the soft cheesecake. 

A lovely elegant desert, again like my starter, rustic refined. 

Suffice to say Ruth had a good Birthday lunch. She had the meaty type of food. Enough said. 

    Dark Chocolate Cheesecake ‘Cafe Liegeois’ amaretti crumble. £4.86 Warm Ginger Sponge-rum and raisin ice cream. £4.76, went down well also, with plenty of ginger flavour. 

We also enjoyed a bottle of Chardonnay, Blue Ridge wine from Bulgaria. 

   

Purnells Bistro serve the bistro classics well. In fact on this occasion with excellence. The food is simpler more rustic than Purnells Restaurant, less experimental, but it’s joy to eat such flavoursome and hearty Vegetarian dishes where ingredients are seasonal and treated the right way and presented beautifully. Made by a kitchen that takes pride in their dishes.

Maybe it’s the pedantic and greedy veggie nature in me, but it would be nice to have more options across the menu, (maybe specials) as vegetarian cooking this good shouldn’t be hid under a bushell, but should be delivered with aplomb, ambition, enthusiasm, and dare I say a bit more added variation to the standard (but well made) vegetarian  pasta and risotto model. 

Though this is only an opinion, I add that Purnells Bistro is a lovely restaurant, where service is excellent and a classy bar meets a clever bistro that shows talent and a sure touch, excellent for celebrations or an informal meal, but i can’t help thinking it could do much more with those seasonal simple (vegetable) ingredients. 

Now that would be a Bistro that’s not feeding only the darkness of the  Vegetarian past, but the authentic magic of new bistro vegetarian dining. But, that risotto…Mmm, was a joy to behold.

Thanks for reading, 

Andy😊

We paid for our meal and drinks in full. All thoughts and opinions are my honest opinion as always. 

Purnells Bistro and Gingers Bar, 11 Newhall Street, Birmingham B3 3NY.

0121-200-1588.

http://purnellsbistro-gingers.com/

https://m.facebook.com/PurnellsBistroAndGingersBar/

https://twitter.com/purnellsbistro?lang=en-gb

New Purnell’s Bistro Spring Menu.   

New Spring menu at Purnells Bistro With a lovely sounding Aubergine Rotolo and an interesting cream of onion Risotto. Two solid and nice looking options. 

  

Free food for workers at Amantia…Muchas gracias!


  

How often do you get offered a free lunch? 

One local Birmingham restaurant looks set to change that this month, with the launch of a new initiative for city centre workers.

Amantia, authentic Spanish restaurant which opened its doors on Bennetts Hill 12 months ago, is launching ‘Free Food Friday’ every third Friday of the month, to offer one team of up to ten Brummie workers a free lunchtime feast.

Aimed at any business operating within reach of its location, the restaurant will provide two tapas dishes per person for the winning team, to either eat in the restaurant or take the dishes away to enjoy at their place of work.

Marta Retenaga, owner of Amantia, said: “Birmingham has given us such a warm welcome in our first year of opening and we wanted to give a little something back. Everyone deserves a treat once in a while and as the third Friday – the week before payday – is often the tightest on our pockets, we thought this would be the ideal time to share a little Spanish spirit.”

With plenty of Vegetarian options on the menu, Veggies are well catered for too, and who can resist the Blue Cheese and Spinach croquetas, probably the best in Birmingham or the Tortilla Patata. 

http://www.amantiarestaurant.co.uk/#!tapas/ccw7

  
  

The first Free Food Friday will take place on Friday 18th March.

Those who wish to try their luck at winning a free lunch for their team can visit Amantia’s website 

http://www.amantiarestaurant.co.uk/  

and enter their contact details on the Free Food Friday page.

Winners will be announced via social media and direct contact on the Thursday before to arrange their free meal.

If you love Spanish food you’ll love Amantia. See my review: 

http://t.co/bTPHI9j2RH



  

Croquetas at Amantia. 

 

  
For more information visit Amantia’s website or social media pages: 

http://www.amantiarestaurant.co.uk/

@RestAmantia: Twitter.

