Birmingham breakfasts and brunches
Anyone who claims that New Street Station is the busiest place in Birmingham hasn’t been to Yorks at the weekend. Here, hungry Brummies tuck into brunch in stripped-back, industrial-styled surroundings well into the afternoon. Choose from a breakfast bar that includes homemade granola, bagels and as much freshly baked bread as you can get down you, and an extensive range of egg-based brekkies. Our pick is the measured heat of the shakshuka – baked eggs in sweet harissa peppers, tomatoes, coriander and lime yogurt.
This is a lively and distinctive addition to Birmingham’s food and drink scene. The killer combination of live music, Latin American food and a colossal rum selection (over 130 varieties) make it the kind of place you keep coming back to again and again. And what’s more, The Cuban Embassy serves its own great twist on breakfast and brunch. Head to the Cuban Embassy on Sundays, and you may just catch the Bottomless Brunch in full swing. Take advantage of the deal and enjoy a standard breakfast, along with unlimited prosecco or Cuba Libre cocktails for £25. You can also customise your own brunch by choosing dishes from the main menu instead.
What started out as a vegetable cooperative has in ten years transformed into Bournville’s foremost brekkie hub and organic deli. With the most important meal of the day served alongside an array of homemade, wholesome staples until closing, you’ll find young families, patent hangover nursers and ladies that lunch shoulder-to-shoulder at Leverton and Halls. If the pancakes with crispy bacon and lashing of maple syrup are too sweet for your palate, the vegetarian breakfast is a first-rate choice.
Brunch platter for five, anyone? Gas Street Social does a big line in breakfasts and brunches, with a particular emphasis on the sharing and socialising aspect of eating. When it comes to the ubiquitous bottomless boozy brunch, Gas Street Social have chosen to put the bellini centre stage. The classic Italian combination of prosecco with peach juice guarantees a morning buzz. On perusing the breakfast menu your eye will inevitably be drawn to The Social Breakfast (£39) a uniquely gargantuan dish designed for up to five people to share. The more modest of appetite might opt for a sweet helping of fruit pancakes (£6.50) which come with banana, berries and clotted cream, or with an American style dish of Bacon Pancakes, topped with streaky bacon and a drizzling of maple syrup.
Sitting pretty in the suburb of Harborne, The Plough is one of Birmingham’s favourite pub-restaurants, with a lively atmosphere and fully occupied tables whether you visit on a Tuesday or a Sunday. Harborne high street is lined with pubs, but The Plough wins hands down for a number of reasons. The venue manages to be both smart and relaxed at the same time, with that warm rustic feel that marks a good gastropub. The food and drink on offer is varied, and includes some excellent pizzas (two for £11.75 on Mondays), delicious burgers (two for one – roughly £11 – on Tuesdays) and its brilliant brunches.
Fresh, sparky and refreshingly wholesome in an area which until recently predominantly boasted a high concentration of greasy spoons, Yumm serves breakfast until 11am on weekdays and an hour later at weekends. If you’re in a rush, grab a yoghurt and granola pot, which comes topped with a gooey, tangy raspberry coulis and allows you the indulgence of grabbing some mini pastries for elevenses, too. For those with time on their hands, the eggs benedict is excellent.
Boston Tea Party is a friendly, family-run chain that has been growing exponentially up and down the M5 over the past few years. It’s a byword for consistency and familiarity. Arriving in Birmingham in 2013, this was a caffeinated shot in the arm of Corporation Street, occupying the huge space left previously by a giant Yates pub. If you're not sucked in by the massive trays of home baked cakes taking up the counter on entrance, then BTP’s vast menu covers the options – from all-day breakfasts to mains including burgers, salads, toasted sandwiches, soups and a very good kids' menu.
One of the few places in Birmingham to serve a beef steak option at brunch, The Lord Clifden is one of the Jewellery Quarter’s most venerable venues and a breakfast legend. The Full English is - as you’d expect - a key staple of the brunch menu. If you’re in the mood for something a little different, The American (£12.95) may be right up your street. Instead of sausages and bacon, expect an 8oz rump steak of beef that’s bound to set you up for the rest of the day. Then there’s The Brummie, which combines steak, sausage, bacon and black pudding in a meat-laden homage to the West Midlands. Lighter brunch options include granola, porridge and smoked salmon with scrambled eggs. There’s also a range of sandwiches on offer, with both meaty and vegetarian options to choose from.
