Kinome Kitchen: new Japanese pop up at The Kitchen Garden Cafe, Kings Heath, and tasting evening review.


Japanese food is something quite rare in Birmingham, but is becoming more popular. For Vegetarians it has plenty of options, Nobu in London (Japanese and former Michelin Starred) a few years ago had a meat free cook book out, and its development into veggie friendly dishes has increased as people have become keen to eat less meat and fish. Traditionally there is a lot of vegetarian food in Japan, much of it from Buddhism. Tofu is an example as is Tempura (fried vegetables or herbaceous plants). 

In January Kinome chef Sachiko Saeki did an evening at Vegetatian The Warehouse Cafe for Guardian newspaper members, which went down well, but good Japanese food is still quite hard to find in our city. 

Things are begining to change though as Kinome Kitchen (aka Sachiko Saeki) is about to launch a Japanese Food culture pop up restaurant at The Kitchen Garden Cafe in Kings Heath. Begining on Saturday 2nd April and then on select dates through to June 30th, it gives an opportunity to try out something different with a chef who has worked in a Japanese Michelin Starred restaurant in Mayfair, London and with Hugh Fearnley Whitingstall where she featured in River Cottage Heroes. 

In 2011 Sachiko’s trip to Koya-San, a Buddhist Temple complex in Japan, led to Shajan Ryari- vegetarian Buddhist Monk Food. It was these experiences that created the ideas for vegetarian dishes and attracted the production team of River Cottage and Hugh Fernley Whitingstall. 

Kinome simply means spring buds. It is also a herb from the Sansho tree with a strong distinctive aroma. The Sansho tree is one of the traditional spice trees in Japan and every single part can be used for cooking in different ways. This use of the whole is typical of Japanese cooking methods.

Kinome Kitchen have a Spring Vegetarian menu for April and May that will be run alongside the meat and fish menu. 

For £40 you can get 7 Courses of vegetarian Japanese food: Shajan-Ryari. 

Shojin Starter-Smoked tofu, homa tofu and Namsu.

Chawan Mushi-Steamed savoury eggpot with gingko nuts and yam.

Tempura-Seasonal vegetable tempura with Maccha Salt.

Sea Vegetable.

Tofu Balls with Kuzu sauce and crispy vegetables.

Box pressed vegetable sushi with miso soup. 

Fruits Yose Kanten. 

£40 per person. 

For full menus including non veggie see below:!menu/fcuwz

For bookings contact or 07504327840. 

For full dates see the poster below. 

Expect to see Japanese Craft Beers on the menu too.

Be introduced to Japanese Food Culture. 


Kinome tasting evening launch night review.


I recently attended the launch of the Kinome Pop up at The Kitchen Garden Cafe in Kings Heath. Photos below.  

The food was informally presented, but constituted three different dishes. The first Vegetarian dish was the Aubergine and Miso Bao. 

Served in a bao or bun (which was home made) the gently fried aubergine had the sweet and earthy flavour of the miso paste which gave it a delicious flavour. Beautiful. This came with Spicy Edamame (Soy beans in a pod) which had a contrasting salty flavour to the soy like miso.


This was followed by two Vegetarian skewers which like tempura were fried vegetables and came with a Tonkatsu sauce which is a vegetable and fruit based sauce often served with fried food. Both weed lively and whetted the appetite for more. 

The third dish was a desert. The Strawberry Daifuku. 

A traditional Springtime sweet sold by confectioners in Japan. 

A soft, sweet whole strawberry encased by a soft and sweet paste was a match made in heaven. Exquisite.

The desert was Served with Maccha Green Tea (stoneground green tea) which was handmade in front of us, and tasted refreshing and full of lovely warming and healing flavours. 

The tea ceremony centres on the prepetation, serving and drinking of Maccha. 

Maccha green tea and the tea ceremony. 

The Kinome pop up launch night was a major success and fully booked out. The food was beautifully made, presented and served with pride. The pop up is sure to be a culinary journey of Japanese food and I for one am very happy to return and continue my vegetarian Japanese food Culture journey. 

Kinome Pop up restaurant is at The Kitchen Garden Cafe, Kings Heath, 17 York Road, B14 7SA.

Opening times: 6.30pm-10.30pm

Last orders 8.30pm.

Thanks for reading, 

Andy 😊

Dawn breaks/ drizzle of white rain/ on sprouting buds- Sojon Hina.

The spring arrives with the sent of moss, suspended in the drizzle of rain is a sense of anticipation. In the Japanese traditional short poem called Haiku, Konome (the same character but pronounced differently) is the seasonal word for spring time. I see the English spring in there too. 

