As a Brit living in Birmingham, I was tremendously happy to discover a new food trailer in town that serves traditional British comfort foods. I was even more excited to find out Little London Kitchen invites hungry patrons to eat on their 1968 British double-decker red bus! I couldn’t wait to try it out – here’s what I found.
Little London Kitchen
I met Bea and Matthew Morrissette, co-owners of Little London Kitchen, to find out more about their new venture.
Bea, a Londoner with a background in non-profit leadership, and Matthew, a Birmingham (Alabama) native with an IT infrastructure background, met and married in Manhattan, NYC.
Their joint love of London and passion for British food led to the concept of Little London Kitchen. Bea and Matthew want to share British comfort foods and culture with Alabama, and I’m so glad they’ve moved to Birmingham!
Bea and I traded experiences as Brits abroad and both agreed Birmingham’s food options are amazing, but it’s always nice to find a taste of home.
Bea explains the concept,
“Our core menu comprises of British comfort foods like fish’n’chips, meat or veggie pies, sausage rolls, shepherd’s pie, and our featured sandwich, which at the moment is the ‘Duchess Double Decker’. This is essentially two toasties (grilled cheeses using Welsh cheese) sandwiching home roasted beef, caramelized onions and horseradish cream”
“It’s my little bit of home that I get to share with you all!” says Bea.
Little London Kitchen will also feature dishes showcasing London’s exciting street food scene through its specials. If you’ve not been to the UK before, you might not know Britain’s most popular dish is actually curry.
Find out how I blew my diet later on, but first, learn about The Duchess!
Experience ‘The Duchess’
Have you recently seen a vintage Bitish red double decker (two levelled) bus on your downtown travels? Don’t worry – it’s real! The Duchess has rolled into town and she’s had quite the journey.
Starting life in 1968 serving coastal bus journeys in England, The Duchess was shipped over to Canada, and took a train to Colarado, where she was lovingly restored by a previous owner.
Bea and Matthew completed the interior restoration after purchasing her and she was driven the 1,600 miles from Colorado to Birmingham at a top speed of 40mph.
The Duchess has been retrofitted with tables on both levels, and is decorated with iconic London locations.
There’s the British Union Jack flag seat covers, and bunting, which might make you think you’re on the set of the Great British Baking Show – and Bea tells me that can be arranged with catered English Afternoon Teas. Book them for your next bake-off.
Tasting some British Classics
I tucked in to the Fish’n’Chips first (To ‘tuck in’ is a British term for eating food with enthusiasm).
Probably the most famous traditional comfort dish on UK takeaway (take-out) menus, Bea explains that cod is “dipped and fried with our special recipe crispy batter, and the chips [not of the crunchy kind] are made from scratch hand cut proper British chip shop chips (similar to U.S. thick cut steak fries)”
I tried it with the customary condiments, salt, malt vinegar, and tartar sauce. It was awesome and done just the way it should be, with cod.
Next up, the Cumberland Sausage Roll. If you travel to the UK, you’ll learn that sausages vary in flavor (or flavour as it’s spelled over there) across different regions in the same way that BBQ does in the south. This is one of the most famous sausage meats, flavored with black pepper, herbs and spices, which is wrapped in flaky puff pastry. So good, I’ll be back for more.
Meat pies and veggie pies are a staple of British fast food. Especially at the football (soccer) where fans challenge each other to test the pies of all 72 English Football League clubs. I’ve tried to make my own for the Magic City Brigade tailgates before Birmingham Legion FC games, which went down a treat (people liked it very much), but these would go down a storm. (British term, meaning to do well).
The beef pie is brisket that has been stewed for two hours with garlic, fresh rosemary and thyme, onions, carrots, celery puree with beef stock. After it’s been put into the puff pastry pies, the remaining liquid is used as a base for their awesome gravy. Chicken pies and veggie pies are also on the menu.
After I’d finished these and tried the excellent side salad options of butternut squash quinoa, caramelized onions, carrot salad, and red cabbage vinaigrette, it was time to move on to the curry ‘special’.
The Malaysian/Thai inspired Masaman coconut curry was really tasty (later endorsed by my wife as ‘amazing’). Available as a chicken or veggie option (the chicken is added separately), this is what London street food is all about.
It was such a treat to sample just a small selection of Little London Kitchen’s menu which will be varied to allow patrons to try other British foods.
Upon returning to Bham Now HQ to share my excitement (and the remains of the food samples) it must have been the only time nobody was in the office. It’s such a terrible shame that I had to take it all home for supper and finish it myself.
Note – these are samples. Actual portions differ, for example, you’ll get two pieces of fish, and don’t forget the sides!
Where can you find Little London Kitchen?
Little London Kitchen can usually be found at Suneco in Avondale between 12-2pm and 5-9pm. They’ll also be popping up at public events and private parties and they post their latest locations and when they’re out on the Little London Kitchen Facebook page.
Prices range from $3.50 for a portion of British from scratch chips, to $15 for Fish’n’Chips, with veggie side, and tartar sauce.
It’s rude to mention a lady’s age, but bear in mind that The Duchess was born in 1968, so sometimes she needs to stay out of the rain.
Bea promises that there’ll be lots of British themed events – collaborating with local venues. If you text London to 31996 they’ll even send updates on special events and latest locations.
In Bea’s words, “Watch out Birmingham, the British are here!”
British Fish’n’Chips in Birmingham. Yes, it’s true! (Photo by Jon Eastwood for Bham Now)
‘Bea’ on the lookout for ‘The Duchess’!
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