Best Breakfast in Birmingham!

So it has been a long while since I last wrote on this but in my defence, it’s been a busy few months with relocating to Birmingham and also changing jobs! However I have still been indulging in eating out and trying as many new places as I can, of course.

Living in between the Jewellery Quarter and Birmingham City Centre, we are surrounded by many eateries, including many cute little coffee shops which are so much nicer than the franchised stuff that you get. Our favourite place to go for a spot of breakfast is definitely Urban, which is located on the corner of Church Street just off Colmore Row.

As always, whenever I am in an unfamiliar place I refer to Trip and Instagram for their feedback. I have gotten in to a habit of judging food based on the pictures posted on social media, and that’s exactly what I did prior to choosing Urban. They have a breakfast, brunch and lunch menu. We have been to Urban a handful of times now and always had something from their brunch menu, which, unless I am mistaken, is served all day over the weekend. Perfect for us as we aren’t always the early risers that we would like to be, yet we still want the perks of an early riser, ie breakfast!

Now the question is.. what to have? As you may have read from my previous posts regarding brekky, I often opt for my usual Eggs Royale and my other half has the Eggs Benedict.. however you may also remember that I am quite partial to an avocado or two. SO, what better choice than to have the smashed avocado on toasted sourdough with additional smoked salmon and poached eggs?

It’s a thing of beauty, and the worst part is that the picture doesn’t do this plate of food any justice. The butter is slighty salty on the toast which, for me, is perfect as I love salty butter on hot toast. The smashed avocado was at right consistency with chilli, lemon juice and cracked black pepper. The eggs were runny and there was a good amount of smoked salmon. One thing about Urban is that they do not scrimp on their portion sizes so you are guaranteed to leave with a full belly. The food is all prepared and cooked on site by their chef who works solo and is always working non stop in their kitchen. What’s more, she delivers the food to you after she has made it! The perfect personal touch if you ask me.

The coffees are something which I must mention quite quickly. Their strength is just enough to give you that little boost in the morning without making you feel shaky. They also offer soya milk for those who are lactose or, if you are like me!, just prefer the taste of it in your caffeinated beverages.

Make sure you pick up a loyalty card if you are planning on visiting this place again as you will receive a free coffee after ten stamps!

 Urban also offer a breakfast for two deal for £15 where you can choose an item from the brunch menu per person and also a hot drink each. This is a great offer especially when most of the breakfast and brunch items are between £7-£7.50.

If you are stuck for somewhere to go for a great breakfast and you are in Birmingham, make sure you venture towards the Jewellery Quarter and have a bite at Urban. It is quite a popular morning venue so you can sometimes have to wait slightly longer than usual for your food however it is definitely worth the wait.

 

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Byron Burger in Birmingham 🍔

I don’t often crave a burger or opt to have a burger when it’s a choice on the menu, however when I am in the mood for one then it’s got to be a good one and I’m nit satisfied until I have had it.

This happened a couple of Sundays ago when the only thing I wanted to eat was a big fat juicy burger. It was quite late in the evening and I knew we were going to struggle finding somewhere that was still serving food.. fortunately Byron was happy to welcome us in and look after us – perfect for me and my burger fix!

There were many burger options available and being the fatty that I am, I went for the double bacon burger with a side order of sweet potato fries. Oh yes, and additional avocado on the burger too. We didn’t wait that long for the food to come however the server was quite apologetic about the delaywhen he brought it over.


And there they are. The picture doesn’t do the burgers any justice if you ask me and you definitely can’t see how big they are from the only one picture that I have of them. The additional avocado added to the tower that was my burger and it was a big struggle to pick it up to eat. However it was amazing. The patties were nice and moist, the bacon was crunchy (just how I like it), the burger bun soft, the avocado adding a “healthy” element to it. The liquid cheese on the burger which they refer to a Freddar was also quite tasty. All burgers come with a nice chunk of pickle which I munched on after eating my beast of a burger purely because I had to use both hands to hold the burger otherwise it would have fallen apart.

