52 Bistro’Clock: shopping in the JQ brunch

Bistro’Clock, Frederick Street, Birmingham

How early do you get judgey with a new restaurant? When we visited Bistro’Clock it had only just opened: there were many lovely things, and a number of slight criticisms. Is it fair to lay bare flaws that may be corrected by week 3? In the end, all we can do is describe as we found, and acknowledge that some of the criticisms will probably be fixed by the end of the week…

For all the jewellery shoppers out there, Bistro’Clock is in a great location, right by the clocktower in the centre of the jewellery shop cluster. Its menu covers brunch, but also proper meals, and it would be a perfectly pleasant place to stop for lunch while browsing for engagement rings.

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Inside, the jazzy lighting illuminates what is otherwise quite plain furniture. I love the flowers, if only because they are exactly the centrepieces I had at my wedding: carnations stuffed in glass bottles. It’s a cheap and cheerful option, and its good to see carnations get more love for their lacy, jolly blooms. The floorboards appear to be made of repurposed crates, which is an unusual feature.

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There are 7 variations of a full English on offer, including an ‘Atkins’ version  (just the protein, urgh). The full English itself is pretty standard: a large slice of black pudding, stumpy sausages, and all the main ingredients of a full English present and correct. The beans are specified Heinz. Unfortunately, uniformly across our meals, the poached eggs were too hard. The toast is pretty rubbish bread – somehow, the lovely lights, the hipster flooring, the spacious venue, the cakes at the bar give the impression that you might get slightly posher toast, so this white cardboard square is a let-down.

Eggs Benedict pretty tasty, with just the right amount of hollandaise, but again, the eggs were overcooked.

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As a treat, we ordered macaroons from the cakes and biscuits at the counter. They just looked so delicious I couldn’t resist! Sadly, they were slightly hard and dry. I smuggled the last one home in a napkin.

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The toilets have some absolutely hideous brown swirly tiling, which doesn’t match the main restaurant at all, and the sinks sparkle. They are clean and spacious, so if you can bear the brown surroundings – rather like being inside a sparkly sewage pipe writ large – they are perfectly civilised.

In summary:

Pricmid range: £7.20 for a full breakfast, £7 eggs Benedict

Atmosphere and design: a sort of combo cafe/restaurant vibe, pretty ordinary furniture and flowers, with higher end lights and unusual floorboard touches

Food: nothing fancy, nothing bad

Toilets: brown. Swirly. Sparkly.

Enjoyment: perfect place to stop off while you are jewellery shopping for a quick refuel

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