The Rice Co – off-the-beaten-track brunch

The Rice Co – Grosvenor Street West, Birmingham city centre

What a delightful surprise this find was! Taking a back route to the cinema at Five Ways, the A frame outside caught my eye, advertising a solid-sounding brunch on a street I’d never have even thought about as a place to look for food. Plans were made to check it out.

Inside on a sunny Friday morning, the interior looked fresh and welcoming. The front of the bar feels like an on-trend cafe, with bright blue tiling and wide bench-style seating making the most of the light coming through the big picture windows. The view of the terraced houses opposite isn’t anything special, but the virtue of the windows here is the flood of light into the front space, rather than the view. Behind the bar, a large formal dining space opens out for evening dining, and behind that, a small outside area completed the three seating areas. For brunch, we settled on the benches in the window, and out menus were quickly brought over.

There weren’t many patrons late on Friday morning: another couple having breakfast, and a few people popping in for takeaway made up the customers. The quiet atmosphere was very pleasant in the late morning sunshine. The service was excellent. Our drinks soon arrived. Tea comes in this beautiful glass teapot, with a tri-coloured timer on the side. On sharing that I like my tea medium strong, the timer was turned, and I was told to watch the yellow timer and pour tea when it was done. A perfect cup of tea resulted, and I found the timers a fun touch.

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The brunch menu is simple, with five options for main dishes and the options of different types of pastries on the side. I ordered scrambled eggs on a bagel. The bagels were out, but bloomer toast was easily substituted. It turned out to be very eatable, the bloomer toast retaining its structure in the face of the eggs, probably because they were a little on the dry side. I prefer this to overly soggy eggs which break down the bread, so I was happy.

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The full English comes with cheese on toast, in a quirk I haven’t seen in any other full English in Birmingham, which got a spectacularly good review. More full English breakfasts should include cheese on toast. It also comes with very square fried eggs. This breakfast is halal, and so it is beef sausages rather than pork (couldn’t tell the difference) and turkey rashers wrapped around them rather than bacon. The turkey rashers didn’t get such a good review: the verdict is that they tasted like a piece of turkey sandwich meat dyed bacon coloured.

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As we packed up to leave, the jars of biscuits and cookies on the bar looked so delicious that I couldn’t resist! I had 3 brownies for 80p in a bag to go. They were so rich and crumbly, I will definitely be returning for tea and biscuits in the future.

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Toilets are painted all very white, which really highlights that they were very clean. They have a Dyson airblade, so big plus there, and eco-friendly lights that react to motion sensors on the way in. Plenty of loo roll and soap: no problems here.

In summary:

Price: mid range £5.95 for a full English, £5.75 for scrambled eggs on toast

Atmosphere and design: chic and clean cut, chalk boards and illustrations on exposed brick walls, with a more formal aesthetic in the main dining room

Food: halal, standard brunch bases covered (muesli, full English, pancakes, eggs, pastries)

Toilets: bright white, clean and well-stocked, Dyson

Enjoyment: a quiet place to enjoy great service, a welcoming atmosphere, and tasty food

Website: http://www.thericeco.co.uk/

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