Masdings at 1000 Trades

Let’s talk battered pickled spicy pineapple rings. A hybrid of the fritters at your local Chinese takeaway and frickles, those battered fried pickles you’ve ordered at The Meat Shack. They are sweet and acidic and hot and more addictive than a Tetris session on Hillbilly Crack (not that I would know. Honest.). They are just one part of one burger at Masdings, providing a sharp astringency and some sweet, sweet love. And they are also available as a side. I tried one on the burger and then ordered more as a side. I expect you will do exactly the same.

That burger is called The Heizenberg and it is what you should be ordering when you get to 1000 Trades this December. At it’s core is an 8oz hockey puck of a beef patty, robust in flavour and cooked just a little past the medium rare they promise. It comes with bacon that has been cooked in Maple syrup and chipotle mayo. It is utter filth and a substantial feed for £8. With the lamb burger sold out on our visit, we order a Smokey Robinson that has a similar offering to The Heizenberg, only with the addition of smoked cheese and minus those battered pineapple rings. My heart may lay with the the former, but I’m happy to kept the latter as my dirty little secret.

A portion of chips with halloumi and chorizo is perhaps the closest we get to Masding’s other business, the Mediterranean influenced Kebabylon. These are brash and a hearty lunch by themselves at £4.50. Indeed, all of this feels like really value with the food elements coming in at £22 and the evening’s beers far more than that. I can find very little to dislike at Masdings other than that awful abuse of apostrophes which hurts to these chubby fingers to type. The residency is on until the 22nd of December and is well worth a visit.

Transport was provided by A2B Radiocars. Download the app here http://www.a2bradiocars.com


Sear and Smoke, Birmingham

Meat. If that one word isn’t to your liking, then you may want to shut down this window and go back to your hummus and crudites. For the rest of you, prepare for sympathy sweats and burger envy, for lumps of protein and token pieces of carbohydrates. The latest addition to this cities fast expanding food scene is an ode to fire and beast, to feeding using only the finest animals in the most skilled of hands.

Being a collaboration from Original Patty Men and Digbeth Dining Club it was never going to be ambiguous in name. They settle for Sear and Smoke, which makes sense given that pretty much covers off the cooking processes involved. It’s home is Crane, a beautiful old factory too close to St Andrews to be desirable. The huge ceilings, bare brick and steel framework feels like its already integral to the city and I feel slightly at loss to have seen this for the first time in my mid thirties.

I head straight to Flying Cows because a burger for breakfast makes perfect sense. There I take The High Flyer because that’s the award winner and award winners should only ever eat award winners if you want to go Full Pillock. I do. The aged beef is pink throughout, with the sweetest of bacon and Swiss cheese that has the same gummy feel as it’s American counterpart, only with the added bonus of actually tasting of cheese. Whisper it, but Flying Cows remind me of Bleecker Burger at their finest. It’s the burger I would choose from anywhere right now if given the choice. I wash it down with a cocktail from the Birmingham Whisky Club. And lovely it is, too. Far better than the whisky I usually wash my breakfast down with.

There are a dozen or so food traders here on the day, the cream of the local talent and some from further afield. From a little place called London we have Wingman, a chicken wing specialist who came to my attention when they won best of the best at this year’s British Street Food finals. I have the winning dish (see previous Full Pillock comment) that has the sweet, sour and hot profiles of Thai cooking all over their chicken and all down my jacket. Properly lovely stuff and easily the best chicken wing I have ever eaten. Taking second place at those awards was Baked in Brick, today cooking a 45 day aged rump cap as a special alongside some of the more usual suspects. The beef is gloriously tender, with a chestnut mushroom sauce enriched with bone marrow that transformed some very ordinary fries underneath into something far more magical.

