Chien Lunatique at 1000 Trades, Jewellery Quarter

I’m calling it. Simon Masding is the unsung hero of the Birmingham fries scene. It’s a scene which – admittedly – is a little lacking, but even if Birmingham was a veritable chiptopia I would still bet on Mr. Masding to provide more pleasure per inch than anyone else I know.

It all started back in September with his Kebabylon pop up at my favourite Jewellery Quarter haunt, where I declared his sweet potato fries “the best sweet potato fries I have ever eaten”. I’ve been chasing those batons of goodness all round 0121 ever since.

He’s now back at 1000 Trades for January, slinging gourmet hot dogs made from Lashford sausages (some of the best sausages in the Midlands, if you’d missed that memo) and a variety of toppings that are more genius than Donald Trump on a Twitter rampage. “Do we really need fries?” asked my dining companion. A disgusted look gave the necessary answer; we ordered fries. At Chien Lunatique potatoes of the hand-cut, skin-on variety accessorise the dogs, and at first I’m disappointed because I truly am obsessed with those sweet, sweet, sweet potato fries. But when they arrive it’s love at first bite. Masding has done the double – won the FA Cup and Premier League, if fries had legs and could kick a ball into a net. God, I love the way that man handles a potato.

But enough about fries. It’s the dogs we came for, and they are just as good as the chips. There’s eight on the menu, each utilising a different flavour of Lashford sausage. We slept late – it’s one of those overcast, blustery days when the duvet is reluctant to release you from it’s welcome hold – and so I order ‘The Churchill’, reasoning that it’s technically brunch. Seams of black pudding run through the sausage, and a simple garnish of bacon lardons complete this homage to pigginess. It’s not ostentatious – in fact it’s almost laughably simple – but the use of the best ingredients possible means that this pork-and-bread combo is heads above the sausage baps that I usually stuff in my face after a night on the sauce.

Our other chien veers more towards the lunatique end of the spectrum. The sausage mix is given a decidedly Brummie vibe with the addition of Balti seasoning before being topped with tzatziki, onions and poppadums. I don’t think I would ever have ordered this – my cynical side immediately thought “gimmick” – but I’m bloody glad my boyfriend did. It’s almost as if he knows something about food. It’s a massive punch of flavour, the best six inches of pork anyone has ever served me. I’ll be coming back for more of this.

I could bang on about these bangers for hours, but that would be wasting time of yours that you could be spending eating as many of these hot dogs as you can before Chien Lunatique pops down on 3rd February. Make like a French ski instructor and allez vite!

The Chien Lunatique pop up will run until 3 February at 1000 Trades, 16 Frederick Street, B1 3HE. WEBSITE.

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Jazz/Roast at 1000 Trades

I know EVERYONE thinks this, but my mum really does make the best roast dinners. Bar the time the oven broke & she served up half cooked roasties to my new boyfriend, she has truly mastered Sunday lunch.

Now I’ve moved to Birmingham I rarely make it home to Cheshire for Sunday lunch. This means that roast dinners are now a huge treat, so when 1000 Trades invited me to try their new Sunday Jazz/Roast I was super excited. Especially as I’d spent the entire weekend moving into a new flat (which one week on still has no hot water, internet or washing machine…wahhhh).

The weather in Brum has turned pretty chilly over the last couple of weeks so walking in and spotting the open fire was a welcome relief. The atmosphere was cosy and friendly – perfect Sunday vibes.

The simple menu offers two meat options (Shropshire organic roast topside of beef and Welsh organic herb-crusted leg of lamb) and a vegetarian wellington.

They all come served with roast potatoes, Tempranillo-braised red cabbage, seasonal veg, a Yorkshire pudding, gravy and parsnip crisps (mine also came with yummy stuffing, but this wasn’t mentioned on the menu). As you can see from the picture, the presentation is lovely and the portions are generous. I couldn’t wait to tuck in!


The generous slice of herb crusted lamb was beautifully tender and full of flavour. The slight sharpness and crunchiness from the red cabbage gave a nice contrast to the rich flavours, and the other veg were all fresh, tasty and perfectly cooked. The parsnip crisps added texture and made it feel a bit more special – because really, who can be arsed making parsnip crisps at home?! If I was going to make any changes, I would make the potatoes a bit crispier (my mum still wins on these) and as a Northerner I prefer my gravy a bit thicker. Although no one will ever beat my mum’s roast, I reckon this is the best roast dinner I’ve had out and I’d definitely recommend it.

Price wise, the meat options are £13 and the veggie option is £10. It’s not super cheap but for the quality and quantity you get I think it’s fair.

