Part two of my Sunday pop-up tour, took me to the exquisite surroundings of Emma-Louise Yufera’s ‘El Borracho de Oro, Tapas and Wine Bar’ in Edgbaston.
The Christmasy decor was warm and welcoming, with low lighting and a busy throng of diners all chattering along, as their meals were served, and glasses topped up.
As I’m already a huge fan of what Emma achieves with El Borracho, it was going to be interesting to see how Andy’s Low ‘N’ Slow street food pop-up was going to work – I didn’t realise he was taking over the whole kitchen, so I stepped inside to take a closer look.
Andy Stubbs and his team are behind one of Birmingham’s leading street food businesses, his self taught style of slow cooked meats has bagged him an award, regional winner in the British Street Food Awards 2017 – no mean feat when you consider the level of quality from Digbeth Dining Club.
As the pigs in blankets sizzled in the sticky pan, we chatted about what inspired Andy to get into street food. I listened, and watched intently, as Andy sauced up one of the plates of moorish meat magnificence. It seem we have much in common with regards to the music we enjoy. Andy is a fellow DJ, and an enthusiast of hip-hop, we discussed the Medicine Bar days and we were at the same gigs, such as Jeru The Damaja, which was brought to Brum by one of my old pals Roc 1 and Chris Read for their Substance hip hop night, ah.. those were the days.
Oak Smoked Middle White Pork Belly
On to the food. My plate was prepared in front of me, a rare treat, and I was surprised to learn that Andy buys his meat from Huntsham Farm near Symonds Yat, which is where I lived for many years after leaving Harborne. I know the quality of the farm as they also supply The Saracens Head Inn in Symonds Yat East, my old local and one which I still visit regularly.
I carefully carried my roast-ladden plate to a large wooden table and sat there wondering where to start first.
Andy had prepared oak smoked middle white pork belly from Huntsham Farm, oak smoked free range turkey from Aubrey Allen, pigs in blankets, pig cheek bon bon, roast cornish mid potatoes, wood fired root veg, charred sweet heart cabbage, cauliflower cheese and an accompaniment of chicken jus.
The deliciously crunchy roast veg, pigs in blankets and Turkey made this feel like an early Christmas dinner, however, it was something far more artistic in reality.
This really was an amazing assembly of meats, which were evidently cooked with passion and precision. Too much and they would be burned, too little and you just wouldn’t have had that crispy crunchy texture.
I had already been completely spoilt by Eat Vietnam’s culinary creation a few hours before. This Huntsman farm pork belly.. was.. the softest, most delicately succulent pork you could imagine, it literally melted in my mouth, a sweet meatiness with crispy crunchy outer, salty but not too much – just bloody awesome!
The oak smoked flavours of the free range turkey just added to the butteriness of the pork belly..
The pigs in blankets tasted as great as they looked, crisp outer, soft pork inner and up there with the best. The oak smoked flavours of the free range turkey just added to the butteriness of the pork belly, the chicken jus wasn’t needed in any great amount, and the combination of meats melted into one foodgasm in my mouth – ok I’m getting carried away here, but you get the message.
If the Medieval de Birmingham family could be transported forward in time by five hundred years, and had been sat at the same table, eating the same feast of meat, I don’t think they’d want to trundle back to 16th century banquets of Forest of Arden, they’d want Andy Stubbs and his team to prepare every single meal for the rest of their Noble lives, morning noon and night!
As with Eat Vietnam pop-up, this feels so much more than street food, it is more like some nomadic michelin quality cult of food, it’s exciting, it’s incredibly pleasing and West Midlanders should be proud to have these passionate creators call Brum home, for now at least! Keep an eye out for this guy’s food, you will NOT be disappointed. Credit where it’s due also to Emma for bringing these guys into an already established restaurant 10/10 all round.
Review by Nick Byng for Grapevine Birmingham
Images property of Grapevine Birmingham ©