I’m outside for a talk by a man who knows a lot about street food and more whisky. The air is stained by smoke and the smell of rendered fat. Low’n’Slow are to blame. Throngs of people have gathered round to watch him smoke pork belly over a make shift pit on the floor before being finished over a barbecue by the very farmer who supplies the pigs. The meat is stunning; aged pork with thick ribbons of fat that only a fool would discard. It’s a proper plate of food, with potatoes cooked with bone marrow and a fiery burnt salsa and sharp ‘slaw. He is bringing the theatre of Meatopia to a warehouse in the backstreets of Birmingham. This is the future of Sear and Smoke.

Original Patty Men are here with a friend – Dom Clarke of Canneat, a little place in Stirchley that I have much love for. I try the special which has their usual patty with ox cheek, gruyere, and ‘French soup’ onions. It’s one of the days more technically minded dishes, aimed squarely at a mouthful of umami. The ox cheek has been braised in reduced Guiness, the onions cooked down to a meaty gelatinous mess. It’s seriously good, I just wish I’d left more room for it.

I wanted to try more, though without my usual partner in crime I was defeated. Three hours after the start and the place was starting to heave, my attempts over, dictated by a bulging waistline and the arrival of a coven of my ex’s friends. I depart for a well earned snooze, awaking to a social media frenzy at the event as the night draws in and the bands begin to play. It seems that I was not alone in my love for it. It was a bona fide success, proof that Birmingham can play with the big boys. It was a faultless stepping stone to a more ambitious event next year. The countdown to the next Sear and Smoke has already begun.

Transport was provided by A2B Radio Cars. For more information please see http://www.a2bradiocars.com

MEATmarket, London

I read a lot of other blogs and a lot of lists. I’m fun like that. Almost always food, always a mixture of the good and the bad; there are those I look up to and those I read to make myself feel better. It’s important to keep your eyes on both the sky and the dirt. One of the things I read a lot about is burgers. Outside of Brum I know about as much about them as I do monogamy and modesty, but my girlfriend loves them so it’s in my interest to keep her happy. I’d have never had found out about Bleecker without reading other blog posts, and those same posts always list MEATliquor (and it’s offshoots for which Covent Gardens MEATmarket is one) as one of the true originals to the burger scene in this country.

So I’m not quite sure what has happened. Maybe the very businesses that they have inspired have surpassed them in quality and delivery. Maybe there offering isn’t as good as it used to be. Maybe it was actually never that good. I don’t know, I can only base it what we had, and what we had was okay. The burger that I see on most lists is the Dead Hippie, a double patty of just pink beef in slender proportions with their famous Dead Hippie sauce that is seemingly a mustard mayo given a kick up the arse with chopped pickles and Worcestershire sauce. It’s messy and difficult to hold (these are plus points, honestly), with a bun that gets too soggy too quickly. The beef is good, but not up there with the best; it’s a little chewy in parts and we chow down on bits that possibly shouldn’t have made the cut. The sauce adds a nice acidity and the diced onions are welcome. It’s a good burger, I’ve just had much better.

The double bacon cheeseburger baffles me for crimes against bacon. We’re back on that double patty and bun though this time with additional thin layers of something dark brown that tastes vaguely of pig. It’s bacon, minced and reformed again, because, y’know, sometimes a rasher just isn’t good enough. They’ve destroyed the essence of what it should be, the fat content and the crisp shard of pure pork flavour, turning it into a just another layer of something brown and grainy that detracts away from a pretty good burger. We switch our attention to battered fillets of chicken breast that give the impression the oil was not hot enough. The batter is flaccid in good places, soggy in others from a coating of buffalo sauce. It makes a bit more sense when dipped into the blue cheese dip.

There is a revelation in the form of a Hot Mess, cylinders of crisp potato that ooze a pungent blue cheese and jalapeno sauce, and less of one with green chilli fries that blast heat with every mouthful. It’s a credit to MEATliquor that the sides are genuinely interesting and I’ve seen very similar options pop up elsewhere, including Birmingham, in a blatant bit of plagiarism.

