Niche Café, Warstone Lane, Jewellery Quarter
At 11.10, we sat down in the newly opened Button Factory in the JQ for brunch. The menu appeared, and we were puzzled. No individually priced items, but instead, a 2 or 3 course set price menu with bottomless prosecco on the side. Facing a two hour drive later, this wasn’t an option, and the £30 each for 2 courses (incredibly steep, putting this at one of the priciest ‘normal’ restaurants in Brum) seemed ridiculously out of place when all we’d wanted was simply breakfast or a light lunch.
We abandoned the Button Factory, and headed to Niche Café, a long standing ‘must try’ on our brunch wish-list.
Just down the road from the Golden Square and the clocktower, it is very centrally located, and easy to find. Niche Café is slotted into one of the less attractive buildings in the JQ, a superbly bland, rectangular brick building. Luckily, once you are inside, you can ignore this architectural hideousness, as the view across the street is of more traditionally-JQ attractive buildings.
Through the jolly red door, Niche is stuffed with white Ikea tables, with slightly shabby Ikea chairs. The covers look in need of a bit of a wash, but the place is generally cosy and welcoming. The many food options are displayed on a bit blackboard next to the bar, and the kitchen area is tucked around the corner of the bar. All the space has been made clever use of to cram as many tables and chairs as possible into, and in contrast to the over-priced Button Factory, which was empty, Niche Café was almost entirely full when we entered.
Cola comes straight in the can, and tea – in a plain white mug – was brought over to the table by the very friendly gentleman from behind the bar, who helpfully pointed out sugar etc. Simple, yes, but cheap, and to the point.
The full English – only £4.50 – was plentiful, and hot, brought over to our table after a minimum of time. Everything was well-cooked, and again, if the ingredients were plain and ordinary, the price and the volume of food more than made up for it. Just what the doctor ordered, and the number of other brunchers in the room seemed to agree heartily.
I had a hash brown and egg sandwich on white bread (no option offered), which came without butter (which I liked) and which was exactly what it seemed: a deliciously trashy carby delight. I’d have one of those again for breakfast any day.
Finally, the toilet, which is tucked into another tiny space in what feels like an under-stairs cupboard. But the owners have done a great job decorating it to make it seem less claustrophobic and more jolly.
Price: £4.50 for a full English – cheap eats all round
Atmosphere and design: old Ikea, the décor is not the focus here.
Food: super cheap eats, greasy spoon style: hash browns, white bread, tea in a white mug, massive full English
Toilets: tucked away in a cupboard, great wall paper
Enjoyment: Jolly, welcoming, cheap, and filling