Smokeandumami started off as Nick’s personal food blog. A few years ago, Lap (@oishinboy) also started posting here and started to shame Nick with the frequency of his updates.

Nick’s Biography

I live in Birmingham and am generally obsessed with food. I enjoy curing and smoking at home on my Bradley smoker. I’m generally finding that there are few things that aren’t improved by either a spot of curing or a spot of smoking, or maybe both. In 2011 we ran a pop-up Jewish style deli called Popstrami for a day with some friends. I get asked why we did it, and the reasons are not clear to me, but I did really enjoy curing and smoking over 20kg of brisket. Other than curing and smoking I love Spanish food, and it was the first Moro cookbook that seriously got me interested in food. I am also a big fan of Korean and Japanese flavours after a recent visit there. I love going to the local farmers markets at Harborne and Moseley and seeing what’s on offer there, the West Midlands is a great source of quality meat and vegetables. I do this for fun, not profit and I object to blogs that are thinly-veiled adverts for products.

Lap-Fai Lee

I am Robin to Nick’s Batman. We are here to save Brum from cooking and dining mediocrity because we all deserve to eat better. I have my own blog The Foodist which has very nice pictures of food and more ranting.


25 thoughts on “About”

  1. Hello,
    “In 2011 we ran a pop-up Jewish style deli called Popstrami for a day with some friends.”
    No wish to renew the experience? (please say yes!).
    Tomorrow I’ll try your advise: New Ye Sum.
    The Han Dynasty (Station street) has a wonderful dish with aubergines and minced meat and chillies, or a (slightly too) sweet crispy sea bass. Problem is that you leave the restaurant with a rather persistent smell of what you (and others) have just eaten!
    Thank you and bravo for your beautiful blog.

  2. Hello Nick,
    Sending Cork info via this medium as I think twitter would be too fiddly. Maria, my Cork source, said:
    “Cork is a huge county, I think one of the biggest in Ireland. Do you know where your friends is going? By foodstuff what do you mean, grocery or restaurants? There’s some great cheeses made in Cork, a famous one is Durrus cheese. Then there are great sausages and Klonakilty black and white pudding. I don’t know that many great restaurants only those close to where we stay in West Cork, nothing more than what can be searched on the internet. I can ask Shona my sister in law if you need more specifics. Let me know.”

    Hope this is useful – let me know if you would like more details. Maria is in Birmingham atm and will to going to Cork in August.



  3. Hi,
    just wondered if you had any recommendations for someone to start smoking? There appears to be a massive range of options for equipment. Do you have a recommendation at the lower end of the pricing spectrum? I want to make sure I can do it properly before upping the antรฉ to your level!!


    1. Hi Matt

      Are you looking at doing cold-smoking or hot-smoking? A cheap way of getting into cold-smoking is to invest in the ProQ cold-smoke generator (http://www.macsbbq.co.uk/CSG.html). If you want to do hot-smoking the cheapest way is with a stovetop smoker e.g. a Cameron (http://www.forfoodsmokers.co.uk/acatalog/Stovetop_Smokers.html) but you will find it limited in terms of temperature control and cooking area for many BBQ classics like pulled pork and brisket. A better optin is to invest in a good quality kettle barbecue such as a Weber OneTouch which permits you to set up for indirect heat by laying coals over one half of the cooking area, and placing the item to be smoked on the other half. This also doubles up as an excellent barbecue. Many people get started this way. However it’s quite a lot of effort to maintain low and slow cooking temperatures for a long time. Going up a level you will want to look into a reasonably priced vertical water smoker such as the ProQ range. The Amigo is the best priced version (http://www.macsbbq.co.uk/Water%20Smoker.html). There’s also the Bradley smoker which takes a lot of hassle out of smoking but is quite expensive to buy and run.

      The Weber barbecue book has a pretty good guide to the options in it (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Webers-Complete-Barbecue-Step-step/dp/0600621111).



