Lunchi, The Big Peg, Warstone Lane, Jewellery Quarter
Lunchi is sat bang in the centre of the row of shops in the bottom of the Big Peg, the ship-like white block that dominates the centre of the Jewellery Quarter. It looks out over the smartly revamped central square, with wide terraced wooden seating before it, and sparkly lights across it by night. Facing it, you can see what is surely Lunchi’s biggest problem: its next door neighbour, the Urban Coffee juggernaut, with its hipster-friendly aesthetic and Birmingham-dominating delicious breakfasts.
It must be a bit of a brutal business face off, but Lunchi is doing its best to put up a fight. The service bar is laden with massive, delicious cakes, which we were assured were handmade on the day. The service was exceptionally friendly and welcoming. Unfortunately, other things are less successful. The design is a heavy black/red/white and chrome theme which is simple but feels a bit dated. It is inescapably slightly dark in the seating area, which is behind the service area; the light from the floor to ceiling windows at the front is blocked, as is access to the view over the JQ centre.
Chalkboards advertise a range of classic and more hipster breakfast options, including symbolic avocado, but the actual full English is more greasy spoon than anything else. It was not a particularly nice sausage.
I ordered an egg and sausage sandwich, which came on jolly red paper. Perfectly cooked, not fancy, exactly what you’d expect in a low-key cafe setting.
The toilet is a single unisex one, with this hilarious graphic on the door:
Just an ordinary loo inside, where you can relieve your leg-crossing needs.
In all, Lunchi was a very friendly place to have breakfast, with decent food without being anything special. The cakes looked great. But overwhelmingly Urban Coffee has the edge here: the food is better, and the space feels trendier and more buzzy. It makes me cross to admit it, because Lunchi feels like a genuinely local business, and thus I want it to succeed, but it just lacks any of the lovely features that make you return somewhere again and again.
Price: cheap eats
Atmosphere and design: black, white, chrome, red, dark
Food: greasy spoon breakfasts (but they do have great-looking homemade cakes)
Toilets: just the one, unisex
Enjoyment: friendly welcome, but a bit of a dark and joyless experience