Charlotte Gill shares the best spots for breakfast food in Birmingham
Yorks Cafe & Coffee Roasters
As their menu reads, Yorks was recently listed as one of the UK’s top 10 brunch destinations by The Sunday Times and The Observer, which is understandable from its wide-ranging and tasty menu. Along with the classic brunch menu options of a full breakfast, eggs galore (I went for the scrambled eggs on toast and was not disappointed), homemade beans on toast, porridge and granola, there are some slightly different options, too. You can choose from spiced banana bread, sage & chilli mushrooms on toast, or go all out and have shakshuka, greek eggs, arabian buttered eggs or even fried chicken & bacon waffles. There are many veggie dishes, some vegan options, some dairy-free options (but unfortunately no gluten-free options on the brunch menu). Brunch is served until 4pm and prices are reasonable, with porridge costing £4, breakfast sandwiches and toasts around £5-6 and larger dishes costing up to £10. You can add extras on for a small cost if you are feeling hungry and if you have a sweet tooth, make sure to have a nosy at the cake stands by the counter. The interior is cool and stripped back, and the atmosphere is bustling yet chilled out. There are now three locations: Stephenson Street (my preference, right by New Street Station), Colmore Row and a smaller version in the Ikon Gallery.
The Plough may conjure up images of Sunday dinner, and while it has won awards for that, it does a great brunch too. Brunch is served until 12.30pm on weekends and though the menu offers a modest selection, it offers a tasty one. You can choose from pasties, granola and your trusty breakfast ‘sarnies’. If you want a bit more, there are classic egg dishes, homemade baked beans on toast and a full breakfast (both veggie and house). Smoked salmon and avocado of course make it to the menu as the top dogs of brunch, as does a stack of pancakes served with blueberries and maple syrup (bacon optional). The potato & okra hash is a refreshing change and the slow cooked beef brisket with poached egg & English muffin is also a more unconventional brunch option. There are some nice juices and smoothies, though unfortunately not homemade (I had the açai, strawberry, blueberry and mango one which I can recommend). Some parts of the menu are slightly overpriced — the £3 half pink grapefruit springs to mind… — but generally the pricing is fine. Dishes range from £6-11 and are consistently tasty and the service always very good. The Plough has a lively and comforting vibe — it is often filled with families and larger groups. The smart, airy decor adds a bit of modernity to the familiar pub experience. As The Plough is in Harborne, it gets you out of Selly for a little while and makes for a nice walk there with a group of friends at the weekend.
Boston Tea Party
The BTP menu is strong and breakfast & brunch is served all day, so you can take your time. There are veggie, vegan and gluten-free options galore, making it great for a group with various food requirements. The sweetcorn hash and the chorizo hash are worth talking about (I had the chorizo hash and of all three brunches, I would say this one came in first place). Expect to see your trusty egg dishes (royale, benedict, florentine) as well as a fancy twist of sourdough eggy bread with bacon and avocado. If you are not a breakfast-eater normally, you can choose one of the lighter bites such as spelt granola or brown rice porridge. You can even order their flatbreads and paninis, or a burger — break that breakfast status quo! They do all manner of hot and cold drinks (they even have some festive additions now), as well as milkshakes and smoothies which are made fresh and are really tasty, and not badly priced compared to many other cafés which tend to overcharge on drinks. They also have a cake counter, so you could have breakfast-dessert if you are feeling indulgent. The menu as a whole comes in at about the same price as Yorks cafe, ranging from around £5-10. The BTP cafés are bright and friendly inside, as is the service. I also like that they have banned single use coffee cups — you can buy one of their reusable cups with #noexcuseforsingleuse written on them. BTP, too, has been voted as one of the top UK brunch stops by The Sunday Times. There is one on Corporation Street in the city centre, one in Harborne (my favourite of the three) and now one in Edgbaston.