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24 Things Everyone Must Eat In Birmingham

Emphasis on the word "must."

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1. 10/10/10 at Purnell's

Purnell's / Via purnellsrestaurant.com

Every dish at this Michelin-starred playground of food is astounding, but the stand out might just be the 10/10/10 dessert, so named in homage to Glynn Purnell's winning entry on the Great British Menu which scored a clean sweep of top scores.

This is, essentially, the nation's greatest creme brulee, served in meticulously hollowed out egg shells. Sensational.

2. Bacon cheeseburger at the Original Patty Men

@OriginalPattyM / Via Twitter: @OriginalPattyM

Winners of the Best Street Food Burger at the most recent British Street Food Awards, this is an immaculate parcel of beef-all-up-in-your-teeth. These guys also serve Big Vern's Krispy Ring, a burger for which the bun is a Krispy Kreme donut.

It's good, genuinely, but the standard bacon'n'cheese is world-endingly wonderful.

(Go inside Brum's best burger, here).

3. Crispy arancini balls at Gas Street Social

Jack Spicer Adams / Via jackspiceradams.com

Gas Street Social's sharing plates are where it's at and the arancini balls are heavenly.

They come served with a garlicky sort of mayo, but immediately ignore that because the wild mushroom and truffle-infused rice balls pack easily enough delicate flavour and deserve better than to be dunked. Sublime.

4. Aukstazupa at Two Cats Roaming

Jack Spicer Adams / Via jackspiceradams.com

Latvian supper club Two Cats Roaming Kitchen are cooking some of the most exciting food in the entire city and will rightfully take up a new permanent home in the Jewellery Quarter in the coming months.

Keep an eye out for the Aukstazupa – it's a beetroot and cultured buttermilk gazpacho with cucumber, radish, dill, egg and parsley.

5. Chicken wings at The Plough

The Plough / Via Facebook: plough.harborne

Every Sunday the streets of Birmingham are deserted, 28 Days Later-esque, as we're all piled into the Plough's beer garden feasting on wings.

Their Lickin Chicken pops up at 6pm and serves a kilo of authentic Buffalo wings for just £10. You can even get The Plough's food delivered by Deliveroo.

6. Lamb chops in garlic and peppercorn at Sabai Sabai

Sabai Sabai / Via sabaisabai-restaurant.co.uk

You can almost taste them, right? Well due to various restrictive rules of science you can't actually taste them unless you get to either Sabai Sabai's Harborne outpost or their original and mega charming Moseley branch.

This is the best Thai dining experience you'll have in the city, no question.

8. Asado de tira at Fiesta Del Asado

Fiesta De Asado / Via Facebook: Fiesta-Del-Asado

You know that £21.49 in exact change that's burning a hole in your pocket? May we recommend this 16oz 4 bone cross cut beef rib; cooked on the bone for a full-on thwack of beefy flavour? Thought so.

9. Creepy cakes from the Conjuror's Kitchen

conjurerskitchen.com / Via conjurerskitchen.com

This one made you stop, right? Brum's creepiest bakers have a half worrying/half wonderful penchant for creating cakes that will seriously unnerve you. You can buy them online or look out for events at which they regularly serve their unsettling creations.

Britain's oldest cinema, The Electric, often work closely with Conjuror's to great effect. Check out this cake CK did in nod to TV series Hannibal.

10. Beef Mince Croquettes at The Church

Jack Spicer Adams / Via jackspiceradams.com

Resident foodsmiths The Soul Food Project are responsible for inventive yet homely bowls of goodness and the jalapeño ‘n’ nutmeg spiced beef mince mixed with creamy mashed potato, is our current go-to. Cocktails also superb.

11. Mixed kebab at Antep

Antep / Via Facebook: AntepTurkish

Birmingham has long disappointed when it comes to Turkish food, but the new(ish)ly opened Antep is the antidote.

Proper ocakbasi grill means the meats arrive smoky and the fat is crispy and terribly delicious. Huzzah!

12. Gnocchi Gorgonzola at Fumo

Fumo / Via Facebook: SanCarloFumo

Tapas-sized dishes but stunningly fresh Italian food, pick of options is the Gnocchi Gorgonzola which is a must for all cheeseheads. Cocktails also sensational, so make a night of it.

13. Elaichi Gosht at Lasan

Lasan / Via lasan.co.uk

Naturally reared Hereford beef from Stokemarsh Farm, blade braised overnight, marinated sirloin, bone marrow pakora and tandoori sweetbread served with black cardamon scented cashew nut gravy, Lasan’s signature was their winning main course from the final on Gordon Ramsay’s F Word.