For the two of us it came to about £30. Two burgers and two side orders. It might seem like quite a lot of money for not a lot of food however you are paying for good quality burgers so I wouldn’t hesitate to pay this amount again!


The bill was presented with two gummy burgers which was a great touch. My boyfriend thought that this was a great marketing idea (he works in that field) and also didn’t hesitate to gobble the sweetie burgers down! The server who looked after us was lovely – couldn’t remember his name – and this place is worth a visit if you fancy a good burger with good service. It’s a relatively new Byron on New Street and they’re doing a good job! Keep up the good work that you have started and see you soon 🙂

#franrecommends 

Breakfast in.. Knutsford

It has been a while since I have posted.. the time has mainly been spent eating and working (standard life!). I was going through my phone the other day and came across photos of when I went to Piccolino in Knutsford the other weekend. So there we have the topic for my latest food blog!

Knutsford is a quaint little village in Cheshire which comes alive during the day thanks to the collection of shops that it has but also due to being located to Tatton Park it attracts a lot of footfall whenever they have events taking place in there.


I had wanted to try Piccolino for breakfast for a while and I finally got my wish. We visited on a Sunday morning where we were one of about four tables and we decided to sit on their roof terrace. The day was a bit grey so they had the roof covering the terrace, which they then opened up when it got a little brighter.

The breakfast menu consists of a variety of options, from cereals, pastries, waffles and the classic eggs menu. I really wanted to try their version of the Eggs Royale (Eggs Reali) however something else caught my eye and that was their breakfast paninis. On their menu they write about how they have their own bakery and that the breads are all made by hand, and this is what persuaded me to have the panini. I chose the panini alla caprese cause I am a sucker for a caprese salad! And the boy had his usual Eggs Benedict (eggs Benedittine).

And here we have it – the panini alla caprese. And it did not disappoint. I usually ask to replace rocket with spinach as I find the peppery taste of it quite overpowering, however it works really well with the freshness of the ingredients crammed inside this home made bread. What I often find with paninis is that they are quite heavy and greasy but this was the opposite. The tomatoes were nice and juicy, the mozzarella was creamy, the pesto just the right consistency and the bread not too stodgy. The portion size was just right as well!

Each bite was bursting with flavour and despite the portion size being just right for me, I still craved the pancakes with nutella and banana. I managed to refrain from ordering them though as I didn’t want to end up being so full from eating both that I would always think of being too full whenever breakfast at Piccolino was mentioned! Our server was very friendly and made us feel very welcome. The only slight issue that we had was that the card machine would not connect when we were trying to make a payment so we ended up having to go and get cash! Luckily there is a cash machine just opposite!

I will be back soon to try your sweet breakfast items as I definitely feel like I am missing out on those Nutella and banana pancakes! Piccolino in Knutsford is definitely a #franrecommends !

Breakfast in… Birmingham!

A few weekends ago I met up with a friend from Uni in the lovely city of Birmingham. Obviously I researched where to go for dinner and for breakfast, however it was my friend Helen who suggested our breakfast place. And what a great suggestion it was as well!

Boston Tea Party is the name of the our breakfast venue that Sunday morning. It took us a while to find it, mainly because neither of us were familiar with our surroundings, but once we found our bearings afterwards we couldn’t believe how it had taken us so long! Of course I had a sneak peak of the menu before we went to BTP, purely to ensure that there was going to be something that I wanted to eat on the menu.

When you enter BTP the first thing that you will pass is a big counter. This was full of cakes and pastries when we were there, and this same counter is where you place your orders. It is quite informal when you are there and you seat yourself at a table of your choice as opposed to waiting for someone to greet you and seat you.

The breakfast menu, which is served all day, consists of a variety of food stuffs, from The Boss brunch, kedgeree, eggs benedict to lighter options like greek yogurt or brown rice pudding. As you have probably already guessed, I chose something with avocado which was the smoked salmon, scrambled eggs and avocado on sourdough toast. With a flat white.