Amantia-Restaurant: Facebook.

http://www.amantiarestaurant.co.uk/#!freefoodfriday/csab

Thanks for reading, 

Andy 😊

Veggie lunch watch: Asha’s restaurant, Birmingham.


Some restaurants will always hold a special place in your heart. The type of place that you go back to because it conjures those memories that make us who we are. 

That is certainly the role that Asha’s in Birmingham City Centre fills. It was here that Ruth and I ate on our first proper date, where we talked and ate for what felt like ages. On that night I can remember talking about singer Nick Drake and the place his music fills in both our lives, laughing and feeling happy that I’d met someone like Ruth who I could talk to at length and who shared my love of food. 

Then on another occasion I remember celebrating our engagement here with friends, of eating there with my brother a few weeks before I got married to Ruth, a little celebration, a toast to the future.

So for my Birthday lunch on this occasion it seemed the right place to go. 

What is it about some places that have this resonance, have this pull? Is it the food, the atmosphere, or does the memory fuel the desire to revisit? In Asha’s case it’s all of those. 

     
  

Asha’s is located on Newhall Street, in what is known as the Colmore Business District of the City Centre. Approximately 5 minutes from the shops, the restaurant offers a large bar area that serves cocktails (recommended) and is a good venue for private parties and celebrations. 

Rated in the Michelin Guide, Asha’s has a stylish, but cosy and warm feel about it with a sophisticated note that stems from the clientele and delicious cocktails that it serves. Decor is exotic (a bit Bollywood) and the menu is extensive with good and varied choices for vegetarians.

  

Asha’s offer an Executive Lunch. 

For £16.95 you get 2 courses, with pulao rice, vegetable raita, Popadoms and a selection of bread. The price also includes either a glass of red or white wine, beer, soft drink or mineral water. There is one Vegetarian choice on the starters and main courses (which may deter some) with four non vegetarian main courses including a fish curry. 

The vegetarian options were a Vegetarian Kebab Platter (Paneer Ka Soola, Aloo Tikka, Papdi Chat) and the main course of Kadhai Paneer. 

  
  Crisp Popadoms with varied dips, some of the best I’ve eaten. 

  
    
  Starter: Comprised of Paneer Ka Soola: A delicious marinated, firm paneer piece, juicy, served with a green pepper that had a nice deep spice flavour. This contrasted the Aloo tikka or spiced potato patties. The perfect Northern indian street food. Asha’s were hot, spicy, with a crisp outside and soft inside with a good savoury flavour. and perfect with the creamy Papdi Chaat. 

For me one of the best dishes in Birmingham. A lovely street food dish. With a Creamy and crunchy texture, a melt in the mouth fusion of chick peas, potatoes and yogurt. Sweet, sour, tangy and spicy flavours. This dish had me in Mumbai. A Delicious and varied vegetarian starter platter.

  Rice and breads with a glass of Red wine.

 

   Kadhai Paneer:

My main course was the Kadhai Paneer and came with the pulao rice, vegetable raita and selection of breads, including Naan and Roti.

A mouthwatering dish, delicious gravy like consistency, paneer  blended with tomatoes onion, with a good spicy lift that served with the Naan made for an exotic taste. Lovely. 

   Nice vegetable raita.

  
  

Kadhai paneer served in a nice bowl.

 

Asha’s is stylish and exotic with a keen eye on the business surroundings outside. The vegetarian options on the Executive Lunch Menu are cooked with aplomb and are plentiful Asha’s is a sophisticated spot, with a warm feel and atmosphere especially on the weekend. 

Birmingham has many curry houses but if you want a superior meal in Birmingham City Centre then you won’t go far wrong with Asha’s. For value and quality the Asha’s Executive Lunch is a steal and a lovely way of spending that hour of the day which is so precious and for a celebration it’s well worth revisiting. 

Thanks for reading, 

Andy 😊

We paid for our lunch in full. All opinions expressed are mine and honest as always. 

