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Restaurants In Birmingham 1960s

patricia NASH

proper brummie kid
Restaurants

My memories come up with one or two places. A couple of Chinese restaurants at least. There was one at the back end of New Street Station in l957. I worked in the Station Offices at Stephenson Place next to the old Queen's Hotel. They issued the staff with Luncheon Vouchers and the girls in the office used to save them up. I think they were worth l shilling a day per working week. We would take them to this restaurant on Friday lunchtimes (anyone remember the name?) and they would take them all at once, so we had a great meal shared out with say three or four of us. My first Chinese food and I have loved it every since. I remember Scampi tails and beansprouts particularly. We had lychee nuts and vanilla ice cream for afters. Yummy. You could also buy standard English food at this resturant as well on their lunch specials. The custard was always strange on the pies I remember....
One other place was the Kam Ling in Livery Street. The food there in the late l950's and early l960's was excellent. Sometimes on a Friday I would go twice in one day. The Kam Ling also took Luncheon vouchers. Then in the evenings I would go with my friends to the "Lockers" on Hurst Street and we would meet at Kam Ling first. I also remember the Slow Boat which had a huge menu. There was also another place I used to go to in Cannon Street called The Cloverleaf. It was a family run business and survived until the late l980's I believe. I always went there when I visited Brum from Canada on home visits.

My brother Peter was a lover of Indian food even all those years ago and went to one of the first Indian restaurants in Steelhouse Lane called John's.
This would be around l960. It was on the same side as the Gaumont but down a few buildings. I ventured in there alone one Saturday out of plain curiosity. I hadn't a clue what to order but I remembered Bombay Duck from a film I had seen. It was a very hot curried Chicken Leg with rice when it came. I remember seeing many faces looking out of the kitchen door watching me tackle this. I thought it was awful and barely got through it, it was sooo hot. I fled out into Steelhouse Lane and
didn't have another curry for a very long time. On the Transportation site with "The Last Trams" postcards you can spot John's Restaurant on the right hand side of Steelhouse Lane on one of them. I also have ia photo of Kam Ling in one of my Alton Douglas Brum Books. Lovely memories.


:oops: :roll:
the first indian i went to was in gooch street b5 in 1959 curry was in a white bowl with a chicken drum stick plus boiled rice i was addicted straight away the menu in those days was very basic
 

james houston

Mr Sparks
The first chinese restaraunt I went to was the Slowboat which was opposite St Martins in the Bullring. I would say it was 1964/65 and I too had beef curry with rice. This was my first curry and it was love at first bite!
It eventually closed amongst rumours of skulduggery in the scullery!
There was talk of rats and cats being served as chicken and the joke at the time was that it was the only place you could buy a four legged chicken!
Still I always enjoyed my meals there but I must say I now prefer Indian curries
Jerry this was also my first venture into Chinese food at the Slow Boat where I had Spring Chicken and Chips I had a few meals there and always tasted ok to me , so if I did have some dubious cuisine it didn't harm me.
 

Wakaman

proper brummie kid
Can any of you more mature people out there :lol: remember the name of any restaurants in Brum during the 60s , any type of food English, Chinese Indian etc many thanks Pam.
I can only remember Lyons cafe, top of new street oh! The China gardens ( i think) in front of the Gaumont cinema where I saw from Russia with love.
 

Wakaman

proper brummie kid
China Garden

I too recall the China Garden - my Dad worked at the West End Cinema, and on the rare occassion that we went there as a family - South Pacific is embedded in my memory - we would go to the China Garden afterwards, I recall that an underpass would take you to it? It seemed incredibly posh and special at the time - a real treat!
Wow - a dim and distant memory - Thank You Nipper
Thats great, I am 67 my older brother took me to the China garden, my parents took me to South Pacific and from Russia with love, can't he,p enjoying childhoodmems.
 

The Heathen

New Member
This one might be an ask too far for anyone to remember - not least because I don't remember seeing anyone else in there when we ate in there! :D

The place in question was an Indian restaurant we would go to lunchtimes from the mid-70s up to about 1980 and it was on Edgbaston St, opposite the Rag Market. It was notable for the "Businessmen's Lunches" we would go there for.

