Confession- despite lurking at Digbeth Dining Club (DDC) on a fairly regular basis, I’ve just never managed to make my way to the Baked in Brick stand so I feel a little guilty that my first visit is when they take up residence in their new home.
Digbeth is cool, we all know that and the Street food scene remains huge and continues to expand across the city but this is it’s Birmingham home. DDC is always teeming with traders which means I have tended to lean towards the weird and wonderful dishes rather than looking for simple food that is just very well done. So many people have raved at me about Baked in Brick but there has always been a queue and even their awards hadn’t coaxed me over to their converted mini’s yet.
Chipboard, muted grey tones, a few plants and hints towards an industrial style. Not uncommon these days but the paired down decor allows the two most important things to shine through. 1) There is a mini bursting through the wall, Baked in Brick are known for this but it really is had to miss the classic Cooper and graffiti style background as you walk in. Such a draw is this that it takes a minute before you notice the most important feature of the room. A huge, orb like pizza oven stands proud and pristine in the corner and is fed freshly made dough at regular intervals. Its an impressive sight and pretty much tells you everything you need to know. Expectations are set instantly, its a brave move to show off a fancy oven if you can’t deliver on the promise it conveys. So, we were pretty excited to have a look at the menu.
A quick look around revealed a small egg barbecue and an outdoor seating area with walled herb garden, We ordered a couple of drinks and it took seconds to decide what to eat. Whilst I love a good pizza, its not something I would typically order in the (baking) heat so I was pleased to see a few lighter options of the menu and opted for a smoked Burrata salad with Heritage tomatoes, and pesto. This is probably one of my favourite combinations and certainly a cheese I will always order if I find it on a menu. My plate was beautifully presented, with edible flowers, crisp leaves and toasted foccacia ends, I thought it was reasonably priced for what was a generous plate. I was particularly pleased that the cheese was only lightly smoked as that seemed more appropriate for the weather and meant that it maintained much of its original texture. If you haven’t tried Burrata, imagine a softer mozzarella without the stringy texture. The tomatoes were excellent and topped with just enough pesto to add depth but without it being overpowering.
Don’t despair! There was some pizza consumed. I had lunch with my brother who is a bit of a pizza aficionado and fan of many a Netflix series on the subject. Whilst it’s not a subject I know much about, he was spotting the finer details that I would have glossed over- things like the type of flour used, the variety of tomato featured in the sauce and the preparation methods all met with his approval. I have a pizza stone at home and have had a few attempts myself but it’s fair to say, this seemed like a much slicker deal.
Apparently the best way to judge a pizzeria is to order a Margherita so that’s what we did. Arriving to the table, it had a crisp thin base with a puffed edge and an even distribution of cheese on top of the sauce (made in house) I couldn’t help but try some and was suitably impressed, it had a good mix of crunchy edges but retained a little chewiness in the middle without being soggy. The sauce tasted fresh and was surprisingly rich and there was plenty of cheese for a fiend such as myself. We shared some Garlic Bread which was equally good and I used it to mop up the last drizzle of pesto and oil from my plate.
We had a long, leisurely lunch and service was slick yet unobtrusive, given that they had only just opened there were none of the hiccups that you would normally expect and had I not known, I would have assumed they had been in residence for some time.
It’s great to see such success coming from the Birmingham street food scene and that those businesses continue to invest in the area that supported them from the start. I will certainly make my way down there again to try out a full pizza myself and find out what goes in the egg barbecue .