Move aside Colonel, there’s a new chief of chicken in town: Bonehead

I’d heard the rumours long before – whispers from people making the bold claim that it was the “best chicken in Brum,” “simply phenomenal” and “KFC on steroids.” Alas, in a world of fake news I simply refused to believe until I had myself, bore witness to the wings behind the words.

Me and my work colleagues rocked up to Bonehead on a Tuesday night and at 6pm, it was already heaving. Although you can’t book tables, they did a tremendous job of fitting all 12+ of us in. There’s a good selection of drinks, from craft beers through to gins and the menu offers a choice of wings, strips, burgers and combos. Although the burgers and strips were off limits to me as they contained gluten and dairy, I could have most of the wings and so I ordered the sweet chilli & garlic with spring onion and seasame seeds option.

Now, many people will testify to the fact that I’m a bit of a wing addict. Truth be told, I’ve stunned many a waiter as they’ve seen me polish off a kilo of chicken wings without so much as batting an eyelid, so I wasn’t really expecting a ‘best ever’ dish here. Let me just say this: These wings were insanely good! See how I even used an explanation mark there and put aside my grammatical pet hate of shouting at people through words? Well, Bonehead made me do it! If I could list every filthy food porn word here I would – it was quite simply, the best chicken wings I have EVER had in my 28 years of eating, and as my friends know, that’s not a claim I make lightly when they’ve seen me consume somewhere in the region of 5,000 chicken wings in the past two years.

The sauce was incredible and a perfect combination of sweet and spicy, plus the fresh kick coming from the spring onion and crunchy texture on the seasame seeds gave it a rather pleasurable texture. The chicken was coated in a melt-in-your-mouth batter, sizzling with juice and filled with the most tender pieces of chicken that I’ve ever experienced in wings. The whole dish was sensational.

I had made the error of thinking the five wings would be small and so I asked the waitress if I could double up. After realising how big and filling the wings were, I would have been quite okay with just the one portion, but hey ho, God loves a trier and so I made it my mission to finish the 10 wings spread out before me. I was filthy after polishing them off, with chicken juice all over my hands and mouth, but at the end of the day, the best food always requires you to get stuck in. Bravo Bonehead, bravo.

All I can say now is; Nandos what, Nandos who, get yourself down to Bonehead too!

The Theory of Everything that Makes Burgers Bostin’

As I’ve grown older, I’ve developed a taste for three things; Red wine, olives and burgers. Now I know that burgers have been around for millennia and the good old days of Ronald McDonald should have given me my first real taste of a juicy beef burger in a brioche bun, but as a kid, I was a chicken nugget McSnugget all the way. There was something extremely unconvincing about sticking meat between bread and dumping a gherkin inside for added sourness; it just wasn’t my cup of tea.

You’d have to be a hermit to not have noticed the burger takeover in the past few years. Whilst the classic ‘hamburger’ may have been a big hit across the pond as Yanks competed for the title of biggest and most greasiest burger possible, we as usual decided to take things slower here in the UK. It is only really in the past few years with the rise of independent street food retailers such as The Flying Cow Burgers and Original Patty Men that the demand for burgers really escalated in British cities.

Being gluten free, I often found myself pining for a dirty grab and go burger, or just carbs in general, from the pop up street vendors found at foodie digs such as Digbeth Dining Club. The first time I witnessed a Krispy Kreme being balanced on top of a double beef patty with bacon, maple syrup and onion rings, I was adamant I was either dodging food hell or missing out on a piece of art for individuals such as myself with a combined sweet and savoury tooth.

It was then with great anticipation that I found myself venturing to Birmingham’s latest burger joint, Burger Theory. Situated in Kongs Bar on Hill Street, the venue boasts retro arcade games, table tennis and a fully stocked bar filled with craft beers. Live DJs are a permanent fixture at weekends, but I was visiting on a Friday lunchtime with colleagues and the rather large venue was empty asides from the bar staff – maybe they were busy on Deliveroo but I expected it to be slightly busier.

The menu states that burgers can be ordered with a gluten free bun. As usual, my added milk intolerance made it difficult for me to order many cheese based burgers without needing to substitute half of the ingredients, so I opted for The Classic burger, consisting of a beef patty, house ketchup and plain chips, plus the Down n’ Dirty burger sauce. The burger itself was really tasty, cooked to my liking in that it was juicy and still slightly pink in the middle. Alongside the house sauce and perfectly salted chips, it was one of the best, if not THE best burger I’ve had in a good year or so.

