Sunday, 30 November 2008

New Entry: Shangri-La 香鍋里辣

Went back to Shangri-La, Szechuan restaurant in Station Street, behind New Street Station, after 8 months or so and wrote an update.

Well, actually, there was nothing much to up-date; the food and service are still good and even the price remains the same! They seem to resist the temptation to sell Chinese Hot Pot, which I don't care very much. In food wise, I prefer some other places, but if I have to take people who are not particularly familiar with 'authentic' Chinese food, I might come here for good service and approachable food.

Sausage Alert!

Walking around the Christmas Market area, I noticed a new stall selling "German" sausages.

I think they are new comer of this year. In the German sausage stalls we are already familiar with, big sausages are grilled on charcoal, as I posted about two weeks ago.

Instead, in this new stall, slimmer sausages are boiled in hot water. They are slightly smoky "Frankfurt Sausages" that can be more easily found in European Supermarket like ALDI and LIDL. The price is the same £2.50 as the charcoal grilled ones.

It might be unfair to say this without actually eating it, but I would recommend the charcoal grilled sausages. If you know this and still want to buy, it is perfectly OK, but just don't confuse this seller with the other German sellers.

As part of the Craft Market, The Parson's Nose is now selling sausages burgers.

They are British sausages makers in Worcestershire and I guess most of people already know, as they are regular presence in Farmers' Market in Birmingham area.

I don't like British sausages no matter how good the quality is, but freinds say they are pretty good. There is much shorter queue here than in front of the charcoal grilled German sausage stalls, so if you cannot wait, they may be a good alternative.

Saturday, 29 November 2008

Tortilla Wraps

Recently I discovered tortilla wraps.

The first wraps I bought were from ALDI, maybe a few years ago. Unfortunately these from ALDI were way too salty and I made up my mind not to buy them ever again.

Then, more recently I bought wrap sandwiches, again from ALDI. They were delicious. Evidently the tortillas they sell as bread and they sell as sandwich come from different companies.

I started to buy tortilla bread from supermarkets for my lunch. They are very handy to handle (put some butter, add any filling and then roll up!), have longer life than normal bread, and keep very well in fridge.

Not that I have tried many companies, but for now, my favourite is the wraps made by a company called Mission Foods in Coventry (the parent company is based in the state of Texas, USA:

Judging from the smell, they must be using good quality wheat flour. Texture is firm but not hard or dry. Very nice. If anyone from Mission Foods is reading this, "Keep up with the good work!"

On the other day, I tried wraps from LIDL.

I rarely discard food, but I think I should with these. The texture is so dry and weak that they start to fall apart when you try to roll them up. More seriously, as the ones I bought from ALDI, these are too salty.

I checked the nutritional information on the package. The Mission wrap contains 0.54g of sodium per 100 g, while LIDL wraps has 1.2g per 100g. More than double! No wonder why I found them so salty. According to the information on the package itself, 1 serving of LIDL wrap gives 31% of recommended daily intake of salt per day. It seems almost criminal to me.

So, everyone, be careful when you choose your tortilla wraps!

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Sheratton under New Management

Last week, passing Bristol Road near University of Birmingham, I noticed the Bangladeshi balti restaurant, Sheratton, changed hands.

Given that I don't pass here often, it is possible that it happened some time ago. This is how it went back then.

I ate here in December 2007 and did not have a good impression.

I wish the new management runs it better.

Beat the Devil and Lose the Plot

Yesterday, went to see a play of the above title on show at The Victoria pub next to Alexandra Theatre. A friend of mine wrote it and directed.

It was about James Dean who survived the car crash and lived a life as a different person. Although I thought the story line had some hiccups, there are memorable lines and the actors, especially the main man, were very good. Well worth the £5 (£3 concession) admission.

There were about 20 spectators, which means that the small pub theatre was almost full. Great! As the friend said there were only a handful of people at the first shows, it seems to be gaining more audience.

The show starts at 8 at The Victoria pub until this Thursday (maybe extended until Friday). The ticket is sold at the first floor.

Monday, 24 November 2008

Frozen Polish

Went to ASDA in Cape Hill, Smethwick.

My nearest supermarket is TESCO in Fiveways, but for some reason I do not like many of the stuff sold at TESCO. I've ended up in changing two buses to go shopping in Cape Hill.