And there it is. It looked too good to eat, but I was particularly hungry that morning after having spent about half an hour walking around Birmingham trying to find our breakfast place! I am exaggerating, of course. There was a good amount of avocado, salmon and eggs on the plate. I would have liked the toast to have been buttered a bit more but I am quite picky with buttered toast. So that’s just a personal preference. The smoked salmon was very delicate and was very melt in the mouth, pairing really nicely with the avocado which was just the right softness.

BTP, unfortunately, do not take reservations for any tables which are less than six so there’s always a chance that you might not get a table when you decide to go. Having said that though, it is a good sized place with plenty of seating. The breakfast is very reasonably priced with mine coming in at just over £10.

Next time I go to Birmingham, I will be sure to visit again. Especially as I spied a counter full of freshly baked cakes both when we entered and left. It left me wanting a baked treat however as I was pleasantly full from the breakfast, I felt that buying a cake was a bit greedy of me.

Details of this lovely breakfast place below.

http://www.bostonteaparty.co.uk/our_cafes/birmingham

0121 236 2972

 

 

The Flamin’ Rooster in Tatton Park

The weekend took us to the Foodies Festival which was in Tatton Park, Knutsford. It took place over three days and we went on the Sunday, probably the busiest and hottest day of the event.

We walked through Tatton Park from the car park on King Street which was nice when we were walking towards the festival as it was nice and cool but the day soon heated up and the walk back to the car seemed like the longest trek ever! Perhaps next time we will pay the £6 to park in the car park on the grounds..

Upon entering the festival, you enter a stage of mini-panic as you don’t know where to start and which way to go first. It would have been an idea to buy one of their festival guides however where to purchase one of these was not exactly clear so we just wandered around looking at what there was to offer. We quickly located a couple of ice cream stands and also a few grills which were potentials for lunch.

Alex decided to have himself a juicy steak sandwich from a place called Boy Meats Grill or something like that but I had my eye on sweet potato fries. I left the boy in the queue for his super sandwich and I went back to look for the place that sold the SP fries. As I guessed, the queue was pretty long. But to be fair we did decide to start queuing for food at 1.30pm, so obviously everyone else is going to be thinking the same thing.

So I had a little more than just the SP fries. I had a chicken wrap to go with it as I thought it has taken me thing long to get to the front of the queue, I don’t want to spend the same amount of time queuing for something else. Having said that though, the staff at the Flamin’ Rooster stand had a good system going. Two people taking orders and payments, one person on the back doing sweet potato fries and making the wraps, and two guys on the main grill section looking after all of the meats.

The wrap was packed with big chunks of chicken breast, which I would have preferred hot or at least warm, in a sticky maple glaze and wrapped up with coleslaw. The wrap was huge and was a two handed job. Due to the size of the wrap, it was not possible to hold the fries in one hand whilst eating the wrap, especially standing up! Some of the chicken was a little on the dry side which was a bit disappointing but on the plus side, because the SP fries had just come out of the fryer when I placed my order, the fries were still nice and hot when I went to eat them. Due to the size of the wrap, I overfaced myself. I ate the majority of the fries as, with my avocado situation, if I see sweet potato fries on the menu and I don’t go for them then I feel cheated

The Flamin’ Rooster had a lot to offer on their menu, which included lamb, ribs, chicken etc.. All grilled on the day and the wait wasn’t too painful either. The staff were lovely, which is always nice to see. If there is a food festival coming soon to a place near you then the Flamin’ Rooster is probably going to be there. They often have stalls at outdoor food festivals and rightly so! Especially on the sunnier days where BBQ are the perfect food to pair with the weather.

Brunch in… Alderley Edge

There are so many places that offer brunch these days that it is often hard to choose which one is the best to go to. My Instagram feed consists mainly of food places and pictures of food so I usually refer to this feed as inspiration of where to go, as well as my trusty friend Trip. Last weekend it brought us to brunch in the Botanist.

