CBD Food Festival July 2014

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Despite the imminent threat of biblical weather I decided to sneak out for a few hours to see the CBD Food Festival taking place 18-19 July.  It was all taking place in Victoria Square amid a carnival atmosphere and tropical weather conditions.

Unless you are based in the city centre, Colmore  maybe one of the less well known areas of central Birmingham.  Primarily a business district, it is none the less home to some fantastic places to eat and drink.  Naturally it plays home to the local clientele, the business set, ladies who lunch and local office workers.  But it deserves a wider appeal, it has something for everyone.

One of the first people to stop me was the barman of the Jekyll and Hyde, an honest to goodness gin palace located on Steelhouse Lane.  If it is gin, they have it.  And their knowledge of the spirit is absolutely second to none.

The spicy aroma from across the square drew me over to Asha’s Contemporary Indian Bar and Restaurant.  They started small in this very city and grew into an international operation, with restaurants as far away as Dubai.  I set myself up with a small chicken kebab.  It was just perfectly spiced and melted in the mouth.

The best brewers in the Midlands were there too.  Purity Ales opened Pure Bar and Kitchen very recently.  I have been a big fan of their ales since I came to the Midlands.  When I am not quaffing them by the barrel I am using them to make the best Fish Batter in the airport. [where Nick works as a chef; he’s not just randomly cooking on the landing strip! - Ed} Their Ubu is a personal favourite. 

Try it when you get time.

So, if you missed the CBD Festival, do go and visit the restaurants, pubs and cafés featured. Trust me, they are worth it.

Words & photos by chef Nick Gilmartin who can be contacted on @Nick1975 or find out more here.