You don’t have to venture far from Birmingham to experience flavours from all over the world. Being blessed with a handful of mitchelin star restaurants such as Purnell’s which is located on Cornwall Street, ran by the Birmingham born master chef Glynn Purnell. Birmingham is a hub of variety when it comes to food. But good food doesn’t always have to be expensive, with the new street food venue Digbeth Dining Club taking Birmingham by a storm, you can enjoy gourmet foods at a low cost. Hosting weekly events at the Spotlight venue, the Digbeth Dining Club showcases various street food venders who offer fare to tantalise the taste buds and allow you to embrace your senses with the various smells and tastes which this venue has to offer. After moving to Birmingham when I started university, I have been fortunate to try what Birmingham has to offer, and I am impressed. Brunch is one of my favourite meals; I mean who doesn’t love a good coffee paired with eggs benedict? This year I took it upon me to try out two places that I had heard great things about; Boston Tea Party and Yorks Bakery Café.
Boston Tea Party
Boston Tea Party is a chain of independent cafés located around the UK, one of which resides on Birmingham’s Corporation Street. Opening in 2013, this café has gained a lot of fame, being featured in The Times list of top 25 places to eat brunch in the UK, as well as winning Food Magazine’s ‘Best Café’ award in 2015. The chain is proud to be ethically run, being a three star member of the Sustainable Restaurant Association. The rustic, ‘upcycled’ interior is one of the first things you notice as you enter Boston Tea Party, but if you’re food obsessed like me you will probably notice the huge array of baked goods displayed on the counter instead, which I couldn’t resist! As well as an extensive hot drinks and food menu, the café offers a great range of vegetarian, vegan and gluten free food to cater for all dietary needs.
After ordering a latté and eggs benedict, I took a seat in the corner of the room to get a good view of the café itself. My coffee arrived after a few minutes wait, nicely presented with an nice attempt at some latté art on the surface. The coffee here was to die for, it was one of the nicest lattés I have had, but I wasn’t too long into enjoying it when the main event came, my eggs benedict. The presentation was brilliant, enticing me in with the rich, tangy smell of the hollandaise sauce. The eggs were perfect, the coffee was perfect, the experience was perfect, and I left (with cake in hand) feeling very satisfied.
Yorks Bakery Café
Yorks Bakery Café is an independent café with two locations in Birmingham, with one being an espresso bar. Founded in 2012, Yorks Bakery Café has a passion to deliver the very best speciality coffee and uplifting food to Birmingham, with an emphasis on craft and ingredients. Rated by the Sunday Times as one of the best places in Britain to have brunch, I first heard about this café in an article by The Guardian, who stated it as one of the top 50 best breakfast places in the UK in 2017. With high expectations I eagerly made my way to Stephenson Street to locate Yorks Bakery Café. Inspired by the travels of the team, the interior had a similar feel to that of Boston Tea Party, with a more urban feel to it. Excited, I ordered immediately, choosing a latté and the Arabian buttered eggs. Once I settled into my surroundings, I felt that the café itself was small and cramped, but this may be due to the café being entirely full when I visited. The counter hosted a small array of baked goods, but nowhere near the quantity that Boston Tea Party displayed. As this café calls itself a ‘bakery’ I was expecting there to be more on offer. As I sat there staring out the window I had noticed 10 minutes had gone by, and I still had not received my coffee. It arrived a few minutes later, and although there was a wait, I was impressed by the presentation. The coffee used in the latté itself was a very dark roast, with a bitter taste which I did not enjoy. After drinking my latté my food had still not came yet, with it eventually arriving a good 30 minutes after I ordered. The Arabian buttered eggs were something new to me; I enjoyed the new tastes, and eating things that I normally wouldn’t put together. The presentation was slightly lacklustre compared to Boston Tea Party’s offerings, and I noticed my food was missing the ‘mixed herbs’ which were stated on the menu. Although I enjoyed my food, I left (with cake in hand obviously), feeling rather disappointed. I had high hopes for this café but they sadly didn’t meet them.
After sampling the delights of Birmingham’s best rated cafes – Boston Tea Party and Yorks Bakery Café, I can conclude that Boston Tea Party is hands down the winner. For me first impressions are everything, and Boston Tea Party made a cracking one. Although both cafes are good, and I would recommend going to either if you are in the area, there is no doubt in my mind the Boston Tea Party comes off as superior. Maybe one day I will give Yorks Bakery Café another chance one day to impress me, but when I am not busy, as it’s not the best place to go if you are in a rush! So if your after ethically sourced food, amazing coffee and brilliant service, I highly recommend you pay a visit to Boston Tea Party, you won’t regret it.