Roasts are served from 12, with live jazz starting from 5pm. Unfortunately I had to leave to assemble an IKEA wardrobe so missed the jazz, but I can imagine this being the perfect backdrop to a roast and a glass or two of wine.

Whether you’re battling a hangover, hanging out with friends and family or taking a break from moving, a roast at 1000 Trades is a perfect way to spend a lazy Sunday afternoon. My mum’s Sunday lunch will always rule, but this is a great second!

Disclaimer: 1000 Trades asked me to come & try their new roasts so my meal was complementary. All writing and opinions are mine as always. 

You can get your jazz/roast fix every Sunday from 12 at 1000 Trades, 16 Frederick Street, B1 3HEWEBSITE

Cheese & Charcuterie Boards at 1000 Trades

Call me crackers (wahey) but I really, really love cheese. It’s one of my favourite foods and I can’t help but regard anyone who doesn’t like it with slight suspicion (see my recent text below). So when Jon & John (the big cheeses at 1000 Trades) invited me round to try their new cheese and charcuterie boards, you cheddar believe that I was excited! Okay, I promise there are no more cheese puns from this point on…

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This new offering will sit alongside their rotating kitchen residency as a permanent menu option. Reflecting the ethos of the wine, the cheeses are sourced from small, artisanal producers both in the UK and continental Europe. The selection currently includes Brie de Meaux, Black Bomber, Applewood Smoked Cheddar, Blacksticks Blue, Manchego and French Goats Cheese.

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My personal favourite was the Black Bomber, an extra mature cheddar made in North Wales by the award-winning Snowdonia Cheese Company. It has a beautiful rich flavour and creamy texture, and is a million miles away from the boring cheddar you get in Tesco!

I was already a fan of Blacksticks Blue as a pub I used to work at serves it in their cheeseboard. It’s handmade by Lancashire based company Butlers Farmhouse Cheeses, who also produce the famous Kidderton Ash Goats Cheese. It has an amazing tangy taste, but the distinctive blue colour marbled through the golden cheese means it also looks great on the board.

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I loved seeing the Manchego on the cheeseboard as I rarely get to eat it unless I’m in Spain and it’s so underrated. Along with the classic French soft cheeses (brie and goats cheese), it gave a really nice balance to the board; there’s definitely something for everyone here!

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Almost as important as the cheese are the accompaniments. 1000 Trades do a great job here, serving up an unusual choice of quince jelly, cornichons, balsamic onions and Peter’s Yard Crispbreads (sometimes including a fantastic black charcoal variety) which complement the cheese perfectly.

The cheeseboard is priced at £8. After checking out some other Birmingham bars & restaurants, where prices ranged from £6.95 to £9.50 for 3 cheeses, I reckon this is pretty damn good.

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Alongside the cheeseboard I also tried the Spanish charcuterie board (£10), which contains a selection of cured meats imported from small scale producers in Spain. With generous portions of quality meats and big flavours, this board was a winner as well. The charcuterie board is served with the same accompaniments as the cheeseboard, apart from the quince which is replaced with basil & garlic olives.

We NEED to talk about these olives because they are seriously amazing. I don’t think I’ve had better in the UK, and Ollie will vouch for the fact that I can’t stop going on about them. It’s worth getting the board for these olives alone!

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I can see these boards being a good lighter dinner for two, or something to share in a group over drinks; you can try some fabulous meats and cheeses and make yourself feel all sophisticated and continental.

Considering 1000 Trades’ emphasis on quality organic wine, I think this is a perfect addition to their menu and it will be difficult to resist ordering one after a few glasses of wine. After all, is there any combination on earth better than wine and cheese?!

Disclaimer: I was invited along to try the cheese by 1000 Trades, so did not pay. Of course, all opinions are honest and my own.

1000 Trades can be found at 16 Frederick Street, B1 3HE. WEBSITE

Bag-in-Box wine tasting at 1000 Trades

I am the first to admit that the only thing I know about wine is that I like drinking it. So the idea of ‘wine tasting’ has never really appealed to me; it has always seemed a bit snobby and pretentious. However, when I saw that 1000 Trades were running a Bag-in-Box wine tasting for only £5 I was quite intrigued.

1000 Trades are a champion of these natural Bag-in-Box wines and I’ve always really enjoyed drinking them. I was really interested to find out more about them so I took the plunge and booked my first ever wine tasting!

The evening was run by Tom Craven of Vinnaturo and Sam Olive of Wine Freedom. Sam works with importers to supply fine natural wine to bars/restaurants etc, mainly in the Midlands area. Tom sources natural wine from farmers, puts it in bags and pouches and sells it. In his own words he “buys wine he likes from people he likes” – sounds like a pretty good job to me!

