Being from a city where most of the big chain restaurants and shops are something of a myth or a mirage in a land far away, a hop, a skip and a jump (and a train) to Birmingham always comes with the promise of visiting the Bullring, and more specifically than the Bullring – Selfridges IN the Bullring. When I’ve alighted my train I usually head straight from the maze of New Street station straight into the (newly refurbished) beauty hall on the third floor of Selfridges where the likes of Charlotte Tilbury, MAC and Laura Mercier await. I remember my first trip to Selfridges beauty hall as a new blogger and staring open mouthed at the white counters and buzz of beauty fans swatching and spraying at a variety of the famous name counters.
We’ve all seen the premise behind Selfridges on ITV’s Mr Selfridge and it’s world of luxury clothes, homeware, beauty, electricals and their iconic yellow carrier bags. You could get lost on the various floors for houses and the further the descent the closer you get to the infamous food hall which boasts an array of restaurants and food counters including Pret, Rossopomodoro, Itihaas Brasserie and the all singing and all dancing Ed’s Easy Diner, a 50’s style diner which wouldn’t look out of place in classic chick flick – Grease.
Situated on the ground floor of Selfridges to the left, Ed’s Easy Diner is designed to look like a good old American burger joint complete with chrome and fluro lighting where you’d find Danny Zucko and Sandy making doe eyes over the menu and transports you back in time to a time when petticoats, dreamboats and thick shakes were all the rage. With an open plan dining area with a look out onto the rest of the food hall, an open kitchen, a retro vibe and red seated booths, dime-play Jukeboxes and some of the classic hits of the era (hello Dreamboats and Petticoats Soundtrack)
With modern twists on some traditional American food – burgers, hot dogs, fries and shakes, Ed’s is famous for it’s name – an “easy” diner. Grab yourself a table and order yourself up a burger or dog OR upgrade your meal for ones of Ed’s much loved “plates” where along with your meat (or veggie) feast of choice you get a side of fries, onion rings and coleslaw.
I went for the Chilli Dog (The Original Coney Island) – a hot dog in a white bun loaded with chilli con carne and diced onions which was then finished with a (no doubt calorie laden) cheese sauce. Upgrading to a plate was a nonsensical question for me – what good is a burger or chilli dog without being accompanied by its friends Mr Fries and Mrs Coleslaw? With a last minute recommendation from our waiter I swapped out my normal fries for ones of the sweet potato variety and they were well and truly worth the change… they also made me feel less guilty about that river of cheese sauce.
Dan opted for the All Day Breakfaster Burger which is a burger, hashbrown, bacon and griddled egg love in – which really doesn’t sound like my kind of burger but he loved it. Instead of a plate he went for separate side of Chilli Cheese Fries. A good consistency of chilli and cheese sauce atop a bowl of fries – only they weren’t fries. When I think fries I think crispy and thin fries you’d find served up in your local fast food restaurant – these fries were very much of the chunky variety, one may call them good old British chips.
We both finished off our meals with one of the infamous Ed’s Skinny Shakes each. I’d heard big things about these super thick milkshakes which I’ve heard rival those of Shake Shack and I wasn’t disappointed. I ordered an Oreo shake and Dan went for a mint one – served in a gleaming chrome jug emblazoned with the Ed’s logo the £4.35 price tag may seem a bit high but you do get a good 2.5 servings from it and it’s super thick and creamy consistency makes it akin to a dessert.
Ever seen me visit a restaurant and turn down a dessert? Neither has Dan. On this occasion however I had to ashamedly turn the waiter and his desserts menu away in favour of a belly rub and a stroll through the Birmingham Christmas Markets which line New Street whilst wishing I was wearing a stretchy skirt.