If I had one recommendation, it would simply be a request for Burger Theory to stock dairy free cheese to go on the gluten free or vegan burgers. Just keeping in one dairy free cheese would mean that my choice of burgers could be far more extensive, but on the whole, my first experience was a good one and I think the chefs have their burgers cooked to perfection. I can never understand why so many burger restaurants are off limits to me simply because they refuse to stock gluten free buns and create a patty that is friendly to those with allergens, so it was lovely to be given that option.

They call themselves the Creative Burger People, priding themselves on sourcing local produce and making all burgers, sauces and pickles on site. I asked for tomato ketchup to dip my chips in and was provided with a little pot of fresh tomatoes, chopped finely into a delicious, smooth sauce. There’s no doubt that these guys are serious about providing high quality, good tasting food that really stands out from the usual grease found in many burger joints and I think they may have succeeded.

We salute you, or not? Rack ‘a Ribs at the Smoke Haus

Some people buy clothes on payday, head out for a night on the town or for a little pamper session. Me, I head straight down to a local steakhouse and gorge on a nice piece of sirloin or BBQ ribs. It’s an expensive habit, but similar to my love of gin and all things delicious, it’s one that I just can’t give up.

Due to my love of steak and ribs, I tend to be pretty critical when I try a new place. I’ve been to America three times and eaten the best steak I’ve ever tasted at a place recommended to me called Manny’s Original Chophouse. It promises the best steak in town (what US of A steak house doesn’t?!) and it didn’t disappoint. In the UK, my favourite place for steak is Miller & Carter and my favourite for ribs is Gas Street Social.

I was pretty excited therefore to hit The Smoke Haus in Brindleyplace recently. With a slogan that says “we’re all about delivering the big flavours of authentic American barbecue,” you can be forgiven for expecting big things.

On arrival, you’re met with a very typical American steakhouse scene. You know the stuff – Harley Davidson, black and white photos of Hollywood stars, French’s classic yellow mustard on the table as a prop to convince you that you could indeed really be in America and not the middle of Birmingham.

Décor aside though, it was my birthday, I was hungry and so I decided to order the biggest and most impressive looking rack of ribs I could find on the menu that were gluten free. Introducing the Jacob’s Ladder, a full four boned slab of pure barbequed meat and a side order of sweet potato fries.

“Jeepers” I said in a polite but not completely true Scooby Do exchange to my friend, “I wish I’d not eaten lunch.” At nearly £25, the ribs presented to me could have fed a small army and his pack of dogs.

One of the reasons I love ribs is because it’s proper finger food. Unfortunately, it’s not the sort of grub you can order when you’re having a civilised meeting with someone unless you feel comfortable with them seeing you eat like a wild animal. The Jacob’s Ladder however, was not finger food, it was so big you had to slice through each layer from the top. As I got down to the middle of the ribs the marinade had completely disappeared – I was left slicing through thick and sometimes fatty chunks of meat similar to when you use a carving knife to dish up the beef for your Sunday roast. I felt then that The Smoke Haus probably focused more of its attention on quantity over quality.

Going back to my earlier statement, I’ve been to America and I know how big their portion sizes are, although some of the best ribs I’ve tasted have been big enough to satisfy your hunger pangs but small enough to leave you wanting more. The meat should literally fall off the bone and the marinade should have soaked through long enough to leave a tangy after taste once you’ve finished. My mistake, I think, was ordering the biggest thing off the menu. It became more of a competition to see how much you can eat rather than an enjoyable experience.

One Nuclear Hurricane coming up…

My ‘go-to’ bar in Brum town is Gas Street Social. In fact, whenever I say I’m heading into town for a spot of shopping or a few quiet drinks with friends, chances are, I’ll always nip in for a quick ‘Socialite’ or ‘Nuclear Hurricane.’

Unlike many bars where you pay a small fortune for cocktails, the drinks here are genuinely a pleasure to drink, the barmen are friendly and as the bar’s namesake suggests, sociable. They’ll chat to you as they’re whipping up a drink and it actually seems like the sort of place you’d want to work.

Ultimately, my favourite part about Gas Street Social is the layout. The décor is very Scandinavian and rustic and it’s the sort of place where you can sit for hours people watching and enjoying the mellow music on offer.