The Botanist is a quirky concept which I have been to a few times for lunch and dinner in both Manchester and Chester where my go to menu choice is the deli board. When I saw that they were now offering a brunch menu on the weekends of course I wanted to go and try it out! So I did 😉

Their brunch has a variety of options including smashed avocado on toast, pancakes and, of course, the full English. And I know what you’re thinking – she went for the one that has avocado in it. Not on this occasion you will be surprised to hear! I was torn between the breakfast hash, due to the fact that the Botanist had helpfully posted a video of the hash making process on their Instagram that morning, and the full English.


And there they are. I had the full English and Alex had the breakfast hash. I was definitely not disappointed. I don’t tend to go for a full English as there is always something that doesn’t sit well with me or one of the components is cold etc…, you get where I am going with this right? But this ticked all of the boxes. The bacon was cooked just the way I like it (on the crispy side), the yolks of both of the eggs were runny and, most importantly, the food was steaming hot as opposed to being just warm. The home made ketchup was especially tasty. I ate everything apart from the black pudding. I did try it and give it a go but I just didn’t like it. Perhaps another time I will be able to appreciate the taste of black pudding, but on this occasion I just politely pushed it to the side of my plate.

We paired our breakfasts with flat whites which gave us the caffeine hit that we needed to wake us up, as well as warm us up on the cold Saturday morning that it was.

The Botanist we visited is located on the main road in Alderley Edge, London Road, which is easily accessible from the train station but there is also a Waitrose with a car park directly opposite if you’re planning on driving there. Brunch is served from 10am on the weekends and, although there is quite a bit of competition in the village, it is definitely worth a visit if you fancy brunch with a difference.

#franrecommends 

Churros

This morning I am really craving something sweet. And following my last blog on pa amb tomaquet, my food trail of thought remains in Spain where I had my first taste of churros con chocolate. To me, churros is the Spanish take on doughnuts which can be eaten as they are, coated in sugar, or accompanied with a thick hot chocolate, which is my favourite.

Throughout my year abroad I ate a lot of these bad boys. They are a firm favourite during the Christmas markets in the country and extremely moreish!

When we went to Barcelona last year for a week, I was craving churros for pretty much the entire holiday. Of course, I referred to my trust friend Trip to help me to find somewhere where I could indulge in this sweet treat. Why did I use Trip and not just pop in to the first place that I saw advertising churros in the window? The reason is is because I didn’t want to be disappointed. What I have found that is quite often the places that have signs for churros in their windows aren’t really great which leaves me feeling grumpy.

Trip directed us to a place called Granja M. Viader, and it was perfect for what we wanted. Upon entering, it can be quite intimidating as the majority of the staff are older and don’t speak much English. Once you have found yourself a table then you can peruse the menu to see what delights they have on offer.

The interior is quite old school, and by that I mean this is how I envisage an old American diner to look like. The service is quite quick and what I find is that if you’re not ready to order when they first come over to you then you’re left waiting longer than you would like to be, so a bit of advice is to have an idea of what you would like before you go so that you can order quickly!

Of course I ordered the churros with a cup of thick, hot chocolate and I was not disappointed. Trip did not let me down!

The portion of churros come in fours which is more than enough for one person but if you’re greedy like me then you will want more (and yes I did order another one!). The chocolate was so thick and had a slightly bitter note to it which worked so well with their sugary churros.

Another thing to try in Granja M Viader is their Cacaolat, which is a chocolatey milk drink served hot or cold. Why is this something to try here when you can buy these distinctly yellow labelled bottles in the supermarkets in Spain? Well because this beverage was invented here so where better to try it!

There is only so much I can go on about churros so I think I better leave this here now and leave you all to make up your own mind. Granja is really easy to get to, get off the metro at Liceu and you will soon find your way. This cafe is the perfect stop off when you’re looking for that little something to keep you going in between breakfast and lunch or lunch and dinner… or just when you want some tasty churros!

Enjoy!

Pa amb tomàquet

The third year of my degree at University was a year abroad, and I was fortunate enough to go to an area in Catalunya called Lleida. I admit it wasn’t my first choice and when I found out that I was allocated to language school in this place that I had never heard of, I wasn’t all that happy. The only places I knew of in Spain were the Spanish capital, Madrid, and Barcelona, the Catalonian capital.

