All right: I know last week I said ‘no chip shop news’ – but that was before I knew FISHY MOORE’S IS COMING BAAAAACK!* To mark the closure of Coventry’s iconic 50m swimming pool, Cov City Council has announced that the pool will open for one last time on Saturday 15th February (with special 1970s entrance prices of 50p each for adults and children) and “we’ll even hark back to the days of Fishy Moore’s, as we’ve booked up a chip van for outside so people can enjoy an indulgent post-swim treat the way they used to!” Hurrah!
*sort of, and for one day only.

Enigmatic Mystery Restaurant has been quiet for a while, but last Thursday it broke its silence with a bang, publishing not one, but two, draft menus. As had already been revealed, Mystery Restaurant will be drawing inspiration from the cuisine of Italy, with Mushroom Arancini, Ox Cheek Bolognese and Scilian Fish Stew all potentially featuring as a la carte options. If you want to take a sneaky peek at the suggested a la carte and set menus, head over to Mystery Restaurant’s Twitter account (@MysteryRestCov), where your feedback is awaited.

And staying with intrigue: if you’re a Coventry foodie and you’re on Facebook, head over to this page and give it a big like and a follow. I don’t want to say too much about it at the moment, but you can take it from me that something new and exciting will be arriving very, very soon – so keep ’em peeled, food fans.

Good news for aspiring cooks! The Hank Marvins Cookery School has now opened its weekly classes to anyone aged over eighteen (was eighteen-to-twenty-four year-olds only) and has added a day time slot! The Holbrooks-based cookery school is running FREE six-week-long courses from now until late October, with the next one starting on February 26th. Learn basic culinary techniques and bugeting in a small (maximum six people) friendly class, and gain a Food Hygiene qualification as well! Beginners welcome. Email hcca@btconnect.com for more info and booking.

Are you planning a party or hosting an event? Does it need a boost of irie Caribbean food to switch on the sunshine? You’re in luck, because the arrival of their refurbished mobile snack shack means Fargo favourite Leave it to Esmie can now cater ALL events! How great is that? Message them for details/prices.

In recent months, Coventry Railway Station cookiemonsters Wicked have had to do battle with a major chain store opening up right opposite their pitch, but they are undaunted! Now back to five-day-a-week opening (Tuesday-Saturday), they have lots of new cookies for you to enjoy. Their Halo range of vegan and gluten-free low-and no sugar cookies is set to expand over coming months, and January also saw the launch of the ‘Snickerwoodle’ described by Wicked as “a sublime cinnamon and sugar cookie paying homage to the classic American ‘Snickerdoodle’.” And they added that “If you’re a cinnamon sugar pretzel or churros fan, then you have to try this stunner of a cookie!”

More new plastic-free local products have gone on sale at Coventry Market’s COGS of Coventry! You can now buy loose tea by Henley-in-Arden tea specialists The Tea House, and loose spices by Rugby’s Spicy Joe’s.

Coventry chocolatier Pick’n’Mix Parties and Gifts has added a stunning chocolate fudge cake to its range. Pick’n’Mix said the cake, which can be heated, “makes a great after dinner treat, special treat or part of a dessert table at your party or wedding.” Available to order through the Pick’n’Mix website.

Pizza with a Romanian twist will be on offer from next Saturday (8th) at Foleshill Road Romanian restaurant Hanul Domnesc. The new pizza menu promises “pizza prepared with a Romanian taste” and “sauce to remind you of home.”

“What’s your February special, E11evanses Brunch Bar?” “Dale’s Spicy Chicken Grilled Cheese Sandwich, Food Cov!” Delicious, and only £4.

Meanwhile…Glasgow has Deep Fried Mars Bars as its signature sweet treat, Coventry has…Nutella Donuts? Since launching at Stoke Bakery (Bulls Head Lane and Winsford Avenue) earlier this month, these seem to have been going down a storm, with ecstatic comments on Facebook and multiple sell-outs. £1.30 a pop.

It’s that time of year again! The awards season is upon us, so if you want to see your top Coventry bar, restaurant, food festival or food business in with a chance of wider recognition, you need to get nominating and get voting. Still at the nominations stage are the Midlands Food, Drink and Hospitality Awards. This one has loads of categories, covering every variety of establishment, so now’s the time to flex those fingers and get busy! Nominate here until 17th April. In the Warwickshire What’s On Readers’ Awards meanwhile, shortlisting is already complete and voting is under way. Coventry’s best chance of a foodie win is probably in the ‘Best Food Festival’ catergory, where it has three shortlisted events: Coventry Food and Drink Festival; Digbeth Dining Club at Coventry Cathedral; and Fargo Vegan Festival. City Centre Indian Restaurant My Dhabba appears on the ‘Best Independent Restaurant’ shortlist. To vote for any of these, go to this page and select ‘Warwickshire’. (I’m told Fargo also appears on the ‘Best Market in the Midlands’ shortlist, but locating the place to vote for this has defeated me. Sorry.)

And finally…I’m not sure that Coventry ever took its Hotel California-esque, seven-storey IKEA store completely to its heart (everyone seemed to know someone who’d had a panic attack in there because they couldn’t find the way out), but news of its impending demise is another blow to a city centre already reeling from a number of significant closures. Plenty of people think they already know what what the site will be used for next – and in the current Klondike conditions, it seems almost inevitable that there will be interest in turning the building into student housing. But the truth is: we’ll just have to wait and see. In the meantime, our thoughts are with the 350 staff who are now facing a choice between redundancy, relocation or a long commute to work at other stores.