Food, glorious food.

From international cuisine to street food, Birmingham’s food and drink scene is as diverse as the city itself. Did you know that Birmingham has more Michelin-starred restaurants than any other city outside of London? Whatever your budget or taste, you’ll be sure to find a place that suits your needs. To find out more about what Brum has to offer, Views@BCU spoke to Ahmed Ahmed – editor of food and drink guide Dine Birmingham.

BCU: Hi Ahmed, so what is Dine Birmingham? 

AA: Dine Birmingham is a food and drink guide for Birmingham and the West Midlands. I set it up back in 2011, when I was a student and entering the B-Hive Creative competition. No-one seemed to be shouting about the city’s growing food and drink scene, so I built it out and then branched into organising Birmingham Independent Food Fair as well.

BCU: What do you think of Birmingham’s food and drink scene?

AA: It’s great and it’s getting better. When I first came here as a student I actually didn’t realise this because it’s very easy to get stuck in the Nandos-Starbucks loop! But I soon realised there is a wealth of independent restaurants, cafes and bars. At first it was hard to find them, but now they really are everywhere.

BCU: Do you think Birmingham gets unfairly snubbed by those in cities such as London? 

AA: There’s definitely a perception lag. By this I mean that even though we have four Michelin stars (more than any English city outside London) and are getting famous for street food as well, a lot of people still have this idea that Birmingham is rubbish for food. Recently a TV and newspaper critic in London, Giles Coren, said exactly that. This was reported by the BBC and people in Birmingham fought back. I wrote this article in The Guardian to try and set the record straight!

BCU: What can Birmingham City University students have to look forward to in the future?

AA: There’s a whole calendar of food events this year, from the gin festival to the chilli festival. There’s also a load of new restaurants and bars opening – from Gas Street Social to Marmalade and more.

BCU: Can you still indulge and enjoy the food and drink scene on a student budget?

AA: Yes of course you can! Birmingham is quite a low-cost city and so even fine dining isn’t too extortionate. But for bargains you can head to independent restaurants like Bodega or Le Truc and spend as much or even less than you would in a chain like Pizza Express or Cafe Rouge. You also get a more interesting meal!

If you’re looking for new restaurants and bars to try, use the venue finder on Dine Birmingham. You can now search by location, type of food and price range.

Dine Birmingham’s Top 3…

Places to eat on a budget: Blue Nile (Ethiopian), 4023 (Greek) and The Selly Sausage (Breakfasts)

Student friendly places to drink: The Jekyll & Hyde, Pure Bar and Kitchen and The Prince of Wales

Restaurants to try before you graduate: Simpsons (save up!), Byzantium (tapas) and The Plough (great pub in Harborne)


Get more top tips and advice about ‘Life In Birmingham’ on the Birmingham City University website.

Photo credit: Mathew Grocoot

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Sunny Gill

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