It’s location in The Mailbox means that it’s situated right next to the canal, where in the summer you can watch boatfuls of stag and hen do parties rowing up and down (badly) on the water. There is nothing fuddy about the place, everyone is welcome and you won’t get kicked out after one drink because they want your table. It’s the perfect spot for socialising.

Despite me being somewhat of a regular at Gas Street, it was only recently that I tested out the food. The kitchen is in the middle of the restaurant and so my friend and I had often admired the delicious smells wafting out into the bar area. The menu is pretty versatile and a good selection of the dishes could be made gluten free. There’s nothing fussy about the food and the chefs pride themselves on sourcing local meat and vegetables which is a nice added touch, as after all, you assume it’s going to be fresh.

I opted for the Sweet and Sticky BBQ Ribs with chips, slaw and corn on the cob. The waitress commented on my good choice of dish when I put my order in and I must admit that I was a bit sceptical, but boy I needn’t have worried. Without a doubt they were the most succulent ribs I’ve ever tasted. The meat simply slid of the bone and the sauce, which the ribs are apparently slow cooked in, was absolutely divine. It’s rare for me to say this, but I could have eaten a whole new plate straight after I’d finished because it was one of those meals you don’t want to end.

There’s a good selection of burgers, steaks, and even traditional British dishes such as gammon and fish finger butties to choose from. The brunch menu offers anything from a Full English, through to sandwiches and buttermilk pancakes – perfect hangover food in my opinion, and there’s a variety of ‘Social Plates,’ ideal for sharing such as scotch eggs, meatballs and chicken wings.

If you’re ever in Birmingham and looking for somewhere away from the hustle and bustle of the city centre to chill out with a drink and a slap up meal, then Gas Street Social would be number one on my list. Give it a go, and don’t forget to order the BBQ Ribs!

New Gluten Free Menu at Henry Wong

It is notoriously hard to find a Cantonese restaurant that caters for a gluten free diet. The desire for chefs to coat everything in soy sauce and batter is a common occurrence and it is for this reason that I hadn’t eaten a Chinese meal in a restaurant in about nine or ten years, which is crazy considering how much I love this cuisine. You can imagine my delight when I was invited along to sample the new gluten free menu at Henry Wong in Harborne to find that I could eat a large selection of beautiful dishes.

Henry Wong specialises in both traditional and contemporary Chinese dishes and the diverse menu could satisfy even the fussiest of eaters. Thanks to the freshness of the food on offer, a large amount of the normal menu can be made gluten free and it was fantastic to be able to visit a restaurant where the staff were so knowledgeable about allergens and could prepare vibrant dishes without any fuss.

For starters, we were treated to the popular chicken and shitake mushroom yuk sung with pinenuts, as well as asparagus and soft shell crab with garlic and chilli. The dish that particularly stood out for me here was the crab, it was really succulent, coated in a delicious batter and drizzled in a garlic and chilli sauce which is always a winning combination for me. I can sometimes find that chefs overcook asparagus, but here it was cooked to perfection and complimented the crab dish perfectly.


Next on the menu was the main course of honey pepper king prawn, sweet and sour chicken, steamed sea bass with ginger and spring onion, pak choy in garlic sauce, sizzling beef fillet in black pepper sauce, accompanied with egg fried rice.


When I was younger and still eating normal Chinese food, I always opted for sweet and sour chicken and beef in black bean sauce, so I was chuffed to be able to tuck into these amazing dishes once more – the beef dish in particular was really tender and juicy and much more tasty than how I remember it from takeaways years ago. Another pleasant surprise was the sea bass; other than prawns I wouldn’t usually opt for seafood at a Chinese restaurant but combined with the ginger and spring onion – two of my favourite ingredients for oriental food, I was really impressed by the dish and would definitely order again.



For dessert, a beautifully presented fruit platter came out bursting with a variety of berries and melon, as well as strawberry cheesecake and fudge cake, topping off what was a fantastic night of amazing food – the cocktails and mocktails on offer were amazing too by the way!



Overall, I can’t praise the gluten free menu enough at Henry Wong. The staff  have obviously put a lot of effort into learning about Coeliac disease and how to cater for special diets, whilst maintaining the same standards of exceptional cooking that goes into the normal dishes.  The great thing was that they are so keyed up on how to prepare gluten free food that you don’t feel different when eating there, you are made to feel like a regular diner. I can say for certain that I will be visiting again in the next few weeks and I can’t wait to be sat around the table with my chopsticks, tucking into another beautiful selection of gluten free dishes. If you’re ever in the Birmingham area, you must take a trip down to Henry Wong, it’ll be a firm favourite with both gluten free and normal eaters.


