Winter 2020/21 Edition: The Bull Sheets

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Posted on Friday, February 12, 2021

Birmingham’s Chinese Dynasty

James Wong - Managing Director Of Chung Ying Restaurant Group


Chung Ying Cantonese restaurant needs no introduction. An icon of Birmingham’s China Town for 40 years, it has built up a loyal fan base thanks to its range of authentic dishes and expert hospitality and has become one of the city’s biggest institutions.

Born in Birmingham, Managing Director James Wong took over the business after his father passed away in 2011. Speaking about the history of the restaurant chain, James said: “We’ve been here for such a long time and have a very good name in Birmingham as a result. Many people will have heard of us.”

A passionate foodie, Birmingham City fan and father, James is well known within the Birmingham business community, having been the winner of Businessman of The Year 2016, Brummie of The Year 2017 and Points of Lights winner 2018.

He is also heavily involved with community work in the local area, and is chair of the Birmingham’s Chinese Festival Committee, a governor of Overseas Chinese Association School, patron of the Chinese Community Centre Birmingham (CCCB) and chair of Southside BID. In addition, he also heads the committee for the Chinatown Arch Project.

Prior to him taking over the business, James studied Science and Management at university in Manchester, before joining Chung Ying Garden on Thorp Street in 1997 as an assistant manager and working his way up to become the general manager of the restaurant. “It was a hard learning curve, especially being the boss’ son”, he said. “At the time Chung Ying Garden was the busiest restaurant in the city, and we were also responsible for bringing karaoke to Birmingham – something I definitely don’t regret!”

The key to Chung Ying’s success has been their desire to build lasting relationships with their customers, and making them feel more like members of the family – something that James is really proud of.

He said: “Generations of people come through our doors, right back from when we started in the 80s. Our first customers have brought their families, who now bring their families, and we have seen people grow up from being kids to being hired as staff and even holding their wedding receptions here!

What impact has Covid-19 had on Chung Ying? James says that prior to the pandemic the restaurant was running at record levels and doing really well, but since then they have been forced to operate at a 50% capacity and rely on their takeaway operation to keep the business going, which James says has been very successful.

He said: “It was hard work to transition from a restaurant to a takeaway at the beginning, and we now offer a slimmed down version of our full menu which was over 400 dishes prior to lockdown and is now down to 200.

 “Dining in a restaurant is all about the experience, which is something that is more difficult to replicate with takeaways. It’s not plain sailing, but we need to be positive and protect our brand.”

So what does the future hold for James and Chung Ying? “In this strange time we’re living in, we really hope that we can make sure we’re here for many more years to come,” James said.

“This year we were planning a good year and looking to celebrate our 40th birthday, which is not something many restaurants can boast at. At the moment it is what it is, but we certainly want to mark the occasion in some way when we can.”


Quick Fire Questions


What makes Birmingham unique? 

“The multi-diverse community and the fact that everyone is so friendly and inclusive. The support from people near and far during the pandemic has been amazing, and it’s great to see everyone all here looking out for each other.”


Favourite place to go out in Birmingham?

“Nowadays I like to go to my local pub on the Bournville border. One of the biggest things I miss is having drink with my friends! I also miss going to eat Japanese at Kyoto, Korean at Topokki and having Sunday lunches at Malmaison.”


If you ran the city for the day what one change would you make?

“All the stupid one way systems that are in place at the moment. Driving around town is a nightmare right now!“


Favourite hidden gem in Birmingham?

“The Edwardian Tea House in Birmingham Museum. You can go inside and have

a pot of tea and lunch in really nice surroundings.”



We are happy to offer our delicious menu for Collection & Delivery respectively with 25% OFF every order.

Our menu also includes extensive #Vegan & #GlutenFree offerings!


Order on our website


China Town, 16-18 Wrottesley St, Birmingham B5 4RT

Facebook: chungyingbirmingham

Twitter: @chungyingrest

Instagram: @chungyinggroup


How will the Brexit deal affect Birmingham house prices & your mortgage payments?

Christmas Eve brought the news that Boris Johnson had conclusively agreed on a Brexit deal for the UK with the European Union.

This gave optimism that the economic turmoil of leaving the EU would be radically reduced, yet what will this ‘trade deal’ do to the value of your Birmingham City Centre home and the mortgage payments you will have to make?

Since the summer, the Birmingham City Centre property market has been booming, yet many commentators have cautioned that the momentum cannot last. With unemployment and the end of the Stamp Duty Holiday on 31st March, the Halifax reported recently that they believed UK house prices would drop by at least 2% (and in some areas 5%) in 2021.

I find it fascinating the Birmingham City Centre property market has defied the doom and gloom swamping the wider British economy in the last seven months. 

The Birmingham City Centre property market has profited from the large swell in demand from better-off existing City Centre households trying to buy larger properties (as they are required to work from home) together with the added benefit of saving money from the Stamp Duty Holiday.

With the Brexit deal being voted through in the Commons, many say this will boost the property market just as the Government-backed measures supporting the property market come to an end.

Yet, in the face of rising unemployment due to the pandemic, the Brexit deal may do little more than avoid uncertainty for the Birmingham housing market.

