It’s no secret that Mediterranean food is one of my favourites after Indian food. In Brum, its being led by the likes of the fantastic Rico Libre and El Borracho de Oro and well, that’s it. In Moseley, the view is bleak with La Plancha pulling in the crowd, a place where the food is so meh, so fake news that after one visit, I’ve never returned and doubt I’ve missed a single thing. Nope.
So imagine the delight when I discovered Don Diego was serving some seriously sizzling med food in Edgbaston. You know I love that convenience, I live for that convenience. Just a little bit excited. Based on Chad Square, opposite The White Swan on Harborne Road, you’d totally miss this place if your intention was to go to Harborne or into town. But you’re missing out, cancel your plans, reroute your uber and eat dinner at Don Diego instead. Tonight.
Don Diego opened earlier this year and is run by two Spanish brothers, Eddy and Alfonso Yufera-Ruiz. Eddy works front of house whilst Alfonso- whose cut his teeth at Simpsons, before opening and selling Don Diego in Sutton and El Borracho- cooks it. So you know the food is going to be sensational and it is.
The restaurant is small and simple yet feels more expensive than the food is, which is a strange feeling. It hasn’t had the hipster/industrial treatment, nor has it had the authentic Spanish overhaul you’ll see in Barca-you know what I’m talking about- because they’re too busy concentrating on creating passionate, flavoursome cooking that other places can only dream of. Its probably not even on your radar but it should be, so give this place some social lovin’ because this is a hidden gem that really shouldn’t be hidden anymore.
The food menu is concise and focuses on Mediterranean food with a twist, including familiar small plates of Tiger Prawns; and Grilled Artichokes, to the more unfamiliar Grilled Octopus Leg. There are some fantastic mid-week deals too, including two courses for £12.95 and three courses for £15.95, an absolute steal. In contrast, the drinks menu is extensive and there is some pretty good wine on offer.
We start with Grilled Artichokes, Olive Oil, Maldon Salt (£5.25) with a smidge of paprika which are nothing short of amazing. Artichokes are one of my favourites when it comes to tapas style food and these little beauties, have been left to soak in olive oil and salt, have a slight lemon acidity and were grilled to perfection retaining their layered texture.
Then, Tiger Prawns, Garlic, Chillies, Lobster Dressing (£7.95). Plump, juicy, meaty prawns tossed in a deep and rich sauce that packed some lovely heat from the chillies elevated these prawns to another level. A delicious sauce which we scooped up in chunky fresh bread. I would love to see even more small plates like this on the menu and would happily order these over the more traditional mains that follow.
For mains, we start with Suckling Pork Belly, Cider, Apple Sauce (£11.95). The pork is flavoursome and tender, with a generous crackling on top, creating the perfect crunch against the cider apple sauce.
Then, Roasted Lamb Shank in Rioja Wine, Cauliflower Mash (£11.95). A generous lamb shank, seasoned well; it falls off the bone as I slice through it. The cauliflower mash is a nice addition but I don’t get to taste it as the lamb cuts through it completely so it dissolves. I would have preferred this on the side.
The mains don’t come with sides so remember to order them- grilled vegetables (£3.95) and chips (£3.50) are on offer.
We finish with espresso and Crema Catalana Mousse and Apricot (£4.95) which usually comes with Rhubarb but it’s currently out of season. A creamy, frothy dream in a glass with a creme brûlée glaze to crack into. Divine.
I was seriously impressed with the food at Don Diego, an absolute gem that I can imagine is often overlooked due to its location. If this place was in Moseley or Harborne, it would be packed and the prices would be so much more. You should check it out now before its listed on Independent Birmingham etc, which if you’re reading, Alfonso, it totally should be…
Eddy and Alfonso were so welcoming, passionate and so informative when it came to the food. I felt really comfortable asking about the way things were cooked and the ingredients that were used. So often, restaurants just put your food in front of you and there is no conversation. At Don Diego, there is conversation, there is a homely, casual vibe and its almost as if you’re eating at their home and that is what I love about this place. Go and see for yourself.