Last August Bank Holiday, myself and three guests made a bee-line for the Digbeth Dining Club take-over of Digbeth Arena.
Digbeth Dining Club started out life in 2012 as a street food event which was designed to pull together some of the best street food vendors in the region. It has since risen from strength to strength and is now a multi award winning weekly carnival of food, that has placed Birmingham firmly on the alternative food map and even draws in food stalls from other parts of the UK.
Much of the street food is locally sourced and cooked fresh in front of diners using ingenious cooking techniques to maximise both the flavour and the theatre.
Traditionally, the food event takes place every Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday evening under the brick arches which surround Spotlight Bar, with a DJ and inside seating for diners to enjoy and unwind after a hard week. Food stalls vary from week to week with different vendors on rotation. However, lockdown due to Coronavirus has severely limited the regular street food events in their usual location.
A Click & Collect initially tested the water in The Jewellery Quarter to enable food vendors to begin trading taking into consideration the social distancing measures. This then made way for some large purely outdoor events in various locations around the West Midlands – weather permitting of course!
I am sure there are easier locations to transport the DDC brand too these days, considering the absolute mess of Coronavirus restrictions, so I emplore the good people of Birmingham to keep on supporting these events..
On this occasion, we attended the Digbeth Arena take-over with no preconceptions.
There was a small queue upon our arrival, this filtered through quickly and we found a seat underneath a huge brick arch.
Firstly I should say that the weather this Bank Holiday weekend was not kind to the UK, nor were the preceding weeks which is just typical of British summertime. Regardless, the rain was only light and despite a drop in temperature, the turn out was surprisingly ok – only the bravest DDC munch-heads were in attendance that day.
Digbeth Arena is a HUGE space to fill up, but in light of social distancing, this made it a perfect venue to eat and drink without worrying about getting too close to your neighbour.
Of the food vendors there that day, our table enjoyed food & drink from old favourites Dig Brew Co, Only Jerkin’, Buddha Belly and Urban Cheesecake. There is nothing I can say here that hasn’t already been raved about concerning these DDC stalwarts, needless to say our trays were scraped clean and my own Buddha Belly had grown a few inches by the time we departed.
Toilet facilities were more than ample, organisation, security and staff, polite but right. And overall diners seemed to be quite happy despite the weather.
Music was provided by a funky brass band and old pal Dean Sunshine Smith on the turntables. A very cool Balearic disco soundtrack and I found myself shazamming a few beats.
All credit to the guys behind Digbeth Dining Club for battling to keep their now super sized brand in the heart of Birmingham’s industrial/cultural borough of Digbeth. I am sure there are easier locations to transport the DDC brand too these days, considering the absolute mess of Coronavirus restrictions, so I emplore the good people of Birmingham to keep on supporting these events and the vendors because without Digbeth Dining Club, a huge void will be nigh on impossible to fill – it is the backbone of the city’s independent renaissance. Oh.. and the mega sized graffiti art backdrop of Goldie was just something else.
Words by Nick Byng for Grapevine Birmingham.