In an industry where small, independent coffee shops seem to be the order of the day, Birmingham has always had (in my opinion, at least) more than its fair share of large shops, serving excellent food to go along with the coffee, with the likes of the original Yorks Bakery Cafe and the Boston Tea Party leading the way. The latest entrant to throw its hat into this particular ring is Wayland’s Yard, which opened in March 2018. Starting life last year in Worcester, the Birmingham branch on Bull Street is the second one, although I suspect there will be more in due course.
What you get for your money is a large, long, open space, the size of say, the Birmingham 200 Degrees. There’s a front section with limited seating, and a grab-and-go chiller cabinet, while at the back is an even large main seating area with plenty of tables. The coffee is from Herefordshire’s Method Roastery, with a bespoke house-blend and single-origin on espresso and two more on pour-over through the V60. Just as important is the food, with a full breakfast/brunch menu that gives the likes of Yorks Café and Coffee Roasters a run for its money.
July 2020: Wayland’s Yard has reopened after the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown. You can see what I made of it when I visited at the end of August.
You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.
In typical Coffee Spot fashion, I’m writing up Wayland’s Yard in the wrong order: although I’ve been to the original in Worcester, writing it up requires another visit. Whereas the original is effectively a series of small, enclosed spaces, each with its own charm, the Birmingham branch is very different, a large, open space with high ceilings, effectively split into two. It starts with an inviting open front section, with minimal seating and a grab-and-go fridge with sandwiches, prepacked salads and soft drinks, plus a much larger (maybe two/three times the size) rear section where you’ll find a split counter, the bulk of the seating and, right at the back, toilets and kitchen.
The front of Wayland’s Yard is a wall-to-all windows, extending from the floor to maybe half the height of the ceiling. However, given the ceiling’s considerable height, this still makes for large windows. The glass double doors are flanked by a pair of three-person window-bars with high stools, mirrored by a pair of benches outside, one in front of each window. On the right, against the wall, is a sofa, with two large, low coffee tables, each with a bench for additional seating. The grab-and-go fridge, plus a small set of retail shelves, is on the left.
The second area, with the counter along the left-hand wall and the seating on the right, is separated from the front by a large bookcase which runs level with the front of the counter. You order at the front section, where you’ll find the till, cakes and sandwich grills. The coffee is made on the rear section of the counter, where you’ll find the two-group La Marzocco Linea, its twin grinders (a Mahlkönig Peak and EK-30) and the pour-over station.
There’s a small, raised seating area at the back of the counter with three high stools. Meanwhile, four four-person square tables (one chair each side) form a row down the centre, while against the right-hand wall, a single, long padded bench, with nine two-person tables, runs from the kitchen at the back to the bookcase at the front.
I started with a flat white using the single-origin espresso, a Rwanda Gatre Lot 26, which had a complex taste, far from the classic chocolate/nutty notes I’d have expected from the house-blend. This, along with the two pour-over options, are changed on a monthly basis.
However, my main reason for coming was lunch, where I was spoilt for choice from either the breakfast or brunch menus, which are served until 3 o’clock. I had the veggie brunch, two poached eggs (fried eggs are also an option), mushrooms, haloumi, spinach, toast, sweet potato hash balls and a pot of spicy baked beans, an interesting twist of the humble baked bean (baked beans, plus chillies).
I made the mistake of not ordering extra toast, thus breaking one of my own unwritten rules (let’s face it, I’ve never yet had a breakfast-style dish that hasn’t been improved by the addition of more toast). Personally, I would have enjoyed a more regular potato option, but you can’t have everything and it was an excellent breakfast. I’m also glad that I’d had my coffee first, since the spicy beans really did play havoc with my taste-buds (as well as giving me hiccups and making my eyes water).
|42 BULL STREET • BIRMINGHAM • B4 6AF|
|Monday||07:00 – 18:00||Roaster||Method (espresso + filter)|
|Tuesday||07:00 – 18:00||Seating||Tables, Window-bars, Sofas, Counter, Benches (outside)|
|Wednesday||07:00 – 18:00||Food||Breakfast, Lunch, Cake|
|Thursday||07:00 – 18:00||Service||Order at Counter|
|Friday||07:00 – 18:00||Payment||Cards + Cash|
|Saturday||08:00 – 18:00||Wifi||Free (with code)|
|Sunday||09:00 – 17:00||Power||Limited|
|Chain||Regional||Visits||20th August 2018|
Liked this? Then take a look at the rest of Birmingham’s speciality coffee scene with the Coffee Spot Guide to Birmingham.
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