When you live in the UK, it’s easy to think that Spanish food is all tapas and paella. While both of these are undeniably Spanish, Don Diego Restaurante Edgbaston are showing Birmingham a different side to Spanish food.
Where tapas and paella are best served to share, Don Diego has curated a more intimate and romantic menu, inspired by the best of Spanish produce. I was invited to review the restaurant, so I headed along with Caz from City Fever.
The restaurant is in an unassuming location between Edgbaston and Harborne. It’s neighbours include a few shops and a curry house, making Don Diego a bit of a hidden gem.
The decor is quirky, with the most amazing wallpaper, an impressive collection of wine bottles in the window, and dark wooden tables and furniture. The restaurant is small, and it was quiet when we went on a Tuesday night, but at full capacity it could have a real buzz.
The welcome was warm and the beer was cold, so a good start all round. The menu isn’t exhaustive – which in some ways I prefer as I’m so indecisive when it comes to food – but there is something for everyone whether meat eater, pescetarian or vegetarian. Everything is made fresh in the kitchen too, so vegans can be catered for with relative ease.
For my starter, I have a real soft spot for Spanish black pudding, so I went for the piquillo peppers stuffed with that, while Caz opted for grilled artichokes.
The peppers came with a Romesco style sauce and a healthy sprinkling of paprika. The peppers were smoky and delicious, stuffed to bursting with that delicious, lightly spiced black pudding. The portion size was just right too, which is a blessing when you see what I chose for my main.
Caz’s artichokes were chargrilled and smelled delicious when they arrived at the table, though I didn’t try any as I really don’t like artichokes. They looked fantastic though, and Caz thoroughly enjoyed them.
One of the reasons I was so excited to dine at Don Diego was because of the grilled octopus leg on their menu. I’m a huge octopus lover, I order it whenever I see it on the menu and after spying it on the social media feeds of several bloggers, including Bite Your Brum who I stalk for all the best places to go, I knew this was what I had to have.
Cooked really simply with olive oil and paprika, this dish really makes the ingredient the star. It’s also served whole, rather than cut up and arranged on the plate, which I loved.
The chef explained afterwards that he likes to serve the octopus leg whole so diners can eat it how they want. I really enjoyed how the texture of the octopus changed from meaty at the fatter end to crispy at the thinner end.
It was delicious too, the chargrilled bits on the outside contrasted really well with the tender, meaty inside, complimented by the paprika and caramelised lemon. I could order this again and again and not get bored.
Caz had the pork tenderloin with mushroom sauce, which looked rustic and hearty, full of rich flavours.
For dessert, we both liked the sound of two desserts, so we had both and shared. The chocolate & hazelnut brownie with Seville orange sauce, and the whisky chocolate semifreddo.
The brownie tasted like a grown up Jaffa Cake, with yielding sponge and a sharp, marmalade-like sauce. It was quite heavy for a summer dessert, but very tasty.
My favourite though was the whisky chocolate semifreddo. Not quite ice cream, not quite mousse, this dessert was light as a feather with a subtle whisky flavour, complimented by sweet white chocolate shavings and berry coulis. I’d definitely have this again.
After the meal, the chef came out to talk to us and see what we thought of the menu. He explained how his focus is on great produce, most of which he sources from Birmingham markets, local butchers and local fishmongers. The dishes are simple, but executed well, and with a clear passion from the brothers that own the place.
If you’ve not been to Don Diego, venture outside of your comfort zone, literally and gastronomically. It will be worth it.
Disclaimer: I was invited to review Don Diego Restaurante so my meal was complimentary, many thanks to the team. As always, my opinions are my own and I was under no obligation to provide a positive review.