The weekend saw the Central heats of the British Street Food Awards take place at Spotlight – home to Digbeth Dining Club – across Friday and Saturday.
The British Street Food Awards comprises five regional heats with the winners heading to a live, national cook-off, judge by members of the public as well as top chefs. This year sees an added bonus in that the British winners will represent the country in Berlin at the European Street Food Awards.
The Central heat line-up consisted of 17 vendors, some who are ‘regulars’ on the Birmingham street food scene and some who were in the city just to take part in this regional heat.
I went along on Saturday with a few friends and loved how eclectic the mix of cuisines was.
I’ve had food from Baked in Brick, The English Indian, The Bournville Waffle Co, Low ‘n’ Slow and Homeboys at other street food events in the city so wanted to try a few different vendors this time.I started with Deep Fried Mac ‘n’ Cheese balls from Mac Daddies – a Manchester-based food truck specialising in that warm, gooey, carb-loaded, comfort food that is mac ‘n’ cheese.These were by far the best mac ‘n’ cheese balls I’ve ever eaten. So cheesy, the pasta was cooked perfectly, the panko bread crumbs were golden and crunchy and the spicy sweet pepper and sage dipping sauce was delicious.
All 3 of my friends had dishes from here too – various options with different toppings – and we were all so impressed.
The Mac Daddies guys said they’d had a chat with the Digbeth Dining Club organisers as they’d love to come back to Brum and feature there which would be great as their food was incredible.
Next up, I wanted to eat my way through the entire menu from The Big Greek Bus – a Greek ‘bustaurant’ usually found on Folkestone Harbour.I resisted though and just went for a portion of grilled halloumi. The halloumi was perfectly grilled, melted enough to be oozing and stringy, and seasoned so well with olive oil and herbs. My friends also tried the gyros and said it was great.To finish the afternoon, I tried some baked pierogi from Old Granary Pierogi – a Polish family-run business based in Herefordshire.I love pierogi but hadn’t tried baked ones before. The pastry was very similar to that of a Cornish pasty and whilst it was great (I’m a big pastry fan anyway), I think I do still prefer traditional boiled dough ones. As filling options, I tried a bbq chicken one and a Polish stroganoff one – the chicken was a little dry but went well with the yogurt dipping sauce and the stroganoff was excellent; really hearty and packed full of flavour.I would have loved to try some other vendors too but I’d started the day with a full English breakfast whilst watching the rugby and it was also a really hot day which always zaps my appetite!
Everyone attending the heats was given a vote token and I gave mine to Low ‘n’ Slow. Even though I didn’t have any of their dishes on Saturday, I’ve eaten their food a few times and it’s always amazing. They do such a great job, making truly perfect slow-cooked meat and the dish of pig cheek tacos that my friend had at the Central heat looked and smelled so good that they still get my vote.The results were revealed on Saturday evening and Low ‘n’ Slow and Homeboys were declared tied-winners by the judging panel whilst The English Indian won the public vote. I love all three of these so really pleased they get to show their skills at the national cook-off in September.Did you attend the Central heats? What were your favourite dishes?