Quick Lunch at Soho Coffee Company

A new coffee shop appearing is always exciting for me, especially one so close to my office. I popped into the new Soho Coffee Company for a quick lunch.

Upstairs in Debenhams, Soho Coffee Co. actually describe themselves as an independent. They serve 100% Arabica, drum-roast, fairtrade coffee and handmade food. The branch in Debenhams is in the space previously occupied by Chi Kitchen, so it is very light, with huge windows.

Soho Coffee Company

The fit-out is classic ‘trendy coffee stop’ with exposed lighting, a scattering of small tables and a huge circular table in the middle for the laptop club. I grabbed a table in the window, and settled in. The light is lovely (ideal for bloggers taking pictures too) but I did think the shop was cold, so I hope they sort that out before Autumn arrives.

Lunch spots in Birmingham

I ordered my usual caramel latte and chose the Tennessee pulled pork toastie. Both arrived quickly from the friendly barista and I tucked in.

The sandwich isn’t huge, but was about right for a small lunch. The sourdough was still fluffy after toasting and was obviously very fresh. I would have maybe liked a touch more filling with the pulled pork inside was tasty, and at least it wasn’t messy to eat from overfilling.

Caramel latte

The coffee was flavourful with a good, rich taste, and not drowned in the caramel syrup. It looked pretty too, but with the big cup, it did cool quite quickly, as the cafe was quite cold anyway.

The whole lot (with crisps) came to a little over £8, which is about on par with similar orders from the big high street chains. It was quiet when I went in and I wonder if, tucked away at the back of Debenhams’ shoe department, people haven’t quite found it yet. It would be ideal for working in, as table real estate isn’t in high demand and there wasn’t much noise. I can also see it being somewhere I would pick when my mum is in town for some shopping. Easy to get at, and with options to please us both.

I paid in full at Soho Coffee Company. All opinions are honest and my own. They didn’t know I was a blogger. 

 

Musical Bingo at the Botanist

Earlier this week, myself and the lovely ladies from Bite Your Brum, Bella & Robot and Miss Pond took ourselves for a girl’s night out to Musical Bingo at the Botanist. Ready for a night of bingo, cocktails and some tasty food, I arrived already excited.

Musical Bingo

But what, I hear you cry, is Musical Bingo? Instead of your more traditional numbers, instead the Botanist has a live musician playing the intro to famous songs. Your card has song titles on it, so you have to identify the song, mark it on your card and aim for either a line, two lines or a full house, depending on the round.

After a  bit of confusion with our table when we first arrived, we eventually managed to get settled downstairs in the Plants Room. It’s a lovely space, with it’s own bar, and we blagged a booth and set about choosing some dinner.

Botanist Deli Board

I decided to make up on the of Botanist Deli Boards (£10.75). You can choose four items from a large list of options to add to your board, which automatically comes with Fougasse bread. I chose the Green Olives, the Scotch egg with piccalilliWarm chorizo and Smoked mackerel pâté.

The Scotch egg was gorgeous, with a runny yolk and a lovely crisp breadcrumb coating. With some added tang from the piccalilli, I was very pleased. The chorizo is a generous portion, and was tasty, if perhaps a tiny bit tough. The mackerel pâté was creamy and a good strong fish taste. I started off smearing it onto chunks of the Fougasse bread, but I soon abandoned the bread as I found it was too crisp and dry for my taste. I’d have preferred something a little softer, or maybe a nice Sourdough instead. The green olives are a massive portion and were very tasty. I like the idea of the board in general, as it’s a nice way to adapt what you eat. Laura of Bite Your Brum is currently following the Body Coach, and she found it quite easy to find options for the deli board that matched her requirements.

Cocktails Birmingham

A round of cocktails were delivered and we got stuck in. I chose the Rhubarb and Gin Old Fashioned (£9.95) which is Portobello Road Gin stirred with rhubarb, a pinch of black pepper and garnished with grapefruit zest. I love a sharp, boozy cocktail and this hit the spot beautifully. Be careful of too enthusiastic straw use as you get towards the bottom though, or you get an unpleasant mouthful of black pepper bits. It was very tasty, but I’m certain it was a little different to the version we had at the #TrustYourSenses event the other week, and it even seemed to be slightly different to Laura’s, who had ordered the same thing. Perhaps just a difference in bartender?

Musical Bingo Botanist

Fed and watered, it was time for Bingo. A live keyboard player tested our knowledge at song guessing. We played three rounds, and soon found ourselves over excited, singing along loudly and jabbing wildly at our cards with our bingo dabbers. Unfortunately it wasn’t very busy, I think because of the pouring rain, but I’ve heard some months they have as many as 60. I can imagine it’s a real party vibe with that many having a singalong, but even with the smaller numbers, we had a hell of a lot of fun.

By some miracle, I managed to get a full house on the first round and was given a choice of prizes. I chose a voucher for an in-store facial and a goody bag at Kiehls. I’m really excited to use it!

Musical Bingo is held in the Plants Room at the Botanist on the last Tuesday of the month, and is completely free to attend, although they do recommend booking a table in advance. We attended not as bloggers, just for a night out, and we paid for our own food. The Botanist very kindly gifted us a cocktail each, but we were not obliged to write about the event. All words and opinions are honest and my own. 

 

Brunch at Cherry Reds

I love Cherry Reds. It’s like a cross between a cafe and your nan’s front room, and the food is excellent. We went along for brunch the other weekend, and spoiler alert, it did not disappoint. We found ourselves a table upstairs in the John Bright Street branch, and perused the menu. I always struggle to decide what to eat at Cherry’s as it all sounds so tasty! With a very nice latte to assist me, I eventually reached a decision.

Cherry Reds Brunch

It’s been a busy few weeks on the blogger events so just for a change, I decided to try and make a healthier choice. I opted for the Salmon fillet, nettle and caper pesto, asparagus, spinach and mashed avocado, topped with a fried egg (£8). To counteract all that health, I asked to add some extra Halloumi (£1.25). The portion is frankly enormous. The salmon fillet is an absolute beast, and I actually struggled to finish it all. The salmon was beautifully cooked, and was soft and flaky. The egg was perfect too, with a gorgeously runny yolk, which I love. Cutting into the egg sent delicious yolk running all through the dish like a very tasty dressing. Perfect on all that spinach. I could have used just a touch more pesto, but I was amazed by just how much Halloumi I was given. I was expecting a piece about the size of the one you can see in the picture above, but there was another the same size hiding the other side, and what can only be described as a piece like a steak tucked under the salmon. I recommend adding the cheese actually; the saltiness paired beautifully with all the other flavours.  For a healthier choice, this was really satisfying and I was full to early evening, which was impressive.

Pancake Brunch Birmingham

Dave chose the slightly less healthy Big Red Pancake Breakfast (£9.50). This giant breakfast is two pork sausages, two bacon rashers, scrambled egg and hash brown piled high on a stack of fluffy American pancakes, with maple syrup. Dave actually spent some time living out in Baltimore, so he goes bananas for anywhere he can get the american classics right over here. This is actually his go-to Cherry Reds order, which is a good sign! I’d like to see it with crispier bacon, personally, but Dave has never complained. The portion is massive, with good quality sausages, thick delicious syrup and fluffy scrambled eggs. Delicious.

As always, the service was friendly and fast, and we had a very pleasant, lazy brunch and a good old natter. What better way to spend a Sunday morning?

We paid in full ourselves at Cherry Reds. All prices are correct at the time of writing. All opinions are honest and my own. Cherry Reds didn’t know I was a blogger.