FOOD REVIEW: Ed’s Easy Diner at the Utilita Arena

There’s a picture of a happy family in a 1958 car on the wall as soon as you enter Ed’s Easy Diner. And if that doesn’t take you back to the post-War generation before you were born, then the pioneering pop ‘muzak’ playing non-stop above your heads soon will.

Sparkling clean tables.

Welcome to the rock ’n’ roll-fuelled, glorious comfort food of the American diner. Except you should also be aware that this particular  time-machine restaurant can be extraordinarily busy given its location.

A busy location.

Expect a late-afternoon rush for booths and seats before the six nights of Take That, for example, who are playing the Utilita Arena from tomorrow (Tuesday 14 May) to Monday 20 May (no show on Thursday).

Take That, you might remember, enjoyed their first No 1 with Pray back in 1993. That’s 31 years ago! And 31 years before that, The Beatles were topping the charts with The Beatles Love Me Do. How time flies, eh!

So the diner concept of 1958 really is going a long way back in music terms.  You can hear that with the simplicity of many of the featured tunes, so it’s a shame that the mini-jukebox on our table was only for ‘display’ purposes.

Jukebox sadly for display only!

I’d rather have enjoyed blasting out the transformative Elvis on the assumption he grew to love this kind of food where simple is best.

My wife enjoyed her chicken and bacon burger with seasoned fries (£13.49), celebrating the quality of the meats and the barbecue sauce that was part of the meal.

Tasty chicken and bacon burger with seasoned fries.

Likewise, my chicken caesar salad, which also contained bacon as well as a dressing, croutons and crisp lettuce, tasted fresh. The one letdown for fussier eaters might be the side portion of ‘industrial’ coleslaw, when making that from scratch would surely transform the entire dish and show real care in the process.

My chicken caesar salad.

The bonus was that staff were cheerful throughout and very friendly, too.

Ed’s Easy Diner has been on this site since around 2015. People clearly love it and there were plenty of visitors inside during an otherwise unremarkable Tuesday lunchtime in term time.

The venue lies underneath the canal-facing lip of the Utilita Arena, with views towards the Library of Birmingham and ICC in Westside. It’s also next door but one to the Legoland Discovery Centre and directly opposite The National Sea Life Centre on the other side of the canal next to Brindleyplace. Now that’s what you might call a family-friendly location!

You can watch a mini video of my visit here:

The bill. Our total meal for two came to £33.06 with the addition of an Americano coffee served with warm milk on the side (£2.89) and a latte (£3.19).

Ed’s Easy Diner is at King Edwards Rd, Birmingham B1 2AA. Tel 0121 233 4005. Or visit their website to see the full menu.

Pictures and video by Graham Young.


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