Digbeth Dining Club feeds and entertains hundreds of people every Friday night with a range of delicious street food. Once a month they close off the end of Lower Trinity Street in Digbeth and bring in a few more providers. I’ve been to a Burger Battle at the same venue in the past and really enjoyed it and relished the chance to have another go,
The area is slightly off-putting when you check out Google. This is in a fairly industrial part of the City with streets of factory units all around. There is graffiti everywhere and Lower Trinity Street has a string of work units set into the railway arches. Another way of looking at it would be that this is a perfect venue – you can be noisy without disturbing anyone and the point about street food is that it is for the streets. This is close to the Custard Factory and so this isn’t just ordinary graffiti tags either – it’s worth looking at in its own right while you consume. And there is a car park right next to the venue,
Admission is £1.50 at the gate but by this point you can see the food stalls and the crowd and it’s a short distance to wade in. Effectively this is that round of Masterchef where the contestants prepare dishes to entice the Royal Navy/farmers/marathon runners to choose their dish in preference to their rivals.
We started with Becky’s Bhajis and shared a Mighty Swoosh. This was a tray of two onion Bhajis, 2 Mumbai butties, 2 mirchi served with a couple of dips and some chilli chutney. Mirchi are deep fried battered chillis and the butties are described as spicy deep fried sandwiches. They contained a thick spiced paste which was probably based on potatoes and peas. The Bhajis were sensational. Big slices of seasoned sweet onion deep fried, hot and crispy. A good start.
The queue for the Caribbean food was enormous – probably the most popular stall on the night. They’d got jerk chicken as the main attraction.
We tried a few different things. The hot dog stand was serving some fully loaded, extremely messy food which was pronounced delicious.
My next try was Indian Fish and Chips. They offered fish chips and mushy peas Indian-style. This was slightly disappointingly – under seasoned and under spiced. The chilli scented mushy peas were good and the fish was fresh tasting and the batter was crispy. It all could have done with a little extra oomph.
Burgers were of course popular and there is something nice about a juicy burger with an unfeasibly large stack of juicy ingredients barely able to fit between the roll and tightly bound together with the wrapping.
Our final visit was to Habaneros for a burrito. I tried some of the chicken tinga and the Chilli beef brisket. Both were good with a good balance of spice and fresh ingredients.
We needed something to wash it all down with and so we headed up to the Sol stall which was selling Lawless on draft and bottles of Sol and cider – all from a Mexican themed shack.
We arrived around 8pm on what was still a sunny evening and the event was very busy. The ambience is very relaxed and the crowd is a real age and ethnic mix. There are families having a fun evening out, execs winding down after work, some trendy young things and some folks clearly on predrinks for their night out, It is trouble-free and all backed by the sounds from the DJ indoors who slowly turns up the pace and the volume as the night approaches. As you’d expect the night brings it to life. A few people drift away and the lights from the stalls, the smells and the smoke evoke street food from anywhere in the world.
Digbeth Diner is a great place to meet people, have a drink, have a chat and some good, freshly prepared food. It’s nice to see it all done in a well-run event.