Ruth enjoyed a glass of house white with her meaty curry and myself a glass of house red with our lunch. Both went well with the dishes. 

New Vegan and Vegetarian coffee lounge to open in Birmingham City Centre. 


Exciting news has reached me that a new Vegan and Vegetarian coffee shop is set to open in Birmingham City Centre.

Called 3 Three’s Coffee Lounge it’s based in a unit in Martineau Place just off Corporation Street (the street by WH Smiths and Sainsbury’s). 

It’s not open yet, but according to their Facebook page, not long. 

Note: Due to own on the 6th April. 

https://m.facebook.com/3threescoffee/

Looking at their website they will sell a mixture of sandwiches, wraps, paninis, soups, salads and cakes, plus coffee and soft drinks. 

http://www.3threescoffee.com/

Most of the menu it seems is suitable for Vegans and offers meat style options (sandwiches, wraps) as well non meat style options such as hummus, avocados and roasted peppers. 

I’m looking forward to hopefully finding some interesting salads and warming soups as well as good quality coffee and cakes. 

Hopefully the food will be a leader for interesting vegetarian and vegan lunch time options and be a firm favourite with Brummies and visitors alike. 

   

  
 

  
Of course the proof will be in the quality of the food and coffee. Hopefully items will be made in house or from local suppliers.

The joy of course will be in the trying out. 

Any venture of this kind deserves support and is a positive start in creating a more defined informal vegetarian and vegan lunch stop in central Birmingham. 

The coffee shop is now open keep an eye on their Facebook page and website for updates. 

  
http://www.3threescoffee.com/

3 Three’s Coffee Lounge, Unit 8, 17-19 Martineau Place, Birmingham 

Photos courtesy of their facebook page. 

Veggie Foodie Lunch watch: Java Lounge, Colmore Row, Birmingham. 


Sometimes you just want a simple lunch. Nothing fancy, nothing glamorous, just something that hits the spot, is warming and non offensive. This is what I found at Indie Coffee shop Java Lounge on Colmore Row in Birmingham City Centre. 

   

Having stumbled in, as you do, though I can assure you I hadn’t had a drink or much worse. I thought let’s give the Toasted Falafel Wrap with tomato and onion a go. It came with 2 dips and a mixed side salad. 

I was impressed, the falafel wrap was a decent size, with the tomato and onion offering a contrast to the firm falafel inside. It had a good flavour and wasn’t in any way falling away in my hands or was tough to cut with a knife and fork.  It was filling and even though I wasn’t sure of the dips which seemed an afterthought, maybe provide a oily chilli or balsamic dressing instead, it proved to be a decent lunch and not a rip off that some places are. For just over a fiver I had a filling vegetarian wrap and a Flat White (what else!). 

The flat white, pitch perfect, looked good. A really fine coffee. 

    
   

As the Java Lounge is only 5 minutes from the Birmingham Getman Market, it’s a lot more tempting for lunch for vegetarians than the overdose of meaty goods you can find there. It’s also inside and a darn site cheaper, unless you are having the cheesy garlic bread of course at the market. (Watch your breath though).

You can find Java Lounge on Colmore Row 5 minutes from Victoria Square. 
Thanks for reading

Andy 😊

I paid for my wrap and coffee myself and left with a bit more of a spring in my step than when I entered. 

For my coffee time review of Java Lounge see here: 

http://t.co/Rxwk0lWAj9

  
  

Review: Leon, Natural Fast Food in New Street Station, Birmingham. 


  

Now just imagine this..healthy fast food..now that’s a discovery..imagine all fast food was healthy. How many Marmite crisps would you eat? Now that’s probably just me, I think I’m the only sane person in the world that likes them, hey what do you mean, insane? No seriously healthy fast food, that’s the domain of Leon, yes even their chips which are baked. 

