ChangeKitchen CIC cafe at Stirchley Baths is open Tuesday Wednesday Thursday AND Friday 10-3.
Serving hot drinks & cake, full lunches or snacks . The food is ethical, locally sourced and organic. It is fully vegetarian and vegan (with gluten free options available)
They do cappuccino & latte (made with organic fairtrade coffee grown by women’s cooperatives) , lots of herbal infusions – and proper tea.
Their food is home made and fresh, and includes Homity pie, (potato pie with caramelised onions and cheese), mushroom and spinach lasagne, and includes Vegan versions.
Photo taken by myself at Vegan Beer Festival last year.
Run by Birgit Kehrer and her team ChangeKitchen is an award winning event caterer and thriving social enterprise.
They’ve catered for corporate events, weddings, community gatherings and have run hugely popular pop up cafes since 2010. They have participated at The Vegan Beer festival last year at Two Towers Brewery and at Vegan fairs. As well as the Kings Heath Food Assembly.
ChangeKitchen Offer innovative vegetarian and vegan menus, all carefully put together using the finest local, organic and seasonal ingredients.
The ChangeKitchen food philosophy is a simple one. They create and serve delicious, nutritious and ethical dishes that can be shared and enjoyed by all. ”
At Stirchley Baths there is free In-house WIFI too.
The building at Stirchley Baths has recently been renovated, and is lovely to browse around and look at the beauty the new/old Stirchley Baths is/has become.
It has taken many months to convert the old baths into the new community centre. They’ve managed to pair modern facilities with the heritage of the building to preserve memories but in a space that enables them and you to also create new ones.
These baths are a grade ii listed building. Open initially in 1911 (Edwardian) the site has been derelict for three decades and cost £4 million to restore.
There are regular clubs, activities and rooms to hire (see website for details) with plans to develop a community cinema over the next few months.
On the 20th February Stirchley Baths will be the site for the first Stirchley Vegan Fair.
And ChangeKitchen will be selling its tasty ware in the cafe and the hall alongside tasty other vegan food.
Now books, that’s another story. I’m always to be found with a book in my hand, whether fiction, poetry, gardening or art, I’m never far from one. In fact I’ve been known to spend a few hours in book shops and thus if in Birmingham Waterstone’s is the main and largest book shop in town to visit.
The new impressive Waterstone’s Birmingham on High Street on the Bull Ring intersection is huge.
Covering five floors, it covers every type of book and has a lovely floor for its Children’s section which also has its own cafe and cup cake making sessions (plus children’s play area).
Created as a ‘flagship bookshop for the Midlands’. The fiction section has its own floor (basement) and there are oak bookcases fitted throughout. Topped with this there’s also a varied events programme (see in store or on the website) and the shop itself feels more engaging, more user friendly with a new shop front and enhanced book range (though the poetry section is still a bit small for me). It’s a joy to walk around and another step on the revolutionisation of Birmingham as a cultural city merging with an impressive and vibrant city centre.
Now it appears that me and Mrs Mills’ cakes have a thing going on, but just keep it a secret, but then I’m bound by been a blogger and all food consumed is ‘for the blog’ and the blog alone. Ruth my wife disputes this, and feels that I just consume food, well because I like it. It’s probably one of the reasons why I began my blog. As, what’s the point in being a food blogger if you don’t like food, and cake is food…right.
The cafe is run independently and this shows in its free and easy layout and atmosphere with comfortable seating throughout. It’s a peaceful spot, but there is a surprise that you can sit on any floor with your drink and food if you wish (as long as you don’t mind carrying it up flights of stairs).
The aim is as much as possible to use local producers for cakes and bakes such as Mrs Mills.
Cheesecake and Flat White.
Mrs Mills’ Chocolate Swirl Cheesecake:
Creamy chocolatey layers of delight. Cheese cake base well made, a good bake. Rich Vanilla pod infused with a thick swirl of dark chocolate running through each slice, chocolate chip pieces. Melt in the mouth deliciousness. Indeed the best cheese cake in Birmingham no doubt.
Eaten with a lovely flat white. In fact everything one should be. Velvet micro foam and a powerful double shot of coffee.
Mrs Mills’ Chocolate Brownie (with Pips Hot chilli sauce).
