During the summer, Dr HH took me for a quick trip to Birmingham, which is in his neck of the woods. I asked him what interesting place we should visit, and he immediately suggested the new library. I love libraries, so I was definitely in favour of this, and I was immediately impressed by the building from the outside. Isn’t it pretty?
Inside it was also nice. We worked our way up to the third floor, where there was a temporary Shakespeare exhibition on. I loved the posters for Shakespeare performances from different countries around the world – there was some really fantastic artwork. Up on the ninth floor there was also a special room dedicated to the big man. The room was an original 17th century room, rebuilt various times in various buildings. It held a collection of old Shakespeare books, and was generally a very beautiful place to be.
Back down on the seventh floor, we somehow found our way into the Secret Garden. This is a secret worth sharing. It’s a lovely outdoor terrace with seating, flowers and an excellent view. It wasn’t very busy, but there were a few people strolling and posing for selfies, a couple of readers, and some people quietly having their lunch. A lovely place to be.
We didn’t stay for our lunch though. Instead, we took a ten minute walk over to 3 Three’s Coffee Lounge. I’d seen it mentioned a few times on Instagram and was intrigued by their cake selection. It turned out to be very good indeed! It is listed as a vegetarian cafe, but every food item I saw was labelled as suitable for vegans too – perhaps it’s only the milk options that prevent it being all vegan. It’s a nice big space with two fridges for sandwiches, soups and savoury snacks like falafel, then a cake counter. It’s in a similar vein to places like Pret and Eat, but also has some hot food from the kitchen (hot dogs, for example).
I had the chicken and mozzarella panino. It was good, but not quite as good as I’d hoped – chicken chunks would have been amazing, but the slices were ok. This chorizo and mozzarella one that Dr HH ordered was much better! It had chunks of meat, and was really flavoursome.
While I love a good cake counter, it does make choosing more difficult. But I eventually settled on the caramel shortbread, because it’s not something I often get to try. The caramel layer wasn’t as thick and gooey as I would have liked, but it was delicious, and the thick chocolate more or less made up for it.
It’s hard to believe there’s no 100% vegan eatery in Birmingham, but this one does come very close and is an absolute delight!
Enjoyable article. I will check out the secret garden in the library next week so thanks for the prompt. Another time if you I here I would recommend you go to the Warehouse Cafe for vegan food in Digbeth, about 10 minute walk from city centre. I am so glad Three Threes is there making a statement but it does need some improvement, ie I keep asking for a salad bar!
Thanks Lana! Warehouse Cafe is on my list if we’re back in Birmingham over Christmas. I think I heard it was better for vegetarians than vegans, but hopefully that’s not the case.
There are always vegan options and it is nice to support independents however The Cosy Club on Bennetts Hill has its own vegan menu.
It is best to book (phone only) as it does get very busy.
Thanks for the tips. I’d definitely prefer to support an independent, completely meat-free place, so I’ll see if we can fit it in over Christmas!
Last time I went to Birmingham the only vegan place was the Warehouse Cafe which is a bit of a walk and turned out not to even be open when I got there! There’s a little shop next door which is ok but a bit further out from the city (King’s Heath) is the Purely Vegan Store which has better choice and cakes and takeaway too. I haven’t been for a while – the library wasnt there last time – so I must go again! I miss the days of huge libraries everywhere.
It’s good that everywhere’s becoming more vegan-friendly. I’ll keep an eye out for Purely Vegan Store next time too, I’m always after some good vegan cake!
It’s rare that I think the cake isn’t the most appealing thing on the page, but the secret garden is actually catching my eye more! It’s good they had so many vegan options too!
It was such a lovely spot, it would be great to sit out there with a book (and a piece of cake).
Its been 10 years since I last visited B’ham and there was so much work happening at the time in the city, that i know its changed. I was there for work training session and we had lunch at the Warehouse. I enjoyed what I had, but it wasn’t the as big as it is now – its was the hub of a few charities Black environment network and foe.I would love to go back, may have to be a train journey though as my husband is not comfortable driving there – My Dads been there a lot, but still gets lost on the ring rounds, so you can imagine how that makes my husband timid. The Library looks worth the visit for sure.
Yes, we’ll definitely be on public transport! I’m really keen to try Warehouse Cafe after all these recommendations.