Three courses for under a quid. Fruit juice or soup starter (both tinned, I think), chicken or beef curry and rice (or prawn for a surcharge) and ice cream or tinned fruit for dessert. I seem to recall coffee being involved but I don't know if that was an extra. IIRC, when we first started going there for a lunchtime scoff it was 75p but eventually was 90p.

Stonking value even if it wasn't the best food you'd ever eat. If it hadn't have been decent, we wouldn't have gone back because gash food is gash whatever the price.

So, I can remember quite a bit about it except the name. Any chance anyone knows what it was called? Whatever it was, I'm pretty sure by 1990 it was gone.
 

The Heathen

New Member
The 1973 Kellys lists the Jalalabad about that positiion

Thanks very much. That's interesting, I wonder if that's what it was called? However, it doesn't ring a bell, unfortunately, and 1973 is at least two, maybe three, years prior to when we went to the place.

I'll mention Jalalabad to the fellow diner who has oft shared a fond reminiscing of the place to see if it jibes with them.

My feeling has long been that we couldn't recall the name because it was analogous to "Red Lion" and "King's Head" named pubs. There is - or more accurately and absolutely tragically was - absolutely hundreds across the country.

Similarly, permutations of "Royal Indian" or "Royal Bengal" abound and have done for a long time. Hence I wouldn't be surprised if it was definitively named as "The Green Bengal" or "Moghul".

I'll do some image searching later for Edgbaston St. If I can find an image of it, perhaps I can narrow down the retail unit it was located at and what businesses might have been around it.

Cheers for the suggestion. Certainly gives me a starting point I didn't have last night!
 

patricia NASH

proper brummie kid
The one over the road from the Law Courts was the first one I ever visited. I wasn't aware it was over the top of a Chemists shop? and I can't remember the name either. It was perhaps around 1964? maybe someone with a Kelly's from that time might be able to help. I do remember I had Chinese style beef curry with rice, and had trouble eating it all. My only previous taste of curry was from a packet made Vesta Beef Curry & Rice which contained little peices of fruit, apple and I think sultanas. The real thing was so much different. :shock:
I went with my brothers Ronnie & Tony who paid the bill. My mom & dad would not eat what they though of as foriegn muck :lol: . I still eat Chinese curry as opposed to Indian/Asian curries :lol:
my first experience was going to the chinese was in bristol st about 1960 belive it was one of the first in brum
 

Jason Ellis

master brummie
my first experience was going to the chinese was in bristol st about 1960 belive it was one of the first in brum
This thread began in 2004 but still appears to be going strong, so here's my contribution. My father bought the Alpine Restaurant, 49 Great Hampton Street on 23 September 1968 and ran it until about 1973. It was a typical cafe on the ground floor with a big takeaway sandwich trade and had a formal restaurant on the first floor. The decor was skiing scenes, hence the name. Ground floor catered for metal-bashers and electro-platers (of which there were many). First floor catered mainly for the manufacturing jewelers and the Lucas training establishment on the opposite side of the road. As a 11-16 year old I went with my Dad to work with him every Saturday (more like "play" than "work"), but I did wait on tables. I got to know some of the nearby jewelers and visited their enclaves on Gt Hampton St and elsewhere nearby. What an experience! Some had not changed for 100 years or more. I remember two experiences in particular. One was visiting the silversmith who had been given the job of renovating the royal trumpets prior to one of the Queen's major events. Apparently nobody else in the country still possessed the skills to work on the wafer-thin ancient silver trumpets. The other is a memory of a fine man called "Monty". Probably not his real name, but I do recall he was a veteran and POW of the Japanese campaign in WW2. He lovingly created the engagement ring I offered to my wife-to-be. I therefore visited his workshop several times and it was another time capsule unchanged in the proud tradition of Birmingham's Jewelry Quarter since a hundred or more years earlier.