14. Chilli beef brisket and bacon by Andy Low 'N' Slow

Low 'N' Slow / Via Facebook: LowNSlowStreetFood

Not only one of the most talented street food stars of Brum but also one of the hardest working, this guy – with the help of his superstar partner, Donna – is going places. Hopefully those places are, you know, in Birmingham still.

15. Steak Tartare at Adam's

Adam's / Via Facebook: 585104701513263

Another of Brum's beloved Michelin star restaurants, every course is unsurprisingly stunning but their pre-meal snacks and amuse bouches are legendary.

This hand cut steak with softened shallots, capers, gherkins, chive, Tabasco, tomato and Worcestershire sauce, served with mini egg yolks, is heaven on a spoon. Not so much for vegetarians, mind you.

16. Bar snacks at Pure Bar & Kitchen

Pure Bar & Kitchen / Via purebarandkitchen.com

Few people know it but in Brum there's a bitter battle being fought for the title of city's best Scotch egg, and Pure Bar & Kitchen might just have all others bested.

Purveyors of Purity beers – the West Midlands' best brewery – they put as much effort into their bar snacks as they do their main courses and their ales. The curry sausage roll with nose-hurting volumes of English mustard is also worthy of cap doffage.

17. Chocolate Covered Twinkies from Bake

Bake / Via Facebook: BakeBirmingham

Any Brum farmers market worth its salt will feature Bake, but you're not guaranteed their stupendous Chocolate Twinkies, because you never know what they're going to bring.

The good news is everything is ace, but if they come with their chocolate Twinkies or, better, their red velvet chocolate Twinkies, buy two dozen.

18. La Boca Del Diablo Pip's Hot Sauce

Pete Sloan Photography / Via petesloanphotography.com

Pip used to make her hot sauce just for herself. Having made La Boca (the first of her five sauces and our fave), for fun, she took it with her to The Plough in Harborne to use on her pizza.

The manager spotted her, tasted it and placed an order for 120 bottles. The rest is history. Smoky, garlicky bottled history. Get some.

19. Cinnamon and raisin buns from Loaf

Loaf / Via Twitter: @loafonline

Head baker at Loaf is called Tom Baker, which would be the best thing about the place if it wasn't all the incredible things he makes.

Our winner? Step forward these doughy swirls of pure, pure Elysium.

20. Pizza from Peel & Stone

Jack Spicer Adams / Via jackspiceradams.com

Brum is lacking in excellent pizzerias, but the pop-up pizzaheads at Peel & Stone are worth tracking down for their excellent cheesy wares.

They scored 5 out of 5 in ShortList Magazine's search for the UK's best pizza. Follow them on Twitter to find out where they'll be next.

21. Belly pork at the Loft Lounge

LOFT / Via Facebook: loft.birmingham

Ludicrously well priced tapas means you can bag four dishes for £10 on a Tuesday at this ace little place in the Gay Quarter.

Top-seller is the belly pork and if the weather's nice, sneak into their little known but completely brilliant sun-trap beer garden.

22. Salami sandwich at the 8 Foot Grocer

8 Foot Grocer / Via the8footgrocer.com

So called because this incredi-deli is just 8ft wide, their finest sandwich is a stunning Wenlock edge farm salami, slow roasted fennel, cream cheese with mixed baby salad leaves on Peel and Stone multigrain bread. It's probably the best sanger in Brum.

23. Karrara Gosht at Imlees

Karin O’Sullivan / Via Karin O’Sullivan

The daddy of all curries, served by the kilogram it's a joy to share. The dish includes diced spring lamb served on the bone which means the flavour is insanely rich.

It takes them 45 minutes to cook it, so order the moment you’re through the door.

24. Chocolate Sphere at Simpsons

simpsonsrestaurant.co.uk / Via Facebook: 276960129010102

The sphere is made by using two circular chocolate shells, one lined with passion fruit jam with three cubes of pineapple jelly placed inside and topped with coconut parfait. The other half of the shell is placed on top and garnished with gold leaf. It is served at the table with the waiter pouring hot passion fruit sauce on top, so it melts away and reveals what's inside. The sommelier recommends eating it with their Gewurtztraminer 2007. Don't argue.

Tom Cullen is editor of I CHOOSE Birmingham, a free weekly guide to the best things to do (and eat) in Brum, emailed direct to your inbox. Subscribe free here.

The Plough serves chicken wings on a Sunday. A previous version of this post said wings were served on a Saturday.

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