Venue: Yiayia Mama at Kitchen Garden Cafe, 17 York Road, B14 7SA; website
Choice: Moussaka (£35 for 15 mezze) Chooser: Waiter
The big, warm hug of the pop-up world turns out to be Yiayia Mama, a night of mezze by third generation Greek Cypriot (and Brum resident) Tim Phedon. The 15-dish menu — yes we said FIFTEEN — was based on traditional recipes taught to Tim by his mother and grandmother ("Yiayia"), with tweaks to bring the dishes up-to-date. And while many of the dishes are super simple, like the proper garlicky tzatziki and ultra-fresh bulgar wheat salad, they're also tastes we haven't had outside Cyprus, which makes a trip to the Kitchen Garden Cafe in Kings Heath, where the pop-up takes place, a relative doddle. The most comforting in a raft of ludicrously lovely plates came in the form of Tim's moussaka. We tried the lamb version, with dry fried aubergines making the end result happily less oily than the usual, and oodles of thyme and cinnamon in the mince for a delicate, lasting flavour. In true Greek Cypriot form, this mezze didn't happen in a rush, and in some cases it would have been nice to be able to eat more of the dishes at the same time. But this was Tim's first ever pop-up, and he simultaneously catered for 65 people, so we're thinking there'll be refinements for next time. On the subject of which... Yiayia Mama's next pop up is on October 28. Contact Tim to reserve a spot.