Saturday, 12 September 2015

Birmingham - The first review

A week ago I moved to a new city and I have begun exploring. I expect to review different aspects of the city as I learn more about it. Today I want to concentrate on coffee shops and art.

The weekend before I moved I happened upon a B1 leaflet in the beer tent at the Greenbelt Festival. Reading it I noticed they met in an independent coffee shop which I thought was worth a try. It’s called Six/Eight Kafe and whilst when it is busy you do have to wait a bit to get your food and drink I’m really impressed with the place.

The first thing I like about it is the d├ęcor it’s kind of boho but not in a way which is over the top or obviously so well done it ends up the complete opposite, downstairs particularly is quite minimalist with sofas and packing cases as tables. The toilet also has a quirky large doodle on the inner door and is well worth a look if you want a laugh.

However, you don’t go into a coffee shop just to look at the toilet door. You go in for food, drink and space.

The food is gorgeous. The first time I went in I had a chocolate, orange and hazelnut cake which was to die for. It is rare I can say anything tastes better than church cakes, but this clearly homemade cake did.

Whilst I was in there the first time I overheard somebody on another table talking about the bread in there and so I decided to go for toast and jam the next time. It was brilliant. I got two large slices of spelt bread toasted with some gorgeous jam on, which wasn’t out of a small jar you had to spread yourself. It tasted far less artificial.

Drinks wise they do Suki tea which I love. You get a small cup and a pot gives three and a half cups. My one quibble is perhaps they could use larger cups with handles which are easier to deal with.

The staff are friendly and bring your food and drink over to you so there is no hanging around.

Price wise it is slightly more expensive than Starbucks, but you get what you pay for. I was a bit disconcerted though when I saw yesterday they make a small extra charge for card payments. So worth having cash if you do go.

Another place I would recommend at the moment is the Cathedral which is undergoing restoration. There is something quite artistic I believe about seeing something ancient under renovation with the scaffolding and so on in there. It was almost like going in to an installation. As a local preacher I could see how these images could be really good for illustrations and so have gone in and taken quite a lot of photos to add to the resources pile.

Finally I have found out that Birmingham is great for art. There is the Big Hoot going on at the moment which means there are owls all over the place. Last Sunday I caught the last day of the William Morris and Andy Warhol exhibition curated by Jeremy Dellar at the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery and that was amazing as well as being half the price of a similar exhibition in London. It’s even better you can get an annual membership for £25 or £38 for the membership plus and full time students can get a concession rate. This seems a really good deal to get into exhibitions in the galleries and museums in the city.

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