We started with a quiz to find out where on a numbered scale our palates lay. We then lined up in order and were given a small piece of paper to taste. Some people (myself included) found the taste absolutely disgusting – like when you leave a paracetamol on your tongue for too long – and some people weren’t at all bothered! The point of this was to show how different people’s palates are and therefore how different people’s taste in wines would be. As I was at the lower end of the scale, I am more likely to enjoy lighter, fresher whites than robust reds, which fits pretty well with what I usually drink.

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Tom and Sam then explained a bit more to us about why they choose to import and distribute organic (no man made chemicals except copper & sulphur) and biodynamic (‘supercharged organic’, using spiritual philosophy) wines which haven’t been messed around with either in the vineyard or the cellar. I was surprised to learn that supermarket wine has 1000s of permitted ingredients and manipulations, and part of the reason you feel so awful after a night of drinking wine is the effect of all these chemicals on your body (I have to admit that I drunk a LOT of organic wine that evening and didn’t feel nearly as bad as I normally would. I happily got myself to work for 8.30 without even needing a coffee!). In addition to being better for the people drinking it, natural wine is much better environmentally for the vineyard land and the people who live around it.

They also explained why they put the wine into boxes and pouches rather than bottles. By using this method they are able to make huge savings on shipping, which can then be passed onto the customer. It’s a great way to make really good wine more accessible to more people. Again, it is more environmentally friendly as it cuts CO2 emissions by around 50% compared to importing bottles.

Most of the wines we tried were from grapes that I had never heard of. As the famous grape varieties – Pinot Grigio, Cabernet Sauvignon etc – have become more and more fashionable, more vineyards have started growing them over the wealth of other varieties (some of which have sadly now been lost). 1000 Trades are trying to introduce people to some of these other brilliant varieties, using the wine list to give you cues on which ones you might enjoy.

My pick of the evening was definitely the Trebbiano. This was a lovely easy drinking white grown in acidic volcanic soil, which actually makes the wine more alkaline. It’s fresh but also has a creaminess due to a second ‘fermentation’. At the time I said I could happily drink this all day. This was confirmed yesterday evening when I managed to put away about 5 glasses in a couple of hours…

I came away from the evening feeling like I’d learnt so much more about wine, without being overloaded with information. The format of the wine tasting, where we moved around and tried wines at our own pace, having conversations with Tom & Sam rather than being lectured, made the evening really fun and accessible. And as if everyone wasn’t already convinced, they brought out a cheese board and charcuterie platter at the end – HEAVEN!

Bag-in-box organic and biodynamic wines are available at 1000 Trades, 16 Frederick Street, B1 3HE. WEBSITE

Kebabylon at 1000 Trades

Confession: I am a massive fan of kebabs in any form. Yes, even the greasy, 3am, back-of-a-taxi variety. So when 1000 Trades announced their two week Kebabylon takeover I was understandably delighted.

It didn’t take much persuading for my boyfriend to join me. Living in the Jewellery Quarter, 1000 Trades is fast becoming our favourite after work hangout with its chilled vibe, quality drink selection & always on point soundtrack.

The (boxed!) wine there is always fab but as I was about to bite my hand off in hunger I can’t remember which ones I tried. He drank the Titanic Stout & the Wild Beer Co Millionaire Stout. Both got good reviews but the Millionaire Stout was the stand out favourite, with rich decadent flavours of chocolate and salted caramel.

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Kebab-wise, we went for the ‘Med in Brum’ (chicken, sun-dried tomato, olives, feta, guacamole etc) and the ‘El-Chapo’ (chicken, chipotle en adobo, scotch bonnet pink slaw, jalapenos). Containing all my favourite flavours, the ‘Med in Brum’ couldn’t fail to deliver and I think I managed to finish it in around 2 minutes flat. I also loved the smoky, tangy chipotle en adobo sauce on the ‘El-Chapo’. I thought the heat was perfect but my boyfriend is a chilli addict and would have preferred hotter – so let them know at the hatch when you order.

Unlike those 3am kebabs, the fresh, natural ingredients wrapped in light Lebanese flatbreads mean no morning after regrets as you are left satisfied without it being too heavy on your stomach. What more could you ask for?!

Side dishes are often an afterthought and as such, massively disappointing. Not so here. The sweet potato fries were honestly some of the best I’ve tried – perfectly seasoned and beautifully crisp – and topped with the scotch bonnet pink slaw (creamy & crunchy with a gorgeous heat at the end) they made an ideal side. I didn’t manage to try the grilled avocado halves but have heard great things.

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I’m now officially a massive Kebabylon fan and will definitely be back for more. Get down to 1000 Trades while you can and let me know your thoughts.

The Kebabylon residency runs until 18 September at 1000 Trades, 16 Frederick Street, B1 3HE. WEBSITE