The bill for all of the above and a couple of soft drinks came in at a few pence under forty quid, which would have been value had we enjoyed lunch. The truth is we both walked away full but underwhelmed, struggling to see what all the fuss is about. I can think of three burgers I’d rather eat in Birmingham and at least another three in London. The burgers at MEATmarket may be of legend, but the competition has not only caught up, but surpassed them.


Nosh & Quaff, Birmingham

Way before I started eating and writing about the nicer places around Birmingham, I used to read about them and not eat at them. I would buy the Birmingham (then Evening) Mail on a Friday only, moving just past halfway to Paul Fulford’s weekly piece. There you would have found a small picture of his small and shiny head in the upper left and two hundred words or so of Paul’s concise writing below. His occasionally acerbic, always honest writing style was an early favourite of mine, more so on the occasions he slipped in a subtle knob innuendo. He’s my neighbour now, which I still find bizarre, and occasionally I get to spend time over dinner with him, taking in his stories and counting the wrinkles on his face.  A couple of nights back I met him at 7pm sharp at Nosh & Quaff where in the deep red leather booths you would have found the unlikely combination of a Birmingham food legend and Paul Fulford, the ex restaurant critic for the Birmingham Mail.

There is a valid reason for us being here.  Back when I first wrote about Nosh & Quaff the menu was even shorter than Paul; lobster, burgers, some ribs.  I liked it, others less so, finding the options too limiting and the pricing aggressive.  Two years and a little introspection later, we have a full page of options and a considerable decrease in the pricing.  I think it needs it.  Downstairs is still a beautiful space of marble and deep red leather with ceilings high enough to fit my ego without the need to crouch, it just now has the kind of pricing and options to fill it more frequently.  There is a large industrial room  of bare brick and wood upstairs that they should turn into the city centre location of Fiesta Del Asado, a stablemate of the same group.

The hotdog is one of those items that has fallen in price.  Impeccably sourced from the Big Apple Hotdog company it is now half the price of the fifteen quid it used to be, with only fries losing their tray gig.  It showcases what N&Q is all about; quality produce, generous portions, and an underlying guilt that you probably will need to run your dinner off the following morning. It is worth the run. The dog snaps, the bun is sturdy enough to hold everything else in place. Order this and ask for a bib to come with it.  

From the newer items are rib tips that really transpire to be precise cubes of unctuous pork, slowly cooked and glazed in a funky BBQ sauce.  This is a lot of pig for £4.50.  Chick Norris may be a dreadful name for a burger but is a hefty bit of dinner.  Two hulks of free range thigh meat in one of those thick American buttermilk batters with bacon and processed cheese. Heat lurks in the background with enough tang in the ‘slaw to cut through the richness of it all. As far as the composition of a burger goes this has it all.

American portions mean only real Americans will have room for desserts.  For the rest of us it’s a small dent in the wallet and a lie down.  I still really like Nosh & Quaff, they’re not pushing boundaries but they are taking a familiar cuisine and applying quality ingredients with precise cooking.  It’s managed to improve what it previously was, now with a menu with enough scope to warrant repeat visits.  And all in the company of a man who definitely makes the list of my top 172 food writers.  Life really doesn’t get much better. 

Mr Fulford picked up the bill, I got the Uber home.  I guess that makes us quits.    

Meat Shack, Birmingham


I have a lot to thank Meat Shack for.  They ended ‘The Carlo Great Burger Drought’, that ripped through the country between 2006 and 2013 when I decided that burgers were shite.  Looking back I was probably right, in Birmingham anyhow, when our casual dining scenes was as stale as the sesame seed bun that compresses the cows arsehole and eyelid together at McDonald’s.  We had very little to shout about other than a couple of Michelin starred places that the majority could not afford.  And then Digbeth Dining Club happened.  I remember eating the food of passionate traders who were producing far superior dishes to those in their own bricks and mortar, at a fraction of the price.  The Meatshack was one of those places, the first burger I had eaten for, I think, seven years.  I was coerced by a mate and never looked back – it was everything that I wanted a burger to be.  I remember talking about it sometime after to an equally epicurean pal, how those burgers, along with many other wonderful dishes at DDC, would eventually shape our future restaurants in Birmingham.  I was right.  I am always fucking right.


