The Hylton Cafe – Vyse Street/Hylton Street, The Jewellery Quarter
If you google the ‘best fry up in Birmingham’, the first – 5 star – Tripadvisor review to appear directs you to the Hylton Cafe, on the corner of Hylton Street and Vyse Street. Tucked at the end of a row of shops dripping with diamonds and serious looking doormen, the Hylton is smartly presented, with outdoor seating, regularly updated A boards, and an unassuming presence.
Inside, the greeting is exceptionally friendly and welcoming, and the layout cosy, with square tables topped with brightly printed wipe down table cloths down one side of the room, while the entrance is filled by the main ordering bar. The window throws light across the room, and a small calor gas fire was on today, throwing out waves of heat into the room. Displays heavily laden with local adverts and business cards give a nice sense of connection to the area. As we arrived it was empty, but it soon filled up with both breakfast and lunch customers in search of a cheap, filling and tasty meal.
It took a long time to order, only because the menu is crammed so full of options it took us a while to choose. The full English options are named for precious gems in a thematic nod to the location, so you can order an Emerald, Diamond, or Topaz breakfast with different combos.
After ordering at the bar, tea in white mugs appeared superbly quickly, although slightly too strong for my personal preference. Toast in available in white, wholemeal or crusty. The white is a classic white thick sliced typically cardboardy example. It was quickly delivered to our table and is super cheap. In a city where you can order toast and have it cost £2.50 a round, this is sensibly priced at 40-50p.
I ordered a sausage and egg bap, for which the bap too had been lightly toasted, so the whole thing embodied comfort food; the warm bap really added an extra layer of tastiness to the whole. It came with ketchup already added, which had been done perfectly in tune with the ketchup I’d have added. Again, the food arrived super quickly, so if you are super hungry and need food now, head here!
The full English below was great for the money. Standard ingredients, well cooked, but without any special ingredients to set it apart, but for speed, consistency and price, it is indeed hard to see how this could be bettered in the city.
In a first for our brunches reviewed so far, the toilets at the Hylton are outside, so that you leave the building and pop across the courtyard into the toilets below. Inside, although they are serviceable and had plenty of soap and toilet paper, they are essentially rough and ready. They are also heavily plastered with anti-smoking signs, as I imagine the distance from the cafe makes it easy for people to sneak in for a smoke. No smell of smoke in there today though; the signs were obviously working.
Price: cheap eats. Tea, diet coke, full English, sausage and egg bap, and extra toast was less than £9.
Atmosphere and design: cosy and welcoming cafe with a practical design with jolly touches in the patterned table cloths. Heavily-filled leaflet and card displays emphasis the local connections.
Food: huge range of choices, quickly cooked and super cheap
Toilets: outside, basic, but fully equipped
Enjoyment: a great place to fill up, especially if you are in a rush, or on a budget. Exceptionally friendly service makes you feel very welcome