During this 8 month period, I was exposed to a lot of new foods which included caragols (snails) and pa amb tomàquet, which is what I am going to introduce you to today.

So as you will see in the picture above, it’s just bread. A tomato, or two. Some olive oil. And some salt. Now the bread doesn’t have to be toasted, as shown in the image, but if you have bread which is a little on the stale side then it’s probably best if you do try and save the bread by giving it a little toast.

The tomato bread process it easy, and I was not aware of this big tradition until I was invited round to a pre-Christmas dinner at the house of one of my English student’s where they showed me this Catalonian culinary delight.

1 – slice the tomato in half and rub the seedy fleshy side on to the bread. Squeeze as much of the flesh onto the bread as possible.

2 – drizzle a little olive oil on top of the tomatoey bread

3 – sprinkle a little salt (sea salt works best in my opinion)

4 – devour.

You can also add a little garlic to the pa amb tomaquet, if you fancy, which gives it a nice little heat

Last year when we went on holiday to Barcelona, we found a nice place to have lunch thanks to our friend Trip(Advisor). Much to my delight, they offered tomato bread as a side order which I, obviously, ordered. I loved the presentation of it, which you will see below, and it reminded me of how much I loved to eat this on a daily basis. The tomato on bread process (along with the olive oil and salt) in a nice and healthy alternative to butter on your sandwiches (which is also something else that I used to do on my year abroad!).

Enjoy this little Catalonian nugget whilst I go off and make myself some pa amb tomàquet! #franrecommends

Let me know what you think guys!

What to have for breakfast…in Kensington!

Breakfast is always a hard one to call. It’s especially a tough one when you’re staying away from home and don’t know where to go for that first meal of the day. I often find that when I am away and looking for something for breakfast, I crave something hot. I use my trust TripAdvisor app as a guide to assist me in my breakfast quest and I have not been disappointed as of yet.

Earlier this year in March, we went to London for a few nights. The one breakfast that sticks out in my mind, and the breakfast that I would claim is the best breakfast I have ever had, is the one we had in a place called Kensington Square Kitchen. We used Trip the previous night to arrange our breakfast venue and worked out how to get there using the Tube. I misread something or misunderstood something but for some reason I thought that this place was close to the Natural History Museum.. which it wasn’t. It is located in a nicer area of London where all of the cars parked in and around the square of the cafe are either Mercedes, BMW or Range Rovers, which, to me, indicates the kind of area that you are in.

We made a reservation for breakfast however it was not necessary. There is a downstairs area of the cafe too however, personally, the upper seating area that is on the same level as the entrance is much nicer. There was also a big table of young children sitting downstairs so I was grateful to have been seated upstairs!

Looking through the menu is the hardest part. Whenever I see avocado on a menu, I feel like I must have whatever dish includes it as otherwise I feel like I am missing out. I was definitely torn between having my usual Eggs Royale and the egg and bacon burger with avocado, but, as you can probably guess from my previous comment, I went for the breakfast burger. And I was NOT disappointed!

It might look like just a bit of avocado, a bit of a bacon and a fried egg but it’s not. The combination of the three components in a soft white bun worked really well together, with the soft consistency of the avocado working well against the crunch of the bacon. What I liked about this breakfast burger is that I didn’t even have to ask for the bacon to be cooked a bit more which is the way that I like it.

This breakfast was £35 for the two of us which includes two cooked breakfasts and two coffees each. One of our more expensive breakfasts however it was definitely worth it, so if you are looking for a little treat first thing in the morning then look no further than Kensington Square Kitchen @kskrestaurant

#franrecommends

 

Tiger bread

I don’t think there’s any better way to spend Sunday morning than to be eating a chunk of freshly baked tiger bread for breakfast. 

I remember my first experience of tiger bread which we bought from Tesco in Chester after we had just been to visit some relatives there. It smelt so good and we ate it all in the car on the drive back home. 

I like to eat mine smothered in butter and I can easily eat a loaf in one sitting. If I have been able to control myself and not eat it all at once then the day after I like to have it toasted 🙂

That’s all! For now… #franrecommends