The transition of street food to restaurant doesn’t happen overnight.  Products are to be tweaked.  Locations found.  Funds raised.  In the case of Meat Shack it’s taken five years to go from the little black and white tent to the bright and illustrated space upstairs in the new Thorp 17 building in China Town.  It’s caused local hysteria with those who love their food.  Expectations are high and for the most part they have nailed it.


The slogan here is ‘dripping filthy goodness’, a phrase that they have presumably stolen from a swingers club, but actually relates to the process of cooking the beef patty so that it retains the juices.  It is exactly as I remember them being, if not as pink in the centre as they once were.  We try two different burgers, both of which are excellent.  Hell Shack is a brute, a relentless assault that has the Rib Man’s ‘Holy Fuck’ hot sauce at it’s core and a green chilli relish playing back-up when a back-up probably isn’t required.  Still, if you order anything with a hot sauce called ‘Holy Fuck’ you expect serious heat, and serious heat is what you get.  I fucking love it, and I can swear all I want here, because if they can say fuck on a menu, I can use it all I fucking want in my post.  Sorry, Mom.  If heaven existed I know you’d be pretty appalled with me right now.


You can look again now because the next paragraph contains zero curse words.  The Dutch Piggy is at it’s purest form a bacon cheeseburger.  It has two cheeses; a classic American cheese that owes its existence to the invention of plastic as much as it does to milk (this is not an insult – American cheese is the best for burgers) and another, Edam, I think, that has melted in a far more conventional sense.  Together with the bacon it works to accentuate the beef flavour rather than wipe it off the face of the earth like the hot sauce does.  They are two burgers for very different customers.  Both are very good indeed.


There are no fried pickles on today, leaving us with onion rings and fries topped with a spicy mayo.  The latter is the weak link here, unremarkable in texture with not enough of the mayo, which itself could do with more attitude.  The onion rings are the best I’ve tried, though at £3.50 for six they should be.  The batter cracks and then disappears in the mouth.  It makes me wish that the Frickles were on to try.

We’ve waited five years for this to become a reality.  Is it worth it?  Undoubtedly yes.  We eat within the first few hours of the first day they are open to the public and already the team have mastered the service and the cooking.  It’s slick and personable, maybe more than you ever expect a burger restaurant to ever to.  I never doubted their ability to make the jump, but I am seriously impressed with the professionalism and accuracy of it all.  Meat Shack is destined to be another Birmingham success story, and hopefully one that will inspire some of the other traders to do the same.


Bleecker Burger, London


Bleecker Burger almost never happened.  It was the last entry on our itinerary for the weekend, after the three star and the trendy Thai place and shite patisserie, only making the cut because it was close to our hotel in Victoria and we needed somewhere to go for breakfast.  Which, yes, it does qualify as on account of it being some meat in a bun.


And, despite its late inclusion, when we where sat on the train home discussing the three star and the trendy Thai and shite patisserie, we both agreed that the best thing we ate came the black fronted, yellow chaired, spot near Victoria station.  Where bits of aged beef mince are compacted and cooked to medium rare, held together by a bun that stays in working order.


We try two burgers.  A Blue Burger has the patty in a blue cheese sauce that whacks with umami.  Its good, very good even, but it pales in comparison to the Bacon Cheeseburger that allows the quality of the beef to shine with just a little American cheese, a rasher of crisp bacon and white onion.  It is stunning.  As much as I love Original Patty Man back home, this is as good, if not better.  Even with another lunch planned in less than three hours I am sent back inside for another for us to share.  Our later lunch is worth jeopardising for this.

