My First Time Digbeth Dining

Living in a big city whilst at university means there is a whole host of fun activities and places to visit. Whilst this is incredible, it can often be overwhelming. There are so many places to go that it can become difficult to decide which one to try. So, when a friend won some food vouchers for Digbeth Dining Club through a Facebook Competition, it’s safe to say I was excited.

Digbeth is a lot easier to get to than I had expected, only a short walk from the train station and not too far if you chose to get an Uber instead. When we got there we queued for a short amount of time in order to pay our £1 entry, but this didn’t take long and we were quickly inside.

Sign to the restaurant on the right with fairy lights hung in zig zags illuminating the street.
Outside Digbeth Dining Club

Since it was a Saturday it was understandably very busy. Digbeth Dining Club is rather well known for being popular, but I didn’t expect it to be quite as busy as it was. After a rather long time waiting at a bar to collect our vouchers (and not getting any closer) we managed to get the attention of a member of staff who was very helpful and found our vouchers for us. It felt very much like being in a packed club, but more casual. You still had to wiggle between tightly packed individuals whilst loud music blasted, but everyone was dressed in smart casual and eating from cardboard dishes.

Once we had our vouchers we could start pushing our way through the crowd in the bar out into the main food area. I don’t know how to effectively describe the layout of Digbeth Dining Club other than picturing a market crossed with a food festival. It feels very much like a warehouse that has been upcycled into a hip street food market. There are several stalls stood next to each other in rows, and as a testament to the quality of the food, each line was rather substantial. However, the service was remarkably quick for just how busy it was and we managed to get our food quickly.

Pictures of some of the food. Chips with light brown curry sauce and shredded green coriander, next to golden battered halloumi with stripes of red sweet chilli sauce. Bright green mushy peas.
Food from ‘The English Indian’ and ‘Low N Slow’

Three of us decided to get food from a trader called ‘The English Indian’. It was incredible. It was definitely the best dish that I’ve eaten in a very long time. They offered a gorgeous crossover between fish and chip style dishes and curry. We went for their battered halloumi and chips, and it did not disappoint. Served alongside mushy peas and a curry sauce topping – it was not only delicious, but gluten free too. The burger in the top left of the photo was from ‘Low N Slow’, and was apparently very nice!

Finding somewhere to sit was challenging due to how busy it was, so we settled for finding some standing room. After we ate our meal it was time to wander around again to get some drinks and hopefully grab a table as someone was leaving. It took a while to get drinks, particularly since the bar we decided on offered fancy cocktails that I can only imagine take a decade to make.

In the end we managed to find a table in Café Colette. I definitely did not feel ‘hip’ enough to be sat anywhere near this bar but it had a really lovely and relaxed vibe despite the club like music and crowded bar.

Picture of the bar, blue and orange diagonal patterned background with blue drapes above from the ceiling. Lots of people queuing, and fake plants hanging from the ceiling.
Inside Café Colette

I have to say, although it was really busy and rather loud – it was really nicely decorated. Filled with vibrant colours and fake plants, it had a fun tropical feel and was definitely one of the most uniquely decorated rooms. Most of the rooms felt quite similar and didn’t particularly stand out as anything special, whereas this room not only looked unique but offered something different.

The cocktail list in this bar was quite extensive. They offered an array of alternative cocktails filled with ingredients that I hadn’t heard of or didn’t particular like (nearly everything contained tonic). As a result, I didn’t buy one myself. However, my friend did opt for a cocktail and it looked absolutely stunning. It was presented really nicely and apparently lived up to the expectation. We couldn’t decipher what the garnish was even through a taste test – so any insight into that would be appreciated.

Orange cocktail in a short glass, purple leaves and a scrape of lemon peel for garnish.
Cocktail from Café Colette

There were plenty of stalls for desserts too which were all exceptionally popular. Thanks to their popularity, one of the stalls, ‘Urban Cheesecake’, even seemed to be running out of portions as we were leaving! This doesn’t surprise me. They were offering an array of toppings that allowed you to customise your pudding and they all looked incredible. Sadly I didn’t manage to get a great photo!

If anyone is ever in the area, and needs something a bit different to do for the evening, I would wholeheartedly recommend a visit here. They’re open Thursday-Sunday and vary which food stalls participate. I’m already planning my next visit to be on a Thursday so that I can test out their exclusively meat free version!

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