Handmade Burger Co – Grand Central, Birmingham City Centre
Surprisingly, the Handmade Burger Co. in Grand Central turned out to have one of the best teapots of any brunch in Birmingham: stylish, lots of tea in it, and importantly, no drips at all. And this was just one of many lovely things about this brunch and this venue.
Firstly, it is super convenient, both for rail travellers, who only need to pop up the escalators in Grand Central for a lovely cooked breakfast, and also for shoppers looking to carb up before a big John Lewis splurge. Inside, it is decorated with a modern commitment to industrial design. with exposed pipes, unshaded lights, and heavy metal grills between the American style booths at the front of the restaurant. At the back, it gets even more industrial; the booths are inside a repurposed shipping container.
This is obviously primarily a burger restaurant (witness the enormous sacks of Maris Piper potatoes destined for the presumably shed-loads of chips that get served every day), but it is also pragmatic. Before 11, few people will be ordering burgers, so instead, a limited breakfast menu if offered, and boldly advertised outside, to lure people in. On Saturday morning, a few tables were full, but it was a quiet and very welcoming atmosphere. The staff were both friendly and super attentive; if you like to be fussed over, this is the table-service breakfast restaurant for you.
The tea arrived. The teapot doesn’t look that magnificent in this picture, but believe me, it was great. A lovely tin pot, presumably in another nod to undefined industrialism, with three large cups of tea inside, and the world’s best spout. Same couldn’t be said for the funny stumpy little milk jug, but the great teapot more than made up for spilt milk.
It’s a limited breakfast menu of only 8 or so main items, with the emphasis on hearty, so no eggs Benedict or Royale available here. Instead, sausage and fried egg on a brioche bun. Brioche bread is so rich and magically decadent, it was a delight with the sausages – quite small and solid, like a small Jack Russell in sausage form – and the quite round fried egg.
Both meals came on wooden boards rather than plates, which looked pretty. The full English includes all the key elements, including black pudding, and a small surcharge for Heinz baked beans or corn fritters. Perfectly filling before a long journey (around John Lewis). Three times during our meal staff came to check on us with a smile; great service (but maybe a bit intense if you just want to be alone to weep into your sausage).
The toilets follow the industrial styling, with valves rather than taps on the exposed pipes to the trough-style sink. Clean, with the quiet just-been-cleaned-and-no-one-has-used-them-yet-today vibe,
Price: £7.95 for a full English (extra 95p for baked beans), £5.25 for a sausage and egg on brioche.
Atmosphere and design: nods to industrial design throughout, some sets in an upcycled shipping container, and funky tiling throughout
Food: hearty, tasty, perfect start to a journey food
Toilets: clean, industrial design to the sinks
Enjoyment: great service and spacious and quiet booths make it a great place to have brunch and read the papers while waiting for a train