Slice of New York Review – Birmingham

Salaams and welcome back to the Halal Blogosphere. We are slowly waking up from our halal food slumber and inshallah will bring you more news, reviews and views from the Halal Food Scene over the coming months.

We were recently alerted to the opening of Slice of New York on the High Street in Kings Heath at the Vicarage Road Junction. We have to confess when we first heard about it we didn’t really pay much attention. We’re quite used to seeing fast food joints open in Birmingham and then vanish almost as quickly as they open.  Slice of New York has only been open for a couple of weeks, the menu is still being tweaked, developed and added to and there seems to be some rather frequent changes to prices too! We’ve made two trips to a Slice of New York in the last couple of weeks and have seen the menu expand from a core staple of pizza options and Philly steak sandwiches to include homemade burgers with plans in place to introduce a pasta menu in the coming weeks.

Slice of New York occupies a small retail unit on the High Street, the first thing that hits you when you walk past is a rich and colourful display of pizzas in the shop front. As you enter you are greeted by a counter that runs the length of the eatery on your left hand side and a row of covers on the right hand side. The biggest challenge for anyone who wants to eat in is the limited width of the space which means that there are two rows of tables that seat a maximum of 2 people per table.  This is great if you’re a couple or eating with a friend. If there are more than 2 of you eating then it does mean sitting on different tables which is a rather quirky and interesting experience! We love the name and really like the concept, the menu and the branding is still a bit rough around the edges but definitely a work in progress.

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What makes Slice of New York even more interesting is that the owner has relocated / returned to Birmingham after living in Florida in the United States. Why is this important I hear you ask? The American influence is not just in the name but also the menu, there is no other place in Birmingham where we’ve seen Gyro served and the Philly and Greek Steak sandwiches have a definite American twist to them.

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So what about the Food I hear you cry.

We’ve sampled the Steak sandwiches, we’ve sampled the pizza and we’ve also sampled the legendary New York Special burger and we have to say the food is of a really good quality. The sandwiches are generously topped with meat, cheese and extras and for an extra £1 you can upgrade your sandwich to include fries and a drink. The sandwiches are not your typical baguette or panini which is easy to find in Birmingham and it really does give you an American experience in of all places Kings Heath!

The pizza is definitely the star of the show at Slice of New York, the clue is in the name and the branding 🙂 If there is one pizza we would recommend people trying it is the Al Fredo. The customer service team will also let you tailor your toppings. This cream themed pizza is the business and unlike anything we’ve experienced in Birmingham. Try it, love it and come back for seconds we definitely will!

The New Yorker burger is feast on its own, we didn’t need any sides to accompany the burger which comes topped with onion rings, salad and jalapenos. The meat patties are 100% home made and there isn’t a processed piece of meat in sight! As burgers go Slice of New York can compete with the best in Birmingham whether your preference is for Chicago’s, Fargo’s or Rock Diner’s burger of choice. It is great to see Birmingham develop a strong offer that is no longer based on picking a processed patty of choice.

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The big challenge Slice of New York does face is it’s location. It’s on the edges of the King’s Heath High Street shopping parade and the team at Slice of New York really do need to raise their profile and the marketing to entice potential customers in. During the two visits we made to Slice of New York there was a lot of passing interest in terms of people looking in but they kept walking on. I would definitely embark on a street marketing campaign that allows customers to sample some of the menu and maybe even run a special offer or two.

If there is one thing Kings Heath is not lacking it is places where you can buy burgers, pizzas and sandwiches. With competitors like Caspian, Big John’s, King Kebab, Al’s Diner and Papa John’s it is really important Slice of New York can carve its identity on to the High Street. Price will be a big factor in the battle for hearts and minds and we have a feeling that Slice of New York are still testing out price points as we have seen price fluctuations during our visits.

So what are the scores on the door!

In terms of the quality of the food we have no complaints. The food delivers with the Al Fredo pizza being the absolute highlight for us. For customers eating in the food could be served on traditional plates rather than paper plates but thats a minor grumble!

Space is a key issue and the seating configuration is not great, with a limit of two people per table it may put off larger groups of friends and families. There is no real fix to this due to the layout of the restaurant. This causes few problems when the restaurant is quiet but it could be disruptive during busier periods.

The Customer sales team are relaxed and friendly, they are more than happy to guide you through the menu options and recommend particular highlights. Pricing has seen a few fluctuations over the last couple of weeks but we think this is partly to test the waters as part of their soft launch. One thing we do like is the option to purchase pizza slices rather than a full pizza, the slices are very generous and it lets you fill your pizza craving without having to buy a whole pizza.

We’re looking forward to seeing the pasta menu come onstream but in the meantime we would definitely recommend checking Slice of New York out if you’re in the area. A word of warning Slice of New York does close around 8pm, we were told they will be reviewing opening hours in the future so if you’re planning on making a trip we suggest you err on the side of caution and go earlier rather than later.

Quality of Food 8.5 – Try the Al Fredo Pizza, it would be rude not too!
Quality of Service 8
Quality of Space 6.5 – the seating configuration is the key challenge here otherwise we like it.
Prices 7 – We’ve seen a few price changes, we’d like to see a more settled menu and pricing before we can give a higher score.

Overall rating 8 out of 10

Get your dish on the menu at Fargo’s Food Factory!

Salaams and welcome back to the Halal Blogosphere.

How many times have you been to a restaurant and scanned the menu only to think I wish they had that on the menu. Well think no more thanks to the team at Fargo’s Food Factory who want to put the power in your hands. They are running the very aptly named X Factory competition where diners can suggest a dish to be added to their menu.

So if you have an idea for a new burger, grill, stir fry, curry or pizza dish let the team know. You can do it via Twitter, Facebook or best of all in person at Fargo’s itself.

You can email your dish idea to info@fargosfood.co.uk tweet your dish to @FargosFood or via Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/#!/fargosfood