Back in 2013, while the likes of 6/8 Kafé and the original Yorks Bakery Cafe were ploughing a relatively lonely furrow in the centre of Birmingham, out in Moseley, a short bus ride south of the city centre, Cafephilia first opened its doors. Very much a neighbourhood place, Cafephilia is rooted in the local community, providing good coffee, tea and food well into the evening. It’s a cosy place, with a sun-drenched front, particularly in the afternoon, and a more restrained seating area at the back, with subdued lighting and a very comfortable sofa. Like Thursday’s Coffee Spot, Forloren Espresso, Cafephilia is another L-shaped café.
The coffee is from Staffordshire’s finest, Has Bean, while the tea comes Joe’s Tea in London. Cafephilia’s uses the ubiquitous Jailbreak blend, with a fairly standard, espresso-based menu. Those looking for piccolos and pour-overs will be disappointed. There’s bread, from the local No. Thirteen Craft Bakers, which is available to buy and which also forms the basis of Cafephilia’s food menu. This includes toast, toast with various toppings, croissants and an extensive range of sandwiches, available on a choice of bread: white, focaccia and panini, and which can be had as is or toasted.
You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.
Cafephilia sits on the busy Alcester Road, which runs south from Birmingham city centre to Moseley, occupying a prime spot on the corner with Woodbridge Road. The building housing Cafephilia is fairly iconic, with a semi-circular turret on the corner, Cafephilia sitting under the tower and stretching away along Alcester Road. This gives it a small south-facing (Woodbridge Road) and long west-facing (Alcester Road) façade which means it catches plenty of sun, the entire shop front effectively being one large window, punctuated by a recessed doorway to the left. There are tables outside on the pavement, but the busy road makes these less attractive, while you can sit inside and people watch just as well through the floor-to-ceiling windows.
Inside, Cafephilia is unexpectedly L-shaped, the bottom part of the L running along Alcester Road, with the top running back from the door on the left-hand side. This leads into a long, windowless corridor, which is in stark contrast to the sunlight front. On the plus side, this gives Cafephilia an abundance of seating options.
If you crave natural light, sit at the front, where a pair of two-person tables with comfortable chairs line the window. Be warned though: these can get very hot in the sun, although there are blinds which can be pulled all the way down if required, plus a generous awning. In my half hour there, I melted! In contrast, a red-leather upholstered bench runs along the back wall of the bottom part of the L, where it is far enough back to catch the shade. A pair of four-person tables, separated by a solitary two-person one, line the bench.
The recessed doorway, again, almost all glass, leaves just enough space to the left for a wonderfully cosy corner, occupied by a high, two-person round table in the window, perhaps the best seat in the house. Beyond that, the counter runs along the left-hand wall. Two three-person tables are against the right-hand wall opposite the counter. At the back, beyond the counter, a small step leads up to the top of the L. There are a couple of small tables here on the right, while on the left, there’s a large sofa, back to the counter, facing a large, square four-person table.
To say it’s gloomy back here would be to do it a disservice: subdued would be a better description of the lighting, giving it a cosy atmosphere that would have been very cosy had I been there on a winter’s day. Overall, it’s a lively space, full of the hum of conversation competing with the background music.
The counter has the cake first, Cafephilia providing a wide selection of goodies with which to tempt you. Next comes the till, then, at the far end, there’s the espresso machine, business end facing the door, so you can watch the coffee being made while you order. The menus are handily placed on the wall behind the counter.
I had my usual flat white, finding the Jailbreak blend to be naturally sweet. While it went well with the milk, it didn’t really cut through in the way that a bolder blend might have. I was there for lunch and went for the “Leighton”, a very tasty hummus and roasted red pepper sandwich which I had as a toasted panini.
|138 ALCESTER ROAD • BIRMINGHAM • B13 8EE|
|www.facebook.com/cafephiliamoseley||+44 (0) 0121 449 8949|
|Monday||08:30 – 20:00||Roaster||Has Bean (espresso only)|
|Tuesday||08:30 – 20:00||Seating||Tables, Comfy Chairs, Tables (outside)|
|Wednesday||08:30 – 20:00||Food||Breakfast, Lunch, Cake|
|Thursday||08:30 – 20:00||Service||Order at Counter|
|Friday||08:30 – 20:00||Cards||Amex, Mastercard, Visa|
|Saturday||09:00 – 18:00||Wifi||Free (with code)|
|Sunday||10:00 – 18:00||Power||Yes|
|Chain||No||Visits||17th June 2016|
Liked this? Then don’t forget to check out the Coffee Spot Guide to Birmingham for more great Coffee Spots.
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