The second cake I’ve eaten at Waterstone’s cafe is the Chocolate Brownie made with Pips Hot Chilli Sauce and sea salt. A luxurious brownie, with a definite chilli hit, which though quite powerful compliments the gooey chocolate well and makes for an indulgent treat at any time of the day. A very beautiful brownie that deserves repeated trials. A treat.
Eaten with a disappointing cappuccino which wasn’t intensive enough in coffee for me and felt quite flat next to the brownie. Shame.
Waterstone’s cafe also serve sandwiches and biscuits. Bread is provided by local artisan baker Peel and Stone from the Jewellery Quarter. Other local producers are Anderson and Hill and Too busy to bake.
It’s a delight in every way and a place to wile away the time, but beware if you fancy working there, their wifi is erratic and tempermental, in fact much like writers.
A match made in bookish heaven.
Cakes and sandwiches at Waterstone’s.
The view from the cafe of Birmingham’s German Market in the distance.
Children’s floor with plenty of activities.
Books and coffee, whatever next?
Cafe seating amongst the books.
Waterstone’s Birmingham, High Street, 24-26 High Street, B4 7SL.
Disclosure: I paid in full for my coffees and cakes. My opinions are honest as always.
Mrs Mills Cakes makes celebration cakes, on the go granola bars, indulgent deserts and cheesecakes, biscuits for mail order and at food festivals, fairs and Brum Yum Yum Streetfood events.
Sometimes you just want a simple lunch. Nothing fancy, nothing glamorous, just something that hits the spot, is warming and non offensive. This is what I found at Indie Coffee shop Java Lounge on Colmore Row in Birmingham City Centre.
Having stumbled in, as you do, though I can assure you I hadn’t had a drink or much worse. I thought let’s give the Toasted Falafel Wrap with tomato and onion a go. It came with 2 dips and a mixed side salad.
I was impressed, the falafel wrap was a decent size, with the tomato and onion offering a contrast to the firm falafel inside. It had a good flavour and wasn’t in any way falling away in my hands or was tough to cut with a knife and fork. It was filling and even though I wasn’t sure of the dips which seemed an afterthought, maybe provide a oily chilli or balsamic dressing instead, it proved to be a decent lunch and not a rip off that some places are. For just over a fiver I had a filling vegetarian wrap and a Flat White (what else!).
The flat white, pitch perfect, looked good. A really fine coffee.
As the Java Lounge is only 5 minutes from the Birmingham Getman Market, it’s a lot more tempting for lunch for vegetarians than the overdose of meaty goods you can find there. It’s also inside and a darn site cheaper, unless you are having the cheesy garlic bread of course at the market. (Watch your breath though).
You can find Java Lounge on Colmore Row 5 minutes from Victoria Square.
Thanks for reading
I paid for my wrap and coffee myself and left with a bit more of a spring in my step than when I entered.
For my coffee time review of Java Lounge see here:
Now just imagine this..healthy fast food..now that’s a discovery..imagine all fast food was healthy. How many Marmite crisps would you eat? Now that’s probably just me, I think I’m the only sane person in the world that likes them, hey what do you mean, insane? No seriously healthy fast food, that’s the domain of Leon, yes even their chips which are baked.
I love much of vegetarian style fast food, a veggie pie, a good veggie burger, a slice of pizza, sweet potato fries, and eating chips on Aldeburgh beach in Suffolk, yum..no surprise to anyone who follows my blog. Yet, healthy fast food, is a new one on me. In fact it’s a new one for Birmingham to, if the rise of Five Guys burger chain is anything to go by..big anti vegetarian Yuk! (Oh dear sorry) (must remember to not get so cross!)
Leon has recently opened its first store in Birmingham temptingly close to the main atrium of the New Street Station / Grand Central complex. With branches famously in London for 11 years and an expansion plan in place, Leon will become more familiar outside of the capital in due course. Serving food from breakfast until evening. The menu includes burgers, wraps and superfood salads as well as breakfast baps, breakfast muffins, smoothies, and coffee. Fast Naturally Food with an excellent vegetarian and vegan choice.
Wow, The Leon menu covers every moment.