  4. I invested in the Bradley smoker (with digital control) and it’s the best investment I’ve made since I built my wood fired oven. It is bit pricey to run due to the cost of the smoke bricks, but it’s a good place to start smoking. Use it for a couple of years until you get the hang of smoking and then trade down to a more manual smoker what will be cheaper to run and by that time you should be able to smoke without wasting kilos of meat ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. As a newcomer to Brum, I saw your blog featured in the Redbrick, the UoB newspaper. Keep up the reviews, I love trying new places that aren’t the student dives of Selly Oak and broad street.

  6. I found your blog when I googled “urchin birmingham uk”. I cried when I saw your mentioning of where to get it. Keep up the good work and cook on x

  7. Hi there. I linked to you from the Jay Rayner review of New Sum Ye in The Guardian. Bit of a cheek, but could I pick you brains briefly? We’re staying in Birmingham, just off Dean Street, for a night in a few weeks. We’ve two boys, aged 8 and 6, and like to eat out. I know we’re virtually in Chinatown. Can you recommend a place that likes kids and is good value for dinner? It doesn’t have to be asian, but the boys do like Chinese, sushi, curry’s and the like. Rather adventurous I suppose (our 8 year old is getting a bit picky but insisted on the first, rind-slice of some ripe Brie last night and our 6 year old has gone to school with homemade sushi for lunch). I saw one, name escapes me now, with a massive Dim Sum buffet which would excite them. What could you suggest?
    Thanks in advance! Great blog.

    1. Min Min is very child friendly and has some interesting Pan-Asian food, we’re always recommending it! If you really want a buffet Chinatown option then Ming Moon is not a bad choice

  8. Hi I am finalising a food guide of Birmingham’s hidden food heroes and I would like to feature your site. I need to speak to you can you please email me so that I can send you a phone number privately.


  9. Hello Nick: I am the founder of http://www.chowzter.com and we are searching for the tastiest food item on earth (a silly but fun mission). We do this with the best network of local food experts ever assembled. We would love for you to represent Birmingham! Please let me know if you would like to hear more?


  10. Hey, I was wondering if you were going to be at Cake International in November seeing as it’s in Brum? I can’t wait to go, and as a young food blogger myself, decided it would be a great opportunity. I lived in Nottingham for a year, and used to blog on restaurants and eateries up there. I’m pretty new on the scene down here though. It’s kinda weird, I was looking at this Cake International show, and noticed that the author of my favourite decorating book (All You Need Is Cake) is going to be demonstrating and doing signings there. How exciting! Anyway, a little off topic….I was just wondering if you could give me any tips on blogging at large events. Do I review it as a whole, or do each individual stand or what? Hoping you could make it. The dates are the 7th to the 9th.

    Thank you for your time and I hope to hear back from you soon,

  11. Hi there, we’d love to use your Peach Garden pic on theguardian.com. Might that be possible? Thanks!

  12. Terrific blog. I’ve just been switched on to it and am now in the process of going through your old posts and tracking down your recommendations. Brilliant stuff. Thanks Nick

  13. I can’t believe I have just discovered the best blog in Brum, with really honest opinions and not PR posts of people chasing free food. Real personality, very genuine and not afraid to name bad places and challenge general people’s perceptions. photographies are fantastic and content is superb. Shame you are so busy in other projects that is not updated very often. Keep up the good work guys!!

    1. We are a two man crusade against PR driven food bloggers, so called Birmingham “foodies”, we burn PR invites and spit on the ground they walk. Thanks for the lovely comments, we agree we should blog more. Birmingham needs more balance in its food blogs.

  14. I’m desperate. Does anyone know a restaurant that does proper Punjabi chicken curry where the meat is slow cooked on the bone and includes leg rather than just anaemic pieces of breast which can be quick cooked in a balti pan and then put into a sauce afterwards. Shere Khan used to do a good one but seem to have dropped it.

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