I was looking for frozen prawns and went to the section where they used to be kept. What I found, however, was these.

Frozen Polish Food!

The ones to the left are tripe soups, and to the left, I think, is a sort of mushroom pizzas.

Frozen Pierogi and another sort of dumplings.

More Pierogi!

There were more other stuff.

So, if you want to find frozen Polish food, now you know where you should go!

Rainbow, yesterday

rainbow, originally uploaded by mesogeia.

When I was walking toward our Church, I saw this the rainbow.

It was so beautifully formed. But then, 2 min after, hail and rain stated!

Sunday, 23 November 2008

New Entry: Ananda Bhavan

As I promised yesterday, I uploaded the detailed review of new South-Indian restaurant Ananda Bhavan.

It is a brilliant place, so I hope you don't feel put off by the location. Even if you don't have a car, it is not difficult to arrive by bus: just get eighty-something buses (80, 82, 87, 88) from New Street station. They are reasonably frequent.

I wish you all a nice week.


Post scriptum of 11 December 2008.

Now this restaurant has a new signage.

And I revisited this place and added some food photos on the same page. I hope to come back soon for the third time.

Tribute to Red Guards - Tian Taiquan

I don't know if that is what he meant, but the Chinese artist Tian Taiquan's works currently exhibited in Three White Wall Gallery in The Mailbox, certainly feature distorted and abandoned bodies of female Red Guards of Cultural Revolution.

Today I happened to stroll into the gallery and was knocked out by the strength of the images he creates.

Obviously I did not photograph his works, but you can sample some of them on this website.

I was not particularly impressed by Mapping Beijing exhibition in Birmingham Museum & Gallery, but I liked this small exhibition entitled 'Tears of Eros' very much. The works are enough powerful to impress me who is not Chinese and has little knowledge of Cultural Revolution, so chances are that you don't need to be a sinophile to appreciate his works.

If you are interested, check out the above web site, and do pay a visit. It is held in Three White Walls Gallery in the Mailbox, until 6th January. Admission free.

Saturday, 22 November 2008

Birmingham Craft Fair etc

Today I noticed that Birmingham Craft Fair has started.

It is held in Chamberlain Square and Centenary Way continuing from Frankfurt Christmas Market in the Victoria Square.

There are fair amount of art and craft, but there are foods as well. This is sausage burger stall in Centenary Way. Regular sausage bap is £2.20, so it is slightly cheaper than German sausage hot dog. Burgers are about £3. The smell was very tempting, but, not being a burger person or sausage woman, I happily gave it a miss.

Actually, I was on my way to Dudley Road. That is why I did not go to Chamberlain Square to see the Craft Market, but took a pedestrian way to the bus stop.

Near the stop, I saw this.

The New Year Eve Bollywood Ball in Holiday Inn? Mmmmh.

Sounds entertaining, but I am not a party person either (and I won't be in Brum anyway). If you are interested, check out Itihaas web page.

Click the flier on the right up corner. A ticket costs £65 for 3 course meal catered by Itihaas, unlimited amount of drink, and live music and DJ.

By the way, this is not a publicity. I am just being curious.

The reason I went to Dudley Road was to visit a new Indian restaurant! I did not have curry, but had a big fish! It was about 30 cm long and cost only £5.99.

I will write about it more in detail very soon.

New Entry: Red N Hot (Third visit)

Yes, I went there again.

Why I had to return after only a short interval? It was to try out Chinese black pudding dish I spotted on the last visit.

Red N Hot

Please read the web page if you want to know how it tasted like.

So far as I know, Jacky's Kitchen serves Chinese black pudding, but not elsewhere in Birmingham. Correct me if I am wrong.

I must point out also that they have blinded the transparent glass wall and now the diners can enjoy their food without being watched by passers-by!

I have some other things I really want to try here, so I am coming back again soon.

Sunday, 16 November 2008

Return of the Wokmania

Walking in Chinatown Friday evening, I picked up a flier.

Surprise surprise. It was a flier of Wokmania. Yes, that Chinese buffet restaurant in Hurst street, closed down earlier this year. For a while there was a poster promising opening of an "Exciting New Restaurant" on the window.