Meander through pots, plants and every shade of green via an unassuming opening in the York Road to discover this thoroughly chilled-out spot. Sharing a courtyard and ethos with a neighbouring deli and organic farm shop, the Kitchen Garden Cafe does a steady, loyal trade throughout the week. For the meaty-minded, the smoked dry cured bacon stands out and can be found in the full English or taken as part of a chunky breakfast sandwich. If fuel for the day is your primary aim and you arrive sufficiently hungry, try the Kitchen Garden’s take on the classic Victorian breakfast staple, kedgeree.
Just a few minutes from the incessant hustle of the Convention Quarter and Broad Street, a canalside sanctum is providing top notch breakfasts, all day long. If you're feeling naughty, it’s all about a bloody mary and Ju Ju’s hollandaise hash. A medley of sausage, bacon, onions and tomato, mixed with crushed hashed browns and topped off with fried eggs, it's the ultimate brunch mash-up.
Opened in 2009, Urban’s Church Street emporium set the blueprint for Birmingham coffee culture, bringing the values of London's independent scene to the city and a standard that many indies have followed. Testament to its popularity, Urban opens seven days a week, and is used by everyone from office types having a morning meeting to on-the-hoof freelancers quietly working away, to folks just wanting a glorious coffee and a slice of cake. Its two floors are a thriving hive of community; a snapshot of Brummie diversity. Coffee is served with friendly attentiveness by knowledgable baristas, and comes from Origin Roasters in Cornwall. There's also a brew bar rotating single origins on v60 and aeropress. There's also booze, including bottled beers, wine and cocktails, plus Bloody Marys and Bucks Fizz throughout the week. Food offerings include sourdough toast from the local Thirteen Bakery, porridge, a full 'Urban Brekkie' and a a 'bottomless brunch' at weekends.
The heart of the JQ is dotted with cafés and coffee houses, but when it comes to a proper Brummie breakfast, there’s only one name you need to recall. The Hylton Café enjoys a cult following until 2pm from Monday to Saturday. And here’s why. For the eminently reasonable sum of £3, expect one of all the usual fried breakfast staples, plus freshly ground coffee or tea (the Sapphire Breakfast). And if you’re looking for breakfast on the go, the classic bacon sarnie is a must.
Faculty by name and nature – you’ll find caffeine alchemy in Brum’s answer to a coffee classroom. Opened in 2014 by former Saint Caffe owner Geoff Lam, nestled in the Piccadilly Arcade and 30 seconds from New Street Station, Faculty is on a mission to provide great coffee and enable customers to understand more about it. There’s a selection of lovely loose leaf teas, Madagascan Hot Chocolate and numerous delectable homemade treats from Sixteen Bakery, owned by Geoff’s wife, Lucy.
See and be seen at the Mailbox’s biggest and smartest canal-side terrace. Sup a mimosa (that’s blanc de blanc brut with fresh OJ dah-ling), while you peruse the breakfast menu and think about how fabulous you are. Mid-week, we like to keep things classically french with a buttery croissant, fruit salad and creamy yoghurt pot (the Breakfast Complet). Added to efficient service, an 8am opening and its proximity to major transport hubs, we favour Cote for breakfast meetings.
Around the corner from Harborne's better known breakfast havens, Boo Boo's Coffee has landed on the Lordswood Road. A relaxed, stripped back feel has been expertly crafted, with a deep inviting sofa, stacks of magazines and the aide of local lighting emporium, Jam Jar Lights. Kick things off with one of Boo Boo’s five regular and life-affirming smoothies. Plump for more of the good stuff with the avocado and poached eggs on sourdough muffins or enjoy the subtle sweetness of the brioche bap set off by smokey, crunchy come hither bacon.
Artisan bread and Parisian patisserie are the order of the day at Moseley's Maison Mayci. The second café to open in this French family, we love the unexpectedly large, multi-levelled garden at the back of this little sister venue with a varied offering of shady spots and inviting seating. As you might expect, the oeufs a la coque (that's soft boiled eggs with soldiers to you and me) are a particularly popular choice with Maison Mayci's junior following. Though you'd be forgiven for sticking to a basket of toasted bread (served with butter and jam) - it's just that tasty.
Housed in an iconic Victorian building, the Junction is a serious player when it comes to Harborne's increasingly competitive Saturday brunch scene. We like the French toast with bacon and maple syrup and the 'Breakfast of Champions' (a monster fry-up), although you may need to divide and conquer, such is its size. Bloody marys are another popular weekend staple. Sun out? Take your chosen sustenance out to the beer garden.