What’s long, knobbly, firm and delivers deep satisfaction?
The answer: the Galician octopus that I ate at Don Diego, a gem of a Spanish restaurant tucked away in a shopping precinct on the border of Harborne and Edgbaston.
With 2018 approaching its halfway point, it ranks among the loveliest things I’ve put my ravenous gob so far this year.
There was a simplicity and honesty about its cooking and presentation, a profound respect and understanding of this difficult ingredient.
Cooked badly, octopus can be about as unyielding as a Brextremist insisting that leaving the EU will mean we’ll all have our own pet unicorns that piss Champagne and fart foie gras.
Here, the creature had been blanched several times to tenderise it then cooked gently in Spanish olive oil flavoured with paprika.
It arrived bathed in the oil and accompanied only by a scorched lemon with a little herb dressing to add freshness.
The cephalopod itself was perfect – that slightly gelatinous skin, that firm sweet flesh below.
Its unfussy serving allowed its quality to shine.
It’s a dish that I think every food-lover in Birmingham should seek out and eat sometime soon.
The chips that I ordered as a side were also beauties – crunchy outside, soft inside, just the right shade of dark gold.
Opposite a plate of pork tenderloin with a slightly tangy team and mushroom sauce was eaten with as much enthusiasm as I ate my octopus.
Earlier, starters had delighted.
Mine comprised sweet red peppers stuffed with a lightly-textured combination of black pudding and rice and served with a piquant sauce of red peppers and onions.
Fishcakes with pea puree and tartar sauce were also enjoyed.
The meal finished with a shared slice of Santiago tart rich with almond flavour and nicely matched with apricot and prune purees.
Run by two Spanish brothers – one front-of-house and the other cooking – Don Diego is the sort of place that Birmingham should celebrate.
It’s a small independent, driven by passion, fuelled by skill and knowledge and generous in its servings and hospitality.
Get there – and eat the octopus.
Need to know
At dinner, starters range in price from £4.75 to £8.95 and mains from £10.95 to £17.95.
The menu is short but there’s plenty of variety and veggie options.
Check out the lunchtime deals – one course £9.95, two £13.95, three £16.95.
The place is child-friendly and accessible for the disabled.
There’s free parking in the square.
8 Chad Square, Hawthorne Road, Edgbaston, B15 3TQ. 0121 448 6460.
I was invited to eat at Don Diego by East Village, the PR agency.