Sachiko Saeki. 

Cookery School: 

Sushi with Sachiko Saeki at Leith’s School of food and wine, London, 16th April 

Shojin Ryori with Sachiko Saeki at Demuths Cookery School, Bath, 12 June. 

She has also Worked with the Harborne Food school in Birmingham. 


Review: Two Cats Kitchen and Kam and Cat vegetarian collaboration. 

If those in the know (or think they are) are anything to go by then Two Cats Kitchen is the hottest dining ticket in town. For Vegetarians that might be greeted with, ‘for meat eaters maybe’ or yes really? But why should vegetarians be excused from the shouting or feel disinterested. After all we have the right to eat outside of vegetarian restaurants surely? 

So many restaurants that come by generally can be described by vegetarians as beern like a big black hole of an abattoir sent from outer space, a place to keep away from. 

For the unnanitiated Two Cats may appear a restaurant too far. For meat rules still, and Birmingham is generally living and breathing it in a massive way, if the Twitterati are to believed. 

This though is not all together a fair description of my city. I’ve spoken before of the good work Nomad are doing in Brum, as Marmalade at The Birmingham Rep with its Meat free Monday’s and the three Opus Restaurants. Two Cats is also treading the innovative line on veggie dishes, ingredient led and blossoming under the dim lights of its permanent home. 

Two Cats is the brainchild of Chef Nicki Astley. The food is described as ‘New Baltic Cuisine’. This is in fact Baltic-Russian cuisine,  re composed traditional dishes and some newer innovative ones. It’s very much stripped back fine dining, the plates of food tell a story, and in its story is the ideals in the cooking. It certainly stands out on the Birmingham dining scene. 

The vegetarian night was organised with Kam and Cat. 

Kamila is a raw food chef and is the owner and founder of Kam and Cat. They have completed numerous pop ups in Birmingham over the last year. 

Together with Nicki she provided the quirky dishes on the night. 

Two Cats Kitchen is on Warstone Lane near St Paul’s square and in the historical Jewellery Quarter area of the city. Itself becoming a fine food and drink location. 

After showcasing their food in various pop ups in the City Centre they’ve now settled in the cosy Jewellery Quarter and opened up in an even more cosy restaurant. 

The dining room is entered via a small delightful passageway that is reminiscent of some Trattoria’s you find in Italy, inside exposed brickwork, original tiles on the floor and some monastic stained glass is quite a surprise if you weren’t expecting it. It’s a fine discovery, simple, with a charming atmosphere that only such an old narrow space can provide. Maybe it’s the history, maybe it’s just me.! I feel at home. 

The menu itself is a bargain at £40 for seven courses. We had in order:

Aukstazupa” Beetroot and Buttermilk Gazpacho.

Oyster Leaves and Garlic Buttermilk, Plum, charred almonds.

Chickpea terrine, pickles, cheese custard, coal oil. 

Goats cheese Pelneni, lovage oil, sweet onion broth.

Golubtsy, slow cooked egg, cep mushroom stock.


Kam’s Blueberry Vegan ‘Cheesecake’.

Aukstazupa, (Beetroot and Buttermilk Gazpacho). 

A Latvian Beet cold soup, slightly peppery, a bracing shout out I’m here kind of dish. Impressive veggie fare. 

  Oyster leaves and garlic, buttermilk, plum, charred almonds. 

Paired down, simple ingredients, put together well, so easy? Is it? 

  Chickpea terrine, pickles, cheese custard, coal oil. 

A third course of contrast, to the previous two. The chickpeas, complimenting well the cheesy heart of the dish: lovely. 


Goat Cheese Pelneni, lovage oil, sweet onion broth. 

An enchanting dish, all the elements came together. The tender Pelneni (chewy dumplings) of soft goats cheese stuffing, with an onion broth so crystal clear I could see my tired mid week night eyes peering jaded back at me from its depths, plus homemade lovage oil. Sweet, sticky, chewy, subtle-delicious.


Golubtsy, slow cooked egg, cep, mushroom stock. 

Russian/Ukraine Stuffed cabbage leaves (Golubtsy) wrapped round the cep filling, the stock and egg providing the added contrasting bite. A classic of Ukrainian food, here in Birmingham, a dish originally devised to use up left over food, now central stage. A Moma of a dish. A special dish. 



Simple sorrel leaf (pre desert) 

bunch of sorrel leaves tied together by twine with lovely textures and a sweetness that is surprising. To be taken in the hand and eaten like a bone ( sorry for the meaty term) sweet, and simple, served and presented artistically.