As its in New Street Station just below the shiny new Grand Central it will naturally be a top choice for the commuter and those on the move. It’s also a very good choice for families with lots of choice for children, with the smaller pots ideal for the younger foodie. (See children’s menu at foot of my review)
Though quite small inside the turnover of tables appears quite quick which is helpful. The decor is industrial feeling, but is light and feels bigger with tables not on top of each other. Plenty of space for cases, bags and buggies. It has a friendly feel and staff are happy to advise on dietary needs and ingredients in the dishes. Service is also prompt and the restaurant tables are kept tidy and clean.
All food and drink on the menu is made fresh daily. Their coffee is fair trade and organic, as are their eggs, milk and porridge oats. Leon are also a founding member of the Sustainable restaurant association.
Leon was founded in 2004 and only employ people who are “full of sun”, (not full of chips). The award-winning, London-based company is as I’ve said the healthy side of fast food with a notable leaning towards Vegetarian and Vegan dishes.
Take the Roasted Cauliflower Salad with Chinichurri: In my case onion, courgettes, pomegranate, roasted with turmeric and cumin with alioli and baked fries. (Side extra). £5.10 plus £2.50 for the fries.
Packaged in a nice box, the inner cauliflower Salad packed plenty of flavour, cauliflower has always been a personal favourite and though I asked for a recommendation I knew I wanted to try this dish. The dish full of fresh flavours, crunchy textures with a good turmeric and cumin finish, was delicious. It felt healthy and nutritious, it felt warming and filling and good value for the price.
The Baked fries on this occasion I hasten to add were not so good, though packing plenty of potato flavour they were not to hot and felt disappointing in the end. I like the sprinkled seasoning and the curly look though and would order them again, as i’m sure they could be done better. Nice alioli though.
With my food I ordered a Flat White. Though their were delicious juices and smoothies and coconut water on the menu an opportunity to try a coffee never escapes me, and it was a very good flat white, great for a take away.
(My Recommendation was the Halloumi wrap by the way,which I’m looking forward to trying along with the supper food salads.)
Roasted Cauliflower salad
Leon is a chain, and though I’m not usually a massive fan of chains I’m a big fan of what I’ve seen and experienced thus far. It’s because they do care about Vegetarians and Vegans, about the food we eat and about the ethics of it all. Yes, Birmingham has another chain, and yes I wish somebody independent could offer this kind of food, this kind of experience, but until that happens Leon will be a place I’ll call back to any time of day. It’s ethos should be applauded and the food on offer with its high nutritious leaning eaten. Food should taste good, and if it can do you good as well even better and for this Leon is a vegetarian friend.
The Java Lounge has been brewing its coffee in Moseley for ten years now and to celebrate the unique independent coffee shop milestone has opened up a second store in the beautiful Grade 1 listed building on Colmore Row.
Owned by Birmingham born Akram Almulad, Java Lounge offers Birmingham a taste of where coffee began, in Yemen. Which is where his parents were born.
A few years to go this used to be the building that was home to Hudson’s Coffee Shop. At its time probably the best place to drink coffee in Birmingham City Centre. It’s building, coffee and refined table service a beacon of quality amongst the advancing chains, which were taking over the city.
Happily, independent Java Lounge have now restored this coffee Mecca to its vintage beautiful best.
Inside the mood is woody. A lot of panelling and leather seats, with the Java Lounge mural showing the journey of coffee filling one wall (and very interesting it is too). It’s split into two rooms, the lighter first room by the counter and the more secluded second space beyond, ideal for working with the laptop, and taking advantage of the free wi fi
Both rooms have their charms, solid wooden tables, plenty of space. An urban feel. They’ve made good use of the old inside of the grade 1 building and maintained the gorgeous glass ceiling in the second room. It’s a fine space, one worthy of good coffee and food.
Coffee at Java Lounge is the convergence of science and art. They take advantage of technological advancements in standardisation and innovation whilst preserving the passion and craftsmanship of the cultural traditions.
You can buy lots of coffee. From Latte to Macchiato to Mocha, plus single origin coffee from around the world (from Yemen to El Salvador, only available as yet in Moseley. Plus from this week the delicious sounding double mocha).
There are numerous inviting cakes, hot food, such as wraps, (with a good choice for vegetarians) and salads.
