The Week in Food

Experimental Food Society Spectacular
Roll over, Blumenthal, and tell El Bulli the news.  The Experimental Food Society Spectacular is hitting town this Friday and Saturday and their exhibitors do things to food that you’ve never even dreamed of.  Camels’ milk ice cream.  Edible clothing.  Butter sculpture.  Gothic house made of chocolate.  There’s the Spectacular exhibition in the Truman Brewery in Brick Lane (tickets £5).  Or opt for the full immersion experience: the Banquet on Sunday evening the 23 October for £60 per person.  However you choose to experience it, this event is pretty much guaranteed to expand your culinary consciousness.
And if you’re craving a bit of more familiar nosh afterwards, try these restaurants nearby.
Dartmouth Food Festival
Lovely, charming Dartmouth in Devon is a foodie destination that you may have overlooked, but this weekend the Dartmouth Food Festival gives you the perfect opportunity to discover this brilliant spot for yourself.  The last time we went, we approached on the Brixham Road, parked in Kingswear and took the foot ferry over the Dart to land right in the midst of the action.  Madly-gifted chef Mitch Tonks is headlining a roster of cooking pros to make your mouth water: Alan Murchison and Will Holland (Angélique), Adam Parnham (Dartmouth Apprentice), Fergus Henderson (St John Bread and Wine), telly chef Valentine Warner and Mark Hix (many brilliant Hix restaurants), just a few names from a long and varied list.  Among the usual terrific carte of demonstrations and chefs on stage, there will be a final Dartmouth Chef’s Mash Up where the pros cook up whatever food is left.  What a hoot.
Wimbourne Food Festival
Plan a weekend in the West Country and you’ll be able to throw yourself and your taste buds into the Dartmouth festival we just mentioned as well as this family-oriented foodfest, the Wimbourne Food Festival.   The big names include the fabulous Jun Tanaka (Pearl), Martin Dorey of The Camper Van Cookbook, Darren Rockett (Hotel du Vin, Poole) among others.   There are loads of children’s events as well as a food market tent, demonstration tent, town traders event, street theatre, music entertainment and a literary fringe that looks reallllly tempting.  Did we mention that admission is free?  Local and regional produce and cuisine get a proper showing here and the whole town takes part.
Birmingham Food Fest
We’re halfway through the Birmingham Food Fest with some unmissable events coming up before it folds its tent and steals away after the 23rd. The BBC’s Olive magazine just named Birmingham the foodiest city in the UK, partly because of its three Michelin-starred restaurants, partly because it’s the home of Typhoo, Bird’s Custard and HP Sauce, and partly because of culinary wingdings like the Fest.  It showcases fifteen of the city’s best restaurants, like Asha’s Indian Cuisine, Chung Ying, Sweet Chillies, Sabai Sabai, Filini, and The Vaults,  among others, as well as offering foraging and dining tours, classes and demonstrations and activities for children.  In addition, the signature dishes of 29 of Brum’s hottest culinary talents are revealed in The Big Brum Cookbook, yours for a tenner.
toptable has a squad of Birmingham restaurants to try, this week and every week.