Is it just me or is it getting harder and harder to make different, nutritious but interesting meals? There are only so many curries and chilli-con-carnes I can cook, and Mr Fletche can’t keep pounding out 30 variations of Moroccan Chicken. And lunch. I’m now 75% cheese and cracker. It’s like the bit between Christmas and New Year when you’re living on leftover buffet food. Lockdown food is boring.
So in a bid to add some variety into our diet, we’ve taken to ordering in where we can. And in particular, supporting some of our favourite Birmingham independents. Now we live out in Coleshill we’re out of delivery range for some, so we’re extra appreciative of those that schlep all the way out to our little corner of North Warwickshire. So here are a few of the lockdown food options we’ve enjoyed over the past 3 months.
Note to future readers: this blog post was written whilst we were in a lockdown situation thanks to the global pandemic COVID-19. As of July 4th, some pubs and restaurants are opening where it is safe for them to do so adhering to current social distancing guidelines. I’m gonna stick to takeaway and collections though for a while.
Want to read more about food consumed whilst not in lockdown? Here are some of my favourite travel food experiences!
This JQ wine bar was one of the first to adapt to a new normal, offering deliveries to Birmingham and its surrounding areas. Arch 13 At Home brought meat, cheese and wine to our doorsteps, and even offered a Virtual Tasting Experience. And then they adapted their premises to offer local produce and take-away lunchtime offerings, as well as re-opening their ace bottle shop. As it stands, Arch 13 will be back open from 7th July, with limited numbers by reservation only. Call to book a table on 0121 794 6636. Arch 13, 220 Livery Street, Birmingham B3 1EU.
Mr Fletche and I had enjoyed a Baked in Brick sunday roast in those Pre-COVID days when we could stroll around Digbeth and catch a movie at the Mockingbird. So for Easter Sunday we decided to replicate that day of freedom with a Baked In Brick Home Delivery. Delivered ready to re-heat (and with clear instructions) it was another winner winner (roast beef) dinner from Lee and the team. There’s still an online offering of Sunday roasts and more, and they are regularly popping up at the Digbeth Dining Club Click & Collect (more on that later). There’s no news on the restaurant re-opening just yet, but local and national delivery can be ordered via Baked in Brick Delivery
If any food business was particularly hard hit in the early days of COVID-19, it was Chinese restaurants and takeaways. Amid undeserved hostility, many chose to shut their doors even when takeaway businesses were still permitted. Chung Ying persevered though, and aimed to deliver as far and wide as possible (15 mile radius), offsetting costly delivery with a 25% discount off their food. It made Mr Fletche’s lockdown birthday a little bit special. And the Wrottesley Street location is adapting with a new outside covered dining area for its 10th July re-opening. Bookings only by email via email@example.com from 4th July.
And if you want to read a little more about how Birmingham’s Chinese businesses are adapting, there’s a great BBC article here, interviewing James Wong himself. Chung Ying, 16-18 Wrottesley Street, Birmingham China Town, B5 4RT.
If you’re going to be locked down because of a global pandemic, it’s important to have a decent beer stash in reserve. We visited Purecraft’s pop-up bottle shop on the Friday prior to lockdown but when that haul ran out we ordered direct from the Purity Brewing online store. There’s no news at the moment as to when the Bar & Kitchen are planning to re-open.
One can only cook so much banana bread before one goes, well, bananas. So it was time to turn to the professionals. Lucy (make sure you follow her on Instagram by the way) offers quirky themed postal boxes (like a recent “Smash Hits” themed box, and an upcoming Harajuku Tokyo Surprise Box) but even her standard Brownie and Blondie offering is lush. And she is the inventor of the Original Brownie Corn Dog. Currently nursing a broken foot, Lucy is still continuing making her way around the kitchen and coming up with new wacky ideas. You can order online via Lil’s Parlour.
Remember when we all got excited about VE Day being moved to a Friday? Yes, a Bank Holiday Friday. And then every day was like a Bank Holiday for a while cos I was on furlough. We had a socially distanced street party (as in, just me and Mr Fletche) and awaited a special delivery from Indian Streatery. Their bundles come ready to be reheated and with clear cooking instructions. We ordered two of each curry, meaning that we could enjoy round 2 the following week. Indian Streatery have announced that they will be opening up both their city centre locations on the 4th July. Bookings can be made at here. The Indian Streatery, 21a Bennetts Hill, Birmingham B2 5QP
More brownie delights, this time from a little further afield in Bewdley. These were recommended by Laura from Bite Your Brum, and Emma’s brownies did not disappoint. Beautifully packaged, these boxes can be delivered nationally and is a perfect gift for that special someone with a sweet tooth. Or just for you. Brownie flavours included Mint Aero, Bueno Cappucino, Nutella and Salted Caramel Popcorn. And they are currently offering Miniature Heroes themed flavours. Go on, treat yourself. https://www.paisleyflourcatering.co.uk/paisley-brownies/
Ok, technically this one’s not a delivery but when our favourite purveyors of street food opened up their doors for click and collect we couldn’t resist making the journey. Temporarily housed in the Jewellery Quarter, half a dozen traders from their enormous rosta offer up dishes from their repertoire for pre-order. New traders and menus are announced each Monday via social media.
There are multiple hour-long collection spots from Thursday-Sunday, and I can happily confirm that everything is dealt with in a socially distanced way. Pick your arrival time carefully, but even if there’s a queue everything moves pretty swiftly. The only challenge is not tearing all the bags open in a ravenous frenzy on the way home. So far, over two visits, we’ve ordered from Kebab Cartel, Baked in Brick (yes, them again), Buddha Belly, Only Jerkin and Urban Cheesecake. Street food from your sofa. DDC Click and Collect, 60 Hampton Street, Hockley B19 3LU.
I’ve banged on about supporting local business on more than one occasion, but now it seems more important than ever. Bars and restaurants have having to adjust their offering, with takeaways, collections and deliveries all becoming the new normal – or temporarily at least.
Under lockdown rules we’ve tried to avoid collection and choose those businesses that offer contactless delivery. Every unnecessary journey can still be deemed to be a risk at present. Only when the lockdown was eased slightly did we venture out to click and collect from Digbeth Dining Club.
It’s a worrying time for local businesses, particularly those in the hospitality industry. After all, even when lockdown is eased, businesses will still need to show that they can exhibit social distancing practices. Which may mean reductions in covers at a restaurant, no more bar service, or having to streamline staff numbers. Some won’t come through this. But those that do will need our support more than ever in the future.