Cherry Reds – John Bright Street

Cherry Reds – John Bright Street, Birmingham City Centre

The original Cherry Reds – a tiny adorable corridor of a place in Kings Heath – has long been a favourite of mine for cocktails, potato wedges, and an intimate, independent atmosphere: a great place for after work drinks. The opening of a city centre branch was cause for much celebration. Whatever time of day you visit, Cherry Reds has something delicious and personal to their brand for you to eat and drink, whether a lovely cuppa and a tasty cake, a chunky sandwich (I love the falafel sandwiches) or a burger and a good craft beer or cocktail. Today we were there for brunch.

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The city centre branch is spread over two floors, with lovely big windows wrapped around two sides so you can watch the goings on at Turtle Bay and Brew Dog opposite. Like many Brum venues, in summer, a few tables appear outside so you can sit out on this mostly traffic free street. It’s right by New Street Station, so some of the clientele, such as a solo man in a blue suit and vivid pink tie, have clearly sought Cherry Reds as a venue with a bit more soul than the grim station venues to wait for a train. A young man with a baseball cap and skateboard, and a group of 4 OAPs completed the line up. It’s city centre location opens it to all.

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My tea was Fairtrade, clearly identified on the menu, which gives it a warm moral glow. You can see my tea here against the bold floral wallpaper: the entire interior is decorated with a similar commitment to vintage touches. The chairs, wallpapers, tables, light-fittings, and storage units are all mismatched, but in a wonderful, quirky, originally-sourced vintage mash up. I love it.
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Today I was only feeling toast, but the bread was delicious, and comes ready-buttered. The Bonne Maman jam was a fancy and equally delicious touch. I enjoy the toast stacking style which ensures your pre-buttered toast doesn’t get too soggy. Clever.

InstagramCapture_c6a53c07-8a0a-4413-a18d-eb4a17f3caaaThe ‘Hearty English’ also had well-stacked toast, and was one of the most attractive and bright-looking versions of the dish I’ve seen, as well as being at the cheap end of the scale at £6. I’m getting hungry again just looking at this picture.

InstagramCapture_f7221172-798a-4ffa-b3b9-146cca2e7bc4As a bonus item, the third member of our party ordered the halloumi and mushroom wrap from the brunch menu. Huge fat slices of halloumi were rated top notch, especially at only £2.50.

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At first glance, the toilets themselves look clean, but basic. Nothing special here! However, the Cherry Reds vintage decoration squad have also had a free reign in the bathrooms, so while the facilities are basic, the decoration is entertainingly kitsch and fun. Witness, while you are on the loo the back of the toilet doors look like this:

InstagramCapture_7ee78f70-0134-48a4-8210-642814d940ddSomeone put a lot of effort into those collages. If you are getting a bit too drunk, you can also be warned to take it easy by some charming vintage cross stitch embroideries:

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Even the anteroom between the ladies’ and mens’ has been vintaged-up, with old fashioned wallpaper, mirror, retro storage for the cleaning products, and gendered washbasins. InstagramCapture_d5c8e111-adf1-4477-a097-561bf815e3f2

In summary:

Price: pretty cheap  – toast, hearty English, halloumi and mushroom wrap, coca cola, tea: £13.50

Atmosphere and design: vintage ragbag. Welcoming to all.

Food: cheap, tasty, ethical

Toilets: kitsch and quirky

Enjoyment: social, fun

Website: http://www.cherryreds.com

Twitter: @ilovecherryreds

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