I love much of vegetarian style fast food, a veggie pie, a good veggie burger, a slice of pizza, sweet potato fries, and eating chips on Aldeburgh beach in Suffolk, yum..no surprise to anyone who follows my blog. Yet, healthy fast food, is a new one on me. In fact it’s a new one for Birmingham to, if the rise of Five Guys burger chain is anything to go by..big anti vegetarian Yuk! (Oh dear sorry) (must remember to not get so cross!) 

Leon has recently opened its first store in Birmingham temptingly close to the main atrium of the New Street Station / Grand Central complex. With branches famously in London for 11 years and an expansion plan in place, Leon will become more familiar outside of the capital in due course. Serving food from breakfast until evening. The menu includes burgers, wraps and superfood salads as well as breakfast baps, breakfast muffins, smoothies, and coffee. Fast Naturally Food with an excellent vegetarian and vegan choice. 

Wow, The Leon menu covers every moment. 

As its in New Street Station just below the shiny new Grand Central it will naturally be a top choice for the commuter and those on the move. It’s also a very good choice for families with lots of choice for children, with the smaller pots ideal for the younger foodie. (See children’s menu at foot of my review) 

Though quite small inside the turnover of tables appears quite quick which is helpful. The decor is industrial feeling, but is light and feels bigger with tables not on top of each other. Plenty of space for cases, bags and buggies. It has a friendly feel and staff are happy to advise on dietary needs and ingredients in the dishes. Service is also prompt and the restaurant tables are kept tidy and clean. 

All food and drink on the menu is made fresh daily. Their coffee is fair trade and organic, as are their eggs, milk and porridge oats. Leon are also a founding member of the Sustainable restaurant association. 

   
   
Leon was founded in 2004 and only employ people who are “full of sun”, (not full of chips). The award-winning, London-based company is as I’ve said the healthy side of fast food with a notable leaning towards Vegetarian and Vegan dishes. 

Take the Roasted Cauliflower Salad with Chinichurri: In my case onion, courgettes, pomegranate, roasted with turmeric and cumin with alioli and baked fries. (Side extra). £5.10 plus £2.50 for the fries. 

Packaged in a nice box, the inner cauliflower Salad packed plenty of flavour, cauliflower has always been a personal favourite and though I asked for a recommendation I knew I wanted to try this dish. The dish full of fresh flavours, crunchy textures with a good turmeric and cumin finish, was delicious. It felt healthy and nutritious,  it felt warming and filling and good value for the price. 

The Baked fries on this occasion I hasten to add were not so good, though packing plenty of potato flavour they were not to hot and felt disappointing in the end. I like the sprinkled seasoning and the curly look though and would order them again, as i’m sure they could be done better. Nice alioli though. 

With my food I ordered a Flat White. Though their were delicious juices and smoothies and coconut water on the menu an opportunity to try a coffee never escapes me, and it was a very good flat white, great for a take away. 

(My Recommendation was the Halloumi wrap by the way,which I’m looking forward to trying along with the supper food salads.)

  
   
  Baked Fries 

 
  
  
Roasted Cauliflower salad 

Leon is a chain, and though I’m not usually a massive fan of chains I’m a big fan of what I’ve seen and experienced thus far. It’s because they do care about Vegetarians and Vegans, about the food we eat and about the ethics of it all. Yes, Birmingham has another chain, and yes I wish somebody independent could offer this kind of food, this kind of experience, but until that happens Leon will be a place I’ll call back to any time of day. It’s ethos should be applauded and the food on offer with its high nutritious leaning eaten. Food should taste good, and if it can do you good as well even better and for this Leon is a vegetarian friend. 

  

  

Leon cookbooks available at all good booksellers.   

  
http://leonrestaurants.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/16.PAPER_MENU_2015_AUTUMN.pdf

http://leonrestaurants.co.uk/restaurants/birmingham/

http://leonrestaurants.co.uk/menu/children/

http://leonrestaurants.co.uk/vision/sourcingsustainability/

You can find Leon in Birmingham at Unit 25, New Street Station B2 4QA. 

0121-643-5925. 

Open from 6.30am-10pm every day apart from Sunday which is 8am-10pm. 

