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Breakfast service axed for city homeless

For the first time in its 30-year history, a Birmingham charity has been forced to axe breakfast for the homeless. Like most charities, SIFA Fireside has been hit by a double whammy of financial cuts and rising costs. It simply cannot afford to provide the first meal and hot drink …

New Birmingham restaurant pop-up for January 2014

Another year, another pop-up, another chance to judge how/if Birmingham’s top-level cooking is filtering through the gastro-firmament and raising standards. Epi Restaurants, a chef partnership between Nathan Eades and Grant Hill, is planning a series of pop-ups at the Kitchen Garden Café in Kings Heath in January. Three consecutive Monday night …

Chinese tourists like TLC – and respect

Treat Chinese travellers with respect and you will be rewarded, according to destination marketer Yi Ta Chng. The Chinese like VIP entrances and personal recognition if they have visited a place before, Chng told the World Food Travel Summit in Gothenburg, Sweden (September 23). Chng said Chinese overseas visitors are curious …

In Berlin, by the wall… a tribute to Lou Reed

I bought Lou Reed’s “Berlin” in a record shop in Avignon, France, in August 1984. It was in glorious vinyl. Gatefold sleeve. Artwork, lyrics,  musicians’ credits, all that crazy stuff you used to be able to read without the magnifying  icon on your laptop “picture edit” function. I was on …

City of Culture: poetic justice for Hull

Two months after I moved to Hull, Philip Larkin died. Larkin, librarian of the university I had just joined, was laid to rest in the local municipal cemetery The poet was many things to many people, but to me he was a consolation. Hull, you see, was the only university …

From Birmingham to Camp Bastion: raise cash for war heroes

(This post has nothing to do with food – because some things, but not many, are more important than that. And no, that’s not me in the pic.) Super-fit Birmingham fundraisers helped British war heroes by running and cycling 3,500 miles – in 36 hours. The mega charity marathon replicated …

Orgy of mastication at the Rude Food Fiesta in Birmingham

Hand-painted “lady” biscuits, “glory hole” pork pies, a “masterbaker” in residence and bunting made of knickers and bras… It sounds like the sort of thing you could get your teeth into, doesn’t it? Ooh, err, missus. In fact, it is just the sort of food festival Birmingham has been crying …