I remember the first time I stumbled upon Medicine Bakery & Gallery. I use that turn of phrase literally; I tripped up outside the place on my way to the museum.
Hidden away on New Street, up a steep flight of stairs, you would be forgiven for walking straight past this cool little offering. Forgiven but an idiot nonetheless when you see what’s available. A bakery-come-gallery, this is a unique spot to grab a coffee and take in some local artwork. Equally you can take away loaves of freshly baked sourdough, cronuts, kruffins (it’s a thing, google it!) and sweet baked goods which line the entrance.
The variety of pastries is brilliant and the attention to detail and quality is absolutely remarkable, whatever you buy. Some of the bakes are art in themselves, combining beautiful icing and visually striking toppings. I can’t remember how many of the Medicine Bakery & Gallery cronuts I’ve had now (it’s enough to earn me a size up in skinny jeans) but it was actually the bread that inspired my latest visit. You see, as well as selling us mere mortals its goods, this place also supplies some of the most popular restaurants in the city. Fan of the BoneHead chicken burgers? Well this is where your perfectly baked buns come from.
I’m usually a grab-and-go gal when it comes to this lovely independent, but with a spare half an hour between meetings last week I decided to scale the staircase and enjoy the cafe and gallery space. The first two rooms, housing the deliciousness and seating, are bright and airy, with gentle wafts of buttery pastry hitting you as soon as you hit the top of the stairs. A third room, through the seating area, is the creative space. What’s happening in there changes on a regular basis, but it provides a great space for local artists and creatives.
Back to the food. On this occasion I enjoyed a Salt Beef Toasted Sandwich (£4) and a Cappuccino (£2.50). The coffee – the divine Iron & Fire no less – was lovely but it was the toasted Reuben sandwich that left me full of beans. For the price it’s an exceptionally good feed, layered with quality beef and melted Emmental cheese to pull apart with your teeth and pull off your chin. I loved the thick slices of salty gherkin and liberal slather of mustard for texture and heat. The bread itself, two thick slabs of rye littered with pumpkin seeds, had excellent bite and was good enough to see me eagerly buying a loaf before leaving. I devoured the lot within two days by the way.. summer bodies are not made at Medicine, I can tell you that. There’s a great array of sandwiches to take away or turn into toasties, including some vegan options that are so colourful I almost gave up my beloved salt beef for one.. I said almost.
This is a genuine hidden gem that most people walk past without really noticing it’s there. More fool them. Saying that, I sort of hope it stays that way if it means I get to scoff all these glorious treats without fighting people over the last brownie. Medicine Bakery & Gallery is open 10am to 4pm Wednesday to Saturday. Don’t forget you get 15% off baked goods if you flash your Independent Birmingham card, but make sure you go before 12:30 to avoid the rush and the best items selling out.
If you’re looking for more places to get your sugar fix this previous post on where to grab the best cake in Birmingham city centre may make you happy.
Medicine Bakery & Gallery, 69a New Street, Birmingham, B2 4DU
Disclosure: I’ve always paid in full at each visit. All images, words and chatter are my own.