There’s a lot to like about The Edwardian Tearooms at Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery. Most notably the button that summons the champagne fairy.
Often overlooked, this cafe is mainly used by museum visitors but there’s plenty to draw non-visitors to the beautiful space hidden beyond the gift shop and all its loot. Located on the first floor (bonus points if you spot the random stuffed animals outside the main doors) the tearoom itself is a grand room. The high ceiling creates a feeling of space with natural light flooding in from the glass panels above your head; a mixture of booths, Chester sofas and warm coloured chairs cover the striking tiled floor for you to rest your bones comfortably.
As well as the usual coffee, tea and cake shaped fun you’d expect, the tearoom has a fairly broad menu of sweet and savoury treats. There’s also a specials menu as well as a rotating soup offering each day. I often bring my laptop and work from here over lunchtime – aside from the fact that the food is good value the WiFi is as strong as the coffee and they’re not afraid to have the central heating on full like a care home.
So what can you actually eat here? Most recently I’ve enjoyed the sticky Thai pork belly (this was a special but I’m told it’s popular enough it appears often) that gave me all the feels. Crispy bits, soft bits – all the sexy bits – with zingy cucumber and pickled onion to slice through the richness. If you’re looking for something a little less calorific, the tandoori chicken salad with a delicate minty yoghurt dressing is a lighter lunch without being boring.
Other edible happiness comes from dishes like balti chicken wings (a steal at a fiver), Moroccan lamb flatbread, and slow cooked blade of beef bourguignon. Most dishes sit in the £5-£10 bracket, so certainly an affordable option if you want more than a basic sandwich. If you fancy splashing out a bit (or getting pissed during cultural excursions, no judgement from me) you could enjoy a glass or 3 of fizz via the ‘Press For Champagne’ buttons. The tearoom’s USP, the gold buttons can be found on the booth tables with flutes of happiness starting from £10. For everything else you order at the main counter.
From brunches to lunches there’s a decent variety of hot and cold options, as well as afternoon tea – on Sundays you’ll even find hearty roast dinners. The Edwardian Tearooms is open 10:30 – 4:30pm and you’ll get 10% off the bill with your Independent Birmingham app.
There’s some evening events from time to time that are worth keeping an eye out for – the place looks absolutely stunning all lit up at night. It’s not going to change the world, but it’s a pretty spot for a simple and satisfying lunch that won’t break the bank.
The Edwardian Tearooms, Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery, Chamberlain Square, Birmingham B3 3DH
Disclosure: Paid in full etc etc. Words and photos are mine despite what the champagne fairy may tell you. Don’t forget to follow BYB on Instagram for daily posts.