The Angry Fries divide us, but this is my turf so let me tell you that the mixture of blue cheese and hot sauces is an inspired one, one cooling the other, full of umami and funk.  The other half thinks that they detract from the spud but she watches Keeping Up With The Kardashians, so read into her opinion as you want.


And there you go, maybe the best twenty-six quid I have spent in a while, overshadowing some very serious food had throughout the rest of our weekend.  But it’s created a quandary of it’s own – my five or six trips to London a year are to eat new food, not return to the same places, yet it will be impossible to not have a Bleecker whenever we come back.  I thank the chef on our way out, telling her that it was probably the best burger I have eaten.  She smiles and thanks me in a way that makes me think she has answered to that on many an occasion before.  I can believe it. The burgers here are the real deal, as good as any you are ever likely to eat.

Bleecker St. Burger Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

HowNowBrownCow at The Brown Lion, Jewellery Quarter

Anyone familiar with the Jewellery Quarter will know that the Brown Lion has changed hands many times over recent years. Be it for whatever reason, it’s a space that has struggled to fulfil its potential, seemingly whilst the rest of the area flourishes. Now, under new ownership, it looks great; part English boozer, part New York loft apartment. Neutral colours, bare brick walls, and reclaimed wooden tables. Its unfussy and efficient. Thankfully low on pretention.

The food here comes by the curious name of HowNowBrownCow, a conceptual kitchen mostly formed from burgers and burritos, with the option of gravy to dunk ones food into. I’m sold. Tell me one thing that cannot be improved by dipping it in gravy? Exactly, you can’t. Cheese? Check. Chips? Check. My future mother-in-law? Quite obviously, check. It’s an idea that is seldom seen outside of London, and one that I’m chuffed is finally here.


We get straight to the point and order stuff to be dunked.  A Twisted New Yorker has fat folds of pastrami over a coleslaw piquant with French mustard.  There is melted cheese and a fried egg whose yolk is slowly working its way on to everything else.  As far as things between a bun go, this is up there with very best in the city; OPM, Byron, and The Lord Clifden.  Actually, I take that back.  Fuck The Lord Clifden.  We try a caramelised onion burger, deep with the beefy kick of a properly aged bit of cow that comes alive when plunged into the meaty gravy.  Its an assured bit of cooking, comfortable in keeping it simple and letting the ingredients speak for themselves.



The burritos here are rice-less.  I know, it took me a few days of looking at the menu to come to terms with it as well.  Turns out that I know nothing about this, and that this is perfectly acceptable.  We take the advice and order the jerk chicken one, which transpires to be far less out there than my brain initially tells me.  The chicken is boldly spiced with allspice and chilli heat, the mixture of peppers and onions all glued together by molten cheddar.  Its the perfect bastardization of culinary cross-pollination, moving seamlessly from one style of cooking to another.  The same applies the falafel burrito; you eat it and then wonder why you’ve never had it before.

They do chips that have gone through several processes to become both crunchy and fluffy, which I hope to see available as poutine the next time I return.  And return I will.  Time and time and bloody time again.  Its the perfect comfort food in comfortable surroundings at comfortable prices.  Its exactly what the Jewellery Quarter needs.  No, sod it.  Its what Birmingham needs.  In a city now obsessed with fine dining and how many Michelin stars we can beat Manchester by (to which I include myself), its a culinary intravenous feed hooked up directly to the soul.  Now pass me that gravy, I’m going for a swim.


How Now etc etc at The Brown Lion is no more.  The pub lives on to fight another day.

The Brown Lion Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Byron, Birmingham

Byron comes to Birmingham on the back of a big reputation down south, where they are dotted around the sprawling city for Londoners to get their fill. I always found the reputation bewildering; London is not short of good burger options in the same way that it is not short of superiority complexes – why would a high street burger chain be mentioned along with the likes of MeatLiquor or Patty & Bun? In my frequent visits to the capital I had never had one, because, in all honesty, there was always a more interesting option. Now it’s finally here after working its way around the country, in a prime spot on New St, and I have no get out clause. I heed my call.