Now, the new restaurant turned out to be the old Wokmania. This photo was taken today (16 Nov. 2008, Sun.)

A friend walking with me Friday night warned me off as she had not eaten well in the old Wokmania, but, checking the food through the glass wall today, it did not look particulary unappetising comparing other Chinese buffet places. Or, rather, it looked rather good and plenty. [NOTE: please don't take me wrong; I am speaking within the category of cheapo Chinese buffet places].

As I got the flier, I can even tell you how much it costs.

Lunch: noon-5:00, £6.99 (Mon-Sat), choice of over 50 dishes
Dinner: 5:00-23:00, £12.99, choice of over 70 dishes
Sunday buffet: noon-22:00, £8.99, choice of over 70 dishes

There is a significant reduction for children. Under 4 eat free, between 4 and 11 £2.99, between 12 and 16, £4.99. Students with student ID also get better deal: lunch & Sunday buffet for £6 and dinner for £10.

I have an impression that the price has increased by £1 (correct me if I am wrong), but if the quality measures up, people won't complain.

Saturday, 15 November 2008

German Sausages in German Market

Birmingham Christmas Market started this Tursday. It will continue until 24 December. If you are not Brummie and have never seen it, it is worth visiting. Visit Birmingham now!

Anyway, I went to check this year's German sausage.

Sausages cooking...

A German sausage with a piece of bread costs £2.50 as last year. In fact, I don't think the price has ever increased during my years in Birmingham (almost 5 years).

You pay at the counter telling them if you want red or white sausage. They will give you a token in exchange. You should leave it on the counter, and vendors will give you the sausage taking away the token. You put ketchap and mustard as much as you want.

I had an impression that the sausages are now longer, but at least the red one I ate was not as nice as in past years, even though it was still delicious. But I am not at all sure. Did anyone have the same feeling as mine?

Mr Shah is back!?

Passing Fletcher's Walk today, I noticed the place that used to be Casa Lamisa was accepting Christmas booking. Getting closer to see what kind of restaurant is opening, I was surprised to read its name.


It is Shah's! Well, the name might not say so much, but I am pretty sure this logo belongs to that Shah's "Indian" restaurant used to be in Station Street, in the premises now occupied by the Chinese restaurant BBQ Village.

Is Mr. Shah returning from his retirement? Well, we will find out in December.

Friday, 14 November 2008

The Victoria

Today a friend of mine took me to the opening of the pub Victoria, next to the Alexandra Theatre.

It is a old pub in a old building, but this guy, Alan, I think was his name, refurbished and reopened.

The decor is a mixture of old and new: the floor is covered with patterned carpet but the wall is decorated with the modern painting like these.

The theme is "monsters descended onto the earth" or something like that. It is not my favourite type of painting, but definitely unique as pub wall painting.

Ecclectic is the decor, so is the clientel. Tonight there were a bunch of elderly people and and a bunch of twenty-something people, and not so many representing the generation inbetween.

There is a small stage/theatre on the first floor, and tonight there was a rock band playing. Next week, the friend is putting her play there and I am looking forward to it. Will put some information here as well.

Saturday, 8 November 2008

New Entry: Edmunds

I have wanted to visit Edmund for some time, and finally I made it for lunch although I could not secure a dining companion.


Edmunds Brindley Place

Mr. Waters was in the restaurant and at one point he came out to speak with one of regular patrons.

The meal was very enjoyable and almost cheap, but the food was a bit of hit and miss and the quality of ingredients was somehow suffering while the quantity was plenty. I did not want amuse-bouche or petit fours, but I wanted better quality meat for the main instead. I need to see their dinner service to understand really what they can do.

Anyway, it is a great restaurant and I can recommend it to everyone.

Speaking about Andy Waters, I noticed Cielo has increased the price of lunch and pre-theatre pre-fix menu by £1.


Now two course is £12.95 and 3 course is £15.95. With this increase, I hope they can still serving the good food as before.

Sunday, 2 November 2008

New entry: Red 'N Hot

As I wrote in the last post, Red 'N Hot in Hurst Street has removed its signage. I went there to see what was going on. Didn't actually bother to ask, but it should be part of the refurbishment and rebranding project.

Read my review here: Red 'n Hot

Now the interior decor is much improved and the English translation of the menu has been totally rewritten. Positive move!