I revisited Wayland’s Yard in Birmingham at the end of August, almost exactly two years after my first visit, seeking a late lunch one Tuesday afternoon. Looking reassuringly similar from the street, the only obvious differences were the lack of outside benches (there used to be one on either side of the door, underneath the windows) and the presence of the bold “we are open” sign on the door.
Inside, the changes are similarly subtle, with several of them pre-dating the COVID-19 pandemic, such as the additional seating on the left in front of the counter. Of course, there are the COVID-19 precautions themselves, mostly the clearly-marked one-way system on the floor, but otherwise, Wayland’s Yard is much as I remember it.
The coffee, from Herefordshire’s Method Roastery, is as good as ever, with a bespoke house-blend and single-origin on espresso, although for now, there’s just a solitary single-origin on pour-over through the V60 rather than the customary two. The brunch menu has similarly been cut down, but is just as innovative as before.
You can see what else has changed after the gallery.
Wayland’s Yard made its name as a coffee/brunch place, so reopening as a takeaway-only operation made little sense. Instead, Wayland’s Yard waited until the COVID-19 restrictions were relaxed in England before opening at the start of July.
There are a few COVID-19 precautions, such as hand sanitiser dispensers and QR Codes which you can scan to get the menu on your phone/tablet, although the most obvious one is the one-way system which greets you as you enter. Long and thin, Wayland’s Yard has made the most of its shape and of its shear size. It always was divided into two in a logical sense, with the counter on the left and the seating down the middle and on the right, so Wayland’s Yard has gone with that basic set-up.
Starting just inside the door, a physical barrier (created using the benches from outside if I’m not mistaken) runs down the centre of the shop, with clear signs on the floor sending you to your left. Following the arrows takes you past the retail shelves on your right and some new (to me) seating on the left, bringing you to the counter. This starts about one-third of the way back and runs the length of the remaining left-hand wall. You order here, at the till, which is behind Perspex screens at the front corner, then take a seat and your food/drinks will be brought to you. When it comes time to leave, again just follow the arrows, which take you down the right-hand side.
When it comes to seating, things are much as they were. The two three-person window-bars to the left and right of the door are still there, as is the L-shaped sofa arrangement on the right, in front of the large bookcase, now converted into a second set of retail shelves. In fact, there’s more seating than there used to be in the front section, with an L-shaped set of high-backed padded benches around a single table, followed by a booth-like structure of two of the benches facing each other across a second table. These are on the left, just before the counter, occupying the space that once housed the grab-and-go fridge.
At the back, there have been a few changes, most notably the line of four four-person square tables, which ran down the centre, has now been replaced with single, long, communal table with five fixed stools on either side. Meanwhile, the long, padded bench against the right-hand wall has six tables, reduced from nine and a lot fewer chairs, so each is now a two-person table. That said, Wayland’s Yard is so big that unless it gets really, really busy, you’ll have no problem finding a spot, well-distanced from your fellow customers.
The coffee is still from Method Roastery, with the seasonal, bespoke house blend joined by a naturally-processed Ethiopian Guji which was also on pour-over. I had this as an espresso, served in a proper cup on a little tray, along with tasting notes and a palate cleanser. This was absolutely gorgeous, rich and fruity, but with a nicely-rounded mouthfeel, lacking the punchiness you sometimes get with naturals.
For my lunch, I had the one-pan hash with halloumi and mushrooms, which was just as good, the hash base consisting of plenty of potatoes, topped by a perfectly-poached egg, all in a rich gravy, served in the pan it was cooked in. All-in-all, the perfect late lunch.
|42 BULL STREET • BIRMINGHAM • B4 6AF|
|Monday||08:00 – 16:00||Roaster||Method (espresso + filter)|
|Tuesday||08:00 – 16:00||Seating||Tables, Window-bars, Sofas, Counter|
|Wednesday||08:00 – 16:00||Food||Breakfast, Lunch, Cake|
|Thursday||08:00 – 16:00||Service||Order at Counter|
|Friday||08:00 – 16:00||Payment||Cards Only|
|Saturday||08:00 – 16:00||Wifi||Free (with code)|
|Sunday||08:00 – 16:00||Power||Limited|
|Chain||Regional||Visits||Original: 20th August 2018
Update: 25th August 2020