I paid for my meal in full at Leon. My views are my own, honest as always. 

Thanks for reading, 

Andy 😊

Review: Treat Greek Deli in The Great Western Arcade, Birmingham. 


   
 

The Great Western Arcade in Birmingham City Centre is one of the loveliest arcades to browse and pick up independent shop treats. 

Greek Food in the city has been up to recently been in my opinion not the go to food for vegetarians, with many Greek restaurants been generally uninspiring and meat heavy. The most recent opening in the Great Western Arcade is a small Greek Deli called Treat. 

Treat Deli sits at the Snow Hill Station Side of the arcade and offers high quality and home made pies, pasties, salads, healthy smoothies jams, preserves, olives and Greek Coffee-Hot and cold. 

As well as this cakes, olive oils, and herbs, coffee, and tea are on display to take away or eat in its small (with a small seating section) cosy inside. 

It brings together food from different regions of Greece all in one place. 

Run by a Father-Daughter team (George and Angeliki Xiarchou) I was invited by them to sample their vegetarian offerings. 

  

Tables outside Treat Deli.

  
  

What struck me about Treat Deli is how proud and how enthusiastic Angeliki is, and that passion runs through the family and is reflected in the baked goods on offer. The food is beautifully displayed with clear labelling and looks incredibly tempting and inviting. I’m a sucker for pies, pasties and anything baked. It’s a comfort thing I think. 

For vegetarians there are numerous cheesy pie options, plus a fennel pie, pumpkin pie, a tiropita, (cheese pie), a leek roll and a mixed vegetable pie (Skopolos) which is divine. Also the pre packed salads including a delicious Greek salad are available if pastry is not your thing. 

    
    
    

I tried their feta cheese skopelos which was lovely. Creamy feta with delecate herbs stuffed into a golden and well made pastry. Filling, tasty and would make a lovely lunch to take away or eat inside. 

Traditional food is what Treat deli specialise in, bringing the sunny tastes of holidays to the grey pavements of Birmingham. 

I also sampled the mixed Vegetable Skopolos which I enjoyed so much that I went in again the following week to buy some for dinner and share with Ruth. We both loved it, full of vegetables in a water crust pastry, beautifully flavoured. A divine accompaniment to potatoes at home or to take away. 

What also struck me was the size of the pies which are generously big. Which is good by me. 

I also tried a Baklava, which was delicious too. The Baklava which is also claimed by Greece as well as Turkey was a rich, sweet filo pastry with chop nuts and a honey filled flavour. Syrupy sweet, very nice, recommended.

Other sweet treats are available. 

   
  Pies and baklava 

  Baklava from Treat Deli

 

Skopolos mixed vegetable pie. 

  

At Treat Deli I also tried the Freddo (cold) cappuccino. If was beautifully refreshing and went superbly with the pastry. 

  Inside stool seating at Treat Deli. 

    Better than over the arcade. 

  Olive oils 

  Salads at Treat Deli. 

 Herbs at Treat Deli. 

   
    
 

Treat Deli is a relaxed place. Ideal for those working or passing through the Business district around Colmore Row. It’s a lovely place to take a break in, and amongst a few standout shops in the Great Western Arcade its another Gem on the independent foodie trail in Birmingham City Centre. 
It feels authentic. It’s a taster of the delights of their homeland and is made, presented and sold with passion and great care. 

For Vegetarians, who fancy a savoury munch or who want to remember sunnier days on holiday its an ideal stop off its ideal and proves that you can get a good vegetarian pie in Birmingham. 

Thanks for reading 

Andy 😊

Thanks to Angeliqi and Demos for their time, hospitality and enthusiasm. You have a fan. 

I was invited down to Treat Deli to sample and give feedback on some of their vegetarian food complimentary. My opinions are honest as always. I was not required to write a review. 

Keep an eye out for their traditional Christmas goodies. 

Treat Deli, Great Western Arcade, Birmingham. 

Open Monday-Friday 7am-6pm

Saturday 9am-6pm.