Gluten free at The Beeches, Bournville

As any ‘free-fromers’ know, going out for a three course gluten free meal is usually impossible. Although restaurant’s are gradually becoming better at providing for people with allergies and intolerances, there is rarely a time when we are presented with a menu with an array of delicious choices on offer, including the all-important puds!

A friend of mine had informed me that The Beeches in Bournville had recently started doing a gluten free menu and of course, being just up the road from me, I stopped by to sample what was on offer.

I have to admit, when it comes to eating out I’m never quite sure what to expect when knowing that gluten free is on offer. There have been many times when I have been told that a restaurant can cater for my needs, only to be presented with the standard 40 page allergy listing, stapled together printout.

I was pleasantly surprised however, when I was given an identical menu to my friend upon arrival, the only difference being, that my menu clearly stated what was gluten free, dairy free and vegetarian. I’m sure anyone on special diets can vouch for how great it is to be given an extensive choice of dishes to choose from rather than just steak and spud, or the all-time favourite ‘croutonless’ salad.

For one of the first times since becoming gluten free, I was spoiled for choice. Although being dairy free the starters and puds were still off limits, I have to admire the effort that has gone into creating such a long list of gluten free meals, all of which sounded absolutely delicious.

I was pondering whether to have the Cajun red snapper or trio of beef, but in the end I decided on the crispy grilled confit duck leg with pak choi, beetroot, baby onion and red berry glaze and I have to say, I was not disappointed in my choice.

The portion size was very generous and the dish was presented beautifully, with the onions dotted around the duck and the potato served in a circular shape to add to the appeal. The sauce served alongside the duck was delicious and not too heavy for my liking. In fact, I admit to using the sauce to dunk my chunky chips into that I had greedily ordered as a side dish.

The menu stated that dishes such as the chicken liver and chorizo pate with chilli jam, as well as soup of the day could be served with gluten free bread which is a real treat. All of the side dishes were gluten free and puddings included crème brulee and strawberry cream trifle, which of course I would have happily tucked into if I wasn’t also excluding dairy.

With a choice of grilled dishes, pub classics, salads and pastas on offer, I really don’t think anyone visiting The Beeches would be stuck for things to eat as there really is something to tickle everyone’s taste buds.  I would love to go back and taste test many of the other dishes on offer and I would recommend to anyone visiting the Bournville area, as not only it is just a short walk away from Cadbury’s World, but the staff clearly know how to cater for special diets.

Bar Estilo – Paella Picking and Sangria Sipping


When I was working in Santander in Spain, there was this lovely little beachside restaurant that was famed across the city for its fish dishes. The seafood paella there was immense with flavours and tasted so fresh I think the mussels, prawns and squid had literally just been fished from the sea. It was exactly what paella should be, simple and delicious!

Finding gluten free paella in a restaurant is a tricky task in my opinion. For some reason, although paella rice is naturally gluten free, chefs seem to love throwing in some nasty ingredients to make it impossible for ‘us’ to eat. Although I’ve made my own paella at home, let’s face it, bringing in a pile of fresh seafood is costly and takes some sourcing if you want it really fresh. Luckily for me, I discovered a fantastic Spanish restaurant in Birmingham which serves up a good choice of gluten free dishes – Bar Estilo.

Perfect for a sunny day, or those days where it’s wet and miserable outside and you want to transport yourself to Sunny Spain, Bar Estilo makes you feel like you’re on holiday. Serving a range of tapas dishes, light and large meals, and let’s not forget the all important sangria, the restaurant has got it covered for gluten free and vegetarians.

With eyes bigger than my tummy, I ordered the chicken paella and a bowl full of chunky chips as a side dish, which I have to admit filled me up for about eight hours afterwards – the only problem being I just couldn’t force myself to stop eating as it was so delish!

Granted – had it been gluten free, I would have without a doubt ordered the seafood paella, but my chicken paella, served with red peppers, butternut squash, peas and chickpeas, was really lovely and I would recommend to anyone who visits.

I admit I’m not sure you will ever get a proper, traditional paella compared to what is served in España, but this is the closest I have ever come to tasting one in England. I can definitely see myself spending a few sunny days eating tapas and sipping sangría at Bar Estilo come the summer months. Salud!

Click here to view Bar Estilo’s food menu –