I know how it is, you land in a city for a couple of days and want to grab something to eat but you don’t know where to find the hidden gems. Thankfully, Birmingham city centre is great for some cheap but, more importantly, good places to eat.
1. Round Chinatown
For me, it’s all about Chinatown. Located in the southside of Birmingham city centre, near the shops and Travelodge Birmingham Central Bullring, it’s an ideal place to grab some food after a busy day shopping or before catching a show at the nearby theatres.
MinMin Noodle Bar on Bromsgrove Street is one of my go-to places to catch up with friends. It’s reasonably priced and has a good range of dishes, of which a selection are vegetarian options that satisfy even my fussiest of non-meat-eating friends. Topokki nearby on Hurst St is also a good choice; it’s a Korean restaurant with great food but service can be variable – thankfully the menu is chockfull of photos, so you know what you’re ordering.
2. John Bright Street
If East-Asian cuisine isn’t your thing then head further into Birmingham city centre and visit John Bright Street.
Cherry Reds is a charming independent café bar with a whole lot of heart and really reasonable prices. Their all-day breakfasts are a real winner, with the Diddy version being my usual choice, but with the full works or vegan options available, as well as gluten-free dishes, there’s something for everyone.
Opposite Cherry Reds is Turtle Bay, part of a chain of lively Caribbean restaurants, which often has two-for-one cocktail offers. And then there’s every beer-lover’s Brewdog, which has everything from beer shots to guest ales.
3. Jewellery Quarter
Though for me, half the fun of going to somewhere new is being able to try something I can’t get at home and if that’s the same for you then there are some local independent groups worth checking out.
Soul Food Project are well-loved and their Jewellery Quarter headquarters at The Church does two-for-one deals on jambalaya on Mondays and ribs on Tuesdays. Well worth checking out, as is their bakery Peel & Stone.
Bitters n Twisted can be credited with bringing a less pretentious cocktail scene to the city and their first venue, Island Bar, has a range of cocktail offers. But it’s the theatrics of their upstairs Tiki bar that are particularly worth checking out (see the main pic).
Round the corner, their sister venue, The Victoria, is a real jack-of-all-trades with everything from cask ales to seasonal cocktails and a varied events schedule.
If a range of eclectic events is what’s drawn you to Brum, then chances are you’ll happen upon Digbeth, just on the edge of Birmingham city centre. It’s home to the award-winning Digbeth Dining Club, which has a host of great street food stalls – you can’t beat a Meatshack or Original Patty Men burger with Bournville Waffle for pudding.
Also in Digbeth, tucked just behind Moor St train station, is Warehouse Café, another award-winning venue with a long history of serving up vegetarian cuisine as well as hosting the occasional raw vegan night.
And it wouldn’t be Birmingham if I didn’t mention curry; the best concentration can be found at the Balti triangle (or whatever shape it is these days), but the Dilshad in Digbeth is an easier one to get to if you’re staying city centre side.
With a range of fine dining and cheap eats, and a raft of cuisines represented in the city, there really is something for everyone – the hardest choice is working out which ones to miss out on…good luck, I’m glad I don’t have to!