It turns out those pesky Londoners are right. It’s a proper burger, made from the right cuts of cow and cooked correctly. We try two on the second day they are open and both are impressive, mostly down to the patty, which is beefy and accurately cooked to the medium they tell us it comes to as standard.  A ‘Smokey’ has the patty on possibly the best bbq sauce I have tasted – smokey, full of umami, with just a little heat in the background.  Crisp onions for texture and smoked bacon to reinforce just why it is called what it is.  A ‘B-Rex’, the most expensive of the single patty options at £10.50, comes with more of that bbq sauce, a greaseless onion ring, jalapeno’s, American cheese, and pickles.  There is a lot going on, but its all balanced impeccably, the jalapeno and pickles elements with enough acidity to stop it all being too much.

We have a side of fries topped with a gooey cheese sauce and bacon that wasn’t crisp enough that we probably wont order again, and chicken nuggets that we certainly will.  The nuggets are lovely morsels of breast meat that work well with the bbq sauce it comes with and better with the chilli sauce they leave on the table.

And here’s the thing:  Honestly, I expected to hate it.  I thought it would be another Five Guys mess of overhyped crap.  I couldn’t be further from reality, it is miles ahead of that rubbish and the likes of GBK. whom you would consider to be its naturally competition.  It will clean up in Birmingham and rightly so.  My only issue is the price, which at around twenty quid a head for a burger, a side and a drink is more expensive than Original Patty Man, who happen to produce the best burger in the city (provided you are happy to queue for it of course).  But as far as burger chains go, well done Byron, you’ve just jumped to the front of the high street queue.


Byron Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Chilli Dog Dogs via Deliveroo

I’ll stand by what I’ve said before; nobody does better hotdogs than Chilli Dog Dog’s.  I’ve been to the one in London that also sells fizz, the one in New York through the phone box with the bearded hipsters, and the one in London which name checks New York and now sells to the Birmingham restaurant which is a bit like Burger & Lobster.  Still with me? No, well neither am I.  I guess what I am trying to say is for all my travels, I always end up back in Moseley, queuing up for the tin shack in the back garden of the Prince of Wales.

But now I am cold and yet again hungover, with no desire to be judged by the length of my stubble or depth of the bags underneath my eyes.  I have a stomach to answer to and credit in my Deliveroo account thanks to a nifty referral system (get your ten pound code here roo.it/simonc3898).  We order and wait all of twenty eight minutes for a polite man to arrive with dinner.  He doesn’t judge me, dressing gown and all.


The dog is a relatively new one, from a menu seemingly aimed at food intended to threaten fingers and chins as much as mouths.  Its messy in the best possible sense, a lashford sausage drowned in a mixture of chopped mango, spicy sriracha sauce, pickled carrots and toasted peanuts, all of which hint at warmer climes than B13.  The sausage is rightly the star, robust and piggy in texture and flavour.


Don’t let the name kid you, he does burgers as well.  Aged patties from a proper piece of cattle and a butcher who knows his trade.  The one we order is loosely packed, big on the taste of bovine and topped with a generous amount of macaroni cheese and bits of crispy bacon.  Its familiar burgers flavours reinvented for those with a dirty mind.  And boy do I have a dirty mind.


We take two sides when one would have been plenty.  The chips are better than the nacho’s, though the latter have a beef ragu sauce that would improve anything, desserts included.  Next time it will be the chips topped with the silky cheese sauce and the beef.  Just thinking about it makes me want that next time to be now.  I’ve come to the conclusion that we’re lucky to have the likes of Chilli Dog’s on our doorstep, and they seem happy enough braving the elements in a pub back garden so I can get my feed from the comfort of my living room.  And that relationship works perfectly fine for me.