Plus a range of teas and milkshakes.
Beautiful original ceiling.
Flat White at Java Lounge.
The Flat White had a velvety consistency, with a good strong espresso hit which had the right amount of microfoam and flavour. One of the best no doubt in Birmingham.
I’ve visited a few times over the last few weeks, on the three times I’ve had a flat white it’s been consistently excellent.
My Cappucino I’ve tried was also very good, the right side of frothy, creamy and with a good espresso flavour.
The chocolate brownie, was delicious, a harmonious dose of chocolate and light feathery textures. Beautifully combined and with a hit of chocolate that combine yes the silky flat white well.
Java lounge is certainly one of Birmingham’s best coffee houses.
The passion for the coffee comes through in the vibe of the space, the service and in the coffee itself. It’s has a good all round experience with a City charm and this makes a worthy stop off for locals and visitors.
Well that’s the ethos of Leon the “naturally fast food” restaurant that has been a major success since its Carnaby Street opening, in 2004, will open up a new restaurant in Birmingham New Street Station.
Leon has further London branches including Ludgate Circus, Spitalfields, The Strand, Regent Street, Cannon Street and Bankside.
Owner John Vincent sees the Birmingham restaurant as a flagship site. He founded the restaurant with chef Allegra McEvedy and Henry Dimbleby, the once Governments advisor on school meals. It is named after Mr Vincent’s father.
The restaurant are most famous for their takeaway boxed meals.
On Saturday 4th July, while America celebrates its Independence Day, BrumHour invites you to share #BrumIndependentsDay across social media and support your local businesses.
If you don’t know #BrumHour and use Twitter then you should make yourself familiar with it. Every Sunday from 8-9pm is Brum Hour where the opportunity is there to shout out your business, blog or whatever takes your fancy, a new shop you’ve found, an event or just a jolly good meal. It’s a very supportive hour, and all the better for it I believe.
Dave Massey from BrumHour (and I quote) said “I’ve seen businesses across the UK take part in Small Business Saturday in previous years and I wanted to do a version we could do in Birmingham”. Dave works hard to promote the Birmingham scene and has been a massive support to my blog and his posts on his blog are eclectic and interesting.
This Saturday join in using #BrumIndependentsDay on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
For me it’s about highlighting great Independent businesses in and around Birmingham and shouting out that they are the cornerstone of all that’s good about Birmingham and what makes this city unique, alive and current. And I believe it’s fun to explore.
Next week in fact sees pop up kings Two Cats open up their permanent restaurant in the Jewellery Quarter, with some good veggie options. Stay tuned for more.
Also a new Greek deli called Treat has opened in the Great Western Arcade and seems to be doing a good trade. Expect fresh salads, pies, figs, cheese, and Greek coffee. This joins All Greek Deli on Stephenson Street near New Street station.
Recently Harborne has welcomed Paradice Gelateria to its indie ranks. Serving cooling ice cream, waffles, deserts and drinks.
A fantastic Flat White at independent coffee shops Yorks Colmore Row and Yorks Bakery Newhall Street.
Amantia Mediterranean and Spanish restaurant Birmingham City centre.
Vegetarian Veg out Cafe Kings Heath Birmingham
Vegetarian Sunday lunch at The Plough Harborne.
Gas Street Social and its veggie brunch #allyoucaneatbrunch Mailbox Birmingham.
Blue Ginger restaurant Kings Heath.
Henry Wong in Harborne
Veggie tapas, courgette salad and Gin Martini at Fletchers Bar in Kings Heath
Veggie breakfast bap, flat white and cappuccino at Grand Central Kitchen opposite New Street Station
Flat white at Faculty Coffee and tea in Piccadilly Arcade in City Centre.
Veggie burger at The Victoria pub on John Bright Street.
Coffee or breakfast at Cherry Reds on John Bright Street City Centre and York Road, Kings Heath
Of course I can’t mention Independents in Birmingham without mentioning independent Birmingham and the great work that Joe does in the city
For details of the many independents in Birmingham not just food take a look at their website.
The grand in the name of this new coffee/cafe on Stephenson Street is from the view inside, looking out. Sitting in the window one early Saturday morning whilst waiting for our train to take us to Suffolk from New Street Station opposite, one could feel that this was another era. Another brief encounter.