Kam’s Blueberry vegan cheesecake.

A vegan style cheese cake, finishing off the meal well. Good flavours and light touch. Lovely. Presented well. 

Two Cats Kitchen is terrific, gastronomic even, it is attempting to break barriers, but it’s feeding its customers well. I think you could keep returning here and finding new joys on the menu, or at least in some favourite tried before dishes and though this was a different Two Cats Kitchen night it whet the appetite for more in the near future. 

It does all the right things and for that they’ve succeeded in giving veggies another powerfully seductive experience whence once it thought not to tread and that’s all in the hands of the chef who knows how to please, and understands the beauty of food for everyone and that’s quite simply a relief for vegetarians in Birmingham. 



  Photo courtesy of Two Cats Kitchen.

27 Warstone Lane, Jewellery Quarter, Birmingham, B18 6JQ.


Thanks for reading, 

Andy 😊

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

Nomad pop up: Nature, memory, place in Kings Heath Birmingham. Vegetarian Menu preview. 



I want to cook food that excites me. Nomad is a collection of ideas, focusing on memory, place and nature. I want to explore these things through cooking’ 

So says  chef Alex Claridge formally of Vegetarian Bistro 1847 and The Warehouse Cafe and from experience of Alex’s cooking and dishes it promises to be a superb residency for vegetarian food lovers. 

Alex Claridge Chef Owner   


Head Chef Brian Smith

Nomad is the name of the new pop up restaurant that is opening on April 3rd at The Kitchen Garden Cafe on York Road in Kings Heath, Birmingham. 

Alex brings his innovative take on food, offering innovative, creative and foraged ingredients and food for a 3 Month residency begining in April. 

Nomad will be open on Friday and Saturday evenings and some Thursday’s at the Same venue that has housed pop ups previously from Epi Restaurant and Blue Rabbit. 

Nomad is expected to move to other locations around Birmingham with a City Centre residency planned for June. 

With Nomad he is expected to ‘explore ideas and thoughts about nature, place, memory  and British Cuisine. 

Alex is an innovative chef who creates dishes that explore ingredients that are foraged, seasonal and unique in the UK. This with a view to create a sensory and progressive veggie foodie menu that is a challenge to the palate and mind. 

Diners can initially experience two fixed tasting menus of 5 courses and 9 courses for £32 and £45 respectively. Short and long. 

The Vegetarian menu is: 

April £45 long: 

Reindeer Moss, egg, mushroom, coffee,

Cauliflower and Pine cream, fermented watercress, seared hearts, 

Pickled Mushrooms, Japanese, rose, aged kelp, 

Cox Apple, 

Fresh ricotta in ashes

Grilled Broccoli, duck egg, hay, milk

Hogs weed, grilled carrot cake, purple carrot, Manouri, buttermilk, wild carrot. 

Ewes milk, pickled bilberries, 

White chocolate, caramel, seaweed popcorn

April: £32: Short

moss, egg,  coffee. 

Pickled mushroom, dulse, sunflower seed, Japanese Rose

Fresh ricotta, in ashes, wild garlic

carrot cake, purple carrot, Manouri, buttermilk, wild carrot. 

Goats milk, pickled billberries. 

Cauliflower, Pine, Sorrel, Wild Watercress (three photos)  


Dishes above: 

Fresh Ricotta in Ashes, Wild Garlic (first two) and Reindeer Moss, egg yolk, mushrooms (Second two). 

On booking mention that you are a vegetarian to guarantee the menu and ingredients. Please note due to the creative process of Nomad and the seasonality of ingredients the menu you have may not be the same as above. 

Reindeer Moss, egg yolk, mushrooms   


Other menus will include meat and fish options and menus are available via the website. 

 Nomad is now taking bookings for April, and May. 

Please visit the website for bookings.


Nomad should offer a delightful evening of indulgence, ideas and exploration of the senses. 

Thanks for reading 

Andy 😊

Kitchen Garden Cafe Kings Heath 

All photos given to me by Alex to use on this post, apart from the ones of Kitchen Garden Cafe which are my own and not so good. 😊

Thanks Alex. 

Nomad, Kitchen Garden Cafe, york road, Kings Heath, Birmingham B14. 

Six Eight Kafe and Two Cats Roaming Kitchen at Millennium point


As anyone who follows my blog will know I’m a keen coffee drinker and from time to time put up up #coffeetime reviews.

