Coffee Stop: Marmalade

Marmalade Latte

In my quest to sample every brunch in Birmingham, I dragged Dave for a Sunday brunch at Marmalade. Based in the Rep, Marmalade is part of the Bitters N Twisted chain, offering bistro food, coffee and cocktails.

Location

Marmalade is on the ground floor of the Rep theatre, next to the library. It’s just a few minutes walk from the city centre, but just far enough away that it’s not usually heaving (although right now, it has the German market right outside, so that’s not the case at the moment). With large windows, Marmalade is a great spot for watching the world go by, with plenty of bustle going on outside. Heavy curtains seperate the restaurant from the theatre, making it warm and intimate, but with the option to transform it to be an open, airy space.

Interior/Atmosphere

Marmalade is very different to the rest of the Bitters N Twisted venues. It feels grown-up and chic, with literary quotes painted all over the walls and cosy leather booths. The theatre is given a nod too through some of the decor. Faux bookcases and sweeping curtains suggest a stage set, which is a nice touch, I think. Marmalade always feels relaxed to me. The staff are friendly and chatty, and the restaurant never seems to be too busy. The menu reflects the more grown up vibe, with cocktails inspired by whatever is on at the Rep.

Marmalade

The Coffee

Marmalade serves Union Coffee (and Teapigs tea!). Union is a small batch coffee company, who hand-roast. They stock a good range of syrups, and the coffee is always well made, with pretty foam in the top, if you like that sort of thing (I do!). Worth a mention is that during brunch, bottomless filter coffee is available for just £1.80 when you order a breakfast. Bargain.

The Food

Marmalade’s menu focuses on being ‘flexitarian’. This means they focus on creating high quality, tasty dishes be they meat, fish, vegetarian or vegan. I’ve reviewed their food before at a blogger event, which you can read about here. Dave and I have eaten brunch there too, which was very nice. Their brunch menu is well priced, with most dishes around £5 or £6. Last time we went, I ordered Eggs Royale, one of my favourite brunch dishes. The poached eggs were perfectly oozy, although I did find the hollandaise a little rich. It was delicious, but somewhat overpowering by the time I’d finished eating. Being in the Rep, they course offer a pre-theatre menu, as well a standard evening menu, offering a mix of creative and classic dishes. Also on offer is a Sunday lunch option, a sandwich menu, and a kids menu for the littles.

 

All in all, Marmalade is a great spot for some dinner before catching a show, a lazy weekend brunch, or a quick pitstop for coffee before heading to the shops.

Coffee Stop: 200 Degrees, Birmingham

200 Degrees Birmingham

200 Degrees opened on Colmore Row in Birmingham recently, and I’ve already been in a couple of times, so I thought it was time to write about it!

Location

200 Degrees is underneath the Grand Hotel, on Colmore Row. Located in the heart of the business district, the cafe does get busy, but is convenient if you’re coming from the office, using the bus stops opposite or shopping in town. I often stop in to grab a takeaway coffee before heading to the radio station – having it right by my bus stop is just too tempting!

Interior and Atmosphere

The building is Victorian, I think, and the interior is uber trendy, with exposed brick walls and comfy leather chairs. There’s heaps of tables, so even when it’s busy you can usually find a corner to perch in. Laptoppers, there’s plenty of power outlets too (always important…). There’s a lot of distressed wood, piles of cake to admire and a general atmosphere of being a bit cool. The staff are always super chatty when I’m in there, and always ready to recommend something.

The Coffee

200 Degrees actually roast their own coffee, which is very cool. I find it well flavoured, and the staff obviously know their stuff. If, like me, you’re wooed by pretty latte art, 200 Degrees is a good bet too. They stock a good range of syrups (bring on the caramel lattes!) including some I haven’t come across anywhere else, like peanut butter. Good hot chocolate too…

The Food

I’ve never seen the same thing twice in 200 Degrees, and the great pile of cakes and sandwiches looks super tempting. There’s nothing ground breaking on offer, but enough options to appeal to most. The menus are updated weekly, so if you are a regular visitor, you aren’t going to get bored. Worth mentioning, the veggie options are far more exciting than most cafes in the city centre, and the range of salads always lures me away from the carbs, so a good choice if you’re eating healthy!

 

Coffee Stop: Urban Coffee Company – Church Street

Urban Coffee Company

As the name of my blog might suggest, I’m a bit of a coffee fiend. I’m gradually working my way around the (many) coffee shops of Birmingham, sampling caramel lattes wherever I go.

Urban Coffee Company currently has two branches, one in the Jewellery Quarter, and one on Church Street. While I like both, I am a regular visitor to the Church Street branch.

Location

I can often be found in the Church Street branch, as it’s ideally located for the city centre, just a few minutes walk from Colmore Row. If you’re working in the business district, or shopping in the centre, Urban Coffee Company is easy to get at. It’s just far enough off the main shopper area  to stop it from being packed to the rafters. It does get busy, but there is usually at least some option for a table.

Interior and Atmosphere

I love this place for people watching. Most of the tables are set up against the huge windows, so you can stare out at the bustle of the business district while you enjoy your coffee. Upstairs is full of beanbags for snuggling in, which is always enjoyable.

Urban Coffee can get busy, especially during the week as it’s a popular spot for meetings. It is laptop friendly though, and nobody seems to mind if you set up shop to work for a few hours.

Urban Emporiums

The Coffee

These guys take coffee seriously. If you’re a coffee aficionado, there’s a huge array of options and blends. If you’re not, the staff are knowledgable and friendly and will help you select your perfect cup of caffeine. Their coffee is rich and tasty, and served with artistic flair. I love a bit of coffee art! If you’re not a coffee drinker, their hot chocolate is rather good too.

Coffee syrups are available if you’re a sugar addict like me. The Caramel Lattes are always excellent!

The Food

Plenty of options here! I’m a big fan of their brunch, finding it always well cooked, quickly served and very reasonably priced. If you want a light bite, you can pick up tasty cake, and a good range of bagels and pre-packed sandwiches. The hot food menu is always tempting, especially now they’re hosting regular pop-ups from Ben Tesh.