Over recent years there has been a much needed influxof Independent coffee shops and cafe’s opening and thriving in Birmingham. The ammount of money and artistic superlatives that these bring to the City Centre and Birmingham suburbs is no doubt huge.
In essence Independents thrive on prividing great coffee and food combinations, taking the process seriously and always striving for that artistic difference that makes them popular and unique. They all offer something different. Whether that be majoring on great coffee, events they put on, or the food that they provide. Often made on the premises.
The one thing they all have is a sense of community and a spirit that has been developed out of research and their craft. That is what makes them interesting and gives them the foodie factor.
Personally, I’ve always loved cofee shops. They’ve always been a space to go to over and over. To relax in before and after work, a destressor, to read in, to write my poetry and now my blog in, to meet friends and family in and to make friends in.
This post is the first of a series of occasional articles/reviews mentioning those independent coffee shops that make up the
developing coffee scene in Birmingham (and sometimes beyond).
York’s Bakery and Cafe is on Newhall Street (on the corner) in the City Centre off Colmore Row in what is known as The Colmore Business District or Financial district.
At its essence is the design of community, care for ingredients, and a craft in its food and design of premises. The ingredients it uses are well sourced and the barristers know their coffee and tea are enthusiastic about the coffee process. The staff also care about you, the customer 🙂
I visited on a busy Friday lunchtime. I’ve always had a soft spot for York’s, but hadn’t been for awhile due to the huge coffee shop options available in the City Centre. I’ve often visited and wrote my poetry, chatted with friends and visited with my wife Ruth for food on a weeekend.
On the day I visited it was busy. A bustling sound and atmosphere. AI notice a good mix of customers, from those who were at work, to families with small children and buggies, from students to people who had obviously were trying York’s Bakery and Cafe out for the first time.
York’s believe in an honest approach to its ethos. Inside you are greeted with cool artwork, which is rotating in that they invite local artists to display their work every three months. You also have sturdy wooden furniture which looks like it belongs and zonal seating which make the room seem uncluttered and offers plenty of space depending on your requirements. I like that aspect. Their are two rooms, one at the back is hidden and offers a more private space for meetings and for the studious and groups of friends.
At the counter you are greeted with mountains of cakes stacked high, all very inviting. I chose a beautiful chocolate brownie, my test cake, it was beautiful, firm, rich, but soft, with the right balance of chocolate and cake, which slid down well with a perfect Flat white, which was smooth and had the right texture and flavour punch of coffee. A work of art in fact in it’s pretty design on top.
The urban feel of York’s works well. The service was friendly, knowledgable, and helpful and they even wiped and cleaned the tables. They were attentive. The music is funky too in the shop, plenty of chilled tunes, a bonus.
They have a good selection of teas as well and obviously give them the same billing as the coffee.
Over the next few weeks and months, York’s say that they are undertaking a transitional phase, in that they are stripping back their menu to provide the characteristics of a great coffee shop. A Smart food and coffee mix. They provide a specials board of pancakes, sandwiches and hot breakfasts in the week and weekend. It also sells flour to make bread with.
York’s Bakery and Cafe has a warm and relaxed atmosphere. It is a well recommended independent choice in the City Centre. In fact it is a coffee shop to return to again and again, for the coffee and the cakes and food.
York’s Bakery Cafe
1-3 Newhall Street (corner of)
For details of the Independent Coffee scene in Birmingham see http://www.coffeebirmingham.co.uk and blog.