Though I have been to Six Eight Kafe on Temple Row in Birmingham City Centre (near the entrance of The Great Western Arcade) I’ve not yet reviewed it for my blog.

It is one of the best independent coffee shops in Birmingham (voted one of the top 50 in the UK by the Independent Newspaper) and though small is a bustling place with fine artisan coffee and beautiful cakes.

So the news that Six Eight Kafe are now this month January are opening up a new outlet in Millennium Point is quite exciting.

Six Eight Kafe have been running a trial pop up coffee shop there for a few months, and with its success have announced a new shop. It’s expected to be one of the largest Artisan independent coffee shops in the Midlands and will have a fully operational kitchen and will be licensed.

This will allow them to serve hot food and be open for longer hours I presume. The launch date has yet to be confirmed, but should be soon. Keep an eye on this blog for updates,

As a way of launching the fully operational kitchen Six Eight Kafe will be hosting Two Cats Roaming Kitchen roaming February pop up on the 17,18,19 February 2015.

Already they have hosted previous pop up kitchens on Temple Row so this will be a larger affair and the first with vegetarian options (on request)

Two Cats Roaming Kitchen is a pop up taking a modernist culinary approach to North Eastern European cuisine and making fine dining accessible and informal. Food is served on one shared communal table and with limited tickets for sale is a ticket only event.

Chef Nick Astley formally of The Church Inn in the Jewellery Quarter has now taken Two Cats full time after leaving The Church. Inspired by his partner Diana’s Latvian food, the Birmingham Post describes his food as ‘imaginative and ambitious’ and fellow local food blogger Full To The Brum have raved about previous pop ups taken place last summer.

As I’ve said this is the first time veggie options are available at every course so expect a modern imaginative approach to the dishes and a creative leaning to foraging and seasonal produce. It’s an exciting prospect for veggie foodies and at £31.00 for many courses, is great value.

The menu hasn’t as yet been confirmed for those dates but you may see veggie dishes such as:

Sweet and sour Jerusalem artichoke, milk ice, cream, Apple and dill.

Beetroot Tartare

Celeriac, truffle, hazelnut, and rose

Sorrel in February

And inventive puddings.

As well as a full non veggie menu.

Tickets are available via facebook.


There are three dates so you will need to select the best for you.

Remember if you are vegetarian then you will have to let them know in advance via Twitter or Facebook on booking.

Look out for updates on the menu on this blog, and more updates on Six Eight Kafe.

Six Eight Kafe
Millennium point
Curzon street
B4 7XG

Six Eight Kafe
Temple Row
B2 5HG
0121 448 8099



I’ve been looking forward to the Pop Up Dosa pop up take over at The Hare and Hounds in Kings Heath for a number of weeks. Pop up Dosa are vegetarian, and make the most delicious dosas, and the Hare and Hounds is a fabulous pub, one of the best and always a favourite for live music and real ale.

The Hare and Hounds is in ‘foodie Mecca’ Kings Heath, in South Birmingham near Moseley. As I’ve mentioned in my previous #Tastymorsel blog post it has been holding a summer food season of pop ups to launch its new back dining room cum bar, which is a very cool and comfortable space for casual dining.

Up to now they’ve held two pop ups, Pika Pika and Clark and Lee, with one left to go next week-Fingy’s takeover.






Last night it was the turn of veggie Pop Up Dosa to serve their freshly made Dosa from Kerala to the Kings Heath public.

Pop up Dosa are based in Kings Heath and make vegetarian Dosa’s from home, at markets, at cafe’s and at street food markets such as Brum Yum Yum in Kings Heath. They also do a regular monthly pop up at The Ort Cafe in Balsall Heath/Moseley in southBirmingham. See their website or twitter for next dates.

Dosa pronounced ‘Dhoe-sha’ is a nutritious sourdough crepe made from fermented rice and lentil batter. Dosa dates back to the 6th century AD and is believed to have originated in Udipi in Karnataka, India.

It’s a staple street food dish in Southern Indian states and known for its simple goodness.

You eat Dosa’s with your finger tips and dip it into the sambar ( a vegetable stew in a lentil broth) and chutneys and pop it into your mouth. You can use cutlery though:)




As Ruth and I were in the Hare and Hounds we felt we had to start in the main bar. A lovely room, with comfy sofas and mixed tables. It’s very ornate, and has a great character about it that you would expect from a building dating 1907.

Ruth ordered a glass of Sauvignon Blanc and me a pint of Purity Gold. The Hare and Hounds have a good selection of real ales, cocktails and wine and promote the brewery Purity well.

So onto the food:)

The price of the food £12.50 in advance included three courses.