The view is the reflection of the Macdonald Burlington Hotel in the new Grand Central station window, it’s lovely even in the grey early cool, not the misery at all of the roadworks on the street, but the promise of a new dawn, a new era, a new independent coffee shop with extras, yes breakfast, yes pizza, yes burgers, yes beer, yes good Vegetarian options.
The angled mirror cladding on the outside of the almost here Grand Central Station is the culprit for the reflection.
Grand Central Kitchen reminds me of one of those places you may go to in London for breakfasts, a stop over a refuelling in the early morning shut eye. I like it. It’s dark outside lends itself to a brighter interior, colourful, laid out well with clear menu boards behind a buffet bar and functional comfortable furniture.
As it was breakfast time, that is what Ruth and I ordered. The Vegetarian options are very good. On the advice of the friendly waiter I went for my own concoction from the breakfast hot buffet. A breakfast of tomato, rocket, and cheese omelette, in a brown seeded bap, it was delicious, the bap fresh, not claggy or stale, the cheesy omelette perfectly cheesy, well made and with my own hand chosen additions of tomato and rocket a satisfying and ‘grand’ breakfast.
Served with a good cappuccino and a top notch flat white.
The Flat White alone is worth stopping for. A good taste of coffee, great for the morning.
Grand Central Kitchen Also serve veggie pizzas, veggie burgers and Pannino, ciabatta, and sandwiches, with various veggie fillings. Plus, 2 veggie wraps, falafel and Humous and vegetable melt.
Grand Central Kitchen do takeaways too, which I’m sure will be very popular in months and weeks to come, with the station opposite. In fact a few people came into take away whilst we were there.
The service was excellent, offering me advice on the menu and the veggie choices, always friendly and relaxed.
Ruth loved her omelette, bacon sandwich. Which she’s talked about a lot since, so yes a winner.
All the food was cooked fresh to order, and as a cafe, it’s going to get busy as the station and the street with its Midland Metro link outside opens up.
Maybe try it before the deluge, for breakfast, lunch, dinner, get in there and spread the word on Grand Central Kitchens reflective air of relaxation and tempting vegetarian food.
Our seat at Grand Central Kitchen.
Grand Central Kitchen, 7 Stephenson Street, Birmingham, B2 4BL.
The fifth annual Colmore Food Festival is back in July and will showcase the superb food and drink offering in Birmingham’s business quarter, Colmore Business District (CBD).
25 venues, the majority of which are independent businesses, will be serving taster options priced at just £3 in Birmingham’s Victoria Square on Friday 3rd July and Saturday 4th July 11am-19.00 and is free of charge.
This year sees three new independent CBD venues taking part in the festival, as well as the return of some of the district’s finest eating and drinking establishments, where visitors can sample an array of mouth-watering internationally inspired cuisines as well as traditional British options including many Vegetarian choices. Alongside the varied food offering will be artisan coffees, real ales, champagne and delicious cocktails.
There will be a programme of live cooking demonstrations from top chefs in the District, as well as live jazz music, outdoor theatre, and other entertainment during the festival’s two day run.
All Bar One, Ashas, Bar Opus, Chung Ying Central, Costa Coffee, Edmunds Bar, Edwardian Tea Rooms, Hindley’s Bakery, Hotel Du Vin, JoJolapa, Metro Bar and Grill, Old Joint Stock, Opus at Cornwall Street, Pure Bar and Kitchen, Purnell’s, Purnell’s Bisro and Ginger’s Bar, Refreshments by Centenary Lounge, The Bureau, The Old Contemptibles, The Square Peg, The Wellington Real ale, Urban Coffee Company, Nosh and Quaff, Yorks Bakery Cafe.
The Colmore Food Festival is always one of my favourite festivals of the year, it’s good fun and with good vegetarian food options on offer, plus a lively atmosphere it is a good family day out. Look out for further updates on Veggie Foodie as I have them plus more details on the vegetarian food options.
Keep fingers crossed for a weekend of sunshine.
Thanks for reading.
Note the first two pictures are courtesy of Clive Reeves PR team who brought the event to my attention.