One final point of historical note, 49 Gt Hampton Street had a cellar under the full area of the main building. As a child this fascinated me and I installed battery-powered lighting and took it upon myself to tidy it up. It contained hundreds of canisters of movie films labelled "Renown Films" - an organisation which appears to still exist. I can only assume they were previous occupiers of the building before it became a cafe/restaurant.
 

patricia NASH

proper brummie kid
Restaurants

My memories come up with one or two places. A couple of Chinese restaurants at least. There was one at the back end of New Street Station in l957. I worked in the Station Offices at Stephenson Place next to the old Queen's Hotel. They issued the staff with Luncheon Vouchers and the girls in the office used to save them up. I think they were worth l shilling a day per working week. We would take them to this restaurant on Friday lunchtimes (anyone remember the name?) and they would take them all at once, so we had a great meal shared out with say three or four of us. My first Chinese food and I have loved it every since. I remember Scampi tails and beansprouts particularly. We had lychee nuts and vanilla ice cream for afters. Yummy. You could also buy standard English food at this resturant as well on their lunch specials. The custard was always strange on the pies I remember....
One other place was the Kam Ling in Livery Street. The food there in the late l950's and early l960's was excellent. Sometimes on a Friday I would go twice in one day. The Kam Ling also took Luncheon vouchers. Then in the evenings I would go with my friends to the "Lockers" on Hurst Street and we would meet at Kam Ling first. I also remember the Slow Boat which had a huge menu. There was also another place I used to go to in Cannon Street called The Cloverleaf. It was a family run business and survived until the late l980's I believe. I always went there when I visited Brum from Canada on home visits.

My brother Peter was a lover of Indian food even all those years ago and went to one of the first Indian restaurants in Steelhouse Lane called John's.
This would be around l960. It was on the same side as the Gaumont but down a few buildings. I ventured in there alone one Saturday out of plain curiosity. I hadn't a clue what to order but I remembered Bombay Duck from a film I had seen. It was a very hot curried Chicken Leg with rice when it came. I remember seeing many faces looking out of the kitchen door watching me tackle this. I thought it was awful and barely got through it, it was sooo hot. I fled out into Steelhouse Lane and
didn't have another curry for a very long time. On the Transportation site with "The Last Trams" postcards you can spot John's Restaurant on the right hand side of Steelhouse Lane on one of them. I also have ia photo of Kam Ling in one of my Alton Douglas Brum Books. Lovely memories.


:oops: :roll:
i am on my wifes site pat nash my name is howard the first asian curry house visted was in gooch st . opposite the triangle picture house it was called the delie i had chicken curry it was served in a white dish with a chicken drum stick boiled rice seperate this was 1960 it cost 8 shillings and sixpence am now 80 yrs old and i have been hooked on curry ever since
 

Vivienne14

Super Moderator
Staff member
This advert shows the Kam-Ling owner’s being the same owners as the China Garden. The China Garden was in the subway near Lewis’s - it helpfully gives the address as Dr Johnson House. Viv.B85D913A-DAFD-41E5-9EB3-39D1C231FAD3.jpeg
 

Susan shaw

master brummie
This advert shows the Kam-Ling owner’s being the same owners as the China Garden. The China Garden was in the subway near Lewis’s - it helpfully gives the address as Dr Johnson House. Viv.View attachment 153441
Loved the China Garden restaurant Viv. Saturday afternoons was always busy. Really good value for money. Had only just started work, so didn’t have an awful lot of cash, especially after shopping with the girls. Sue
 

lento

master brummie
Restaurants in Birmingham

Another restaurant I recall was the Burlington - was it part of the Burlington Hotel? - time has dimmed my memory, but it was in Burlington
Passage off New Street, we went there for special occasions, I think it later became Bobby Browns.

Another place for special occasions was The Albany Hotel, I think it was called the Four Seasons Resaurant, my sister and her husband took us there for their Silver Wedding Anniversary 1971, and my parents for their
Golden Wedding Anniversary in 1973.
The Burlington used to go on my own on Saturday dinner 3 coursemeal excellent live like a lord
 
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