What will happen to Birmingham house prices?

The Birmingham property market in 2019 was held back because of the uncertainty of the Brexit deal. In January 2020, we saw the demand released in the fabled ‘Boris Bounce’, only for buyer and seller activity to fall off a cliff in March during the first lockdown. It then took off like a rocket once lockdown was lifted.

What will happen to Birmingham house prices?

The Birmingham property market in 2019 was held back because of the uncertainty of the Brexit deal. In January 2020, we saw the demand released in the fabled ‘Boris Bounce’, only for buyer and seller activity to fall off a cliff in March during the first lockdown. It then took off like a rocket once lockdown was lifted.

UK house prices are 4.19% higher today, year on year (although some areas are breaking the mould, like Aberdeen whose house prices have dropped by 5.1% and at the other end of the scale, Worcester’s house prices have increased by 11.9% year on year). A lot of that growth in UK property prices has been fuelled by buyers spending their stamp duty savings on the purchase price of their new home. Yet, it cannot be ignored.

When the furlough scheme ends, unemployment is likely to rise to in excess of 11%, whilst the protection for the homeowners utilising mortgage holidays will finish.

 Piloting the rocky shoreline of the recession is more important than any Brexit deal for Birmingham homeowners, buy-to-let landlords, buyers and sellers.

In April, the market will also be dealing with the end of the Stamp Duty Holiday, which is due to come to an abrupt halt on the 1st April 2021 – though this is set to be debated in Parliament.

Consequently, we will continue to see the house price index’s show growth in the first half of 2021...

What will happen to mortgage rates now the Brexit deal is in place?

Read the rest of this article at:   


Birmingham Food & Drink: China Town & Digbeth 

In this issue of The Bull Sheets we’re focusing on the very best that Birmingham’s China Town & Digbeth areas have to offer in food and drink.

We’ve rounded up our top five restaurants and bars, so that all you have to do is go and enjoy them!



“Coming up to their 40th anniversary and it’s easy to see why. Authentic Chinese cooking in the cornerstone of China Town that’s perfect to visit or grab a takeaway with friends, family or even for the office – their soft shell crab is a firm favourite of the team!”

James Forrester – Managing Director at Barrows & Forrester



“It’s Birmingham’s oldest pub – and for good reason – with its great events like its annual Oktoberfest, great offers on drinks and ideally located in the fun part of Digbeth giving us good reason to visit time and time again.”

Krish Patel – Sales & Letting at Barrows & Forrester



“Chef Kray Treadwell – of Great British Menu & Purnell’s fame who has just been awarded Michelin’s Young Chef Award – opened his restaurant last summer so not many have had the chance to try it out yet. But with its quirky taster menus and creative setting this’ll be one of the hotspots to check out when hospitality fully opens.”

Jack Harris – Sales & Lettings at Barrows & Forrester



“Remember when street food was just a London thing? Well DDC have certainly cemented their place as THE kings of pulling together the best street food across the country for every Brummies’ enjoyment – they’ve gotten so big they’re now touring DDC around the Midlands with their food events.”

Tom Bower – Head of Marketing & Comms at Barrows & Forrester



Birmingham Hippodrome lights up 2021 with art installation


Hippodrome new year Global Rainbow - an art installation by international artist Yvette Mattern - was beamed Northwest from the city’s iconic Rotunda building, marking a message of hope and peace for the New Year. 

Graham Callister, Director of Festivals at Birmingham Hippodrome commented: “We were delighted to present this monumental light installation by visual artist Yvette Mattern over the New Year Period. After such a challenging 2020, we hope that those who have been able to experience Global Rainbow have been inspired to take a moment to pause and reflect and look toward 2021 with hope and peace.”

Global Rainbow is an ongoing public artwork by Visual Artist Yvette Mattern. The artwork was created in 2009 to be a visual translation of hope and light and has since been displayed across the world in cities including New York City (USA), Sao Paulo (Brazil) and Kobe (Japan). Global Rainbow beams seven rays of laser light can reach up to 10 miles on a clear night (Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo and Violet) representing the colour spectrum of a natural rainbow and was shone northwest out the city over the New Year period.

The rainbow beams can reach up to 10 miles on a clear night, and could be seen in Birmingham City Centre, Jewellery Quarter and areas of the Black Country.

Yvette Mattern said: “I was thrilled to work with the Hippodrome Festivals team to bring a unique, covid-safe, visual art installation to the West Midlands. I hope those in Birmingham and the Black Country who saw Global Rainbow enjoyed the experience and will take comfort from positivity it represents as we head into 2021.”

Fiona Allan, Artistic Director and Chief Executive of Birmingham Hippodrome added: “As a leading producer of festivals in the region, we have worked incredibly hard this year to innovate and adapt our programme in order to safely deliver exciting cultural experiences. Global Rainbow offered us the opportunity to produce a beautiful, poignant and symbolic moment for the region as we all look towards a brighter 2021.”

Global Rainbow by Yvette Mattern was presented by Birmingham Hippodrome as part of Global Streets, a national project funded through Arts Council England National Lottery Project Grants.

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