As well as The Prince of Wales and Deliveroo, you can also catch Chilli Dog Dogs frequently at 1000 Trades.  I thought I should point that out, too.


<a href="https://www.zomato.com/birmingham/prince-wales-moseley&quot; title="View Menu, Reviews, Photos & Information about Prince of Wales, Moseley and other Restaurants in Birmingham"

Meating, Birmingham

I first went to Meating not long after it opened in The Arcadian centre. I wrote the meal off in the ‘okay’ bracket, taking the stance that a write-up of a rather one dimensional protein-fest of burgers and steaks was neither of interest to read, or fair on a new business with the bollocks to start up in a part of town not known for its weekday footfall.  Since then I’ve crossed paths with it a couple of times, most notably at a Yelp burger battle when it wiped the floor with some of the cities finer bits of compound beef.  It was an entirely different offering; sharper in seasoning, more exact in its delivery.  It won the burger battle not because it hosted the event, but because it rightly deserved to.  I made instant plans to go back, which, with the help of a two month boxing training camp, coincided almost perfectly with the launch of a new menu.


I go with an Italian friend of mine with a cultured palate and an Irish friend whose palate is anything but.  No, this isn’t the start of a marginally racist joke.  They both like the interior with its corrugated metal, vividly painted duct pipes and cow wall illustrations.  Its a functional space that isn’t going to win design awards anytime soon. From the starters are two pairs of taco’s; one chicken, the other lamb.  Its the lamb that wins hands-down, crispy pieces of meat pinned down with sharp cabbage and piquant chilli sauce.  The chicken looks ordinary in its presence with a guacamole sharp with lime taking over as the star between folded tortilla.  Thick nachos come with brisket beef cooked so slowly they threaten to dissolve in the mouth. As good as the meat is (and it is seriously good) it is the other elements that show how far it has progressed from my first visit.  The pico de gallo is bright in flavour, the cheese sauce both luscious and moreish.  We all stare at the last shard and offer it to our fellow dining companions whilst secretly wanting it for ourselves.




The mains see a return of that lamb, this time piled high on to a large flatbread, supple on the outside and gloriously soaked in the centre with the sticky molasses that the meat has been coated in. There is a clarity to it all that impresses; the salty notes of feta, the sweet pops of pomegranate, the calming influence of the raita-like yogurt.  The high and the low notes all playing back-up to the lamb.  Yes, its a kebab, but what a kebab it is.  It’s also enough for two people to share and not leave hungry.  Bijou portions have seemingly not made it to this corner of Birmingham yet.


Given how much the burger impressed the last time it would have taken a far more body conscious man to resist their greasy charms.  I am not that body conscious man, I know this because my mirror tells me so on a daily basis.  We order a ‘Porky Blinder’ from the new menu which delivers in spades.  The patty is a loosely packed mixture of aged beef still blushing pink in the centre, with crisp bacon and braised pork belly atop.  Add melted cheese of the strong cheddar variety and some mischievous ‘baconaise’ which reinforces the sweet / savoury interplay and you have a burger that is up there with a certain Krispy Kreme donut that held my heart for the first half of 2016.  They bring us a pot of bone marrow gravy to dunk the last chunks in to and suddenly all is good in the world.  We order a portion of sweet potato fries that are well made but totally unwarranted given the amount of food consumed.



Dessert was never going to happen, not with all that meat, and we polish off the last of our beer and pay the bill.  And here, Ladies and Gents is the money shot; we dined on a Monday night when they happen to offer 50% off the food bill, leaving us with a bill of under fifteen quid a head.  Fifteen quid each.  If you don’t believe me, look at the bill yourself.  I felt almost dirty paying so little for so much that was so good.  Go on another day and you could probably add another tenner to that bill.  And so you should.  Go have that burger, go somewhere else for a few pints and some chatter and come back for that kebab.  I know, you’re welcome.  And you’ll probably see me there, because right now Meating may just be my favourite place in town for a casual bite to eat.