11:00AM - Cranked Cycle Café
A cracking coffee stop-off while we have a nose around the brilliant Gibb Street shops. Situated in the Zellig building, one of the more recent parts of the Custard Factory to be developed, the space is an eclectic mix of bike-repair shop and café. They sell some beautiful looking bike accessories if that’s your thing, but we’re here for the brew, a punchy house-blend that’s rotated every couple of weeks from different British coffee roasters. Breakfast had hardly even finished so whether or not we had a slice of the light and fragrant cardamom, pistachio and white chocolate cake will have to remain a mystery.
12:00PM - Clink Beer
The clock has only just ticked over the midday point but to quote the great Jimmy Buffet: “It’s five o’clock somewhere.” Time to check out one of Gibb Street’s most popular spots: Clink Beer. Clink is equal parts bottle shop, bar and tasting room where they hold regular events with brewers from across the UK’s exploding craft beer scene. They stock over 200 beers in bottles from all over the world and sell a broad range of draught both in the shop and in growlers, those big plastic containers you can take away that allow you to drink fresh beer at home. We chat with Richard the manager who recommends Myrcia, a new session IPA from Buxton Brewery on the draught taps. It’s hazy, juicy and dangerously drinkable, in spite of its 4.0%. His other tip in a bottle is a light and crisp pale ale from Swedish brewers Dugges, which perfectly sits at the other end of the taste spectrum. We buy a couple more interesting bottles to take home and clink off on our way.
13:30PM - Warehouse Café
Time for lunch already, and it’s a mere few minutes to the Warehouse Café. This is a pioneering vegetarian restaurant that has been here for over 30 years, well before the area started to be redeveloped. Originally it began life as a café for Friends of The Earth staff, who still have offices close by. Now it’s one of Birmingham’s most popular restaurants, and it doesn’t take long to find out why. Smiling waiting staff sit us down at a table in the cosy, brick-lined attic of the warehouse space. Then arrives a beautiful array of seasonal vegetable dishes that draw culinary influence from the world over. A colourful Mediterranean meze plate bursts with artichokes, black olive tapenade, bread and olive oil. Then the star of the show and today’s special: light and fluffy broad bean falafels with a tart bite of rhubarb salad and a creamy, smoky hit of baba ganoush. It’s beautifully presented with just a hint of pomegranate molasses drizzled over the top. We could eat it all again, but resist.