The Coffee Factory: 1 Suffolk Street Queensway, City Centre, B1 1LT
I can’t believe we have blogged 50 different breakfasts and brunches in Birmingham already! I’m going to do a roundup blog of the best of everything so far separately, but here we go with the review of our 50th brunch venue: The Coffee Factory.
Tucked right at the foot of the imposingly fancy Radisson Blu building, with its green glass and high end pretensions, the Coffee Factory is a cosy slice of Brummie cafe life, simple, filling, cheap and friendly. Inside, a couple of sofas face each other in the floor to ceiling windows so you can relax. For the rest, plain wooden furniture fills the space, on a slightly past-its-best laminate floor. Unfortunately, the view isn’t that appealing, as you can mostly see the traffic jams leading to the Pagoda roundabout, the tower blocks opposite, and the concrete barriers of the A38 tunnels. It isn’t a very salubrious location, but it is a central location, and it is a very welcoming place to eat.
A cup of tea arrives with saucer, milk jug and teapot,. The metal tea pot is a design classic of course, although this one was very slightly grubby. The tea within was piping hot.
In classic cafe style, the full English is enormous for the price, with piping hot ingredients, but cheap quality to match the price. Breakfast in the Radisson next door is £12.95, advertised as ‘an array of morning favourite at the Super Breakfast buffet’; I’m not clear what you might get for your money there (blog to come in the future maybe!), but at only £5.50 for the meal below, the Radisson will go hard to beat this on quantity and fillingness.
The toasted sausage and egg sandwich was done simply and well, on standard medium white sliced bread lightly toasted. The egg was cooked perfectly soft, the sausages cut in half lengthwise, which is the best way. One half of this sandwich included the crust of the loaf, which personally I love. The ketchup was from Asda with the label removed to give the illusion of Heinz, but I couldn’t tell the difference.
The cafe owner or manager was so friendly, and based in the area. When we took photos of the ‘Wall of Fame’, she told us all about the soap actors who have visited the cafe, including one who signed an autograph which was frustratingly lost in the lunchtime rush. It was a lovely gossip, and really made us feel welcome.
The toilet is green and practical – plenty of soap, loo roll, and toilet Duck in evidence, but no sanitary disposal bin, and a slightly grubby feel. In all, the whole place isn’t that appealing visually, but if you want a hearty breakfast, if you are on a budget, if you want a warm welcome and still be only ten minutes walk from New Street, this would be a great place to visit.
Price: cheap eats: £5.50 for a full English with 2 of everything, tea and toast
Atmosphere and design: practical, functional, slightly peeling/grubby feel, focus on the food not the design
Food: cheap and plentiful for the money
Toilets: functional, soap and loo roll, no sanitary bin
Enjoyment: really friendly welcome, and close to the city centre