Each single course was served at the same time, so every diner was eating the same dish.

The 1st course was a delicious Kerala street food morsel called Parrippu Vada with slices of banana.

The flavours of ginger and the crunch of the savoury deep fried lentil were superb, and taken together with the banana the correct way to be eaten.



The 2nd course was the dosa served with the Sambar, mint sublime and the gunpowder smoke.

The Sambar was tangy, filled with delicious vegetables, like a broth with the lentils adding another wholesome texture to the stew.

The mint like a raita, with the gentle harmonious flavours of coriander and lime chutney.

The Gun powder smoke: a chutney of ground roasted lentils, smoky spices, and with a drizzling of hot coconut oil over. Superb, and taken with the vegetable filled Dosa a lovely concoction of flavour.

I enjoyed a pint of Purity UBU with my dosa.

Pop up Dosa’s dosas are lavish and enjoyable. Superb,


The third course (dessert) was called Aluva. A little known and much loved dessert from Kerala. It was fragrant, sweet and dense, with the flavours of the coconut milk, cashew nuts, nutmeg, cardamom giving it an almost liquorice type flavour and consistency. It was certainly a grower though, I was not sure at first but by the end the knots of subtle flavours won me over. Something very different to what I’ve eaten before 🙂

Chef Hasseen George, served a superb pop up.

The Pop up Dosa cafe is to be recommended. The flavours were good and the food addictive.

I felt the pop up at the Hare and Hounds was superb.

The takeover idea is a lovely idea that gives street food and new foodie concepts a forum. The atmosphere was good, chatty and enhanced the evening.

Keep an eye open for where Pop up Dosa are planning to serve their delicious food.

I can certainly recommend a night or lunch In their company.

Pop up Dosa
07402 806 439

Hare and Hounds
106 high street
Kings Heath
B14 7JZ







The final summer food season pop up at The Hare and Hounds is to be held on Thursday 14th August at 7.30. Pre booked tickets only via the Hare and Hounds website.

This is Fingy’s food night with Alan ‘Fingy’ Thomson Peruvian and Latin food.

£15 for three courses, veggie options available. See Hare and Hounds website for menu under events.

Disclaimer: the opinions expressed are my own and honest. We paid for our own food and drinks.

Feel free to comment on my blog post with any thoughts re the post.

If anyone has any suggestions as to where I should visit that is good for veggies, and vegans please let me know either here or via twitter @andydhare

Full contact details on

Thanks for reading:)




Tasty Morsels: New Pop Up’s.

There are a few pop up’s on top of the ones at Hare and Hounds in Kings Heath doing the rounds at the moment. The one’s I like the look of are the ones that give different types of food a chance.

Over the next few weeks sees two such pop up’s.

1. 63 Islands Caribbean are a new caterer cooking dishes influenced by the Spanish, French, Dutch and Indian settlers to the Caribbean. They have a pop up at Cherry Reds on John Bright Street in the city centre near the Alex Theatre and Turtle Bay serving their food on the 28th July from 6.30pm. They do have a veggie and vegan options.

There is:

1 starter a Spicy Pumpkin Soup
1 main a dish called Channa (spiced chick peas) served with coconut, infused rice and peas or flatbread (roti).

Plus a few side orders including plaintain and spicy pickled coleslaw and flatbread (roti) which are all vegan as are the chickpeas.

Contact 0121 643 5716 for details and reservations.
@63_Islands for menus.

2. Pika Pika (whom I’ve mentioned as being at The Hare and Hounds Kings Heath foodie nights on the 24th July see previous post) are a Japanese Catering group who specialise in serving Oriental Fusion Cuisine.

Pika Pika have another pop up evening on Wednesday 30th July 2014 at The Ort Cafe in Balsall Heath/Moseley area. They will be providing an authentic Japanese pop up dinner experience which again includes veggie and vegan options on the menu. This takes place on the 30th July from 6-9pm.

Reservations are recommended email or call 07845 083 322.

If I have more information at any point on menus for Pika Pika I will update the post.

Pika Pika will also be testing their culinary skills at a pop up at Cherry Reds in Kings Heath on 11th August 2014. I will keep an eye and post the menu in due course.

Finally, Cherry Reds again (busy people :)) have a pop up kitchen in their John Bright Street cafe on the last Monday of the month. This will be a different street food vendor every month. Watch this space for updates and check on their website for details.

Plus, every Wednesday Cherry Reds in John Bright Street are offering a bottle of house wine with every purchase from the menu. Sounds a bargain. 🙂